Here are some answers to common questions that potential students might have:

  • What are the criteria used to evaluate admission?
    There are a number of requirements that potential SMC students need to fulfill as stated in the UPF Official web site. From the provided documents, the excellence in the academic CV as related to the topics of the master is the most important aspect that is considered in the admission process. Another important element is the "Motivation Letter", which is used to evaluate personal and motivation aspects of the candidate. The motivation letter should give information on the person not covered in the academic CV, on her background, on her idea of the master, on whether she understands what the master is about, on why she thinks that the SMC will be a good program for her, on what she thinks she can contribute to the master, on her level of written English, on what are her future wishes and goals, etc. 
     
  • What is the ideal profile of an SMC master student?
    The ideal candidate has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering, has a strong motivation for the topics related to music technology and has some musical background. Most of the SMC students are passionate about music and technology and are involved in music-making related activities. However, given that the field of SMC is very interdisciplinary, there are always very good students that are accepted and that do have the standard background.
     
  • Which are the main research focus of the SMC master?
    The SMC master reflects quite well the interests and focus of the Music Technology Group of the UPF. The field of Sound and Music Computing is quite broad and within that, the MTG specializes in most of its core topics. In particular, the MTG emphasizes research related to audio signal processing, music information retrieval, musical interfaces, and performance modeling. The approaches of the work done at the MTG aim at finding a balance between basic and applied research while promoting interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate knowledge from both scientific/technological and humanistic/artistic disciplines.
     
  • What do the graduates of the SMC master normally do?
    Most SMC graduates either get an R&D job in the industry, related to audio and music, or start a PhD, related to sound and music computing, at the UPF or in another university research center. Examples of companies in which our graduates are working include: Reactable Systems, BMAT, Native Instruments, Sony CSL, Dolby, Pandora, Telefónica, Google, Apple, .... Examples of universities/centers in which our graduates have done or are doing a PhD include: IRCAM, QMUL, Univ. of Amsterdam, Univ. of Utrecht, NYU, City Univ. London, Stanford, ....
     
  • Are the graduates of the SMC master able to find jobs in the field?
    The field of Sound and Music Computing has been growing very much for a number years and the number of PhD positions and jobs related to it has been growing accordingly. The MTG is one of the leading international research groups in the field and the SMC master has a strong reputation among both academic institutions and the industry related to music technology. Thus, the graduates of the SMC master are well positioned to be very competitive when applying for PhD positions and for music technology jobs offered by industry. 
     
  • What does "full-time" dedication mean in the context of this master program?
    SMC is a full-time master. It is quite demanding and we do not recommend to work and do the master at the same time. If students need to work to support their expenses we recommend them to take the "part-time" option of the master.
    Each ECTS (European Credit) represents 5 hours of class and 20 hours of student work outside of class (studying, doing class assignments, projects, etc.). Therefore, a 5 ECTS course (which are most of them) represents 25 hours of class and 100 hours of student work. On the other hand, the master project (master thesis) represents a minimum of 500 hours of student work (essentially carried out from January to June). Therefore, a typical full-time master would require a dedication as follows:
  • 1st trimester: 4 courses
    4 x 25 hours of class = 100 hours of class, plus 4 x 100 hours of student work = 400 hours
    Total: 500 hours --> in 10 weeks ==> 50 hours/week
  • 2nd trimester: 3 courses + first part of master thesis
    3 x 25 hours of class = 75 hours of class, plus 3 x 100 hours of student work = 300 hours, plus 125 hours of master thesis
    Total: 500 hours --> in 10 weeks ==> 50 hours/week
  • 3rd trimester: 1 course + second part of master thesis
    1 x 25 hours of class = 25 hours of class, plus 1 x 100 hours of student work = 100 hours, plus 375 hours of master thesis
    Total: 500 hours --> in 10 weeks ==> 50 hours/week 

     
  • Can I do the master in two years? What is the advantage?
    Yes, you can do the master in two years and doing that you might be able to take more courses or to work while doing the master. Officially, this means to do the master as a part-time student, taking 30 ECTS of the master each year, plus optional complementary courses for up to 50 ECTS in the two years. Most of the complementary courses are taken from the undergraduate programs of the Engineering School covering topics such as: Audio Signal Processing, Software Engineering, Data Structures, Software Programming, Artificial Intelligence, Music Technology, Mathematics, and Interactive Systems. This is a way to complement your education with topics that you did not cover in your undergraduate program and that might be relevant for you academic and professional interests. IMPORTANT: Many undergraduate courses are taught in Spanish or Catalan, so for taking this option you have to either be able to follow classes in Spanish and/or Catalan, or you have to just take the courses that are offered in English.
     
  • Can I get a research or a teaching assistantship while doing the master?
    The research labs of the MTG may offer research assistantships to collaborate in particular projects. Also, other collaborating centers may offer internships. You can find more information on the internships page. Sometimes the DTIC offer teaching assistantships to help in undergraduate courses.
     
  • Can I get involved in MTG-related activities?
    Of course!!! in fact, you are encouraged to do so. You can do your thesis work within one the labs of the MTG, you can be involved in initiatives carried our by the MTG (outreach), and all master students are encouraged to propose and organize things by themselves, in the context of the MTG, the Department, or the whole campus.
     
  • What is the schedule of the classes?
    Each year the schedule may vary a bit, but to have an idea of what the schedule of classes is like, you can check the calendar for the current academic year. You will see that we try to put all courses in the afternoons so that the mornings are free to do assignments, projects, study, readings, the master thesis, etc. IMPORTANT: We do not leave the mornings free to make the master compatible with a parallel work. 
     
  • What are the class periods/terms/semesters of the master?
    The academic year at the UPF is divided into three trimesters: September-December, January-March & April-June. Classes usually start around September 21st and finish by June 20th. However, SMC students present and defend their master thesis orally the first week of July and the students are expected to be in Barcelona at least until then. The final document of the thesis has to be submitted by the beginning of September, but this submission does not require to be in Barcelona.
     
  • Will UPF help me in finding housing?
    UPF does not have a housing service. However, you may check UPF International Mobility for help on this topic.

Program Coordinator: Xavier Serra
Administration contacts: Núria Figuls & Susanna Fernández

Tànger building (Comunication-Poblenou campus)
Tànger, 122-140
08018 Barcelona

(+34) 93 542 2570 / 2518

masters.dtic@upf.edu