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 fulfil 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 the personal and motivation aspects of the candidate. The motivation letter should give information not covered in the academic CV, such as information on your music background, on what you understand the master is about, on why you think the SMC master is adequate for you, on your future academic and professional goals, etc... If you do not have formal music education, thus covered in the CV, the motivation letter is a good place to explain your non-formal musical training.
  • What is the ideal profile of an SMC master student?
    The ideal candidate has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, has a strong motivation for the topics related to music technology and has a 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 good students that are accepted without the standard background. If you do not have a Computer Science degree, you should be able to demonstrate an equivalent background, at least on topics such as mathematics, software programming, signal processing, and/or machine learning.
  • 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 computational musicology. 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 centre. Examples of companies in which our graduates are working include: BMAT, Native Instruments, Sony CSL, Dolby, Pandora, Telefónica, Google, Apple, Adobe, Spotify, .... Examples of universities/centres 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 Univ., ....
  • 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 of 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 the 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 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 by 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 at least 30 ECTS of the master the first year and completing the 60 ECTS credits during the 2 years. Optionally you can also take up to 50 ECTS of complementary courses during 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 your academic and professional interests. IMPORTANT: All undergraduate courses are taught in Engish. 
  • Can I get a research or a teaching assistantship while doing the master?
    At the MTG we regularly offer research assistantships to collaborate on particular projects. Also, other collaborating centres may offer internships. You can find more information on the internships page
  • Can I get involved in MTG-related activities?
    Of course!!! in fact, you are encouraged to do so. You will do your thesis work under the supervision of MTG researchers, and you will have the opportunity to be involved in initiatives carried out by the MTG (outreach). Master students are encouraged to propose and organize activities by themselves, in the context of the MTG, the Department, or the whole University.
  • 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 dedicated to study, do assignments, carry out class projects or work in the master thesis. IMPORTANT: We do not leave the mornings free to make the master compatible with 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.