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Unit outline_

DESC9133: Architectural Acoustics Practice

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal evening] - Remote

This unit will cover a range of theoretical, practical and professional issues in architectural acoustics, including codes and standards pertaining to architectural acoustics; method and integrity of measurement; room acoustical measurement, modelling, simulation and criteria; sound absorption theory, measurement and specification; sound insulation theory, measurement and specification; design of spaces using acoustical criteria; and field assessment of acoustical problems in and around buildings. By the completion of this unit, students will acquire knowledge and experience in areas commonly dealt with by the acoustical consulting profession. They will gain an appreciation of current issues in architectural acoustics, possibly inspiring future research.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Luis Miranda Jofre,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment Practical report (Simulation)
40% Week 09 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment group assignment Theoretical report (research)
60% Week 13 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Practical report (simulation): Students will work in groups of two to deliver a written report. Students are to select a space with clear acoustic requirements and conduct detailed simulations to analyse the compliance of the space with standards (to the extent practical). 
  • Theoretical report (research): Students will work in groups of two to deliver a short research report. Students are to select a research topic and conduct scientific investigations based on acoustic simulation, and if necessary, measurement. The assignment should include a short literature review.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to class; 2. Basics in acoustics and hearing Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Principle of room acoustic modelling; 2) Rhino basics Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 02 Room acoustics Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Ray-based acoustic simulation basics; 2) Room acoustics in irregular rooms Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Theory of ray- and wave-based acoustic simulation Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Wave-based acoustic simulation basics; 2) Comparison between wave- and ray-based simulation results Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Acoustic absorption Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Reliability of absorption measurement; 2) Understanding of room modes Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Acoustic scattering Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Measuring scattering in FDTD. 2) Effect of Scattering in room acoustics Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Office acoustics Lecture (2 hr)  
Simulation and evaluation of open-plan offices Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 Auditorium and stage acoustics Lecture (2 hr)  
Simulation and evaluation of auditoriums Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Sound Insulation Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Assignment 1 consultation; 2) Assignment 2 distribution Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Environmental acoustics Lecture (2 hr)  
1) Assignment 1 Pecha Kucha; 2) Assignment 2 topic selection and refinement Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Mechanical noise Lecture (2 hr)  
Acoustic insulation measurement Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 Unusual architectural acoustics design Lecture (2 hr)  
Assignment 2: Interim review Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Practice in architectural acoustics Lecture (2 hr)  
1) High-res measurement of room acoustics; 2) Assignment 2 consultation Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 13 Assignment 2 final presentation Lecture (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the fundamental principles of architectural acoustics and how they are applied
  • LO2. find, interpret and apply high quality information within the field of architectural acoustics
  • LO3. understand the principles of measurement and simulation of acoustics in the architectural context
  • LO4. conduct high quality and meaningful measurements and simulations in the field of architectural acoustics
  • LO5. clearly present and correctly interpret data from acoustical measurements and simulatons
  • LO6. conduct primary scientific investigations in the field of architectural acoustics

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Lectures have changed to incorporate cutting edge technology. Lecturers have been included who work in the field.

A powerful computer will be helpful in completing this unit. 


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.