Sep 25, 2022  
2013-2014 Course Catalog 
2013-2014 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Acoustics, BS

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The Bachelor of Science degree in Acoustics offered by the Audio Arts + Acoustics Department is the only undergraduate degree program in the United States that, in addition to an extensive preparation in Architectural Acoustics and in Environmental Acoustics, also addresses issues of perception and cognition.

As part of the Audio Arts + Acoustics Department, students enrolled in the Acoustics Program benefit, not only from a liberal arts education, but also from a curriculum that emphasizes the science behind the sounds we love (and sometimes hate) and the mathematics needed to understand those sounds and control them. This 128-credit degree competes head to head with the best acoustics graduate programs in the nation and, thereby, prepares our students to compete successfully in the workplace against holders of advanced degrees in acoustics.

The Acoustics Program helps prepare students for entry-level positions with consulting firms in the areas of architectural acoustics (e.g. sound isolation; design of concert halls, studios, etc), environmental noise control (e.g. noise pollution; regulatory standards; etc.), sound perception and cognition (e.g. physical, physiological, and cognitive bases of communication through sound), and audio and vibration studies in markets as diverse as loudspeaker manufacturing, automotive research & development, and musical instrument construction. Graduates of the program are represented at most major consulting firms in the country and have been working with world-renowned manufacturers since 1998. The program also prepares students for graduate studies in hearing sciences and architectural acoustics.

The main educational goal of the Program is to offer students a holistic understanding of acoustics as a discipline by presenting all of its components, i.e. theory, practicum, and aesthetics trough a combination of survey and in-depth courses. Theoretical and applied theory elements of acoustics are introduced in courses such as Architectural Acoustics, Environmental Acoustics, Fundamentals of Vibration, and Introduction to Psychoacoustics, while courses like Acoustical Testing I, Acoustical Testing II, and Acoustical Modeling give students the opportunity to analyze and to solve “real-world” problems and to develop a professional portfolio. Practical exposure to the discipline is emphasized in advanced courses such as Acoustics of Performance Spaces, Studies in Transducer Theory, and Engineered Acoustics, while the aesthetic element of the discipline, yet presented in every class, is furthered in courses such as Studies in Hearing, Perception & Cognition of Sound, and Applied Acoustics.

In all, we have developed courses that provide both the fundamental elements that any practitioner in acoustics should be intimately familiar with, as well as a series of elective classes that the student can choose from in order to match her/his specific educational and career goals. Students are also encouraged to become better practitioners in the field of acoustics by considering elective courses that truly reflect the foundation of an enlightened liberal arts education.

Students advance through the program in a cohort fashion with a typical class of 12-15 students graduating in the spring semester. The cohort is expected to develop study groups, bring forth to the attention of the faculty common issues of interest to the students, and plan and schedule research activities suitable for participation in refereed conferences.

Although the Acoustics program aims at fostering a climate that develops team work, it also emphasizes individual attention to the students during all phases of their academic careers. Registration for most courses requires instructor permission, leading to regular one-on-one advising sessions between student and faculty members. In addition, office hours are held after every class and a wide range of individual tutoring options are available.

This program of study has significant support from those already in the industry. Here are some sample comments from a few of our educational partners:

“Acoustics is an exceptionally diverse field encompassing broad topics in physical and biological acoustics as well as engineering… Acoustics is both an art and a science. it is, however, only with a solid grounding in science that the ‘art’ can be fulfilled. A church or auditorium, for instance, must be properly engineered in order for the beauty of the sound to be revealed.” (William Bowlby, Ph.D., P.E., President, Bowlby & Associates, Inc.)

“When hiring, I look for individuals that have a strong educational background in mathematics and science to perform complex acoustical analyses…. [This curriculum] will increase the marketability of the graduates to potential employers and it [will] further assist in supporting their post-graduation academic goals.” (Michelle A. Jones, President, Entech Consulting Group)

“There are only a handful of Acoustics Degrees available and this [makes] yours even more desirable and competitive…. In the eyes of employers like Kinetics Noise Control, college graduates who can analyze and understand acoustic events using math and physics skills are a step ahead.” (Matt Swysgood, Vice President for Architectural and Interiors Markets, Kinetics Noise Control)

Learn about the Department

Program Requirements  

Transfer Students: View a Transfer Planning Tool for this Major  

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