Schools for Sound Production: How to Choose

Sound production involves the recording and manipulation of audio signals for use in music, video games, television and film recording, live performance and sound system enhancement. Programs range from the certificate to the master's degree levels.

Students will find various sound production programs at private and public colleges and universities. Educational programs in recording arts, sound design, audio production and sound recording technology vary in emphasis, so students can match their career goals to a certain focus.

10 Schools for Music/Sound Production

Sound and music technology programs are available from the following schools, largely private universities.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)**
John Hopkins University- Peabody Institute Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $48,710
Full Sail University Winter Park, FL 4-year, Private for-profit Certificate, Bachelor's $23,117
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $43,986
Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private for-profit Associate, Bachelor's Master's $20,340
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,974 (in-state)
$23,542 (out-of-state)
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $48,791
Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Associate, Bachelor's $10,388 (in-state)
$33,741 (out-of-state)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,856 (in-state)
$43,476 (out-of-state)
New York University NYC 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Advanced Certificate, Doctorate $47,750
Berklee College of Music Boston, MA 4-year, Private Diploma, Bachelor's, Master's $40,082

Sources: *School Websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When considering a sound production program, reflect on these points before making your decision.

  • Bachelor's degrees fit students wanting to learn the basics of sound design, audio production, and music whereas master's programs often require substantial ability and experience in an area, such as music.
  • Some programs focus more on the technical side while others may involve more artistic offerings in their curriculum, so determine what aspect of the field you're interested in.
  • A school that has state-of-the-art facilities and offers local internships may enhance your experience and allow for networking.
  • Look into class sizes, as smaller classes may offer students more access to equipment and personal attention from instructors.

Bachelor of Science in Sound Recording Technology

A Bachelor of Science in Sound Production is typically intended for students interested in the technical side of audio production. Some programs require coursework in music including theory and the study of an instrument. Additionally, most curricula involve practical experience through lab work and internships. Core classes focus on electronics, acoustics, recording techniques, digital and analog audio technologies and equipment maintenance.

Bachelor of Arts in Sound Design

Required coursework focuses on the technical aspects of sound design, but also emphasizes artistic subjects such as media, music and theater. It is typically for students interested in the creative side of audio production. Sample courses include audio techniques, multitrack studio techniques, sound reinforcement and basic electricity.

Master of Arts in Music Production and Sound Design

Programs typically focus on particular concentrations such as computer-based audio production techniques or sound design for visual media. Sound design programs can also be offered as Master of Science degrees. Course offerings consist of musical acoustics, concert recording, audio for the web, audio mastering and scoring for film and multimedia.

A range of schools offer music or sound production programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels of study. Students should think about their career plans and how far they want to take their education, as undergraduate and graduate programs have different curricula and offerings.


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