There are a number of different graduate programs offered by universities around the country in the field of sound engineering. While these programs may vary depending on their precise focus, there are some commonalities among them, which will be discussed in greater detail below.
Information About Graduate Programs in Sound Engineering
Individuals can find a variety of programs at the graduate level that facilitate the study of sound engineering, though they may be called alternative names like audio engineering, audio technology, or music engineering. These programs are commonly found at the master's degree level. In these programs, students will complete a mixture of coursework and a thesis or capstone project. Below, we will look at five different courses that are commonly found in the required curriculum of these programs.
In these courses, students will learn about how sound is used in different types of productions, like film and television. Topics that will likely be covered in this course include visual and audio synchronization, recording in the field, and sound effects. In addition, students will learn about various post-production processes and how to prepare final mixes.
Audio Signal Processing
In a course that is focused on audio signal processing, students will learn about the process by which audio signals are processed and how this knowledge can be applied in a practical setting. Some topics that may be covered in this course include music audio analysis, conversion from analog to digital, vocoding, and spectral analysis. In addition, students will learn about impulse responses, the Fourier Transform, and multi-band processing.
It is common for these programs to focus on the process of audio mastering. Students will learn about the fundamentals of mastering, as well as how to use mastering in hands-on practice. The course may cover different pieces of equipment that are used in the mastering process, as well as the various techniques involved in the process. Some courses may explore mastering processes over the decades where students learn about various historic approaches.
In this course, students will learn about how sound is produced and transmitted, as well as how the environment in which this process takes place affects the quality of the sound. The class may focus on different types of techniques for measuring sound.
Advanced Concepts in Audio Mixing
In a course that focuses on audio mixing, students will build on their knowledge of audio engineering and mixing by learning more advanced skills using the most updated technologies. In addition to learning practical skills, students will also gain a strong foundation in audio mixing theory and principles. Students will also learn about critical listening and designing their own sound and mixing style.
Admission Standards for Sound Engineering Graduate Degree Programs
In order to gain admission into sound engineering graduate degree programs, students will need to first make sure they fulfill the prerequisites and then apply to the program. These programs generally do not specify that an applicant must have studied a certain field in their undergraduate career, though it is expected that students will have some familiarity in a field like computing, musical performance and theory, or sound engineering. Some programs may request that students submit a portfolio of past work samples or encourage students to obtain some professional experience. When applying to these programs, students will need to submit their undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, resume, and a completed application form. GRE scores are usually optional.
Students seeking graduate degree programs in sound engineering will receive an advanced level of instruction in courses like audio mixing, sound design, and mastering. Most graduate programs are offered at the master's degree level.