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Acoustics Degree Programs

Acoustics programs consider how sound can be used in fields like architecture and music. Find out about courses commonly offered along with degree levels available.

Are Degree Programs in Acoustics Available?

If you want to study acoustics, you may find a number of degree programs offered at the bachelors through doctoral degree levels. Acoustics specializations are most commonly found in engineering and physics degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission, while graduate degree programs require a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. While admissions requirements vary among the graduate schools, some require an undergraduate degree in engineering, computer science or physics.

Associate's degree programs that cover some of the same coursework are also available in related areas, such as audio engineering. Degree programs in acoustics aren't typically offered online. Those that are available are generally offered at the master's degree level and deal with the engineering aspects of acoustics.

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and PhD levels
Online Availability Rare, but may be offered as master's degree programs in engineering with acoustics focus
Undergraduate Topics Sound design, audio processing, live sound recording, environmental acoustics and physics
Graduate Topics Computer modeling, electroacoustics, physical acoustics and data measurement and analysis
Median Salary (2020)*$47,420 (Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)*9% growth (Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Expect From an Undergraduate Degree Program?

In addition to general education courses, bachelor's degree programs that focus on acoustics cover a range of topics from noise measurement and architectural acoustics to sound design and engineering. Topics also address sound measurement techniques, audio processing methods and the different types of audio systems. Some undergraduate degree programs also offer the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with equipment through lab-based courses. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Physics
  • Audio production
  • Live sound recording
  • Environmental acoustics

What Can I Expect From a Graduate Degree Program?

Master's degree programs in acoustics or with concentrations in acoustics are designed to prepare you to work in systems design and integration, consulting and product design, among other careers. Master's degree programs may involve either a Master of Science, which involves completing research and a thesis, or a Master of Engineering, which involves completing research, but substitutes additional course-based credits in place of a thesis. Some of the acoustics courses you can expect to find in a master's degree include these:

  • Electroacoustics
  • Computer modeling
  • Acoustical measurements
  • Physical acoustics

Doctoral degree programs involve coursework and comprehensive exams, in addition to conducting original research and writing and defending a dissertation. Some of the doctoral courses you can expect to find include the following:

  • Experimental acoustic techniques
  • Digital signal processing
  • Data measurement and analysis