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Program Description

Just the Facts

Acoustics. A program that focuses on the scientific study of sound, and the properties and behavior of acoustic wave phenomena under different conditions. Includes instruction in wave theory, the acoustic wave equation, energy transformation, vibration phenomena, sound reflection and transmission, scattering and surface wave phenomena, singularity expansion theory, ducting, and applications to specific research problems such as underwater acoustics, crystallography, and health diagnostics.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Additional Information

The insistent ticking of your clock. The ambulance siren wailing outside your window. The car driving by with its stereo pounding at full blast. For acoustics students, these sounds are not just a distraction. They're homework.

Acoustics is the science of sound. It has more than a dozen sub-disciplines, ranging from the way sound travels on the ocean floor (acoustical oceanography) to the way we hear it (audiology).

The University of Hartford offers a four-year undergraduate program in acoustics engineering. Many graduates of the program go on to work as acoustics architectural consultants.

But such programs are rare. Most students enter acoustics by way of a related bachelor's degree program.

So, where do you start? That depends on what you want to do. To be an acoustical engineer, you should look for an engineering program that offers an acoustics specialization.

If you want to research the properties of sound, then physics will likely be the best major for you. If you're interested in hearing disorders and how people hear, then audiology will likely be your field. And if you want to go into musical acoustics, you should look for a music program that allows you to focus on acoustics.

Pennsylvania State University awards three graduate degrees in acoustics -- a master of science, a master of engineering and a PhD in acoustics. You need a bachelor's degree in an acoustics-related field (such as physics or engineering) before you can apply.

Students in the Penn State program study topics like digital signal processing (analyzing different spectrums of frequencies using electronic equipment) and acoustical data measurement and analysis. Students choose from over 35 different areas of specialization, depending on where they want to work after graduation.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Physicists and Astronomers

For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineers

For more information related to this field of study, see: Audiologists

Acoustical Society of America - Acoustics Careers
What to do with your education

Audio Engineering Society Education Initiatives
Check out the FAQ section

Directory of Graduate Education in Acoustics
A complete list of master's-level acoustics programs from the Acoustical Society of America


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