Sound Design—BA

The Sound of Your Future Calling

The artistic meets the technical in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech. Prepare yourself for the dynamic field of audio production with a Bachelor of Arts in Sound Design. This degree program integrates course work in music and theater production, allowing students to explore the intellectual, artistic and intuitive knowledge and skills in recorded and live music, theatrical sound, and movie and TV sound. You will develop a broad skill set that will make you uniquely qualified to work in live sound, recording, themed entertainment, and sound for picture.

  • The integration of theatre and music studies into the program, along with a commitment to production in theatre, music, and media in both the not-for-profit and entertainment fields, sets Michigan Tech apart.
  • The department recently has two 7.1 sound-for-picture mixing studios, a high fidelity stereo production studio, numerous tracking rooms including a foley set-up.
  • Audio-production studios are available to students 24/7.
  • At Michigan Tech, you will start working on real-world projects and performances from day one. Through the First-Year Practicum, you will get involved with an audio play, join a mainstage production, and mix many multi-track music recordings.
  • Limited enrollment allows for more time with professors, advisors, and equipment.
  • You will develop your skills through high-tech training at performance venues such as the beautiful Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and the traditional McArdle Theatre.

What kinds of projects will I do in school?

You can expect to

  • Design soundscapes and sound effects for film, theatre, and radio.
  • Mix and record sound effects, dialog, and music for film, theatre, and radio productions.
  • Do live and studio recording, mixing, and mastering for CD or download distribution and broadcast.
  • Mix recordings and produce CDs.

How will Michigan Tech help me start my career?

  • A professional portfolio: You will begin creating a portfolio during your first semester, continuing to develop it so that you leave campus with a solid professional presentation of yourself.
  • One-on-one academic advising: You will meet with your advisor each semester to talk about your progress and class schedule, keeping you on track to graduate. These meetings will also shape your production experiences at Tech.
  • Career advising: Your advisor will also discuss career options and post-graduation goals with you, and will assist you in searching and applying for internships—skills that are applicable to post-graduation job searching.
  • Networking: You will regularly attend professional conferences, where you will meet with industry professionals and, as an upperclassman, present your work.

What will I do after graduation?

Start your career as an intern or assistant, or consider graduate school. Careers in sound design include

Learning Goals for Sound Design

Creative Analysis

Graduates will employ methods of creative analysis to understand how the aural arts are used as meaningful expressions of the human experience. They will:

  • apply foundational analytical skills to recognize and interpret quality works of art.
  • apply appropriate tropes, elements of design, and musical structure to analysis of their own and others works.
  • Use a focused methodical approach to approaching important questions.

Artistic Expression

Graduates will apply a diverse set of artistic techniques in creating sound designs. They will:

  • apply foundational elements and principles of design and structure in creating sound in varied media.
  • demonstrate foundational applied skills and techniques in sound and audio.
  • present the body of their design and technical work in an organized and artistic manner.
  • demonstrate the ability to modify their work after external and self-evaluation.

Historical Context

Graduates will apply knowledge of the context and evolution of diverse artistic media in creating sound designs. They will:

  • understand the history and evolution of sound design.
  • demonstrate a familiarity with benchmark works in the artistic canon of sound, music, theatre, and film.
  • evaluate works in artistic, cultural and historical context.
  • apply historical artistic forms and tropes to their own artistic practice.

Technological Principles

Graduates will apply scientific and technological principles to support work in sound design. They will:

  • understand the scientific foundations relevant to sound and audio.
  • apply informed experimentation as a tool in solving artistic challenges.
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of current technology that supports work in sound and audio.
  • demonstrate flexibility in the use of new and emerging technologies.

Industry Engagement

Graduates will demonstrate professional skills when engaging the arts and entertainment industry. They will:

  • familiarize themselves with the diverse industries in sound design and related fields.
  • understand basic structures and organization in the entertainment industry.
  • communicate using the diverse modes of industry standard communication.
  • participate in important industry-related organizations.
  • evaluate their work within the context of the work of peers and professionals in their field.

Sound Design Program Portfolio at Michigan Tech by areteaudio