Turn your passion for sound into a career with an Acoustics degree from Columbia College Chicago. Learn the science of sound through foundational courses in the art and science of audio while you complete a sequence of math and science courses. Analyze how we hear and perceive sounds by studying physiology, neurobiology, and psychology. And learn how acoustical design creates spaces, environments, and products that are safe, useful, and engaging.
With the help of our faculty of innovative researchers and our program’s strong network in the acoustics community, you’ll poise yourself for a career in architectural acoustics, environmental noise control, sound perception and cognition, and audio signal and vibration analysis. You can also pursue graduate studies in engineering, architecture, or hearing sciences.
Bachelor of Arts vs. Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science (BS) requires more substantial STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) coursework than a traditional Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Our Bachelor of Science in Acoustics has STEM requirements built into the curriculum so that students can master the mathematics required for acoustical analysis. The Audio Arts and Acoustics Department also offers several BA programs for students interested in audio.
In the Classroom
What to expect your first year
You’ll begin with core courses in electronics, audio systems, and the science of acoustics. You’ll also be introduced to the two key subfields of acoustics: architectural and environmental. Along the way, you’ll take classes with small student-to-teacher ratios and work in our dedicated test labs with a close cohort of peers. We’ll encourage you to kick-start your career by joining the Acoustical Society of America, shadowing senior-level students, and attending professional conferences.
What to expect your last year
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Outside the Classroom
Acoustical Society of America student chapter
We have a thriving student chapter of the Acoustical Society of America, the main professional organization for the study of acoustics. Students in our chapter, one of only 14 such chapters in the country, advance their expertise outside the classroom with additional networking opportunities, attend conferences, and host guest speakers and industry leaders on campus.
Acoustics majors have secured internships with local consulting, manufacturing, and architectural firms. Several students have worked on noise abatement projects at O’Hare and Midway airports and at Riverbank Laboratories in Batavia, Illinois, the oldest acoustical testing facility in the U.S.
With a bachelor’s degree in Acoustics, you can work with world-renowned architects, consultants, and manufacturers in a number of jobs. Our alumni also go on to obtain advanced degrees in fields like audiology, mechanical engineering, and architectural engineering. Because we’re one of a handful of institutions that offer a bachelor’s degree in Acoustics, industry leaders look for our graduates, and our alumni become industry leaders.
Carter Howard ’17
As an acoustics and vibration consultant, Acoustics alum Carter Howard figures out which spaces create the best sounds.
Creative Spaces and Facilities
We have a number of creative spaces equipped with industry-standard software and technology:
- Advanced digital audio production lab
- Anechoic chamber for acoustic measurements
- Audio editing suites
- Live and installed sound spaces
- Recording studios
- Reverberation chamber
Acoustics faculty members hail from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds in physics, engineering, music, cinema, and fine art, and have expertise in data sonification, psychoacoustics, and digital modeling. They’re award-winning, industry-leading practitioners who publish their research widely and bring that knowledge into the classroom as passionate teachers.
Peter Zhang creates unique work with the perception of sound.