The Master of Arts, Acoustical Studies major at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University is a two-year graduate program which prepares students to work in the specialized and growing fields of architectural acoustic design and consulting, acoustical product design, and audio systems design and integration. The program provides a thorough grounding in acoustics fundamentals, design practices, and advanced analysis applications, to enable graduates to pursue careers in these specialized fields.
The program considers all aspects of the behavior of sound in space and its impact on the human condition, from the classroom, to the concert hall, to the workplace, to the city. As the only graduate program in acoustics situated within a music conservatory, the program has a specific focus on the design and analysis of spaces for performance.
Students come to the Acoustical Studies program with varied backgrounds, including undergraduate degrees in architecture, audio technology, electrical or mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, recording sciences, or music. Undergraduate level coursework must include one year of college physics, one year of calculus, one year of audio fundamentals and basic audio engineering, or equivalent. A background in music is expected, although a Bachelor of Music is not required.
Application Instructions (an interview will be set up as part of the application process)
Program & Curriculum Highlights
The Master of Arts, Acoustical Studies concentration, is taught by faculty from across the disciplines of architecture, engineering, music, recording and acoustic design, each deeply engaged in the field of acoustics. The major offers courses in architectural acoustics, noise control, psychoacoustics, musical acoustics, acoustic and audio measurements, computer modeling, electroacoustics, audiovisual systems design, and professional practices. The program culminates with an acoustic design practicum, whereby each student develops, executes, and defends an individualized research and application project.
- Small classes, from academics and professionals with varied perspectives on acoustics, offering direct faculty-student engagement.
- Students visit, engage and analyze performance spaces in Baltimore-Washington region.
- Opportunities to travel with faculty to listen, assess and compare performance spaces, both domestically and abroad.
- Visiting lectures from industry leaders in acoustics, audio systems design, recording and new media.
- Situated within a premiere conservatory of music, offering countless listening, recording and analysis opportunities.
- Access to specific courses and/or research in the broader Johns Hopkins University community, including physics, signal processing, psychology, drawing, and medicine (with qualification and specific interest).
- Assistantship opportunities in the second year of study.
Some examples of employment and graduate schools that past graduates from the department have gained are:
Acoustics and Audiovisual Design
- Threshold Acoustics
- Shen, Milsom & Wilke
- Pershing Technologies
- Convergent Systems Design Group
- Acoustical Design Collaborative
- Veneklasen Associates
- Cerami Associates
Broadcast, Recording and Production
- National Public Radio
- Tanglewood Music Festival
- Aspen Music Festival
- Brevard Summer Music Festival
Product Design and Application
- Apple Inc. (Beats)
- RPG Diffusor Systems
- Polk Audio / Sound United
- Definitive Technologies
Further Graduate Study
- Pennsylvania State University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Johns Hopkins University
- New England Conservatory
The program is geared toward professionals working with the following professional societies:
- AES (Audio Engineering Society) www.aes.org
- ASA (Acoustical Society of America) http://asa.aip.org
- NCAC (National Council of Acoustical Consultants) www.ncac.com
Architectural Acoustics (3 credits) – spring
Prerequisite: (Physical Acoustics and Psychoacoustics)
The behavior of sound in enclosed spaces is exlpored. Topics include sound absorption, sound reflection, refraction and diffusion, large and small room acoustics, room modes, reverberation, energy ratios, acoustical materials, psychoacoustic aspects, and design of rooms for speech, music and recording.
Noise Control (2 credits) – spring
Prerequisite: (Physical Acoustics and Architectural Acoustics)
A continuation of Architectural Acoustics with an emphasis on noise control for buildings and equipment. Topics include noise reduction, transmission loss theory, impact insulation, noise barriers, equipment enclosures and noise control materials, and HVAC equipment noise prediction and control.
Audiovisual System Design (3 credits) – fall
Prerequisite: (Electroacoustics, Architectural Acoustics, and Psychoacoustics)
The objective of this class is to provide students with an overview of commercial audiovisual systems design. This will include both the considerations required to design audiovisual systems and all of the ancillary considerations required to properly integrate these systems with architecture, electrical, mechanical, structural, and IT systems.
Audio and Acoustical Measurements (3 credits) – fall
Prerequisite: (Psychoacoustics and Audio Science and Technology)
The theory and application of objective acoustical and audio measurements are studied. Measurement techniques used in the evaluation of both physical spaces and electronic equipment are presented. Topics include measurement microphones, sound level meters, noise sources, spectrum and FFT analysis, frequency analysis, reverberation, speech intellegibility, transfer funcion, swept sine techniques, audio power measurements, ADC and DAC linearity, harmonic distortion and mixed signal testing.
Computer Modeling (2 credits) – spring
Prerequisite: (Architectural Acoustics and Sound Systems Design)
Basics of computer modeling for room acoustics and sound system design. Topics include general theory and assumptions underlying computer modeling, different types of acoustical models, auralization, small room acoustics, large room acoustics, and sound system computer models. Introduction to popular computer models including Room Sizer, Room Optimizer, EASE, ULYSSES, and ODEON.
Professional Practices (2 credits) – spring
This course examines professional practices common in industry. Topics include interaction with clients, design professionals, and contractors, professional ethics and liability, insurance, contracts, and fee setting, specifications, reports, and project documentation.
Acoustics Design Practicum (3 credits) – spring
Prerequisite: (final semester)
In this course, students will act as acoustical consultants to design or analyze an existing room or sound system using the knowledge gained through prior classes. The students will be responsible for complete analysis, measurements, modeling, design documentation, and presentation of the final design in class.