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The Acoustical Studies program at the Peabody Institute is a two-year graduate program, resulting in a Master of Arts degree, 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 [in North America], the program has a specific [but not exclusive] focus on music, and on the design and analysis of spaces for performance, including concert and recital halls, spoken-word theaters, studios for recording and production, and critical listening spaces.

The Acoustical Studies program at the Peabody Institute is dedicated to applied learning and investigation, with outcomes that not only contribute to the broader body of acoustics understanding, but also that serve the city and community, by addressing actual acoustics challenges and conditions. Students will utilize and learn from the various performance, assembly and studio spaces within the Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins University, but will also spend significant time off site, within the region and beyond, to listen, learn, analyze and apply their developing expertise within a broader context.

Program Distinctives & Highlights

  • Situated within a premiere conservatory of music, offering countless listening, recording and analysis opportunities.
  • Small student cohorts and small classes, from academic and professional faculty with varied perspectives on acoustics, offering direct faculty-student engagement and mentorship.
  • Visiting lectures from industry leaders in acoustics, audio systems design, recording and new media.
  • Visit, study, analyze performance spaces and acoustics resources in the Baltimore-Washington region.
  • Opportunities to travel with faculty and student peers, to critically listen, assess and benchmark performance spaces, both domestically and abroad.
  • Engage in current and emerging techniques in acoustic measurement, modeling and simulation.
  • Experiential learning through applied research investigations, visiting critiques from industry leaders, and assisting faculty on real projects.
  • Access to elective courses within the Peabody Institute and within the broader Johns Hopkins University community [with qualification and specific interest].
  • Assistantship opportunities available in the second year of study.


Ian Bryan Hoffman

Ian Bryan Hoffman is an architect, acoustic designer, and educator. He has spent his career committed to examining and understanding the curious interactions of sound and space, specifically as they affect the human experience.

Eric Echols

Eric Echols is an audiovisual design consultant with a background in music performance, acoustics, and recording arts.

Valerie Rennoll

Valerie Rennoll is a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins University.

Preservation Maryland

A podcast interview of Professor Ian Hoffman, with Nicholas Redding, Executive Director of Preservation Maryland. Nick and Ian discuss the role of sound, aural environments, and noise on ideas of preservation, in historic buildings, spaces, and in the city.