Columbia College Chicago

Acoustics, BS

Our Acoustics program provides a rigorous, in-depth, and complete set of Acoustics course offerings. As a student in this discipline, you’ll take foundational classes in the art and science of audio while you complete a sequence of math and science courses. We also emphasize physiology, neurobiology, and psychology as they relate to how we hear and perceive sounds. You’ll learn how acoustical design creates spaces, environments, and products that are safer, more useful, and more engaging. You’ll be part of a cohort of 10 to 12 students who will work and study together until graduation. Our small, selective program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn from innovative researchers and practitioners and build a strong network of colleagues. You’ll be poised for a career in architectural acoustics, environmental noise control, sound perception and cognition, or audio signal and vibration analysis. Many graduates of the program go on to further studies in the fields of hearing sciences, engineering, or architecture.

What to Expect Your First Year

To declare an Acoustics major, you must complete Calculus I (or enter with equivalent college credit) and plan to take rigorous advanced math and engineering courses throughout your studies. You’ll begin with core courses in electronics, audio systems, and the science of acoustics. You’ll also sample the key subfields of Acoustics: architectural and environmental. Along the way, you’ll work in our dedicated test labs with a close cohort of peers in classes with small student-to-teacher ratios. 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

Our Acoustics program is structured for graduation in May only. By your senior year, you’ll have a robust background in math and science and extensive training in acoustical design, modeling, and testing. You’ll focus on developing a portfolio of work that will demonstrate your skills to prospective employers. In the fall, you’ll collaborate in small groups on a series of required assignments and experiments, such as a “black box” challenge that requires you to identify the contents of a locked box solely based on testing protocols and methods that you will be free to select and implement. In the spring, you’ll complete a solo capstone project of your choosing.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities
What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Acoustics students are encouraged to engage with professional organizations and societies, such as the Acoustical Society of America and the Audio Engineering Society. Our department has also hosted a number of professional meetings, including the Highway Traffic Noise training sessions from the National Highway Institute.

What are my internship options?

Acoustics majors can intern with consultants, manufacturers, and architectural firms. Several of our students have worked on noise abatement projects at O’Hare and Midway airports, as well as at Riverbank Laboratories in Batavia, Ill., the oldest acoustical testing facility in the U.S.

See the Career Center website for more information.


Ready to Apply?

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