Audio Design and Production, BA

Audio is ubiquitous: it’s essential to TV, video games, movies, radio (and of course, music); we hear it in our homes, in our earbuds, and in public spaces. Because it’s everywhere, we often take it for granted.

Performers, media makers, and product manufacturers depend on audio professionals to help them create and deliver their messages. In Columbia’s Audio Design and Production program, you’ll study audio as both an art and a science. You’ll learn how to translate the unique, creative demands of musicians, filmmakers, game designers, and sound designers to achieve precise, technical results in their work. As an ADP student, you’ll take an in-depth look at the many forms of sound recording. The core of the program includes multitrack recording and mixing in studio and live environments. As you progress, you’ll take advanced practicum courses that will further develop your skills in recording, sound design, sound art, data sonification, and synthesis/signal processing. 

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll begin with an introductory class in hearing physiology, learning about how we perceive sound. Then you’ll take a mix of courses that are lab-based – teaching the basics of audio recording and mixing – with theory classes that address the science and math of audio. These courses help you understand why sound and audio technology work the way they do. ADP coursework does require a college-level math foundation; be prepared to take college math by your second semester (or enter the program with its equivalent credit). 

What to Expect Your Last Year

During your final year, you’ll take a series of advanced capstone courses. You’ll hone your skills as a studio engineer, working with musicians. You’ll study advanced techniques in electronic music production and digital audio workstations. Audio Design and Production students can also participate in an immersion course in analog recording. Many seniors also take part in our J-Term Music Industry Immersion course. This unique program is an intensive, weeklong experience in which students in the ADP and Live and Installed Sound programs collaborate with musicians as well as music business students to record, mix, and master student bands.

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?

Audio students often find opportunities with students from an array of other departments. You’ll have the opportunity to work on student films, design sound for video games, or produce audio for television or radio. Senior students can participate in College Studio Operations, a group that co-produces an EP with performance ensembles from the Music department.

Student organizations such as the Chicago chapter of the Audio and Engineering Society (AES), Women in Audio, and the Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago (EARS) host events throughout the year, attend and present at national conferences, and manage to squeeze in a little fun, too.

What are my internship options?

Taking advantage of Chicago’s vibrant cultural and media resources, our students pursue a wide range of internships in audio production and design as part of their college studies as audio designers, recording engineers, and mixing/post-production specialists. You’ll gain valuable professional experience in recording studios, post-production houses, radio stations, and audio archives, among others, working and networking with some of the top professionals and artists in the field.

Students who qualify should begin meeting with their advisor and the internship coordinator the semester prior to a desired internship. Even though internships are not a requirement of the program, they are strongly recommended. Internship credits will count as electives and up to 12 internship credits may count toward graduation.

See the Career Center website for more information.


Ready to Apply?

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