Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology

Department of Performing Arts Technology

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology prepares students for careers in music production, recording, composition, and performance; studio and live sound engineering; interactive multimedia design; and music and sound for film, television or video games. During the first two years, students gain experience with a broad range of topics and possibilities in the field, and then specialize in the areas of most interest to them during the latter two.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology requires a minimum of 120 credits: coursework is 75% within SMTD and 25% within the liberal arts. SMTD coursework to include:

  • Computer Music Composition and Arranging
  • Sound Recording and Production
  • Electronic Music History and Theory
  • Performance: Digital Music Ensemble and Electronic Chamber Music
  • Creative Coding
  • SMTD Music Theory and Musicology Core
  • Art & Design / Screen Arts & Cultures electives
  • PAT Senior Thesis
  • Six upper level PAT Electives chosen from:
    • Advanced Studio Production I and II
    • Immersive Media
    • Image, Sound, and Story
    • Practicum in Music and Sound for Film
    • Interactive Media Design I and II
    • Performance Systems
    • Digital Sound Synthesis
    • Advanced Psychoacoustics
    • Technical Ear Training and Critical Listening
    • Digital Fabrication for Acoustics
    • Contemporary Practices in Research and Scholarship
    • Business of Music

Additionally, students may select a Concentration—18 credits of focused study in a complementary area. Concentration options are: Engineering, Visual Arts, Computer & Information Sciences, or Multidisciplinary Studies. The Multidisciplinary Studies Concentration allows students to select courses in any one or more disciplines of their choosing in coordination with their academic advisor.

Degree requirements and term-by-term layout for current students.

Application Portfolio Requirements

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio consisting of the following five items. For items 2–5, please provide a paragraph that briefly describes the equipment and techniques used, your motivation for the work, and the file name of the corresponding media. All sound files must be uncompressed stereo audio 16-bit resolution with a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz (CD quality).

  1. Write a short essay (300 words maximum) that discusses the aesthetic and technical features of Holly Herndon’s “Interference” which distinguish it from other music. What was your response to hearing the piece, and what do you think led to that response?
  2. A recording of you performing on a traditional acoustic instrument or voice, preferably with other instruments;
  3. A remix, arrangement, interpretation, or cover version of ONE of the following pieces:
    • John Cage – “Sonata #5” from Sonatas and Interludes
    • Prince – “Condition of the Heart”
    • Grimes – “Genesis”
    • Lauryn Hill – “Everything is Everything”
  4.  & 5. Pick TWO additional items from the following list:
    • A recording of an original composition (two to five minutes long) for any combination of electronic and/or acoustic instruments and digital sounds. If the composition has a notated score, please include it. Applicants may include two contrasting compositions to fulfill items 4 and 5;
    • A stereo mix of a high-quality recording that you have engineered. The recording should be produced primarily from microphone signals. This item will be evaluated based on the recording, mixing, and production quality;
    • An original video (up to five minutes in length) – such as a music video, live concert, animation, short film, video installation;
    • Visual art such as photography, painting, digital art, or drawing;
    • Original sound design, composition, or recording for visual media;
    • Documentation (video, audio, and/or still images) of a performance with electronic music hardware or an interactive system of your own design.

Audition & Interview Dates

How To Apply

Applicants must:

  • Apply to U-M via the Common Application or Coalition Application (current U-M students should use the Cross-Campus Transfer Application) by December 1
  • Submit an SMTD Artistic Profile by December 1
  • Have all supplemental materials sent to the U-M Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Click “Apply Now” to read more detailed information about the application, pre-screening, and audition/interview requirements and procedures.

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