Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering

Department of Performing Arts Technology

The Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering prepares students for engineering careers in the music technology industry—designing, developing, and testing audio hardware and software—as well as careers in acoustical engineering, sound recording, and studio production. Applicants should have a high level of proficiency on an acoustic instrument; experience with music recording and production technologies; and demonstrated aptitude and strong achievement in mathematics, physics, and computer programming.


The Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 12 in math, 10 in physics, and 20 in engineering. The engineering courses required for the degree fulfill a Minor in Electrical Engineering through the College of Engineering.

SMTD coursework to include:

  • Computer Music Composition and Arranging
  • Sound Recording and Production
  • Electronic Music History and Theory
  • Creative Coding
  • SMTD Music Theory and Musicology Core
  • Advanced Studio Production I and II
  • Technical Ear Training and Critical Listening
  • Sound Reinforcement
  • Three Semesters of Calculus / Differential Equations
  • Physics
  • Engineering Courses in Digital Signal Processing, Circuits, and Computer

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”
    • 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 the button below to read more detailed information about the application requirements and procedures.

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