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Why Study Audio Engineering?
Belmont's program is designed for those who have a passion for audio and who have a background, skills or experience in live and/or studio music and production OR performance, computing, engineering, electronics, music and audio recording technology, acoustics or a similarly related discipline.
The MSAE program will expand your knowledge and enhance your theoretical and practical skills. Our curriculum allows you to have either a practitioner or academic focus, depending on whether you want to go into commercial or industrial research and design (R&D), work as a professional audio and recording engineer or pursue an advanced degree like the Ph.D.
As a graduate of the program, you will have the skills and knowledge to continue your professional and creative career; enter the industrial, governmental or education workforce; or continue your studies in an appropriate doctoral program.
What You'll Learn
- Acoustic and Electro-acoustic Measurement & Design
- Auditory Perception and Hearing Science
- Digital Audio, Computer Programming and Signal Analysis
- Research Design and Methods
- Studio Systems and Operations
- Sound Design for Mixed Media
- Mastering and Applied Critical Evaluation
- Advanced Concepts in Sonic Blending
- Historical Master Recording Techniques
- Studio, live or broadcast sound engineer
- Acoustic designer
- A/V installation and operation technician
- Audio DSP/plugin design programmer/engineer
- Teacher and researcher in audio production and audio engineering
"Belmont’s graduate AET courses challenged me to understand signal flow and signal processes much more fully than I had ever known, which is critical to being a successful audio engineer. There’s so much planning, preparation and teamwork that goes into making shows happen successfully four days in a row, and I got to be part of the entire process through my internship with CMA Fest thanks to Belmont."
- Emily Pikul, ('21)
The M.S. with a major in Audio Engineering requires thirty (30) credit hours of study and is designed for completion in five (5) consecutive semesters (summer inclusive). Eighteen (18) credit hours are dedicated to disciplinary knowledge and expertise while eleven (11) credit hours of study are chosen from electives that support career specialties or academic research. If approved, up to six (6) credit hours may be dedicated to an individually tailored independent culminating project as either the Thesis Practicum or the Applied Practice Review.
Courses You'll Take
- AET 5010 Acoustic and Electro-acoustic Measurement & Design: This course is an advanced study of sound production and transmission, electro-acoustic measurement techniques and architectural acoustics. An overview is provided for studio and concert hall design, virtual acoustics and musical instrument acoustics.
- AET 5030 Studio Systems and Operations: This course is a study of recording studio systems and operations protocols as related to audio engineering, sound recording and music production.
- AET 5040 Sound Reinforcement & Concert Mixing: A practicum-based study of concert sound reinforcement. Students gain hands-on experience with sound reinforcement systems, live mixing execution, monitor equalization and areas related to the management of live sound systems in professional concert situations.
- AET 5050 Critical Listening for Audio & Music Production: The study and practice of ear training as it relates to the identification, manipulation and perception of sound. This course provides a concentrated study utilizing exercises designed to develop specific listening skills in audio and music production.
- AET 5060 Sound Design for Mixed Media: A study of sound design, including the historical analysis of sound for image, audio post-production process for film and video, aesthetic and technical considerations in sound design, visual and auditory synchronization and final mix-delivery formats. Practical skills will include field recording, sound library development and the management of dialog, sound effects, music editing and final mix preparation.
- AET 5070 Mastering and Applied Critical Evaluation: A study of the process of preparing audio for distribution. Topics include audio playback standards, playback system optimization, audio signal analysis, signal processing, media restoration, archival standards and product delivery standards.
- AET 5230 Auditory Perception and Hearing Science: This course is a research-oriented study of auditory perception, psychoacoustics and hearing science as it relates to audio engineering, sound recording and music production.
- AET 5390 Audio Engineering Internship: A student may gain practical experience in audio engineering by working in a related business. This work/learning arrangement is approved and overseen by supervisory faculty in order to achieve learning objectives; may be repeated for maximum of 2 credit hours.
- AET 5410 Digital Audio, Computer Programming, Signal Analysis: A technical study of the use of computers for analyzing digital audio signals. This course provides an overview of sampling theory, signal visualizations and data analysis.
- AET 5420 Audio Signal Processing: A study of the implementation and application of audio effects processing. This course provides an overview of transfer functions, impulse responses, convolution, the Fourier Transform and multi-band processing as used within the design of temporal, spectral and dynamic effects.
- AET 5430 Audio Software Development: A study of the design of audio software using various programming languages. This course provides an overview of developing software as stand-alone applications, DAW plug-ins (VST/AU) and mobile apps (iOS/Android). Students will design software for audio effects processors or virtual instruments.
- AET 5500 Research Design and Methods: An overview of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods research including the philosophical underpinnings of inquiry through the application of the scientific method, the research question and objectives and the collection and analysis of data.
- AET 5510 Advanced Concepts in Sonic Blending: Through focused listening critiques, students expand their proficiency with sonic theories and principles as applied to contemporary audio production.
- AET 5600 Applied Practice Review: The applied cumulative project allows the student to focus in a chosen area such as media production techniques, signal processing and electro-acoustic design. The cumulative project is a documentation of the student’s mastery of past and current procedures, practices and techniques utilized in the art and craft of his/her chosen area. The final product will examine and document prior and current art through original representative samples with detailed annotation and analyses of how the chosen techniques were created and used in commercial or artistic endeavors. The outcome of the Applied Practice Review is a formal written report with an associated portfolio and a public presentation demonstrating the student’s mastery of the subject area.
- AET 5700 Thesis Practicum: Faculty guided independent study leading to the development and writing of a capstone thesis focused on either theoretical or applied research. Taken each semester, students develop and apply academic and practitioner research proficiencies. Repeatable for a total of six credit hours, this course culminates in the submission of the thesis document with an oral defense.
- AET 5991 Directed Study: Individual or group based study or coursework intended to advance the student’s knowledge and skills, to improve an area of weakness or develop specific areas of interest.
- AET 6025 Historical Master Recording Techniques: A study of the history, influence and application of recording technology to music production for today's media. Through critical listening analysis, combined with an in-depth study of analog and digital recording methods, students will explore and discover recording techniques through the re-creation of historically significant master recordings.
- AET 6990 Independent Study: The option of independent study with an AET graduate instructor is available to students who may need additional instruction in audio engineering content not covered by other courses in the major.
Students in the Master of Science in Audio Engineering work with award-winning faculty in state-of-the-art facilities.
On-campus production facilities include the multi-room R.E. Mulloy Student Studios, which features four control rooms, four edit bays and multiple recording spaces.
Off-campus facilities on Music Row include the historic Columbia Studio A and Quonset Hut Studio at our 34 Music Square East building as well as the world-renowned Ocean Way Nashville. Production equipment includes SSL Origin and vintage API recording consoles, vintage and modern tube microphones and a wide array of outboard equipment.
Audio and acoustic research takes place in both our production facilities and our anechoic chamber, located in the Johnson Center.
Admission requires completion of a bachelor’s degree (B.S., B.A., B.M., etc.) from an institution accredited under one of the seven active regional U.S. accrediting agencies.
Undergraduate students interested in admission to the program may apply after successful completion of ninety-six (96) undergraduate credit hours (or 75 percent of their respective program).
Current Belmont University undergraduate AET, AV and MBU Production majors may apply after completion of sixty-four (64) credit hours (during their Junior year) and may be admitted to take MSAE classes during their senior year in their undergraduate program of study.
To apply for admission to the MSAE program:
- Complete the online application including an essay describing your background, related interests and desired outcomes for participation in the program.
- Submit your application and pay the non-refundable graduate application fee.
- Schedule an interview with the program director/admission committee.
In order to be evaluated and considered for admission, you must:
- Have official transcripts submitted for all prior college-level coursework and degrees earned.
- Secure two recommendations from individuals who are qualified to evaluate your potential for successful masters-level graduate work. These should be requested and submitted electronically from within the online application portal. This option will appear after you have submitted your application.
- Submit a complete curriculum vitae and/or professional resume. This option will appear after you have submitted your application.
- International applicants whose native language is not English must have either TOEFL (www.ets.org/toefl) or IELTS (www.ielts.org/en-us) scores submitted directly from the testing agency.
- International applicants must have all transcripts from all foreign institutions evaluated by World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Joseph Silny & Associates (www.jsilny.com) before admission will be granted.
All official transcripts must arrive securely in a sealed and stamped envelope or via secure online submission from the issuing institution. When requesting an electronic transcript, email to email@example.com.
Current students, please use your MyBelmont account to go to www.studentclearinghouse.org.
Application materials not submitted electronically should be mailed directly to: Office of Admissions, Belmont University, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212.
Admission advances on a rolling basis. If your application is complete by February 15, you will be notified in mid-March. If you are accepted into the program, you will be able to register for the fall term classes during the spring priority registration period in late March/early April.
If your application is completed after March 31, we will review your application as soon as it is complete. If you are accepted into the program, you will be able to register for the fall term classes during either the regular registration period in June/July or the late registration period prior to the start of classes in late August.
For more specific date information, view our academic calendar.
Suggested Application Planning Schedules
To meet the Priority Admission/Registration Deadline, set a target of January 31 to have all of your application materials submitted.
September: Complete and submit your application. Request official transcripts from all prior colleges attended. Request two recommendations from individuals who are qualified to evaluate your potential for successful masters-level graduate work.
October - November: Schedule an interview with the program director/admission committee via phone or online.
December - January: Come visit and get a feel for our beautiful campus, highly-qualified faculty and state-of-art facilities; and meet some of our amazing, innovative and creative students.
February - March: Confirm your admission and register for your classes.
To meet the Regular Admission/Registration Deadline: set a target of May 31 to have all of your application materials submitted.
January - February: Complete and submit your application. Request official transcripts from all prior colleges attended. Request two recommendations from individuals who are qualified to evaluate your potential for successful masters-level graduate work.
March - April: Schedule an interview with the program director/admission committee via phone or online.
June - July: Come visit and get a feel for our beautiful campus, highly-qualified faculty and state-of-art facilities; and meet some of our amazing, innovative and creative students. Confirm your admission. Register for classes.