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Audio Technology

We will be recruiting for the MFA program in Audio Technology in the spring of 2024 for admittance in fall of 2024.

The MFA program in Audio Technology is intended to prepare students for fulfilling careers in professional or educational theatre and the entertainment industry.

Emphasis is placed on the development of technical training and skills that will serve students in the practice of their craft through a long and varied career. This is accomplished through a balanced training program of classes, work on realized productions, and individualized tutorials.

A limited number of students are selected each year on the basis of resumes, interviews, and portfolio reviews. A visit to Purdue is required, to allow the potential student to interact with students and the faculty. The program is rigorous, time-demanding, and intense. Based on the principle that a good audio technician is well educated in many areas, Audio Technology students take courses in Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering, along with those in audio production, sound aesthetics and audio technology. The emphasis is on the mastery of these subjects in order to provide a strong foundation on which to build thier craft.

Skills training is an important component of the Purdue program. Coursework is intended to provide a solid basis for the student’s professional work in the theatre or a related field.

Upon completion of graduate study, the student should have the ability to design, install, verify and calibrate sophisticated sound systems; they should be fully able to serve as the Head Sound Engineer, Production Sound Engineer or Assistant Sound Engineer on any production at any professional level. They should develop exceptional abilities to work collaboratively as part of a performing arts team.

During residency, the graduate audio technology student designs a variety of systems in a variety of spaces, ranging from flexible Black Box, to thrust, proscenium, and Union houses.

Projects range from class exercises to one-acts, student-directed projects, dance, mainstage productions, and touring productions, with a special emphasis on Broadway-style musicals. Each subsequent project has a greater support system of technical assistance and an increasing budget. A minimum of one realized project is required each semester. The culmination of the program is typically an extensive Musical, which forms the basis for the Terminal Project or Thesis Paper, although other projects can be designed to specifically target the student’s career path.

In order to strengthen the relationship between design and technology, those MFA students awarded an assistantship with the Department of Theatre may be employed in the Sound Studio or by Elliott Hall of Music Productions.

Given the professional focus of the program and the credentials of the faculty, attention in the classroom and in the shop is devoted to the practice of professional theatre. Areas of concern are procedures, techniques, personnel, and opportunities, especially in relation to the regional and Broadway theatres, large-scale performing arts venues and systems, and commercial applications.

The MFA requires a 60 credit hour minimum for completion. Students may need to complete a course of study in excess of 60 hours in some cases.

The MFA program at Purdue subscribes to the idea that a strong design best rests on a foundation of technical knowledge, and that the study of technology is enriched by an understanding of design.

Audio Technology classes focus on building a comprehensive approach to sound system design, starting with the fundamental building blocks, and progressing through a series of courses to sophisticated designs of sound systems whose performance can be predicted, verified, and properly calibrated.

The applicant is required to interview with a Purdue representative and submit the following materials when applying to the MFA program:

  • Theatrical resume
  • Transcript(s) from all schools attended
  • Statement of goals for undertaking the study of Audio Technology
  • Web-based portfolio or suitable alternative
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • The Graduate School application fee is $60 (U.S. dollars) for domestic applicants and $75 (U.S. dollars) for international applicants. You must pay your application fee online with your credit card. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted and processed using a secured online payment system. Your application will not be processed until your nonrefundable application fee has been paid.

Interviews are held at all University Resident Theatre Association sites or can be arranged on the Purdue campus. Those wishing to be interviewed at URTA sites are encouraged to contact Purdue by mail to assure an interview with a Purdue representative.



Faculty & Staff Contacts

For specific questions regarding the MFA program in Audio Technology, contact:
Assistant Professor, Sound Design: Fan Zhang

For general information about the Department of Theatre, contact:
Theatre Operations Manager and Graduate Secretary: Beth Daugherty

Apply Online

Click here for application information or to apply online. (Select "Theatre" as the area of study.)