Sound For The Performing Arts

The Sound for the Performing Arts Program at Purdue University seeks to expand the young sound designer/technician/engineer’s range of knowledge and expression through the a broad based exposure to the many and various careers related to sound for the performing arts. Typically, sound designers enter this field with either a strong technical/engineering aptitude/background or extraordinary musical talent in composition and/or performance. Ideal candidates demonstrate strong aptitude in both fields.

The student will receive a solid foundation in all aspects of sound for the performing arts as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Working as part of many different types of teams, the student learns to collaborate artistically and technically towards the realization of a multitude of auditory projects in the performing arts. The program is diverse enough to allow students to focus their energies more towards the technical side, the artistic side, or both.

The major consists of core classes, specialized training and related electives. Upon completion, the student may choose to enter any sound related field or pursue further graduate study for a career in the entertainment industry.

Points of Pride

An audio production studio and two theatres in Purdue’s Visual Performing Arts building opened in 2005. The audio production studio is a fully equipped digital recording studio featuring over 400 square feet of recording space with additional isolation booths, and a similarly sized control room, storage and an adjacent sound shop. The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre, based around a 24 channel surround sound system is a proscenium house seating 300 people, while the Gordon Mallett Studio Theatre, based around a 16 channel surround sound system, features a flexible configuration and seats 105-155 people. These new theatres complement additional, larger campus venues in which sound students can gain additional experience in sound for the performing arts. JaffeHolden designed the acoustics and Auerbach•Polach•Friedlander designed the electronics for all of the sound facilities which feature a high degree of integration and cross-venue compatibility.

The study of sound for the performing arts includes both the classroom study and practical application of those studies. Therefore, the student is encouraged and expected to be an active member of our production community. In this laboratory setting, the student not only applies information and ideas learned in classes, but also learns the critical life lessons of responsibility, commitment, and cooperation, which are crucial skills needed for survival in the 21st century.


  • Sound Designers, technicians and production staff for live theatre, musical theatre, opera,dance, concerts, event sound, touring and corporate shows.
  • Sound Designer for film, television, radio, marketing, advertising and corporate audio production and operations
  • Audio Consultant
  • Graduate school
  • Many other positions in business/management, not necessarily related to the auditory arts but able to capitalize on students’ broad-based liberal arts skill set.

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Plan of Study

2018-19 Plan of Study

2017-18 Plan of Study

2016-17 Plan of Study

2015-16 Plan of Study

2014-15 Plan of Study

Department of Theatre

Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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