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

A new audio production studio and two new theatres in Purdue’s new 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.

Plan of Study

A minimum Grade of "C-" or better is required for a Theatre course to be counted towards the major.

Pre-Major Requirement (3)

THTR 20100 Theatre Appreciation

A. Foundation Studies (18-21)

1. The following courses in THTR (10-12)

THTR 15001 Drafting
THTR 15002 Scenery
THTR 15003 Rigging
THTR 16300 Introduction to Sound Design/Technology
THTR 26300 Intro to Sound Studios
THTE 36800 Rehearsal & Production(repeatable for credit; must be in sound area)

2. ONE of the following courses in Music (3)
(equivalent proficiencies in this course may allow tis requirement to be waived.)

MUS 26100 Fundamentals of Music
MUS 36100 Music Theory I
MUS 36200 Music Theory II 

3. The following course in DANC (2-3)

DANC 36800 Dance Sound Design (course is repeatable for credit)

4. The following course in ECET (3)

ECET 22400 Electronic Systems

B. Sound in the Visual & Performing Arts (18)

THTR 35300 Intro to Audio Technology
THTR 36300 Intro to Sound Design
THTR 56300 Advanced Sound Design
THTR 56900 Special Problems in Audio Production
THTR 59700 Production & Sound Design Seminar (repeatable for credit)

C. Electives (9)

AD 23300 Electronic Media Studio
AD 30400 Video Art
AD 33400 New Media Culture
AD 33500 Audio-Visual Sculpture
AD 41700 Variable Topics
ECE 40020 Sound reinforcement
MUS 25000 Music Appreciation
MUS 36300 Music Theory III
MUS 36400 Music Theory IV
MUS 37800 Jazz History
MUS 38100 Music History I
MUS 38200 Music History II
THTR 13300 Survey of Acting
THTR 21300 Vocal Production I
THTR 44000 Beginning Directing
THTR 55300 Audio Technology II
THTR 56800 Advanced Problems in Design
THTR 56900 Special Problems in Sound

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan Of Study

Department of Theatre

Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts

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

© 2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by CLA

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the College of Liberal Arts Webmaster.

Some content on this site may require the use of a special plug-in or application. Please visit our plug-ins page for links to download these applications.