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I am planning to be an Acoustic Engineer in the future, so I can use both of my music, math, and science skills. What is/are the best major(s) for this field?

I am a rising junior and as of now, I am planning to major in Physics in college. I am wondering if this would be good for the career. #career #science #engineering #music #math

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Brianna’s Answer

Mechanical engineering, physics, mathematics, and structural engineering all deal with acoustics to varying degrees. You'll want to pick one of these majors and then specialize in fluid dynamics (sound travels through air, which is treated as a fluid) or structural mechanics (sound traveling through solids or reflecting off of them). You'll also want a solid grounding in math and physics. What I would do is pick a college with a good math/science/engineering program, then study the coursework required for each of these majors (both required and optional) and talk to your course advisors about your interests to select the best path.

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Latricia’s Answer

Hi, Lillian

Your interest in music or even being a musician could definitely be an asset! Music, math, and science are intertwined - seek as many ways to explore these connections as you can.

There are a few bachelor's degree programs related to acoustics and many graduate degree programs, such as a Master of Science in Acoustics or Master of Engineering in Acoustics. Studying (1) sound or audio engineering or (2) mechanical and electrical engineering at the undergraduate level could serve you well.

Good luck!

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Igal’s Answer

If math is a strength for you, you can open a lot of doors to engineering graduate schools with an applied math bachelors degree. If you can add a second degree, I'd go for physics. It's a challenge doing math/physics at the same time, but some schools offer a minor degree, so that's another option.

There may not be many schools offering a bachelors in acoustic engineering (I'm not sure). The question for you is: are you interested in a higher degree? You could get the bachelors in math or a more commonly available undergraduate engineering degree (e.g., electrical engineering), then get a graduate degree in acoustic engineering.

But if you're interested in a fast-track approach to getting hired, you could simply get an undergraduate degree in engineering, say electrical engineering, and find an employer who'll train you on the job. That's not so far fetched, as there's typically a demand for engineers of all kinds.

Igal recommends the following next steps:

Check out educating engineers for more info: https://educatingengineers.com/degrees/acoustic-engineering

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Cameron’s Answer

Hi Lillian,

I would recommend that you look for schools/programs with interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary engineering programs. These programs will allow you to have a more specialized plan of study. For example, Purdue University offers a multidisciplinary major in Acoustical Engineering. Typically these programs are pretty small so it may require a bit more digging to find more them, but they are out there at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

I would recommend checking out the plans of study to see if this is something you are truly interested in and that most of the required classes sound interesting. With that being said, I have two suggestions:

1. Don't discount the other disciplines out there. Other majors such as Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, etc. are great paths, match your interests/strengths, and could offer some more flexibility when you begin your career.

2. If you do choose to go into one of these more specialized programs, make sure that this is something you are committed to. But if you get there and figure out its not for you, don't be afraid to change programs to find something better suited for you.

Link: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ENE/Academics/Undergrad/MDE/PlansofStudy/acoustical-engineering

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Anthonia’s Answer

Hi Lillian

Both music and musical instruments are intimately connected to the physics of waves and sound. To fully appreciate what occurs in a musical instrument when it makes music or to understand the rationale for the development of the musical scales one needs a broad foundation in most elements of wave and sound theory. So its totally not wrong to go into physics

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Tommy’s Answer

Consider electrical engineering. You can plan later to become an acoustic engineer in a defense industry. I know that these engineers are employed by large aerospace companies that build aircraft and engines, all of which must meet acoustic requirements.