Back to top

What would a simulated urban landscape be without the noise of traffic and the chatter of crowds, or a final showdown with a powerful enemy without a pulse-pounding musical score? Sound and music play a critical role in how we experience games, animated films, and other forms of entertainment, making skilled sound designers essential to a project’s success.

The Bachelor of Arts in Music and Sound Design focuses on the creative and technical aspects of music and sound design, production, and implementation. You’ll study composition, theory, performance, audio recording and mixing, and technical sound design for video games. Moreover, you’ll gain four years of valuable experience creating and implementing original music and sound for student game and film projects.

This program prepares students to pursue roles as musicians, composers, and sound designers in any creative industry.

Apply Online


Who Should Pursue This Degree?

If you can’t imagine a career doing anything other than creating music and audio content, but you also want an education designed for modern career opportunities in the digital entertainment industries, the BA in Music and Sound Design could be a great fit. To succeed, you’ll need to become well-versed in music theory, as well as put in many hours of practice on your musical instrument of choice. At the same time, if you’re excited at the prospect of gaining firsthand composition and sound design experience, this program will give you ample opportunities to explore your musical capabilities in a collaborative and creative environment.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Build Your Musical Foundation

    Study the fundamentals of music history, theory, composition, and recording techniques while also taking eight semesters of private instruction in either vocal or instrument performance.

  • Contribute to Original Game and Film Projects

    Compose, produce, and implement original music and sound for student video games and animated short films.

  • Find Your Way Around the Recording Studio

    Learn about studio recording techniques, including mixing, synthesis, digital audio workstation hardware and software, and studio equipment and acoustics.


Academic Roadmap

As a student in the BA in Music and Sound Design program, you’ll divide your time between classroom lectures, learning and practicing with a private music performance instructor, and working in the DigiPen sound labs. Beginning with foundational music theory classes, you’ll work your way toward more advanced music courses in subjects like composition, conducting, and adaptive music for video games. Throughout the program, you will also be involved on a range of sound design projects, producing and implementing music, sound effects, and voice recordings for student games and films.

View a sample course sequence

Admissions Requirements

The ideal candidate for the BA in Music and Sound Design degree program will be passionate about music and able to demonstrate proficiency on a musical instrument (or voice) by recording and submitting a performance portfolio for review by DigiPen’s admissions committee. Candidates must be able to read music and should have an intuitive grasp of concepts such as pitch, intervals, melody, harmony, and rhythm, and how these elements coalesce to form unique musical expressions.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

Students in the BA in Music and Sound Design program will focus on the following subjects:

  • Music, including music theory, music history, composition, and musicianship. In addition to classroom courses, the BAMSD program includes eight semester of private instruction in either an instrument or voice.
  • Studio recording techniques, including mixing, microphone selection and placement, digital audio workstations, studio acoustics, and synthesis. Students will learn the ins and outs of soundtrack production through intensive semester-long projects.
  • Sound design for video games, including sound effect creation, interactive sound design, scripting, and the game development pipeline.

Student Projects

Multidisciplinary team projects make up a core component of the BA in Music and Sound Design curriculum. Students can fulfill a variety of music- and audio-related roles on both game development and film production teams — from composing soundtracks and designing sound effects to recording voiceover and dialogue. These are just a few examples of student projects that BA in Music and Sound Design students have helped to create.


Career Outlook

Graduates of the BA in Music and Sound Design program will be prepared for a wide variety of music- and audio-related careers in existing and emerging industries, such as video games, film and animation, theater, radio, television, and web/new media.

Potential Careers

Composer

Whether for games, TV, or film, music composers are highly sought after for their talent at writing music to convey specific feelings and emotions.

Audio Engineer

The audio engineer works with musicians and producers to help in the processes of recording, mixing, and reproducing audio — all in a manner that fits the creative direction of a given project.

Sound Designer

The sound designer works with the project team to create and implement sophisticated music and sound effects to accompany a particular piece of work or interactive experience.

Other Job Titles

  • Music Arranger

  • Recording Engineer

  • Audio Production Editor

  • Dialogue Editor

  • Music Supervisor

  • Music Editor

  • Copyist/Engraver

  • Music Performer

  • Music Teacher

The DigiPen student team behind animated film Ming hang out together

The DigiPen short film Ming has been announced as an official selection for the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival.

DigiPen music department chair Bruce Stark sitting at a piano, making notations on sheet music

DigiPen Music Department Chair Bruce Stark has been commissioned by the Friends of Today’s Music for an original composition debuting this summer.

DigiPen alumnus Ian Shores sits at his desk at the Highwire Games office

DigiPen’s Ian Shores and Nic Gulezian on their transition to virtual reality studio Highwire Games and working on its first title Golem.

Take the Next Step

Get started with our in-depth information packet!

Sign up to receive our degree program viewbook and other resources to help you determine if a DigiPen education is right for you.

Request Information

Start Your Application

Ready to take your education further? Head to our secure application portal and submit an application for admission.

Apply Online