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Advances in game and computer technology have paved the way for increasingly sophisticated breakthroughs in digital audio — from adaptive musical scores to spatial audio rendering and more. The BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio program teaches you how to implement and further develop these complex audio technologies, bringing new levels of realism, innovation, and sensory immersion to the interactive experiences of tomorrow.

In addition to foundational coursework in mathematics, physics, and computer science, this program places a specialized emphasis on audio programming and digital signal processing. As you design and program your own games and audio tools, you’ll also learn fundamental recording techniques, sound design principles, and music theory and terminology.

All graduates of this program who follow the recommended course sequence will earn a music minor upon graduation.


Who Should Pursue This Degree?

The BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio offers a specialized focus on the technology and practice of audio design, audio programming, and the implementation of digital audio effects in games and computer applications. For those who want to experience the same proven curriculum of DigiPen’s other computer science programs while also pursuing a specific interest in professional sound design or audio engineering, this program could be a good fit.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Become a Proficient Software Engineer

    Dive deep into core programming languages as you tackle coursework in data structures, graphics rendering, computer networks, and more.

  • Build Your Own Audio Tools and Technology

    Develop audio software tools for games and interactive simulations, with a special emphasis on sound and music that adapts to player input.

  • Study a Blend of Science and Music

    In addition to extensive coursework in computer science, you’ll learn about music theory, musicianship, audio design, and studio recording.

Program Name Change

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Digital Audio degree program was previously referred to by a different name: the Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Sound Design. Please note that stories and materials published before 2017 may refer to the program by its former title.


Academic Roadmap

As a BS in Computer Science in Digital Audio student, you’ll begin with foundational coursework in computer science and mathematics, followed by studies in music theory and musicianship, as well as applied sound design, production, and implementation. Throughout the program, you’ll also apply your knowledge in semester- and year-long team projects, creating original games with sophisticated interactive audio.

View a sample course sequence

Admissions Requirements

In order to apply for the BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio program, you should have a strong foundation in math, science, and problem-solving. You’ll need to have completed precalculus (or its equivalent) prior to attending DigiPen. No prior musical training or experience is required.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Digital Audio program will focus on the following subjects:

  • Software engineering, especially in the area of audio engine programming for simulations and video games, but also including graphical algorithms, tools programming, and physics programming.
  • Studio recording techniques, including mixing, microphone selection and placement, digital audio workstations, studio acoustics, and synthesis. This program includes four semesters of lab courses that teach the tools and techniques of soundtrack production.
  • Sound design for video games, including sound effect creation, interactive sound design, scripting, and the game development pipeline.

Event Schedule

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

The application can be a daunting process for many but we’re here to make sure it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help you step-by-step during this session to review what all goes into the DigiPen application.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask any questions you have about the application, DigiPen’s admissions requirements, and more, so RSVP for a seat now and join us October 5 at 3:00 p.m. PDT!

RSVP Today

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Have you ever wanted to learn how to program video games? What about looking behind the curtain to find out how your favorite games work? If so, come to our remote Game Programming Workshop on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PDT, hosted via Zoom.

In this free, one-day workshop, you’ll discover the basics of programming in a structured format, taught by DigiPen faculty member Chris Onorati. Learn how to build some basic games from scratch and see how some small edits in code can make a big difference in game. No previous experience is required, so even if you’ve never programmed before, you won’t have anything to worry about!

Space is limited and reservations are prioritized on a first-come first-served basis, so be sure to register early! You will need access to a computer for this workshop, and instructions to download the software required will be emailed to you prior to the event.

Please contact Brandy Xiong at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu or (425) 629-5027 with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP Today

DigiPen is committed to providing equal access to its programs and events. Contact the event coordinator in advance with questions or to request accommodations at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu, call (425) 629-5027, or text (425) 414-3633.

Deep Dive: Music and Audio Programs

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive: Music and Audio Programs

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive sessions are interactive livestreams that can give you a glimpse into the academic programs that interest you the most. Register for any or all of the sessions and hear from some of the faculty and students in the program.

Join us Wednesday, October 19 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our music and audio degree programs.

RSVP Today

Student Projects

Multidisciplinary team projects make up a core component of the BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio curriculum. As part of your coursework, you will participate in both semester- and year-long team projects to create original games and software tools — often as general programmers, audio tools programmers, and sound designers — with the primary goal of learning how to incorporate sophisticated audio design and technology. These are just a few examples of projects created with the help of BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio students.

Meet the Faculty

Faculty for the BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio program come from several different backgrounds and academic disciplines — including computer science, physics, and music — and have worked as audio directors and composers for companies like Microsoft and Nintendo. These are just a few of the instructors who teach core courses in the program.

DigiPen Faculty Lawrence Schwedler

Lawrence Schwedler

Program Director (BA in Music and Sound Design)

Lawrence Schwedler earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in classical guitar performance with a specialization in electronic music from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993. He was a founding member of the Modern Arts Guitar Quartet, a chamber ensemble specializing in 20th century music, performing concerts in Europe, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Since then he has worked as a composer, sound designer, and audio director in the video game industry for developers such as The Dreamers Guild, JVC Digital Arts Studio, and Nintendo Software Technology.

DigiPen Faculty Brian Schmidt

Brian Schmidt

Principal Lecturer

Brian Schmidt has been creating music, sound, and audio technology for games since 1987. As the 2008 recipient of the Game Audio Network Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Schmidt has a credits list of over 130 games for companies such as Sony, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, Microsoft, Zynga, Namco, and many others. Apart from his work as one of the industry’s first freelance game composers, Schmidt spent 10 years at Microsoft as the primary audio architect for the Xbox team, where he was responsible for technologies such as XMA and XACT.

DigiPen Faculty Matt Klassen, Ph.D.

Matt Klassen, Ph.D.

Professor

Dr. Matt Klassen earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1993, specializing in number theory and algebraic geometry. Since joining DigiPen in 1999, his interests moved to mathematics relating to computer graphics and geometric modeling with particular emphasis on splines. He went on to develop special courses on quaternions with application to computer graphics and animation, and spline curves through the perspective of linear algebra.


Career Outlook

The BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio will prepare you for a number of entry- and intermediate-level positions in the areas of software engineering and sound design.

Potential Careers

Audio Software Engineer

Audio software engineers use their knowledge of audio technology and computer science to create the programs, plugins, and middleware that make audio integration possible in computer applications and games.

Engine and Tools Programmer

These programmers are responsible for developing the game engine and associated software tools that power a real-time game or simulation, as well as the support programs and functions that allow other developers to easily create and put new content or assets into a game world.

Recording Engineer

The recording engineer is responsible for making sure audio — including music, voice-overs, and sound effects — is captured at the highest fidelity and according to the project requirements.

Other Job Titles

  • Audio Engine Programmer

  • Game Developer

  • Software Engineer

  • Software Developer

  • Computer Programmer

  • Audio Production Editor

  • Sound Designer

  • Dialogue Editor

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