MA Audio Technology

AU Audio Technology studio facilities in Kreeger. Image credit: Dani Perez.

The MA in Audio Technology (ATEC) at American University focuses on the art and science of music technology to prepare you for success in careers across the industry.

You’ll explore the areas that interest you most, from sound design to music production. You will work alongside nationally recognized audio engineers and faculty with industry expertise, gaining the practical experience that top recording studios and production facilities are looking for. And you’ll get hands-on experience through internships and job opportunities in Washington, DC, and beyond.
Request Info    How to Apply

  • Mode of Study
    On campus
  • Time to Complete
    18-24 mos. or your own pace
  • Course Scheduling
    Primarily evenings
  • Requirements
    30 credits
  • Tuition and Funding
    $2000 per credit. All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships. Possible in-studio or part-time DPA facility employment. Visit Tuition and Funding.
  • Admissions
    Start in fall, spring, or summer. No GRE or tech degree required. Visit Admission and Requirements.

Study in DC

AU’s location is ideal for those passionate about audio technology, with its vibrant music scene and robust opportunities for internships and hands-on experiences.  

Get Involved

AU offers an organization for everyone, such as AU Women in Audio, which brings industry stars to campus and invites artists to record and mix with them in the studio. 

Join a Growing Industry

Broadcast, sound, and video tech jobs are projected to grow 21% from 2020 to 2030—and the DC area is a leading producer of audio technician and engineering jobs.

Specialize Your Studies: A Flexible Program with National Networks

Audio Technology student Tessa working at the control board.

The master’s in audio technology gives you the freedom to customize your degree based on your interests. Within our 30-credit program, you can decide whether you want to focus on music recording and production or computer music. 

You’ll have access to cutting-edge recording facilities designed by the architect who worked with Jimi Hendrix to create Electric Lady Studios. You’ll be directly involved in the recording process, from setup through post-production. And you will collaborate with top audio engineers and become part of a thriving student and alumni network.

Spotlight: Jonathan Cornell

David Greenburg.Learning proper mixing workflow in class was so critical, as it helps me interface with these professionals in the industry during email exchanges and interviews. Once they hear me asking about concepts like mix bus compression, stems, or send/return channels, they know I’m speaking their language.
Jonathan Cornell (MA, audio technology ’23),
Head of Music at Immersive Audio Album

Career Outlook

DC is an ideal location for people passionate about audio technology. It has a vibrant music scene and plenty of opportunities for internships and hands-on experiences. Internship sites for our students include NPR, BBC, Capital Post Production, Cue Recording Studios, Cutting Room Studios, Discovery Communications, National Science Foundation, SiriusXM, and Takoma Media.

Our faculty members have connections with recording studios, radio stations, post-production facilities, and live performance venues throughout the area. Our graduates work in recording studios, production facilities, broadcasting studios, and live performance venues, creating a solid alumni network in the DC area and across the country.

Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 21% employment growth for broadcast, sound, and video technicians (vs. 8% for all occupations) from 2020 to 2030 — with the DC area projected to have twice the nationwide concentration of audio technician and engineering jobs.

Recent graduates have gone on to work at

  • Apex Systems at NIH
  • Arup
  • Aspen Music Festival
  • BBC
  • Bias Studios
  • Blue Ridge Public Radio
  • Bose Corporation
  • Brookings Institution
  • Capitol Studios (LA)
  • CBS News Radio
  • Dallas Theater Center
  • Deluxe Spain (Madrid)
  • Directors Guild of America
  • Electric Lady Studios
  • Georgetown Post
  • Gimlet Media
  • Howard University
  • IMP Productions
  • IBM
  • Infor
  • Library of Congress
  • Major League Baseball
  • NBC News
  • NASA
  • NPR
  • Old Dominion University
  • Premier Studios
  • Quad Recording Studios (NYC)
  • Sirius XM
  • Songbyrd Music House
  • Sound United (San Diego)
  • Spotify
  • The Kennedy Center
  • Union Stage
  • USC
  • Vice
  • WAMU
  • Windmark Recording (Santa Monica)

What You'll Walk Away With

Following core classes, students take advanced studies and electives to advance and focus their skillsets on career interests and goals. 

Production Skills 

  • Proficiency in studio recording, mixing, sound design, and production techniques utilizing Protools, Ableton, and other DAWs  
  • Experience with production consoles such as the SSL Duality or API 1608 and with extensive outboard processors and software packages such as UA, Soundtoys, Izotope, Waves, Plug-in Alliance, and Slate Digital 
  • ProTools and Dante Certification 
  • Proficiency in deploying microphones of every type and caliber, resulting in the situational awareness and strategies you'll need for developing a personal production aesthetic

Ready to dive in? Start your application.

Technical Skills

  • Understanding of acoustics fundamentals and digital signal theory 
  • Proficiency in audio programming for audio effects, sound synthesis, and audio analysis in mobile and computer platforms
  • Proficiency in physical computing and computer vision in the application of novel digital musical instruments and sound installations
  • Proficiency in machine learning techniques for audio classification, synthesis, and generative music.

Teamwork and Leadership Skills

  • Practical experience gained in labs, shared research projects, and internships.