Credits and costs
Earn your master's in acoustics — 100% online
The fundamentals of the interdisciplinary field of acoustics bridge the sciences, engineering, and arts, with application to a wide variety of industries, including audio, biology, medicine, geology, electronics, physics, music, and architecture, as well as the military. As a student in this program, you can gain an in-depth understanding of these fundamentals that can lead to a number of opportunities for professional growth.
To apply to this program, you should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, physics, mathematics, or a closely related field that would provide substantial preparation in mathematics. All students applying for degree status must have a minimum of four semesters of calculus (including differential equations) and a minimum of two semesters of calculus-based physics.
Why pursue a Penn State degree online?
Penn State is the only university in the United States to offer a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Acoustics degree program online to any student, civilian or military. Since 1987, more than 200 students have earned the M.Eng. in Acoustics from Penn State. The program has a global reputation for quality that can lead employers to actively seek out our graduates. As a student in the online component of the graduate program in acoustics, you will receive the same education as a resident student. You will take courses alongside resident master's and doctoral students and taught by graduate faculty who are active in research and experts in their fields. Courses are taught during a semester schedule, and lectures are broadcast synchronously from a multimedia classroom with archived recordings for asynchronous viewing.
Your acoustics engineering online courses
To receive your degree, you will be required to complete a total of 30 credits, and you can select core and elective courses to fit your educational and professional goals. Course subjects include basic acoustics, physical acoustics, signal processing, optics, ultrasonics, vibrations, and other emerging topics. You will also be required to write and submit a capstone paper that demonstrates application of the knowledge you have acquired while pursuing your degree.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
A total of 30 course credits are required for the M.Eng. degree, and 18 of those credits must be from 500-level approved core courses in acoustics. The 12 non-core course credits may be selected from the approved list of elective courses offered by the acoustics program or from the approved list of related courses offered by other departments with the approval of the acoustics program.
Prescribed Courses (18 credits)
Elective Courses (select 12 credits)
The Master of Engineering in Acoustics degree does not require a thesis, but it does require a capstone paper, representing a study of a particular topic more limited than what is necessary for a thesis. The paper must involve a topic that is in the public domain, and it does not have to be related to a research project; the primary requirement is that the paper demonstrate application of acoustics content you have learned from the courses taken toward the degree. The paper must be approved by a faculty adviser and the program head. The Distance Education Coordinator in the graduate program in acoustics will help match students with a faculty adviser.
Examples of recent Master of Engineering in Acoustics paper topics:
- Review of Radiated Noise Criteria for Fisheries Research Vessels
- An Overview of Rotorcraft Blade Vortex Interaction (BVI) Noise
- The Effects of Meteorology on the Effectiveness of Noise Barriers
- Vehicle Interior Noise Simulation: The Future State of Noise and Vibration Prototyping
- The Impact of Subsonic Twin Jets on Airport Noise
- Two Applications of Sound Intensity for Industrial Noise Control Engineering
- Fundamentals of Guitar Acoustics
- Computer Modeling for Acoustics with Case Study
- Validation of FEA Damped Model and Optimization on Damping Part Geometry
- Comparison of U.S. Government Roadway Traffic Noise Projection Techniques
- Measuring Voice Coil Fatigue in Micro Loudspeakers
- A System to Record Courtship Songs of the Fruit Fly
Additional course descriptions are available at the College of Engineering's Graduate Program in Acoustics website.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply now to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply now to start January 8, 2024
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact the program to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
For admission to the Graduate School, you must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
Admission as a Degree Student
Students intending to earn the M.Eng. in Acoustics should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, physics, mathematics, or a closely related field that would provide substantial preparation in mathematics. All students applying for degree status must have a minimum of four semesters of calculus (Calculus I: derivatives, Calculus II: integrals, Calculus III: multivariable, and Differential Equations) and a minimum of two semesters of calculus-based physics. An undergraduate knowledge of statics and dynamics, linear algebra, and electronic circuit analysis and the ability to use mathematical analysis software is also expected. Students with a 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale), and with B+ or better average in mathematics, physical science, and engineering courses, will be considered for application.
Students with nontechnical degrees may also apply (provided you meet the minimum math and physics requirements), but acceptance into the program will depend significantly on your undergraduate background and motives to pursue advanced study in acoustics.
Admission as a Nondegree Student
You may enroll in graduate courses in acoustics as a nondegree student-at-large without being admitted into the master’s degree program. However, it is still expected that you have met the minimum math and physics requirements in order to succeed in graduate-level courses in acoustics. You may complete 15 credits (5 acoustics courses) from Penn State as a nondegree student before applying for degree status. Those 15 credits of acoustics courses taken under nondegree status may be transferred into the M.Eng. degree program upon your acceptance as a degree student.
To register as a nondegree student, please visit the College of Engineering's Graduate Program in Acoustics website.
What You Need to Apply as a Degree Student
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. If you are applying to the Master of Engineering program as a degree student, you will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
GRE or GMAT scores are NOT required for admission but will be considered if provided.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (2) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment to success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.
Cover Letter — The letter should be addressed to the program chair, stating your current status, general background, degree sought, and an explanation of any deficiencies or requests for consideration.
Statement of Purpose — Provide a one-page summary of your academic goals (Why do you want to pursue a graduate degree in acoustics? What areas of acoustics are you hoping to pursue? What do you hope to do with your degree afterward?)
How to Apply
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?
Advance Your Career
Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in industries including audio, biology, medicine, geology, electronics, physics, music, and architecture, as well as in the military.
For questions about the Master of Engineering in Acoustics degree, our courses and schedules, advising, the differences between degree and non-degree admission, and/or any other questions, please contact:
Acoustics Distance Education Manager
Graduate Program in Acoustics
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Applied Science Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Dan Russell
Teaching Professor of Acoustics and Distance Education Coordinator
Email: [email protected]