The Sound Design curriculum at UC-Irvine is unique in comparison to other sound design training programs. Each class of students takes a series of courses with their classmates, and those courses are complemented by a 3- year series of rotating studio courses (255/280 Graduate Design). The 255/280 series is always being updated and evolves with advances in technology and artistic practice in the industry. The 255/280 series is geared to provide applied and real-world skills.


Drama 266 Digital Audio Systems - Comprehensive tutorial on digital audio including hard disk recording, editing, data compression, and ethernet audio distribution. The course focus is the understanding of recording, editing and delivery of audio as used by the sound designer in the digital domain.

Drama 267 Creating Sounds from Scratch - The process of analyzing sounds for their core timbral components and using that data to create new sounds - from realistic to fantastic - by means of digital manipulation.

Drama 271 Conceptual Sound Design - An intensive, project-based seminar for exploring relationships between sound and sight. Synesthesia, creative intent vs. audience perception, and sound/movement are typical of the many topics to be explored. A series of creative projects are assigned and critiqued in peer review. This complements 279, an exploration of sound/text relationships.

Drama 272 Musical Theatre Sound/Concert Sound - A concept-to-opening study of the process of designing sound systems for musicals and live/touring sound. Special attention given to the paperwork and documentation required to package, build and mix these shows.

Drama 277 Critical Listening - Exploration of the many variables that affect (and effect) the audio chain. Perceiving and understanding these parameters unlocks the art of controlling sound systems and stylizing cues. Also included is the process of equalizing/aligning sound systems and the art of audio mastering.

Drama 279: Advanced Sound Design - An in-depth investigation into sound design for theatre. Special emphasis placed on text analysis, design, conception, content creation, content delivery, and design organization. Class projects include creating paper designs and paperwork for different texts.


Drama 255 Trends in Modern Sound Design - (repeats every Fall Q) A seminar that discusses and evaluates current trends, ideas, issues, processes, and/or technology used in contemporary sound design. Ideas investigated in the sound lab or studio. Class initiated topics are encouraged.

Drama 255 Sound For Themed Entertainment - Using theatre sound designer skills, this course bridges the world of theme parks, museums, industrials, and commercial sound design.

Drama 255 Recording Engineering and Production - A practical exploration of the recording chain across multiple disciplines. Particular emphasis placed on the skills needed by an engineer/producer in the creation of sound and music for theatre. Students create actual recordings - ranging from simple location sound, to multi-track recording, overdubbing and mixing.

Drama 255 Sound for other Media/Mediums - An inclusive overview of sound in dance, performance art, sound art and installations, film/video/internet, and gaming.

Drama 255 Thesis Writing - Sound Design Research, organization, writing, presentation and juried critique are explored to guide the graduating sound designer toward creating a successful master's thesis.

Drama 280D Post-Production Sound - This course explores the post-production audio process as used in the film, television and themed entertainment industries. The class will culminate in a final project where the audio from a commercial film clip is removed and all three stem elements are recreated/replaced and mixed.

Drama 280D Tecniques in New Media - The primary purpose of this class is to acquaint you with theory and practice at the intersection of filmmaking and stagecraft - this introduction to new media in live performance will focus primarily on theory and practice. (hosted by sound, open to all design disiciplines)

Drama 280D Responsive Composition (Composing for theatre and dance)

Drama 280D Psychoacoustics

Drama 280D Sound Design for Video Games


Drama 251 Foundations - Explores the roots and styles of theater, art, architecture, fashion, and music as well as differing theories in both performance and aesthetics. Developed for all incoming M.F.A. design students as a method to establish a common lexicon of terminology, ideas, genres, styles and artistic practitioners. This is a one year/three quarter sequence.

Drama 259 Colloquium - A forum to host guests and topics of interest to all design students.

Drama 256 Survival and Professional Practice - Discussion of business skills needed to survive as a designer; copyright and entertainment law, contracts, fees, unions, and small business creation. Career opportunities, self-promotion and networking are explored.

Drama 282 Automation, Show Control and Electronics - Applied seminar in using computers and dedicated hardware to cue, control or automate sound and lights for live performance. Basic electronic principles (equipment “guts”) and current control protocols will also be explored.


Drama 199 Projects in Theatre - (repeated as necessary) This series provides credit for independent study and limited-series courses.

Drama 240: Graduate Projects -(repeated as necessay) This series provides mentored/graded credit for design and production on Drama shows.


Drama 220 Seminar in Dramatic Literature

Drama 221 Seminar in Criticism

Drama 248ABC History of American Musical Theatre


Drama 50D Introduction to Sound Design- (repeats every quarter) This course provides a thorough overview to the art and craft of theatrical sound design. Half the class time will be spent on sound technology and half the class time will be spent on the creative side of design.

Drama 179/279: Intermediate Sound Design - Sound design in the theatre. A project-based analysis of the principles of design and how they affect an audience.

Drama 11: The Rock and Roll Spectacle Show - A thorough overview to the development and cultural significance of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Spectacle show. Focus on historical and recent development of the spectacle show, trends in the aesthetics of the field, and various sub-genres. (general elective taught by the sound area)



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