14 Best Music Production & Audio Engineering Schools – 2024

February 16, 2024

audio engineering schools, music production schools

Music production is an undoubtedly cool thing to pursue. No one has ever listened to their favorite song and thought, “Eh, the person who made this doesn’t deserve any credit.” Music streaming and the use of music on social media has led to a fixation with the novelty of music. We remix our favorite songs in endlessly reiterative loops, we get interested in new songs by old artists, and we want to see the wild musical combinations we can make out of new and existing music. Having a desire, now, to study music production or audio engineering makes total sense. Continue for the best audio engineering and music production schools.

What does it mean to study music production and/or audio engineering? 

Understanding the nature of a music production and/or audio engineering program—and what you would potentially study—is a thing wholly separate from that desire. You’ll be studying how music is made and you’ll be learning the techniques to create your own productions. The focus and potential for discovery within any given program depends on what you’ll be studying

Let’s take a look at what some of the top programs in music production and audio engineering promise that you’ll do in their programs.

According to Berklee College of Music, “you will learn to multitrack record, overdub, edit, and mix music in a variety of styles using complex digital audio systems.” Successful completion of the program would prepare you for a career as a “music producer, recording engineer, mix engineer, mastering engineer, live sound engineer, sound technician, and more.”

The Music Technology programs at Carnegie Mellon University are “largely self-directed, with students working with advising faculty developing their craft in a chosen field.” In this highly customizable program, students also choose an area of focus, including, Recording Technology, Audio Engineering, Computer Music, Music Composition, Music Performance, and Music Theory.

At Full Sail University, students take courses in the fundamentals of the music business, production and post-production techniques, and foundational university courses like college writing and mathematics to prepare you for a well-rounded life. Some students at Full Sail have said, “I’m curious about how sound effects in movies and games are made,” “I want the flexibility of being able to record anywhere,” and “I keep up with the latest audio-industry trends.”

Top Schools in Music Production and Audio Engineering 

There are plenty of schools that offer degrees, certificates, and programs of various kinds in music production and audio engineering. But how do you choose which one is the best for you? As with any degree, it’s crucial to think about a few factors:

  • Tuition
  • Available financial aid
  • Time required
  • Location—especially if you’re going to college for the first time and need to think about distance from your home
  • Courses offered
  • Job preparation and training
  • Internship connections
  • Professors on faculty and their interests

Best Audio Engineering Schools/Best Music Schools (Continued)

With those things in mind, we’ve worked to compile a list of the most highly recognized programs and some crucial factors about them. Hopefully, this list will help you compare and contrast the pros and cons of various schools and lead you to a positive decision. Use this list as a jumping-off point.

If one of these programs piques your interest, you should definitely request as much information as you can from the school’s admissions office, especially any information related to tuition, fees, and financial aid.

Each person will undoubtedly have different wants and needs out of a program, and each program merits further research to help you choose the school that’s right for you.

1) Berklee College of Music Production and Engineering Department

At Berklee’s College of Music Production and Engineering Department, you can get your Bachelor of Music in Independent Recording and Production or Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering in their renowned four-year programs. You can also minor in Recording and Production for Musicians or specialize in Audio Post-Production and Commercial Record Production.

Tuition for the Boston College of Music campus for Spring 2024 is $24,415, with various other fees detailed on the program’s website. 

 2) Carnegie Mellon University Music and Technology Program

CMU’s Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Music and Technology is a joint project between The School of Music, School of Computer Science, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Graduates have gone on to work in the fields of Audio Engineering, Interactive Music Software, Music Composition, Music Performance, Recording Technology, and much more.

The total cost of attendance for the full 2024-2025 academic year (not just a semester) is $86,812 for a resident or $73,000 for a commuter. CMU’s website also offers a Net Price Calculator, which can help you estimate your costs based on the financial aid you are likely to receive.

3) Full Sail University Music and Recording

Full Sail University was named one of the top Music Business Schools by Billboard in 2023. Its main focus is on education related to the entire world of entertainment production. When it comes to music and technology, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in any of the following:

  • Audio Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with an Audio Production Concentration
  • Audio Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Music Production Concentration
  • Audio Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Recording Arts Concentration
  • Audio Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Show Production Concentration
  • Business Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Music Business Concentration

There are also numerous associate and graduate level programs available.

Full Sail’s website lists the “Total Tuition” for the Audio Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Music Production Concentration at $86,500.

Best Audio Engineering Schools/Best Music Production Schools (Continued)

4) Johns Hopkins University Music Engineering and Technology

JHU’s Music Engineering and Technology (MET) at the Peabody Institution program offers four focused degree paths: a Bachelor’s and Master in Computer Music, a Bachelor’s in Music for New Media, a Bachelor’s and Master in Recording Arts & Sciences, and a Master in Acoustics.

Johns Hopkins lists the total cost for a student living and studying on campus for the 2023-2024 full academic year at $88,533. If you were able to live with your parents, however, they estimate the total cost to be $77,084. The school’s website details the fully itemized tuition and fees.

5) New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

NYU’s Steinhardt School offers a Bachelor of Music in Music Technology as well as a Bachelor/Masters Dual Degree in Music Technology, alongside other advanced degrees.

Standard tuition for a Steinhardt undergraduate student is $30,219. NYU provides more information, as well as a calculator, on its site.

6) American University

American University claims that it is “unique” in its “approach to blending the art and science in audio in the context of an educational program.” They offer both undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in Audio Technology and Audio Production.

Full-time, undergraduate students can expect to pay $29,718 in tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year, with more details available on American University’s Tuition and Fees page.

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7) Drexel University

Drexel University’s Music Industry Undergraduate Degree Program is “a four-year undergraduate program that focuses on the business, management, and technology of the music industry.” Drexel Music Industry students can also access connections with Atlantic Records, Live Nation, Electric Lady Studios, WXPN Radio, and other famous recording studios and entertainment outlets.

Total estimated cost for undergraduates during the 2024-2025 academic year is $83,818.

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8) Point Blank Music School

Point Blank Music School isn’t a traditional four-year university. Rather, it is a private educational institution “approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.” At its Los Angeles campus, Point Blank offers Music Production and Audio Engineering diplomas and certificates. Programs last up to one year.

Each program carries different tuition and fees, but as an example, the Music Production and Audio Engineering Diploma costs $19,495 for the year-long program.

9) Icon Collective Music Production

Icon Collective is another private, non-traditional route that students can pursue. They offer Flagship and Advanced Music Production Programs in Los Angeles and online.

The Flagship program in L.A. costs $27,555, and online that number shrinks to $14,995.

Best Audio Engineering Schools/Best Music Production Schools (Continued)

10) Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music

The Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music Production program includes concentrations in Artist Producer Entrepreneur, Audio Engineering, Independent Artist, Music Composition for Visual Media, and Studio Recording.

Musicians Institute is also accredited by the state of California for post-secondary education, and “has been an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1981.”

More information can be found on the MI website.

11) Boston University College of Fine Arts

Boston University’s College of Fine Arts offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in sound design, specifically for the theater. It’s a little bit of a curveball for this list, however, the program is designed to train students in digital audio manipulation and audio systems design.

Total costs for the 2023-2024 academic year are $83,278.

12) Elmhurst University B.M. in Music Production

The Elmhurst Bachelor’s of Music in Music Production aims to give students “an understanding and mastery of the digital audio workstation, the ability to create and arrange music of different genres, the ability to comprehend and craft music in its various forms for multiple uses in audio production, video production, live performance, and commercial music production are all essential in this field.”

Total costs for the 2024-2025 academic year are $54,603.

13) Indiana University Southeast

Indiana University Southeast offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Music with a concentration in Audio Production. The total cost of attendance is $23,186 and $37,050 for residents and non-residents, respectively.

  • The New School Contemporary Music Program

The New School’s Contemporary Music Program offers both major and minor options. It also boasts connections to New York City and noteworthy alumni.

Full-time tuition in the Lang school costs $26,858 per semester.

14) SAE Institute Audio Programs

The SAE Institute is another non-traditional offering, with the following programs:

  • Audio Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Audio Associate of Applied Science
  • Audio Diploma
  • Audio Technology Diploma
  • Diploma en Tecnología de Audio (in Spanish)

Costs, fees, and financial aid are detailed on the SAE website.

Best Audio Engineering Schools/Best Music Production Schools – Additional Resources

Lastly, if music production and audio engineering aren’t necessarily your thing, check out our list of the best colleges and universities for all kinds of music degrees or How to Get Accepted Into A College of Music. You may also find our AP Music Theory Score Calculator to be of use or our list of the 17 Best Performing Arts High Schools in the US to be of interest. Additionally, you may find the following schools with top music programs to be of interest: