From its inception, the department established a unique place where one could investigate sound in its material detail as well as its relationship to other disciplines such as video, performance, and installation. During its evolution, the department has continued to diversify and deepen the scope of influences, ideas, histories, and technologies that inform its thorough approach to sonic experimentation and critical interrogation. In 2001, the Sound department initiated a master of fine arts (MFA) in Sound, the first degree of its kind offered in the US. The MFA in Sound offers a rigorous environment of study guided by a faculty of internationally recognized artists representing a broad range of approaches to the sonic arts, amplified by a robust visiting artist and scholar program, direct connections to Chicago’s thriving sound art and experimental music scenes, and a range of interdepartmental initiatives within SAIC.
The Sound department’s integration within an interdisciplinary art school gives you the freedom to explore hybrid practices such as hardware hacking, software development, installation, performance, and instrument building in addition to conceptual projects that consider sound outside of a musical context. The program's studio offerings are complemented by courses in the history and theory of sonic arts, physics, acoustics, electronics, and global music practices. And the department’s interdisciplinary focus invites you to study in other departments such as Film, Video, New Media, and Animation and Art and Technology Studies.
Within the Sound department, you will have access to the following: