Structural acoustics laboratory.

What is an Acoustical Engineer?

Acoustical engineering is definied as “the branch of engineering dealing with sound and vibration. It is the application of acoustics, the science of sound and vibration, in technology. Acoustical engineers are typically concerned with the design, analysis and control of sound.”

According to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), there are a number different acoustical engineering specialties in the field of acoustics such as:

  • Architectural acoustics
  • Noise control
  • Physical acoustics
  • Vibration and structural acoustics
  • Underwater acoustics

Educational Requirements

Typically, you’ll be qualified for a job as an acoustical engineer after completing a bachelor’s degree. There are few programs in the U.S. that offer acoustical engineering programs at the undergraduate level, but many majors are revelant to pursuing graduate study in the field. Relevant majors include physics, mechanical engineering, mathematics, or electrical engineering. Many of our students in the Graduate Program in Acoustics and Penn State come from some sort of musical background.

What is the average acoustical engineer salary?

While the title “acoustical engineer” covers a variety of roles, entry-level jobs typically start around $50,000 and senior-level jobs reaching around $142,000. California and New York state are the largest employers of acoustical engineers.

See acoustical engineering in action

Discover more about acoustics and how your interest fits into this field through this ASA video, featuring many Penn State acoustics students.



Founded in 1965, Penn State's Graduate Program in Acoustics has become the leading resource for graduate education in acoustics in the United States. The interdisciplinary program leads to the degrees: Master of Engineering in Acoustics (M.Eng.), Master of Science in Acoustics (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Acoustics (Ph.D.)

Graduate Program in Acoustics

College of Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University

201 Applied Science Building

University Park, PA 16802