Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

Submitted: Vincent Olivieri Position: Date: January 22, 2019

If you represent this school, and the information below is incorrect, please email If you want to know who TSDCA is a graduate of this program, you can search the member directory.

School Location:

Irvine, CA

Description of your program:

The program centers on finding the critical balance of theatrical aesthetic/process, audio engineering, music, and professional practice that is unique to each student. Combined with comprehensive training in and exposure to the latest in sound technology, the UCI Sound Design graduate will be ready for traditional theatre and the digital future.

Describe what makes your program unique:

UCI Sound has a small student: faculty ratio (3:1 for graduate students) and both of its full-time faculty are practicing professional sound designers. We use theatre as our primary lens into sound design, but we include coursework in sound for film, themed entertainment, music production, video games, and conceptual art. Our students all understand the creative process of sound design and can apply that understanding to a variety of career paths.

Current Faculty Names & links to Websites

adjunct instructor roster includes

Drew Dalzell

Kurt Kellenberger,

Kari Rae Seekins

Veronika Vorel

Guest Lecturers include Martin Carrillo, Mark ‘MuTTT’ Huang, Davin Huston, Cricket Myers, David Revel, Darron West, Joe Wilbur, John Zalewski

Type of degree conferred

MFA Sound Design

Number of years of study


Typical Class Size

Two MFAs recruited per year

Description of the venues and facilities the students have access to in our program:

Meyer Sound Design Studio (3-room classroom studio suite). Seven theatre venues, including proscenium, arena, and thrust houses. (more detail can be found here:

Description of the production and design opportunities a typical student can expect:

Generally, only two graduate students are accepted at each year level with a maximum of 6 students in the program. The UCI Sound Grad will design 4 to 6 (or more) fully-supported productions during their tenure and will also likely engage in a number of smaller workshops, experimental, and non-Drama Department designs, both within the School of the Arts and campus-wide. Those majors who desire to specialize in musical theatre sound will work through a series of three steps from Production Sound Engineer to Assistant Designer, and then on to Sound Designer. UCI also has a series of undergraduate sound design courses supporting the Bachelor of Arts program and the sound grad will likely interact with and help mentor these students in-class and in the many student-produced projects each year. There is also the opportunity for graduate students to teach a section of an undergraduate sound design course. Each fully-supported sound design at UCI is critiqued by the Sound Design faculty and students,

Skills and characteristics looked for when admitting a student to your program:

There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ UCI Sound Design student. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and we believe that the great breadth of their theatrical experience is as valuable as their depth of talent as sound designers. Some students have a background in music. Some, in composition. Some, in recording technology. Some, in musical theatre, media production, or sound art. Some come to us straight from their undergraduate programs; some do not. Some specialized in sound design as undergraduate students; some did not. The breadth of experience among the students can only make for a more dynamic and valuable creative environment. Truly, the only ‘typical’ characteristics of a UCI Sound student are a high level of aural creativity and a proven record of problem-solving in the theatre. (more info can be found here:

Skills and characteristics of a successful graduate:

UC Irvine provides a challenging and creative environment for the curious and resourceful design student. We believe a strong foundation in design for the theatre and the opportunity to explore digital tools will develop unique and thoughtful artistic collaborators. With a UC Irvine education, the designer will be exceptionally well-suited to a career in the theatre and related entertainment arts. Incoming students should expect a difficult but rewarding experience in which setbacks are seen as fundamental aspects of the art-making process. (more info can be found here: