Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

Submitted: David Budries Position: Chair Sound Design Department, Professor in the Practice of Sound Design Date: January 29, 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:

New Haven, CT

Description of your program:

This is a comprehensive conservatory training program covering theatre history, dramaturgy, collaboration, beginning, and advanced engineering, beginning and advanced composition, all aspects of production, and planning, the business of theatre, and professional development.

Describe what makes your program unique:

The Yale School of Drama is the only professional conservatory training program that teaches all aspects of professional theatre production including Playwriting, Directing, Acting, Dramaturgy and Literary Criticism, Stage Management, Technical Design and Production, Theatre Management, and Design-Scenic, Costume, Lighting Sound and Projection.  This comprehensive training provides real-world exposure to a complete production experience.

Current Faculty Names & links to Websites

David Budries, Chair


Type of degree conferred

MFA Sound Design and Composition

Number of years of study


Typical Class Size


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

We have three (3) large performance venues and several smaller venues. The Yale Rep is an endstage theatre.

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

All Sound Design Students have three major production assignments guaranteed each year (9 total). Additionally, each year there are 18-20 Yale Cabaret productions that a student may be elect to design (with permission of the program chair). In the second year, we add sound designs for the Langston Hughes Festival (three new plays), a dance project, a composition and recording project and a Yale Art Gallery installation project. In the third year, students will also add a Thesis Design. These do not include classroom design assignments. A typical student works on about 20-24 productions over 3 years.

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

Strong liberal arts exposure (fine arts, music, literature, history, film, television, radio, etc.) 

A capacity for critical listening.

A capacity for dramaturgical investigation

Innate musicality, even if one doesn’t play a musical instrument

Excellent communication skills

Familiarity with digital signal processing and DAW’s

The spirit of generosity; the willingness to share what they bring to the table

Ability to work as an ensemble member, collaborator

Preferred background, but not required: Sound Engineering, Drafting, Rigging, Electricity, Acoustics (They will learn these things in class)

How many students typically graduate from the sound program? 

We graduate three students per year (in a three-year conservatory training program).

Skills and characteristics of a successful graduate:

We do not have an expectation that our graduates will exit with a cookie cutter or homogenous education. Each student comes in with different skills and exits with a broader set of skills and a deeper toolbox. Students will be exposed to all the necessary sound fundamentals (art and craft), and over time they’ll define a professional path for themselves. Each of our graduates will be unique and likely focused in a variety of sound design related paths; composition, conceptual sound design, sound art, installations, engineering, music, teaching, consulting and more.

Where should a prospective student go for further information?

and YSD Bulletin: