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Acoustics Program

Find out about the Applied Research Laboratories McKinney Fellowship in Acoustics, which includes a graduate research assistantship for up to three years.

There is more information about the ME Acoustics graduate program, and about acoustics at The University of Texas at Austin on the interdisciplinary Acoustics website, texasacoustics.org


Introduction

Acoustics at The University of Texas at Austin began prior to World War II. Immediately after the war, personnel from the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory, where sonar and other underwater acoustics technologies were developed during the war, relocated to The University of Texas at Austin and Pennsylvania State University. The facility at The University of Texas is in the Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) and is an internationally recognized center for underwater acoustics. In the 1960s, acoustics research from across the University gravitated from Physics Department to the Cockrell School of Engineering, where the engineering acoustics program started in Electrical & Computer Engineering and soon extended to Mechanical Engineering.

Today acoustics in the Cockrell School of Engineering is an interdisciplinary area of teaching and research. It includes basic acoustical wave theory, ultrasonics, underwater sound, transducers, nonlinear acoustics, noise and noise control, and environmental acoustics. The program remains concentrated in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, but several other departments - mainly Civil Engineering, Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, and Physics - have faculty and students who participate. Major campus facilities include:

  • Acoustics and Transducers Laboratory
  • Anechoic Chamber
  • Electroacoustics Laboratory
  • Reverberation Room
  • Ultrasonics Laboratory

In addition, ARL, while not an academic unit of the University, provides strong support for acoustics education through its many R&D programs in acoustics. The level of funding for research in acoustics alone at ARL averages $20M per year (about half of their overall budget). Their major facilities include large water tanks for transducer calibration and underwater sound experiments, a transducer fabrication facility, and the Lake Travis Test Station for large scale sonar evaluation. Many graduate students and several faculty, from the various departments named, carry out their research at ARL.

The University also conducts research and offers courses in other areas of acoustics, outside the College of Engineering and Physics - notably in hearing, linguistics, speech communication, animal acoustics, and musical acoustics.

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