INCE-USA Courses in Noise Control Engineering

As part of the INCE-USA charter to advance the professional practice of Noise Control Engineering, INCE-USA will be offering a series of three on-line courses in Noise Control Engineering. Course 1 is now closed effective July 1, 2018

Registration for Course 1 is closed as of July 1, 2018

These three semester-style courses are based on the Penn State World Campus courses originally offered in 2000. They begin with the fundamentals of sound and vibration and progress through all elements of Noise Control Engineering. The courses are online and self-paced, offering one-on-one interaction with the instructor.

USD$1,500 per course for INCE-USA Members, Associates, and Student Associates.

USD$1,750 per course for non-members.

Register for Course NCE 1 (Closed as of July 1, 2018 ) (Introduction)

Register for Course NCE 2 (Intermediate)

Register for Course NCE 3 (Advanced)

Refund: Course fees must be paid in full at time of registration and are nonrefundable. If a request for refund is received before the start of the second lecture of each course, this will be considered on a case by case basis. If a refund is granted, only 80% of the fee is refunded as there will be a 20% administration fee.


The course instructor, Dr. Courtney B. Burroughs, was the instructor for the World Campus courses.  Dr. Burroughs retired after 23 years at Penn State, where he taught 11 courses and supervised over 30 graduate students in acoustics, vibration and noise control.

INCE-USA Board Certification

The INCE-USA Board of Directors has determined that completion of all three courses with passing grades will be accepted as equivalent to sitting for and passing the examination for Board Certification. Thus, investing in your Noise Control education through these courses will have a concrete benefit for you.

Additional Infomation

For more information, contact Courtney Burroughs at or the INCE-USA Business Office at or +1 (703) 234-4124.

Quick Links

Goals of the Noise Control Engineering Courses

These Noise Control Engineering courses are designed for individuals who are working in the industry or government that require engineering solutions for noise and vibration control. Often people are tapped to be the noise control expert without sufficient background training.

The courses are for those who cannot leave their jobs and families to pursue graduate level courses in residence at a university and would like a more thorough background in noise control engineering than can be offered in one or two week short courses. In addition these courses are designed for those interested in becoming Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE-USA) Board Certified. Taking all three of these courses and passing the final exams for each of the three courses can be substituted for sitting for and passing the IINCE-USA Board Certification examination. 

The backgrounds of students taking these courses varies widely. The courses are designed to address individual needs through interaction with the instructor, all of which will be one-on-one. The instructor can provide background to those students who may not have a strong background in mathematics, for example.

Students who successfully complete all three Noise Control Engineering courses will:

  • be able to conduct measurements and analyses required to diagnose noise and vibration problems and develop meaningful solutions;
  • be able to develop and apply methods for the control of noise and vibration in most situations;
  • know when outside consultation is required for solving complex noise and vibration control problems and how to utilize consultants effectively;
  • be given credit for the Board Certification Examination, a primary requirement for achieving INCE Board Certification.

Organization of Course Material

There are three courses in this program, with each course building on the former. The difficulty of the course material progresses from introductory material in Course I to advanced material in Course III. Each course is divided into five Units, and each Unit is divided into five Lessons.

The numbering of the equations is by Course, Unit, Lesson, and equation number. For example, Eqn. II.3.4.10 will be in Course II, Unit Three, Lesson 4, Equation 10. To avoid repeating equations, sometimes equations in previous lessons are referenced, so that this equation number will make it easier to find the referenced equations.

Key terms are in blue lettering with links to the Glossary of terms.

The topics of each Course, Unit and Lesson are listed in the syllabus below.

Lessons 2 and 3 of Unit One are designed as an introduction to SciLab, free software very similar in functionality to MATLAB(R). Some of the written problems will require significant computations: for these problems, simple SciLab codes can be developed to perform the computations and plot results. Analyses required for many noise control problems often require extensive computations. Since SciLab is similar to MATLAB(R), familiarity with SciLab should be helpful in performing calculations long after these courses have been completed.

Course Syllabus

Course I – Introduction

Unit One – Orientation and Introduction to Noise Control Engineering

                     Lesson 1 – Basic Course Information

                     Lesson 2 – Computations in SciLab

                     Lesson 3 – Plotting in SciLab

                     Lesson 4 – The Effects of Noise and the Approach to its Control

                     Lesson 5 – Background Mathematics

Unit Two – Simple Mechanical Vibrations

                     Lesson 1 – Free Vibration of Undamped Simple Oscillators

                     Lesson 2 – Free Vibration of Damped Simple Oscillators

                     Lesson 3 – Forced Vibration of Damped Simple Oscillators

                     Lesson 4 – Couple Simple Oscillators

                     Lesson 5 – Simple Vibration Isolation Mounting Systems

Unit Three – Noise Measures and Mechanisms of Propagation

                     Lesson 1 – Wave Propagation

                     Lesson 2 – Superposition of Waves

                     Lesson 3 – Acoustic Energy and Power in Waves

                     Lesson 4 – Levels and Decibels

                     Lesson 5 – Spreading Losses

Unit Four – Measurements and Analysis I: Introduction

                     Lesson 1 – Transducers

                     Lesson 2 – Calibration and Use of Transducers

                     Lesson 3 – Using the Sound Level Meter I

                     Lesson 4 – Using the Sound Level Meter II

                     Lesson 5 – Noise Measurements

Unit Five – Sound Reflection and Absorption at Boundaries

                     Lesson 1 – Single Interface – Normal Incidence

                     Lesson 2 – Oblique Incidence on Absorptive Layers

                     Lesson 3 – Mechanisms of Absorption

                     Lesson 4 – Practical Guidance and Acoustic Measurements

                     Lesson 5 – Scattering

Course II – Intermediate

Unit One – Mechanisms of Noise Generation

                     Lesson 1 – Small Simple Sources

                     Lesson 2 – Directional Sources

                     Lesson 3 – Distributed and Impact Sources

                     Lesson 4 – Real Sources

                     Lesson 5 – Use of Intensity for Noise Source Characterization

Unit Two – One- and Two-Dimensional Systems

                     Lesson 1 – Vibration of Strings

                     Lesson 2 – Sound Fields in Ducts

                     Lesson 3 – Lumped Parameters

                     Lesson 4 – Vibration of Beams

                     Lesson 5 – Vibrations of Plates

Unit Three – Room Acoustics

                     Lesson 1 – Basics Concepts

                     Lesson 2 – Large Rooms

                     Lesson 3 – Small Enclosed Spaces

                     Lesson 4 – Acoustic Treatments and Special Rooms

                     Lesson 5 – Sound Systems in Rooms

Unit Four – Measurements and Analysis II: Intermediate

                     Lesson 1 – Sound Level Meter Frequency Filters

                     Lesson 2 – Measurement of Acoustic Properties

                     Lesson 3 – Vibration Measurements

                     Lesson 4 – Narrowband Frequency Analysis I

                     Lesson 5 – Narrowband Frequency Analysis II

Unit Five – Effects of Noise

                     Lesson 1 – Fundamentals of Hearing

                     Lesson 2 – Human Response to Sound

                     Lesson 3 – Metrics for Human Response to Noise

                     Lesson 4 – Metrics for Noise-Induced Hearing Damage

                     Lesson 5 – Sound Quality

Course III: Advanced

Unit One – Sources of Noise

                     Lesson 1 – Machinery Power Transmission

                     Lesson 2 – Machinery Power Generation

                     Lesson 3 – Flow Sources of Noise

                     Lesson 4 – Turbomachinery and HVAC Systems

                     Lesson 5 – Multi-Component Sources of Noise

Unit Two – Outdoor Noise and Structural Acoustics

                     Lesson 1 – Outdoor Noise Propagation

                     Lesson 2 – Vibration Response of Structures

                     Lesson 3 – Vibration Transmission through Structures

                     Lesson 4 – Acoustic Radiation from Vibrating Structures

                     Lesson 5 – Acoustic Transmission through Structures

Unit Three – Measurements and Analysis III: Advanced

                     Lesson 1 – Single-Channel Spectral Analysis

                     Lesson 2 – Two-Channel Spectral Analysis

                     Lesson 3 – Special Features in FFT Analyzers

                     Lesson 4 – Modal Analysis

                     Lesson 5 – Special Methods of Spectral Analysis

Unit Four – Noise and Vibration Treatments

                     Lesson 1 – Resilient Mounting Systems

                     Lesson 2 – Damping Treatments

                     Lesson 3 – Enclosures and Cladding Treatments

                     Lesson 4 – Mufflers and Silencers

                     Lesson 5 – Active Control of Noise and Vibration

Unit Five – Numerical and Statistical Models

                     Lesson 1 – Approximate Analytic Methods

                     Lesson 2 – Finite Element Models for Structural Vibrations

                     Lesson 3 – Boundary Element Models for Acoustic Radiation

                     Lesson 4 – Implementation of Numerical Models

                     Lesson 5 – Statistical Energy Analysis

Detailed Course Information

Interaction with the Instructor

After registering for Course I, you will receive an email address for your instructor. All assignments should be sent to your instructor via this email address. Solutions to the written problems may be attached to emails to your instructor. You will also be given email addresses of other concurrent students; you should feel free to interact with your fellow students.

Getting Started

Course I, Unit One is designed to provide background to the basics of noise generation and propagation needed to understand and thereby control noise, given in the remainder of Course I.

Lesson 1 is designed as an introduction to the approach taken to these courses, including interaction with the instructor and the assignments required to complete the courses. Lessons 2 and 3 introduce SciLab. Lesson 4 is an overview of the effects of noise and approaches to its control. Lesson 5 is a review of some of the mathematics used in analyses of noise sources and the propagation of noise. Unit One

An attempt has been made to make the software needed to take these online courses as simple as possible. These are not courses on computer software.


Starting with Course I, Unit One, Lesson 4, there will be two types of assignments that you will be asked to submit to your instructor: Study Question and Written Problems.

Study Questions

The study questions are designed to accentuate the basic concepts in each lesson. Responses will be in the form of sentences with no mathematics. The mathematics will come in the Written Problems.  Answers should be submitted to your instructor before reading the lesson. If you don't know the answer, say so. Otherwise take your best guess. The objective is to focus you on the concepts in the lesson that we feel are important. Also, the before-answers will give the instructor an idea of how much is known before reading the lesson and how much potential there is for learning something from the lesson. After reading the lesson, submit new answers to the Study Questions. The instructor will then comment on the answers. If the answer is correct, the instructor will let you know. If not, the instructor will offer corrections and comments to the answer. This way, the instructor will know whether you have grasped the key concepts of the Lesson.

It makes it easier for the instructor if you cut and paste the questions in with your 'before' answers, and then submit your 'after' answers with the 'before' answers, preferably in a different color. Your instructor will comment only on your 'after' answers to each set of Study Questions, but will not assign a grade to each response. However, the responses to the Study Questions will count toward your grade. The number of responses the Study Questions to which you respond will be counted and divided by the total number of Study Questions.

Written Problems

Written problems are similar to the kind of math homework problems you loved in college. After solving the problems, submit your work and answers to the instructor via email. An attachment to the email is often the best way to submit your work. If you did the problem incorrectly, the instructor may ask you to re-submit the problem after providing some guidance on how to do the problem. Once you have completed a problem to the satisfaction of the instructor, you will receive full credit for the problem. The portion of your grade based in the written problems will be based on the ratio of the number of successfully completed problems to the number of assigned problems. Thus, you either get full credit or no credit for each problem, not an individual grade for each problem.

Some of the written problems will involve significant computation and/or plotting of results. This is where SciLab will be handy. Some of you will not be familiar with SciLab or MATLAB(R) . If you have used MATLAB(R) before, Lessons 2 and 3 may be a useful review. There are some minor differences between SciLab and MATLAB(R) which should be apparent from Lesson 2 and 3 to those familiar with MATLAB(R). For the first problems requiring the use of SciLab, part of the code will be given. The missing pieces will need to be provided before running the code. In later lessons, you will be asked to do all of the coding. For these types of problems you will be asked to submit a brief summary of the analysis of the results.


These are serious courses and serious courses require exams. A proctored exam will be given at the end of each course. You will be responsible for obtaining a proctor and notifying your instructor prior to receiving a Final Exam. Passing grades for all three Final Exams will be accepted in liue of sitting for and passing the INCE Board Certification Examination.


You will receive a letter grade for each course. This grade will be weighted: 10% on the Study Questions, 50% on the Written Problems and 40% on the Final Exam.


We recognize that you have responsibilities to your professional and personal life that will take you away from your course work. This makes it difficult to maintain a rigid schedule. Since all of the interactions with your instructor are one-on-one, we have some flexibility that can be used to accommodate your schedule. However, we do not want the courses to drag on and we are sure you do not want that to happen either. We hope that you will be able to complete a course in approximately five months, which you will be able to easily do if you complete one lesson each week. If you fall too far behind, you will be subject to gentle reminders from the instructor.

Sustaining Members

  • CDM Systems
  • Kolano and Saha Engineers, Inc.
  • Herrick
  • Illingworth
  • Blachford
  • EAR
  • ACO
  • HMMH
  • CT
  • NCE
  • Scantek
  • Regupol
  • PSU
  • SandV