Talented and bright? Love the Boston area? Seeking to pursue BOTH your
academic and artistic passions? Harvard University and the Berklee College of
Music have collaborated to present a 5-year, dual degree program offering the best
of both worlds to the most qualified students. The article below provides pertinent
details and links for a more in-depth consideration of this opportunity.
Harvard and Berklee Announce Dual Degree Program
Harvard College and Berklee College of Music have formalized a partnership to offer a new
five-year dual degree
that will enable students to earn a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) at Harvard and a Master of Music (M.M.) or a Master of Arts (M.A.) at Berklee starting in fall 2017.
Designed for exceptional musicians interested in a diverse range of artistic careers as well as an elite liberal arts education, the dual degree will allow the two institutions to offer the best of their individual strengths. Driven by student demand for more opportunities and flexibility, the program allows accepted undergraduates to complete Harvard’s liberal arts curriculum while pursuing an advanced degree in music.
“Berklee’s programs have steadily gained prestige and power, turning the school into a formidable cutting-edge incubator for the newest waves of performance and composition,” wrote Carol J. Oja, chair of Harvard’s Music Department. “Institutionally, the partnership represents an understanding of the arts and art-making in the 21st century, especially the growing impact of technology and the realities of a globalizing arts landscape.”
The concentration in music at Harvard provides a solid foundation in theory, analysis, composition, and criticism, while exposing students to a wide variety of musical styles, sounds, and musical traditions in order to develop their critical understanding of music in diverse cultural and historical contexts. The Harvard Department of Music course offerings often link musical works with works of art and literature, or with philosophical and scientific questions. Harvard’s courses also incorporate or focus on performance covering a range of styles and time periods.
Berklee’s master’s programs—in scoring for film, television, and video games; music production, technology, and innovation; global entertainment and music business; music therapy; and contemporary performance—cover areas not currently available at Harvard. Berklee offers four master’s programs at its campus in Valencia, Spain, and two at its main campus in Boston.
Students will pursue the A.B. curriculum at Harvard and take private lessons and other preparatory courses at Berklee during the first three years of the program. Students are also required to participate in ensembles at either institution, and pass instrumental proficiency exams at Berklee. Preparatory course work at Berklee may be completed during fall and spring semesters, as well as during summer sessions in Boston, Spain, or at Berklee Online. In the fourth year, students will complete all Harvard’s A.B. requirements, including a senior thesis if desired. In year five, students complete their selected master's program at Berklee.
To be admitted to the program, students must be accepted to both Harvard and Berklee independently, as well as complete an audition and interview with Berklee. Harvard undergraduates may also apply to the program during the fall of their freshman year.
'Imagine the Possibilities'
Modeled after Harvard’s successful joint degree with New England Conservatory, the Harvard-Berklee partnership will be mutually beneficial, expanding opportunities for students while enriching the communities of both institutions. While Harvard students have informally collaborated with Berklee musicians for years, a formalized relationship will offer increased access to Berklee courses, including those at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and allow them to tailor their programs to specific areas of interest.
"Joshua Redman, Yo-Yo Ma, Aaron Goldberg, Tom Morello, and a number of other highly accomplished musicians have studied at Harvard,” said Berklee President Roger H. Brown. "Imagine the possibilities when a world-leading Harvard undergraduate education can be augmented by private lessons, ensembles, and music classes in jazz, production, film scoring, and more at Berklee.”
“It would have been impossible for me to progress as a jazz musician while studying at Harvard had I not been able to take advantage of the wealth of talent and resources at Berklee,” said acclaimed jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg, endorsing the new program. “In a way I lived a double life, though without a double degree.”
"One of the most integral and, in hindsight, consequential facets of my 'Harvard experience' was being so close to the vibrant Berklee scene,” added renowned jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman. “Hanging out with Berklee students was my jazz immersion. It's how I learned to listen, and began to learn how to play. It opened my ears and enriched my life. And it laid the seeds for a future I didn't even know I had.”
Annual awards are available to support students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing the joint degree through the Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Endowed Scholarship Fund, established by Berklee Presidential Advisory Council member Paul Buttenwieser and his wife, Katie. “Music has always been a great passion of ours, so Katie and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this exciting new alliance and support the next generation of artists who will mold the future of music and the music industry.” More information on the program can be found online at