Harvard-Berklee Joint Studies Program

The Harvard-Berklee Joint Studies program allows students to engage in coursework at Berklee while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or Bachelor of Science (S.B.) at Harvard University. The program will benefit musically and intellectually talented students who wish to pursue a contemporary music education at Berklee and a rigorous liberal arts education at Harvard. Students will receive their undergraduate degree from Harvard after four years, and will have the option to pursue a master’s degree (either an M.M. or M.A.) at Berklee.

Joint Studies students complete the full requirements of the Harvard A.B. or S.B. degree, including all general education requirements and all the requirements for the Harvard concentration of their choice. Students will begin at Berklee by taking private instruction on their instrument, participating in an ensemble, and taking introductory courses that prepare them for more advanced offerings within Berklee’s curriculum. From there, students will be allowed to pursue their own interests at Berklee in consultation with Berklee’s advisors. Particular attention will be given to preparing students for master’s programs if that is their goal.
Entrance Requirements

Prospective students must apply to both Harvard and Berklee separately to be considered for the joint studies program. Each application has a box that applicants must check to indicate their interest. In order to enroll, students must be admitted to both programs. The two schools have no influence on the other’s admissions process, and students must be accepted to both institutions to be considered for the Joint Studies program. From there, Berklee selects a small cohort of students to be admitted to the program. This means that admission to both schools does not guarantee admission to the program.


Students will pay the standard rate for four years of Harvard tuition and fees for the undergraduate programs. Students will also have their tuition reduced for any credits transferred in from Berklee. Harvard College offers generous financial aid based on need. To read more about the cost of attending Harvard and how financial aid works, go to https://college.harvard.edu/financial-aid.

The cost of courses at Berklee is currently $4000 per semester. Berklee will reduce this fee for all students receiving financial aid by the same percentage applied by Harvard. This tuition structure will be updated for the 2024–2025 academic year pending review. Information about the new structure will be posted as soon as it is available.

Students who choose to participate in a summer semester at Berklee either in Boston or Valencia will pay the tuition and fees for that summer session with a 20% discount. Berklee also requires students to meet laptop and software requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, you will:

  • synthesize liberal arts and musical knowledge;
  • synthesize contemporary harmonic and stylistic practices;
  • create and improvise music in a liberal arts context;
  • develop your own identity as an artist and/or music professional; and
  • develop a sustainable career plan.
Curriculum and Courses

Information about Harvard’s undergraduate degree requirements can be found on this page, including descriptions of the requirements for general education, distribution, quantitative reasoning with data, expository writing, and language. Descriptions of the various Harvard concentrations can be found here, which include links to each department’s web page that will describe each concentration in more detail. For those interested in a concentration in music, here is the direct link to the music department.

Harvard–Berklee students are encouraged to take three to four Berklee credits per semester, including their private lessons and ensembles. While students are allowed to take up to six credits at Berklee, this is discouraged in the interest of keeping workloads manageable. Students will typically begin by taking private instruction, an ensemble, and/or an introductory Core course at Berklee (depending on their placement during orientation). After this, students are able to take most Berklee courses for which they meet the prerequisites. Although some courses are only open to those who have declared majors in the respective Berklee department, Harvard-Berklee students are usually able to obtain a waiver to take those courses in addition to those open to the general student body. Berklee offers courses in performance practice, composition, songwriting, screen scoring, music production, electronic design, and music business that may be of interest to students.

Students will work closely with their Harvard and Berklee advisors to create their course schedule each semester. Their advising team will aid with selecting appropriate courses while also considering the student’s overall schedule and commuting time. For those students interested in pursuing a Berklee master’s program, suggested preparatory courses are bundled in tracks in performance, production, and music business.

Students may also transfer up to eight Berklee credits to be counted toward their Harvard degree. To have credit approved, students must fill out the Harvard music department form with an attached course description and syllabus, and have the form signed by the course instructor, their Berklee advisor, their Harvard house dean, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Harvard music department. Note that only four Berklee credits can count toward the music concentration at Harvard; all other courses for that concentration must be taken at Harvard and all additional Berklee credits would count toward general electives at Harvard.