Liberal Arts

At Berklee College of Music, we foster students' creativity and artistry by educating the whole person. Berklee's liberal arts program focuses on the interdisciplinary learning that artists and musicians need to succeed in today's world, especially on writing and communication, and entrepreneurial, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Liberal arts courses provide a cultural context for the music being studied; relate the world of music to other arts, politics, literature, and science; encourage in students an appreciation for diversity; and prepare students to make the complex ethical choices they will face throughout their lives. Berklee's Liberal Arts Department is designed to empower students with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement. The partnership of Liberal Arts and music in the Berklee curriculum means that graduates are accomplished musicians who also excel as collaborators, communicators and problem solvers. Berklee College of Music belongs to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, an international organization in support of liberal education in institutions of higher education. Berklee is also a member of the Consortium for the Liberal Education of Artists.

What Are the Liberal Arts?

At Berklee, liberal arts includes the study of humanities such as literature, creative writing, poetry, philosophy, languages, communication, art history, history, music history, visual culture, drama, women's studies, Africana studies, and Latino studies; natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and mathematics; social sciences such as psychology, economics, sociology, history, anthropology, and political science; and more. 

Entrance Requirements

All Berklee degree students

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the liberal arts program at Berklee, students will:

  • synthesize knowledge from a variety of disciplines;
  • evaluate major artistic, literary, cultural, and historic themes and trends;
  • relate music to other arts and to society;
  • assess aesthetic principles and concepts;
  • analyze major issues in liberal arts;
  • understand key terminology in liberal arts;
  • compose written and oral communications;
  • apply critical thinking and practical reasoning skills;
  • apply problem solving skills; and
  • apply information literacy skills including incorporation of primary and secondary sources in original documents.
Curriculum and Courses

39 total liberal arts credits are required of degree students:

Entering Student Seminar: any course with prefix LENS (2 credits)

LENG-111: Introduction to College Writing (3 credits)

LENG-223: Literature Topics (3 credits)

History: One course; any course with prefix LHIS (3 credits)

LHUM-400: Professional Development Seminar (2 credits)

Music and Society: One course; any course with prefix LMAS (3 credits)

Natural Science/Math: One course; any course with prefix LMSC except LMSC-130 (3 credits)

Social Science: One course; any course with prefix LSOC (3 credits)

Visual Studies: One course; any course with prefix LVIS (3 credits)

Music History Series:        

1. Western European Classical Music: MHIS-(P)20X: (2 credits)

2. African American Music History and Culture: MHIS-(P)22X (2 credits)

3. Music History Elective: MHIS-3XX (2 credits)

MTEC-111: Intro to Music Technology (2 credits)

Liberal Arts Electives (6 credits): Two courses chosen from any of the above 3-credit categories. Additional options for electives include LFRN (French), LJPN (Japanese), LHUM (humanities), LPHL (philosophy), and LSPN (Spanish). Liberal arts elective courses must be 3 credits, and the course code must have a prefix from the above list.