Alternative Approaches to Earning a Degree from Berklee
Berklee accommodates alternative methods to meeting your goal of earning a Berklee degree in the most cost-efficient way possible. While we do advocate that immersion in a 4-year program on campus at Berklee will provide the highest quality outcome, qualified students may also consider these alternative options:
At the heart of the Berklee ethos is our motto, Esse Quam Videri, which means “to be, rather than to appear to be.” One way we honor real accomplishment and ability here is our commitment to Advanced Placement, for entering students, and Credit by Exam, for students already enrolled at Berklee. In many cases, if you can already do the work, you can test out of the course.
Entering Berklee students are scheduled into theory and ear training levels based on their performance on a placement exam; advanced students can be placed in as high as a 3rd or 4th semester level section and in some cases place out entirely of what Berklee refers to as “Core” - Harmony, Ear Training, and Arranging. It is not uncommon for a student who places into these upper-semester sections to complete their degree program in three years.
The college’s Credit by Exam (CBX) policy allows some well-prepared Berklee students to advance more rapidly throughout their Berklee career and further shorten their degree program. CBX can come into play in many majors and courses, but not all. Students can learn which courses are CBX-eligible by inquiring with the course chair.
Berklee has a wide and growing variety of articulation programs that allow entering students to transfer into Berklee as an upper-semester student, thereby finishing their Boston program in just a little over two years. Articulation programs exist in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Latin America and result in significant savings in the cost of a Berklee degree, an ideal alternative in cases where financing is a significant barrier. Find a description of transfer credit agreements here. A listing of credit transfer schools may be found here.
Berklee has three full-time semesters available each calendar year. The tuition of the summer semester is lower than the fall and spring by about $2,500. Our curriculum allows students to “mix and match” so that they can go only a summer and fall, or spring and summer, and achieve the same academic progress as a traditional student and reduce their overall tuition costs.
Other students, in particular those living off-campus who sign a 12-month lease, will chose to attend continously for all three semesters in the calendar year, thereby accelerating the time it takes to reach graduation. While you are adding the cost of a full-time semester to each calendar year, you are completing your studies often within 2 to 2.5 calendar years and reducing your overall living costs.
We have a robust online extension school, Berkleemusic. For eight years in a row, it has received the award for best online course in the United States and enrolls 10,000 students per year from all over the world. Tuition on a comparable credit basis is about 35% less. Of course, the residential cost is removed as well. While credits transferred from our online school are limited, we expect to expand the number of credits transferable in the future.