Boston Conservatory at Berklee Students

We are thrilled to announce that Boston Conservatory at Berklee will deliver an on-campus hybrid experience for the spring 2021 semester. The model, which blends in-person instruction with remote learning, will bring students and faculty back to campus with a thoughtful plan that puts the safety and health of our community members first.  

While the success of our entirely remote fall semester has shown just how innovative and resilient our community is, we are also energized to return to campus—to learn, create, and connect in person. To do so as safely and responsibly as possible, we have developed extensive safety plans and procedures in partnership with our health care provider, Tufts Medical Center, and medical experts. We have also consulted with nearby peer institutions who are successfully managing in-person instruction this fall through rigorous testing, clearly defined contingency plans, and strong community compliance with the guidelines put forth.

With these new insights, we are confident in the hybrid experience we are offering for spring 2021. Below is an overview of our plans, which we hope you’ll find helpful in deciding what is best for you this spring.

Your Options for the Spring Semester

There are two options for the spring: an on-campus hybrid in Boston and a fully remote option.

  • Boston On-Campus Hybrid: The on-campus hybrid experience features a blend of in-person instruction with remote learning, small class sizes, and cohort groupings. You will have access to campus facilities and on-campus cocurricular and extracurricular activities. Students who enroll in the on-campus hybrid option will be charged the comprehensive fee ($1,050).

  • Entirely Remote: Students who are unable to study in person and on campus can complete the spring semester entirely remotely. We will be flexible in working with individual students to make an entirely remote schedule that best works for them. If you study fully remotely and choose not to have access to campus facilities, we will waive the comprehensive fee.

Campus Hybrid Academic Model

The hybrid model we are planning for the spring is very much like the one we had originally planned for the fall, but with notable improvements based on community feedback and new information we’ve learned about containing the spread of COVID-19. Here is what you can expect next semester: 

  • Delayed Semester Start: We will begin the spring semester on January 25, 2021—a week later than usual—and will forgo the originally scheduled spring break, March 15–19, as a way to reduce risks associated with travel. The semester will end on May 7 as planned. View the revised academic calendar.

  • Balanced Blended Learning: Your schedule will be evenly balanced between in-person learning and remote learning. Experiential courses that are central to the curriculum, such as studio classes, ensembles, and coachings, are being prioritized for in-person instruction, whereas most academic courses will continue to be taught remotely.

  • Six-Hour Days: Daily in-person and online instruction in our Conservatory degree programs will be capped at six hours, providing you with ample time to recharge and explore personal artistic endeavors. If you prefer a fuller day of classes, you may add extra courses to your schedule. 

  • Small Class Sizes: In-person classes will be kept small—10 students or less—so that we can follow social distancing guidelines in classroom spaces.

  • Cohort Groupings: You will be assigned a group, or cohort, with which you will take all in-person classes. This model allows us to minimize person-to-person contact and, if necessary, effectively quarantine and contact trace. (Learn more below.)

  • Block Scheduling: We will use a block schedule model for all on-campus classes and practice room assignments. Block scheduling allows us to manage the population density of our campus at any given time by rotating groups on and off campus efficiently with predictable traffic flows.

  • Practice Room and Campus Facility Access: If you are enrolled in the campus hybrid option, you will have access to campus facilities and will be assigned specific times in practice rooms.

  • Private Lessons: Depending on your preference, we will accommodate both remote and in-person lessons, granted proper safety precautions can be implemented. If you are interested in in-person lessons, please consult with your teacher and department chair.

  • Performances: We will continue to present performances virtually this spring, but with an expanded approach. In addition to broadcasting prerecorded performance videos as we are currently doing, we will also video stream live performances from our campus venues to remote audiences around the world. The experience of performing live for video, as opposed to an in-person audience, is unique and develops valuable skills that will give you a professional edge in your careers, especially as we are seeing more and more companies turn to video while performance venues are closed.

Academic courses, somatic courses, graduate seminars, and applied lessons will be taught online. 

Accommodations for Students Who Cannot Be on Campus

Students who are unable to study in person and on campus, for any reason, can still complete the spring semester entirely remotely without falling behind. We understand that each student’s situation is unique, and we will be flexible in working with individual students to make an entirely remote schedule that best works for them.

The Cohort Model

A cohort is a group of students who take the same set of classes together for a shared learning experience. The Conservatory will use a cohort model for in-person learning this spring to achieve smaller class sizes and limit physical contact while on campus. Each Conservatory cohort will have approximately 10 students. Students will complete all in-person instruction on campus with their cohorts, allowing for enhanced individualized instruction from teachers and more immersive collaborations with peers.

The cohort model only applies to the in-person courses taught on campus; online courses are not cohort-based. Students will participate in online classes with different sets of students, giving them an opportunity to learn and collaborate remotely with peers outside their cohort. 

2020–2021 Academic Calendar

The start of the spring 2021 semester will be delayed by one week, beginning January 25, 2021. In an effort to minimize travel during the semester, we will not hold our traditional spring break week, but the semester will end at its originally scheduled time, May 7, 2021. 

View the Boston Conservatory at Berklee 2020–2021 academic calendar.

Course Offerings, Advising, and Registration

Spring registration opened in late November. Note that new Conservatory students register as part of orientation.

For questions about program requirements or advice on your unique circumstances, please consult with your department chair.

Tuition, Fees, and Housing Costs

As announced in the fall, we are honoring a tuition freeze for the duration of this academic year. Tuition, room and board, and the comprehensive fee will remain frozen at the 2019–2020 rates. Review pricing details here. We will also add funding to the appeals budget for students whose families are experiencing financial difficulties. For Conservatory students who choose to study fully remotely and will not have access to campus facilities, we will waive the comprehensive fee of $1,050.

Academic Expectations


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