Berklee Announces Online Bachelor's Degree for Songwriting

Nick Balkin
September 10, 2015
Press release

Berklee Online, the award-winning online continuing education division at Berklee, announces today that it will offer the world’s first online bachelor of professional studies degree for songwriting. The degree—accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges—will require 120 credits for completion. The $14,490 per year tuition for the online degree is 62 percent less than Berklee’s on-campus tuition.

The application process for the songwriting major is open now, and the inaugural class for the online bachelor’s degree begins on January 11, 2016.

“I think online learning is a big part of the future of music education,” says Bonnie Hayes, chair of Berklee's Songwriting Department, who has written songs for Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler, David Crosby, and others. “With our new online songwriting degree, we can reach students who can’t physically get to our Boston campus, at 62 percent less than the cost of attending Berklee in Boston. Part of my goal at Berklee is to broaden the overall reach of the Songwriting Department, so that everyone gets a chance to be heard and develop the tools that they need to build the kind of songs they want to produce. Online education is a perfect vehicle to do that.”

All of the courses are written and taught by Berklee faculty members or industry experts, such as Pat PattisonNeil DiercksJimmy Kachulis, and Andrea Stolpe. These renowned faculty members have taught countless successful songwriters, both online and on-campus, including recent Berklee graduate and pop hitmaker Charlie Puth.

In the program, students will learn techniques to develop their own voices as songwriters, as well as the business background to attain careers in their chosen fields. Students will gain skills for writing and arranging across a variety of popular musical styles and collaborate with other songwriters in co-writing and team-writing situations. Upon graduation, students will have developed a portfolio of original songs that includes lead sheets, lyric sheets, and professional-quality demo recordings equivalent to those typically presented to music publishers, producers, and labels.

Berklee established the first college-level major in songwriting in 1987 and Berklee Online’s new songwriting major is building on that pioneering legacy. Grammy Award-winning songwriters who got their start at Berklee before launching their careers include Melissa Etheridge, John Mayer, Aimee Mann, Gillian Welch, Makeba Riddick (Rihanna, Beyoncé), Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Fun.), and many others.

In addition to songwriting, Berklee Online currently offers bachelor of professional studies degrees for music production; music business; electronic music production and sound design; music composition for film, TV, and games; interdisciplinary music studies; and an undeclared option.

For more than 13 years, Berklee Online has been teaching music online across various disciplines—from for-credit, instructor-led online courses and multi-course certificate programs to free, non-credit massive open online courses (MOOCs) through Coursera and edX. Berklee Online is a University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) Award-winning school for 10 years running.