Berklee College of Music announced today that it will soon offer bachelor's degrees online and will charge tuition rates that are less than half of what students pay to take courses on campus.
Starting next fall, the college’s web division, Berklee Online, will offer 120-credit bachelor of professional studies degrees in music business and music production. In doing so, the college said it will become the first nonprofit music institution to offer accredited bachelor's degrees online.
"Berklee has learned a lesson from our front row seat observing the music industry, namely, lead the change or be a victim of it,” college President Roger Brown said in a statement. “With an online degree, we can expand access to the powerful tools of contemporary music making to many more students. And coupled with MOOCs, which are free, and online education that is less expensive, we have created a multi-faceted global search for talent."
Tuition will be $16,500 per year, the college said.
The college charges its on-campus students $36,514 in annual tuition, which does not include other fees.
“While there are advantages to attending the college's Boston campus, where demand is at an all-time high — applications are up 300 percent over the last decade — these online degrees help achieve Berklee's goal to make quality music education more accessible and affordable to students around the world,” the school said in a statement.
The college said it will begin accepting applications at the start of next week and will issue early acceptance notices to students starting in mid-December. The online classes will start in the fall of 2014.
Admission to the program will be “highly selective,” the college said. No more than 300 students will be accepted into the inaugural class.
The online music business degree will offer courses on licensing, management, marketing, and touring, with a focus on mobile music, streaming, funding, and developing revenue sources.
The online music production degree will provide an “extensive background in Berklee's approach to music production, with courses on the world's top software programs, recording, engineering, mixing, and more,” the college said.
Online courses will be taught by Berklee faculty or industry experts, the college said. Like the degrees awarded by the physical college, Berklee’s online degrees will be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The college launched its Berklee Online program 12 years ago. But, the college has not offered online degree programs until now.
Offerings include for-credit, instructor-led online courses, multi-course certificate programs and free, non-credit offerings through Coursera and EdX.
More than 30,000 students from 144 countries have enrolled in online courses through Berklee since the program began, the college said. Students have included members of Nine in Nails, Dave Matthews Band, Karmin, and Sugarland as well as well-known studio producers and executives at leading technology and business firms.