What degrees does Harvard's Music Department offer?
You can earn an A.B. from Harvard College with a concentration (or joint concentration, or secondary field [minor]) in Music. We also have a graduate program that offers the PhD in musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, or composition, and a small AM program in Performance Practice, meant for mid-career performers or scholars.
In addition, Harvard and New England Conservatory offer a five-year, dual degree program where students can earn a A.B. from Harvard College and an M.M. from NEC. Click here for details.
Does Harvard offer a music performance degree?
Harvard has an academic music department, not a conservatory program, and does not have performance faculty or offer lessons. Also, we don't currently offer Music Education, Music Therapy, Vocal Performance, or Music/Sound Engineering degrees. That said, the music scene at Harvard is an especially vibrant one, and there are many experienced and talented musicians who chose Harvard for its strong liberal arts education and continue their music studies at a level equal to or greater than noted conservatories. The difference is that students must take the initiative to audition for the performance groups that interest them, and arrange lessons with Boston area tutors outside their work at Harvard.
If you are a serious musician, you will find dozens of musicians who work and perform at a Conservatory level. If you are someone who enjoys performing for pleasure, you will likely be able to find your place within a large community of performers and a wide range of opportunities.
Does Harvard require an audition for admission?
No. Harvard does not hold auditions of any kind during the admissions process. If music is important to you, you are welcome (not required) to send in a CD of your performance as an "Arts Supplement" to your Common Application.
What performance opportunities are there at Harvard?
The majority of Harvard students come to college with some musical background. There are no less than 45 student music organizations on campus ranging from Mariachi to gamelan, Chinese chorus to jazz bands to several orchestras, choral groups, a capella groups, world music groups, bands, and percussion ensembles. Each operates independently with their own schedule of rehearsals and concerts, and most audition for new members each fall. Musical activities are considered extra-curricular (with some exceptions, such as the performance classes run by the department for credit). For information on music performance both in the Music Department and elsewhere on campus, click here. For information about Harvard's new A.B./M.M. dual degree performance program with New England Conservatory, click here.
The Music Department offers a few performance courses for credit each term; examples from recent years include choral conducting, chamber music, jazz improvisation, orchestration, and performance/analysis. It also offers a full composition program.
Is it possible to study an instrument with music department faculty?
Music faculty do not give instrument or vocal lessons. Students who wish to pursue lessons are encouraged to find a music tutor in the Boston area. For more information on finding a tutor, go to Performance.
Does Harvard have a choral music program?
There are numerous choral music opportunities at Harvard, including the Choral Fellows Program and the University Choir. However, the Music Department offers no degree program in choral music. The Director of Choral Activities at Harvard is Andrew Clark; for information about Professor Clark and many of the choral groups on campus, click here.
What do students do with a AB in Music?
Students who graduate with an AB with a concentration in Music go on to as many different fields as any student with a liberal arts degree. Many are successful going on to Conservatory after Harvard, and music concentrators have recently gone on to study at USC, NEC, or Juilliard. Some pursue a performance career. Others go to Law School, get a business degree, or go to graduate school in a number of fields, including historical musicology.
Can I get a master's degree?
The graduate program does not offer a "terminal" master's degree and all graduate students are expected to complete therequirements for a PhD. Following successful completion of your course work and general examination, you may apply to the registrar's office to receive a master's degree en route to completion of your doctorate.
Do I need a master's degree to apply to the graduate program in music?
No. Some students have earned a master's when they apply to the PhD program, but just as many have not, and apply directly after they graduate from a four-year college.
How big is the Department of Music?
The Music Department ordinarily has around 18 permanent faculty, around 6 visiting faculty, and 50 undergraduate concentrators, 60 graduate students, 10 staff, and 10-15 associates.