Degrees and Majors
The Conservatory of Music seeks to educate young musicians at the highest level. The conservatory offers rigorous programs designed to prepare students for professional lives as performers, composers, scholars, and teachers. We welcome talented music students with demonstrated records of achievement to apply.
The conservatory offers private study in 31 applied areas and undergraduate majors in performance, composition, electronic and computer music, jazz studies, music education, music history, music theory, and a double major in piano performance and vocal accompanying.
Oberlin's Double-Degree program, offered jointly between the Conservatory of Music and the College of Arts and Sciences, leads to the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Music degrees. Students who choose this five-year program enjoy the challenges and breadth of study inherent in a liberal arts program alongside the focused intensity of a pre-professional music program.
Bachelor of Music (BM)
A four-year degree program, with majors offered in: Performance (piano, organ, voice, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, early instruments); Composition; Technology in Music and Related Arts; Jazz Studies; Music History; Music Theory (as part of a double major only); Double Major in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompanying; Individual Major.
Performance Diploma (PDip)
This four-semester program, offered only in certain performance departments, is designed for the very small number of gifted performers who have not yet completed the BM or its equivalent and who are seeking a very narrowly focused program of study leading to a performance-oriented career. Performance Diploma students may apply to transfer to the Bachelor of Music program before the end of the program. Students seeking admission to the BM degree must demonstrate skills necessary to complete both the performance and academic coursework required for the BM. Students who have completed requirements for both the BM and the Performance Diploma will receive only the BM.
Master of Contemporary Chamber Music (MCCM)
This professionally focused, tuition-free, two-year graduate program is designed to launch chamber music ensembles of exceptional artistic and creative potential. It is designed for chamber ensembles of three to seven members in any instrumentation, available for full-time study, and without artist management.
The curriculum includes intensive coaching combined with individual applied study as well as coursework in theory, musicology, and entrepreneurship devised to deepen analytical and stylistic perspectives, and develop business and artistic administration skills. Faculty mentoring concentrates on fostering the ensemble's charge to be innovative and their development of artistry and programming.
Ensembles will benefit from support for touring, recording, and competitions and will be eligible to apply for startup funding offered through Oberlin’s Creativity & Leadership Project.
Master of Music in Conducting (MM)
Master of Music in Historical Performance (MM)
The MM in Performance on Historical Instruments is intended for a limited number of students who have acquired skills on historical instruments and who wish to pursue practical study in performance in combination with the study of performance practice and musicology. Concentrations are offered in harpsichord, fortepiano, organ, Baroque violin, Baroque flute, recorder, Baroque cello/viola da gamba, historical keyboard instruments (harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ, combined), and historical oboes (Baroque, Classical, and other oboes). Students holding an undergraduate degree from another institution will take four semesters to complete the program. Oberlin undergraduates may audition during their junior year for a five-year program which combines the Bachelor of Music degree in a modern instrument with the MM in an historical instrument.
Master of Music in Teaching (MMT)
The MMT is a 14-month degree program leading to teacher licensure and a master’s degree in teaching. The degree is available in integration with an Oberlin Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Performance or Composition, or after completion of a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance or Composition from an institution other than Oberlin.
Learn more about the Master of Music Teaching program.
Artist Diploma (ADip)
This four-semester program, offered only in certain performance departments, is intended for a limited number of exceptionally gifted performers who have completed the BM or its equivalent, who have acquired extensive musical background through institutional or private studies or through unusual performing experiences, and who wish to concentrate on private applied study without additional course requirements. Oberlin Conservatory of Music's Bachelor of Music graduates may apply to the Artist Diploma program only with the recommendation of the department and approval of the Office of Associate Deans of the Conservatory. Students who enroll in and or complete the Artist Diploma program may not transfer to the Bachelor of Music degree program.
Artist Diploma in Piano Technology (ADipPT)
The new Artist Diploma in Piano Technology capitalizes on the conservatory’s long relationship with Steinway and Sons and its access to incredible performers and instruments. The program emphasizes the collaborative relationship between technician, player, and instrument; advanced techniques on both Hamburg and New York built models; as well as harpsichord and fortepiano maintenance and tuning.
Renowned artist-technicians John Cavanaugh, Robert Murphy, and Kenneth Sloane lead the program.
Learn more about the Artist Diploma in Piano Technology program.
The Double Degree Program
The Double Degree Program represents combined study in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music. Students accepted to both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music pursue a degree in each division. Oberlin’s encouragement of such study–in conjunction with an exceptionally broad range of course options–makes Oberlin a uniquely effective environment for the study of both music and the liberal arts.