Double Degree Program
This handbook is intended to help give insight into the many possibilities that are available to you as a double-degree student. Perhaps, more importantly, we also hope that this handbook will help you avoid the pitfalls and problems that can arise as part of the Double-Degree program. We urge you to read this handbook carefully and to refer to it when you have questions.
- Definition of Terms
- Some Common Concerns/Questions
- Degree Requirements
- Advising Questions
- Representative First-Year Schedules
- Double-Degree Committee Members
Definition of Terms
- A&S—refers to the Arts and Sciences division of Oberlin College. Also referred to as the college. Students in the college are working toward the BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree.
- Applied Study—(also referred to as Private Study, Private Lessons, Principal Study) these are the 4 to 6 credit hour lessons that conservatory and double-degree students take on their principal instruments or voice. Voice performance majors in the first and second years may take Principal Study for 3 credits. Note: Jazz majors are sometimes required to split their lesson credits between jazz and classical private study (for two credits each). See the grid of requirements in the Course Catalog for spsecific requirements.
- Committees—conservatory and double-degree students in performance areas must pass a First, Second and sometimes Third Committee at the end of each year of private study. These committees are designed to measure progress on your principal instrument or major area. Each major has specific requirements for passing committees. If a student does not pass the Sophomore Committee, he/she may not be allowed to continue in that major.
- Con—the affectionate nickname for the Conservatory of Music. Students are working toward the BMus (Bachelor of Music) degree, the Performance Diploma, Artist Diploma, or Master’s degree in Conducting, Teaching, Historical Performance or Opera Theater.
- DD—Double-Degree (not to be confused with Double Major - see below). Students are working toward the B.Mus. and B.A. degrees.
- Double Major—a student who is a double major will receive a single degree with two majors (e.g. piano performance and music theory, or chemistry and English).
- Double-Degree Committee—this committee was created to oversee the Double-Degree program and its students. It is charged with helping students achieve and cope with issues in both the college and conservatory. The co-chairs of the committee are Ellen Sayles, Associate Dean of Studies in the College and Marci Alegant, Associate Dean in the Conservatory. The committee is comprised of faculty from both the college and conservatory as well as students.
- Music Major—a student in the College of Arts and Sciences who is majoring in music. Also referred to as the Musical Studies Major.
- Non-course Requirements—these are the requirements (recitals, proficiencies, committees, etc.) for which conservatory and double-degree students do not register but must complete in order to graduate. These requirements are listed below the course requirements in the grid section of the Course Catalog.
- Registrar—located in Carnegie Hall, the Registrar takes care of coordinating course registration. If you have a registration problem, you may wish to contact the Registrar’s Office first. There is also an Office of the Registrar website.
Some Common Concerns/Questions
One of the dominant themes of this handbook, and indeed, in the Double-Degree program, is the challenge of combining the demands and requirements of a liberal arts program with those of a pre-professional music degree. By its very nature, the liberal arts value breadth as well as depth, and therefore, students are encouraged to explore widely. On the other hand, the music student is traditionally urged to commit, commit, commit, and practice, practice, practice. Time that is spent doing other things is sometimes considered to be at the expense of your music. Most students coming into the Double-Degree program have experienced some of the tension already. In fact, the reason some students choose to pursue the Double-Degree is precisely because they enjoy the challenges inherent in both degree programs. Double-degree students, teachers, and advisors should be aware of this tension as they find their ways through the challenges of the Double-Degree program. Listed below are some of the questions and/or concerns students might hear as they work their ways through the five-year program.
This is the most crucial question of all, and the answers to it are personal and individual. One of the greatest advantages is that the program keeps the widest variety of options open to the student once he/she graduates. For the many students who have not necessarily decided on a specific post-college plan, or for those who prefer not to limit their bachelor’s education, the acquisition of two different degrees can prove to be a very rewarding experience.
Will there be pressure to drop either degree?
It would not be unusual for either conservatory or college professors, at one time or another, to discuss the possibility of dropping one degree. Any double-degree student will feel spread thin at some point, and balancing academic classes with practice time and rehearsals is a challenging, but certainly possible, task.
Is it possible to finish in less than five years?
It is difficult to finish the Double-Degree program in less than five years, but every year there are some who will complete both degrees in four and a half years or sometimes even four. If a student chooses to spread the program over five years, even with no incoming AP or transfer credits, it is likely that both degrees can be finished with ample time to take additional classes of interest to the student but not required for either major. Although putting together a five-year plan may seem daunting, it is often the case that without the pressure of an early graduation (less than five years), the requirements will fit into five years easily.
Does being Double-Degree mean that you are not going to be a professional musician?
The most direct answer to this question is that our graduates go on to careers that run the gamut from professional musicians to business professionals. The advantage is that they are well prepared for whatever profession they choose.
Do double-degree students have less of a commitment to music than conservatory students?
Of course not. If you think about the amount of time per semester that can be devoted to practice, double-degree students may have less than their conservatory counterparts. On the other hand, over the five-year period, double-degree students must meet the same graduation requirements that conservatory students do, so in that sense, the only real difference is in how quickly the degree is obtained.
These are some of the issues that you will have to think through as you go through the Double-Degree program. People differ, and not all will come up with the same conclusions except for one: double-degree students are different from either conservatory or college students, and those differences must be taken into account in order for you to maximize your success here.
(This is the “nuts and bolts” section of this handbook!)
The requirements for the double-degree are stated in the Course Catalog section titled, "The Double-Degree Program." Double-degree students should carefully read the entire Double-Degree section in the Course Catalog. All references to the Course Catalog refer to the most current Catalog. Each requirement is explained in more detail below.
152 minimum total hours—Each double-degree student must have a minimum of 152 combined Conservatory and Arts and Sciences hours in order to graduate. On occasion a student will exceed the minimum due to the combination of majors.
62 Arts and Sciences hours—The best method to insure that you reach 62 hours is to plot an approximate schedule of college courses for your degree in your first semester. You should be aware that several college majors actually require more than 62 hours when distribution requirements are added.
76 Conservatory hours—The minimum number of conservatory hours required for the B.Music is 76 whether or not you are pursuing the single BMus or the Double-Degree. Several conservatory majors have 56 required Conservatory hours and 20 elective Conservatory hours; others have nearly 76 Conservatory hours required for the major. Those conservatory majors with a high number of required conservatory hours are more difficult to do in the Double-Degree program because of the inflexibility of scheduling courses. Do not despair! With early planning even the tough combinations are possible.
5 semesters in residence—Students must be enrolled at Oberlin or in Oberlin College programs for a minimum of five semesters.
3 winter terms—This requirement is the same for both double-degree and single degree students.
Completion of a major in each degree program—Double-degree students must fulfill all the requirements for their declared majors in both divisions. In calculating completion of graduation requirements the Registrar uses the following rules from the Course Catalog:
Conservatory students (including double-degree students) must complete the requirements for their conservatory major which were in effect upon entering Oberlin. Should the requirements for a major change while a student is enrolled, the student may elect to follow the requirements in effect when entering Oberlin or those in effect in any subsequent year. However, the student must elect to follow the complete set of requirements in effect in one of those years.
Double-degree students must declare their Arts and Sciences major before the end of the fifth semester. The requirements that apply are those published in the Course Catalog in effect in the student's fifth semester. These requirements may be altered as necessary in individual cases by the departments or programs.
30 Arts and Sciences hours by the end of the fifth semester—This rule is described in item one under the heading "Recommended Course Distribution" in the Course Catalog. The 30-hour rule is designed to ensure appropriate progress toward both degrees. Students (and their advisors) should make every effort to see that 12 A&S hours are completed by the end of the first year and 25 A&S hours by the end of the second year, and 30 A&S hours at the end of their fifth semester. This rule may mean that double-degree students will have to postpone some classes considered "typical" or "core" first-year music courses until later in their curriculum. It is important to keep in mind that double-degree students have FIVE years to complete their degree programs so there is some flexibility in scheduling. Double-degree students who enter with Advanced Placement (AP) credit are at a great advantage in scheduling flexibility.
9-9-9 distribution requirements in Arts and Sciences—Double-degree students are required to complete at least nine credit hours in courses in each of the three divisions of the college. (The three divisions are Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.) These credits must be from at least two departments or programs within each division. Double-degree students may count Music History courses above MHST 101, upper-division Music Theory courses (refer to list in the back of the Course Catalog) and Historical Performance courses toward the Arts and Humanities portion of this requirement. However, these conservatory courses do not count toward the 62-hour A&S requirement. Double-degree students are not required to do the 84-hour rule that other college students must complete (for an explanation of the 84-hour rule see "Institutional Requirements" in the Course Catalog). Warning: If you drop the BMus portion of the Double-Degree at any point in your Oberlin career, you will be required to comply with the 84-hour rule.
9-hour cultural diversity requirement—Nine credit hours of courses labeled "cultural diversity" from at least two departments or programs will be required. This work will count simultaneously toward other distribution requirements.
Writing Proficiency—The guidelines for completing the Writing Proficiency requirement are outlined in the Course Catalog sections titled "Rhetoric and Composition."
Quantitative Proficiency—The guidelines for completing the Quantitative Proficiency are in the a'Wuantitative Proficiency" section of the Course Catalog.
Minimum Grade Point Average—In order to graduate a student must have a GPA of at least 1.67. P and NP grades do not enter in the GPA calculation.
Actual double-degree students submitted these questions. The students hope to help you avoid some common pitfalls.
Q: How many hours should I take my first semester?
A: Since 152 hours are needed in order to graduate, double-degree students must take average 15.2 hours per semester without AP or transfer credit. The maximum number of hours a double-degree student may take is 17; 18 hours may be taken with special permission from the Associate Dean of the conservatory for an additional charge of $1160.00 per credit hour over 17. First-year students should probably try 15 or 16 hours in order not to feel completely overwhelmed.
Note: Double-degree students whose schedule reaches 17 hours without registering for a large ensemble may register for a large ensemble for 0 hours. This will count to fulfill a semester of the ensemble requirement for most majors but not count toward the 152 hour requirement for graduation.
Q: Which conservatory classes should I/may I delay?
A: (Voice majors should read the answer specifically dealing with Voice Performance double-degree students below.) This is a hard question to answer. A typical first year conservatory schedule goes something like this:
|Private Study||4 hours|
|Music Theory||3 hours|
|Music History 101||4 hours|
|Secondary Piano||2 hours|
|Aural Skills||1 hours|
This is NOT a good schedule for double-degree students since there are no college courses (remember the 30-hour rule!).
Together with your advisors you should ask the following questions to help determine which conservatory classes you might wish to delay:
- How did you do on your Music Theory Placement Tests and/or your Aural Skills test?
- How are your piano skills? Would it be possible to delay or place out of one semester of piano lessons or piano class?
- Do you have AP credit that will count toward some of your A&S hours?
Some advisors may encourage you not to delay any of your conservatory classes. Make sure that your advisors are aware that you are pursuing the double-degree program. The college and conservatory have mandated expected progress toward the A&S portion of the Double-Degree. Double-degree students are expected to have 12 A&S hours by the end of the first year and 25 by the end of the second. You will certainly wish to discuss this expectation with your conservatory advisor in order to make satisfactory progress toward your degrees.
First year Double Degree voice majors, have several options to consider for course scheduling. Selection of courses should be done carefully in close consultation with both advisors.
1) For students who feel they need more initial attention paid to the foundational musical skills required for the Conservatory degree, we suggest:
||PVST Primary Voice
||PVST Secondary Piano
|5 Credits||Italian (or German or French)|
2) For students who need or choose to pursue an additional liberal arts course, they are two suggested options:
|3 Credits||PVST Primary Voice|
|3-4 Credit||Liberal Arts course|
|3 Credits||Music Theory|
|1 Credit||Aural Skills|
|3 Credits||PVST Primary Voice|
|2 Credits||PVST Secondary Piano or English diction|
|3 Credits||Music Theory|
|1 Credit||Aural Skills|
|3 Credit||Additional Liberal Arts course|
Q: Should I concentrate one semester in the college and one in the conservatory or keep the hours even?
A: Your best plan is to consider blending both programs as you progress toward graduation. There may be some semesters in which your credit load will be heavier in one division than in the other. Principal private study in most conservatory majors is required for eight of your ten semesters so it is nearly impossible to have a semester in which you concentrate all your credits in the A&S division.
Q: What happens if I drop one portion of my double degree?
A: This is another tricky question since it depends in part on when you make the decision to change degree programs. A general guideline is to make the change as early as possible since that gives you the most flexibility in charting a new course. Your first step should be to make an appointment with the appropriate Dean in the division in which you want to continue (Ellen Sayles for the college and Mary K. Gray for the conservatory). These advisors will review your progress in the division to make sure that you can still complete one degree in four years.
Deadline to change status: Changes to a student's degree status (from Double Degree, to Double Degree, or tranferring from one division to another) must normally occur no later than the end of the third yeaer for single degree students or fourth year for double degree students. Changes must occur earlier when required by the Conservatory Associate Dean's Office or the Dean of Studies Office due to lack of progress toward a degree (i.e. completing the 12-25-30 rule, following the academic standing policies for a degree, etc.). Normally, students who change their status after the second year must demonstrate the ability to complete the degree(s) without additional semesters in residence required for that degree. The number of semesters of remaining financial aid will be determined by the normal length of the degree to which the student is changing.
Q: What about financial aid?
A: If you are officially enrolled in the Double-Degree program and receive financial aid, you are entitled to ten (10) semesters of aid (providing you qualify for all semesters). If you change to a single degree program you will only be eligible for eight (8) semesters of financial aid (again assuming you qualify for all eight semesters).
Q: Where do I go for help?
A: The Co-Chairs of the Double-Degree Committee are:
Ellen Sayles, Associate Dean of Studies, Peters 205, x58540
Mary K. Gray, Associate Dean in the Conservatory, Bibbins 113, x58293
Please contact either Dean Sayles or Dean Gray with any questions regarding the Double- Degree program. Students may also wish to contact other double-degree students with questions about scheduling or requirements. A list of double-degree students is available in Bibbins 113.
Representative First-Year Schedules
The following schedules are examples of first semester double-degree student course schedules for incoming students. Please note that since these are actual schedules from prior years, there may be differences from the current course catalog. Each student, in consultation with his/her advisors, should design a semester course schedule that takes into account the following:
- Advanced Placement Credits
- Theory Proficiency
- Music History Background
- Intended A&S Major
- Major Requirements
- Distribution Requirements
There may be other individual needs that also should be taken into account. The schedules below should be considered templates you can use rather than strict guidelines. These samples illustrate some of the difficulties double-degree students face in scheduling their courses. None of the samples indicated below are "light" schedules and, although there may be an occasional "light" semester, most of your semesters will be similar to the examples we have put together.
Sample FLUTE and RELIGION Major
|3||Religion 207: Life and Teachings of Jesus|
|3||Music Theory 132|
|4||Principal Private Flute|
Comments: This student has opted not to take Music History 101 in the first year and has enrolled in the Music Theory sequence instead. She has also chosen to take two A&S courses in order to work toward the recommended 12 A&S hour guideline for the first year.
Sample PIANO and MATHEMATICS Major
|4||Math 133: Calculus 1|
|4||First-Year Seminar Program 122|
|4||Principal Private Piano|
|3||Music Theory 131|
|1||Aural Skills 1|
Comments: This is a challenging schedule. This example also shows a situation in which a student might delay taking Music History 101.
Sample VIOLIN and ENGLISH Major
|4||Religion 207: Life and Teachings of Jesus|
|3||Music Theory 132|
|1||Principal Private Flute|
Comments: The student with this schedule has placed out of piano class and has several Advanced Placement credits, which will count toward his A&S hours. This is also not an easy schedule!
Double-Degree Committee Members
Gray, Mary K., Co-chair, ex officio
Sayles, Ellen, Co-chair, ex officio
Babyak, Joyce, ex officio
Kalyn, Andrea, ex officio
Huff, Steve - College
Sammartino, Annemarie - College
Alegant, Brian - Conservatory
McDonald, Marilyn - Conservatory
Student - TBA
Associate Dean of Studies
Mary K. Gray
Associate Dean in the Conservatory
|Handbook For Double-Degree Students & Advisors|
|DD Worksheet & Checklist|