Combined Study in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music (The Double-Degree Program)
General Educational Guidelines
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—make Oberlin a uniquely effective environment for study of both music and the liberal arts.
Double-degree programs must be carefully planned. Music study in the Conservatory is preprofessional study with an organized sequence of courses and requirements designed to prepare students for professional careers in music. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a broad liberal education, thus encouraging intellectual breadth and depth.
While the educational goals of each division differ, an increasing number of students elect the challenging and unique opportunity Oberlin offers through the Double-Degree Program.
Admission to the Program
Students not currently enrolled at Oberlin enter the double-degree program by applying for admission to each division separately. Students currently enrolled in one division may apply for admission to the other division.
Double-degree students are awarded the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree
from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Bachelor of Music (BMus)
degree from the Conservatory of Music upon completion of the program. A
double-degree student may not pursue a Bachelor of Arts in music.
Normally both degrees are completed in the same semester. A
double-degree student may elect to graduate from each division in
different semesters; to do so, however, the requirements for the first
degree as a single-degree must be met. Refer to the Arts and Sciences
or the Conservatory of Music portions of this catalog for the
A student pursuing majors in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music must earn a minimum of 152 hours of course credit. In addition, he or she must complete institutional requirements as well as course and non-course requirements for a major in each division.
A few combinations of Conservatory and Arts and Sciences majors, together with the institutional graduation requirements, add up to more than 152 hours. Early planning and consultation with advisors in each division is important in order to complete the program in five years. It should be noted that in a few cases completion of all requirements in five academic years may not be possible.
Institutional Graduation Requirements
All students—Arts and Sciences, Conservatory of Music, and Double-Degree—are responsible for compliance with the institutional graduation requirements stated in the Oberlin College Course Catalog in effect when they first matriculate at Oberlin, unless action by an appropriate faculty body specifically directs otherwise. See the following section on Major Study for regulations concerning majors. The following summarizes these institutional requirements for the Double Degree:
- 152 minimum total hours
- 62 minimum Arts and Sciences hours
- 76 minimum Conservatory hours
- 5 semesters in residence
- 3 Winter Term credits
- Completion of a major in each degree program
- 30 Arts and Sciences hours by the end of the fifth semester
- 9-9-9 distribution requirement in Arts and Sciences
Double-degree students are required to complete at least nine credit hours in each of the three divisions at Oberlin College. 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 of Music Theory courses in this 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 Arts and Sciences requirement. Double-degree students are not required to fulfill the 84-hour rule, i.e., are not required to have 28 Arts and Sciences hours outside the Arts and Sciences division in which they have the most credit.
- 9-hour cultural diversity requirement
Nine credit hours of courses labeled cultural diversity from at least two departments or programs are required. This work will count simultaneously toward other distribution requirements.
- Writing Proficiency
- Quantitative Proficiency
Five semesters in residence at Oberlin or in Oberlin College programs are required. Further, the Conservatory degree requires that at least 24 of the last 30 required credit hours must be earned in residence at Oberlin.
Note: A minimum of 40 Conservatory hours and 36 Arts and Sciences hours must be earned at Oberlin. A maximum of 45 credits may be transferred by double-degree students to Oberlin College following matriculation. Up to 24 hours of transfer credit in the Conservatory and 21 hours in the College of Arts and Sciences will be permitted.
Additional note: for students who decide to drop either degree, the transfer of credit limitations for the remaining degree will apply.
Normally double-degree students complete both degrees at the same time. However, under certain circumstances, a student may request permission to finish degree requirements off campus according to the following procedures.
In the Conservatory of Music, a student who lacks not more than six credit hours may request approval of Finish Away status from the Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs in order to complete these hours at another institution; if any of these hours are requirements for the student’s major, the major department must also approve completion of requirements for Finish Away status. In a small number of cases, a student who has spent at least six semesters in residence or in Oberlin programs and who has completed a major, may request a waiver of the last semester-in-residence requirement with a program of off-campus study, justified by clear educational purposes, for up to 15 hours, either Enrolled-Not-in-Residence, or at another institution.
In the College of Arts and Sciences, a student who lacks not more than eight credit hours at the end of the spring semester or four hours at the end of the fall semester of the amount required for graduation may apply through the Office of the Registrar for permission to complete these hours away from Oberlin. The work may be done at another institution or through Oberlin courses on an Enrolled-Not-in-Residence registration. Permission to complete more than four hours at the end of the fall semester or more than eight hours at the end of the spring semester away from Oberlin will be granted only after consideration of educational or personal reasons by the Office of the Dean of Studies.
A student must be registered for work sufficient to complete, by the end of the last semester in residence, all requirements for the degree(s) sought, in order to be eligible to participate in the annual Commencement exercises following that semester. In addition, students must complete all non-course requirements by the end of classes prior to the Commencement in which they wish to participate. Students who have permission to finish their work away from Oberlin may participate in Commencement exercises only after all requirements have been met.
Double-degree students must reconcile different policies about off-campus study between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory. Therefore, they should carefully consult the “General Information” section of the catalog where specific provisions are presented under “Academic Life.”
Important considerations are as follows:
- Double-degree students may apply for Academic Leave, Personal Leave, or Enrolled-Not-in- Residence (for Oberlin programs abroad);
- Double-degree students are subject to the same regulations as Conservatory students with respect to withdrawal/suspension and readmission/reinstatement.
Declaration of a Major
The Conservatory and the College of Arts Sciences have different requirements regarding declaring a major as described below.
The Conservatory major is declared as part of the admissions process. A request for a change of major is initiated in the Office of the Associate Dean in the Conservatory. Conservatory students must complete the requirements for their Conservatory major which were in effect upon entering Oberlin. Should the requirements for the major change while the student is enrolled, the student may elect to follow the Conservatory major requirements in effect when entering Oberlin or those in effect in any subsequent year during which the student is enrolled; in any case, the student must elect to follow a complete set of Conservatory major requirements in one of those years.
Double-degree students must declare the 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.
Requirements for Major Study
Students with majors in both divisions must be aware of the
requirements which apply to each major, as stated in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as
the Conservatory of Music sections of this catalog. Much that the double-degree student needs to
know is not included in this section of the catalog but in the other two sections. The doubledegree
student must meet every requirement for each major in the two divisions, as outlined fully
in those sections of the catalog.
Recommended Course Distribution
- In order to progress satisfactorily toward the BA degree, it is strongly recommended that double-degree students will have earned at least 12 Arts and Sciences hours by the end of his or her first year and 25 hours by the end of his or her second year. By the end of the fifth semester a double-degree student must have earned 30 Arts and Sciences hours. The student will be asked to drop one portion of the double-degree program if the 30-hour rule has not been met. Up to four hours of Advanced Placement or pre-matriculation transfer credit may count each year. Transfer hours earned at the end of the first year will be credited to the second year. Students should consult the major grid for the recommended course distribution for each Conservatory major.
- It is strongly advised that each double-degree student, at every stage of his or her Oberlin career, prepare and update a ten-semester course distribution plan of study, and that this plan be regularly reviewed by the student in consultation with his or her advisors.
- Double-degree students should refer to the section of the catalog describing requirements in their Conservatory major for the Private Study Committee Exam timetable. Students may deviate from the Private Study Committee Exam timetable only with special permission. In consultation with the principal private study teacher a double-degree student may petition the private study department for permission for these exams to occur in the third, fifth, or seventh semesters.
- Double-degree students may take 17 credit hours in any semester without special permission. Schedules of 18 or 19 hours may be approved by the appropriate dean in each division. See the early pages of this catalog for a fee schedule for additional hours. Generally, a student requesting approval of a schedule in excess of 17 hours must have demonstrated the ability to successfully manage a heavy course load.
Students interested in pursuing Honors should refer to the description of Honors for the major in which he or she is interested. Further general information on the Honors Program is elsewhere in this catalog.
Faculty Advisors. Students admitted to both divisions are assigned advisors as follows. For a Conservatory performance major, the principal applied study teacher is the student’s faculty advisor. For all other Conservatory majors, a faculty member from the major department or program is assigned as advisor. For the College of Arts and Sciences, students are initially assigned faculty advisors, usually in the areas of their possible majors. When the student officially declares the major, an appropriate Arts and Sciences advisor is chosen. Whenever possible, advisors are selected who have a particular interest in and knowledge of the concerns of the double-degree student.
Double-degree students should consult with both of their faculty advisors for help in recommending and selecting an appropriate distribution of courses over ten semesters for majors in the two divisions.
Double-degree students are expected to achieve at least a minimum level of acceptable
accomplishment in each division in order to be considered in good academic standing. The
academic standing of double-degree students will be determined jointly by the College of Arts
and Sciences and Conservatory of Music Academic Standing Committees. See “Academic
Standing” in the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music sections of this catalog
for further information on the purview of the Academic Standing Committees of each division.
The individual policies of each division apply for double-degree students, that is, the student follows the policy of that division in which the course is taught. These policies are described in appropriate sections of this catalog. Educational incompletes are available to double-degree students only in courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. For emergency incompletes, double-degree students must apply to the Office of the Dean of Studies for Arts and Sciences courses, and in the Conservatory to the Office of the Associate Deans.