Master of Arts
The Master of Arts in Songwriting will instill in you a deeper knowledge of lyrical and musical techniques, song forms, and ideas on arranging and production that past and current innovators in songwriting have used with great success. You will explore the creation of a personal brand and connect it to your writing and marketing, understand current career options available to songwriters, and develop the skills required to ideate and plan your career.
You will apply the principles of songwriting to your own advanced music project, which can take many forms, always in keeping with having a product and calling card that will move you forward in your career arc.
The Master of Arts in Songwriting is a unique project-focused master’s degree program, where the goal is to produce a body of work that will prepare you for a career in the current commercial music industry. You choose your career focus, whether it’s as a performing songwriter, top-line collaborating songwriter, songwriter/producer, vocal arranger/producer, sync and licensing expert, or songwriter for musical theater or various niche markets.
Upon completing the program, you will also be well prepared to adapt to rapid changes and new creative directions in the music industry.
By the end of the program, you will be able to:
- Synthesize and apply songwriting processes and techniques, including lyric writing, melodic writing, and harmony and groove writing to your work
- Analyze songs using artistic, academic, market criteria, as well as production methods and styles and understand songs and recordings from a historical perspective
- Connect artistic vision, mission, and voice to a personal brand that includes visual and sonic components
- Synthesize and apply recording and production processes and techniques, including beat-making, hook-writing, arranging, vocal production, editing, and mixing to your own work
- Demonstrate an understanding of current music markets, how songs are perceived in relation to those markets and contextualize your songs within those markets
- Effectively collaborate with other songwriters, as well as producers and business entities
- Write a portfolio of finished songs that express a unique artistic perspective
- Produce or collaborate on the production of the songs in your portfolio in a style that both supports the artistic perspective and orients the songs toward a specific market
- Design and execute a branded online presence that includes social media, website, and other elements as needed to promote yourself within the industry as a songwriter
- Write songs for various uses including advertising, libraries, sync to film/TV, and writing for niche markets
- Define and execute a career plan that takes into consideration your unique skill set and career goals, keeping in mind current and potential future income streams available to songwriters
Required Online Courses
(subject to change, course information coming soon)
Complete the following requirements in the recommended order listed here:
- OSONG-505Music Career Strategies: Brand Identity Development for Artists, Songwriters, and Producers
- OSONG-525Songwriting Tools and Techniques
- OSONG-570Music Demo Production for Songwriters
- OSONG-601Collaborative Songwriting
- OSONG-597Songs Unmasked: Techniques and Tips for Songwriting Success
- OSONG-555Writing and Analyzing Hit Songs
- OSONG-664Songwriting Sync Success: The Art and Craft of Licensing, Film/TV, Advertising, and Production Music
- OSONG-639Topline and Vocal Production
- OSONG-693Culminating Experience in Songwriting 1
- OSONG-676Artistry, Innovation, and a Sustainable Career in the Music Industry
- OSONG-640Genre Survey for Songwriters: Analysis and Application
- OSONG-695Culminating Experience in Songwriting 2
How to Apply
- Fill out the online application (15 minutes).
- Statement of Purpose: Create a 500-750 word essay, or a 3-5 minute video essay, in which you tell us about your background and why you are applying to the program, in addition to describing the project you intend to pursue in the program.
- Compile your résumé or CV.
- Portfolio: Prepare two examples of recently recorded work, along with a detailed explanation of your role in writing the songs.
- Attach your official transcripts.
- Ask for two letters of recommendation.
Read full graduate admissions requirement details here.
Online graduate degree tuition vs. competitor's campus-based programs
Online graduate degree tuition is $34,980 for 36 credits (includes associated fees). To get started, this degree program includes a non-refundable $75 application fee.
Read full tuition and associated program fee details for this, and all other graduate programs here.
Note: September 2023 Semester Price Increase
In September 2023, online graduate degree tuition will increase to $35,304 for 36 credits (includes associated fees).
Available Financial Aid
Songs have the potential to show us a full range of the human condition from joy to sadness, love to hate, infatuation to lust, realism to unfettered imagination, and so much more.
Prince Charles Alexander
Worked with Mary J Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Destiny’s Child ● Instructor, Vocal Production ● 40+ Platinum and Gold Certifications from RIAA ● Multi-Grammy Winner / Nominee
Anyone can be taught to be a better songwriter. How good you get depends on your work ethic and your willingness to gather tools. We, of course, can’t give you talent, but however much you have to work with, we can help you work with it more effectively.
Developed Songwriting Curriculum for Berklee College of Music ● Author, Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure ● Taught John Mayer and Gillian Welch
Having innate sensibilities to melody, harmony, and rhythm helps you to become a better songwriter, but like most things in life, we all have to work at it, grind it out, and practice our craft in order to compete at a high level.
Collaborated with Quincy Jones, Sting, and Ray Charles ● Music Director, The Script ● Grammy and Latin Grammy nominee ● Main title composer/producer for The Shield
A well-written song does all the work. I can have no voice, and be exhausted, and a well-written song will almost sing itself, and also elevate and inspire me.
Chair of Berklee’s Songwriting Department ● Songwriter, Bonnie Raitt, Cher, David Crosby, Robert Cray ● Toured with Billy Idol and Cris Williamson