Lately I have come across many online music degrees, certificates, and even online BA and MA programmes! I will list some examples below:

The tuition fees for the full online BA/MA programmes are simply out of my budget. They are simply five times more expensive than pursuing an on-campus Music BA in my city.

What is the value of Coursera/edX certificates? i.e. Let's say someone receives many of those online 'certificates' and has a very good understanding of music, theory, composition, etc. on the same level of an MA graduate, can he then enter a PhD in music?

  • I have removed the part of your question asking for free degrees. That is off topic here. The rest of your question is on topic. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 2 '18 at 19:30

The Berklee Introduction course says "Length, 6 weeks, effort, 5 hours per week". Do you really think 30 hours study is enough to "enter a PhD in music?" There's nothing wrong with paying for a certificate if having the certificate makes you feel good, and the course is probably fine (Berklee certainly has a good reputation) - but this is a very basic introduction to the subject, not the equivalent of a BA in music.

Comparing it with UK music exams like ABRSM, it doesn't look equivalent even to ABRSM Grade 5 which is about the same academic level as the UK school GCSE exams intended for 16-year olds, and you would take two more years of school courses, after that, and pass another exam, to qualify to start a BA music degree at university.

The Edinburgh course looks to be at a similar level - the web site clearly says "Level: Beginner". For example the first 3 weeks of the 5 are about "how to read basic music notation" - so more than half the course is the musical equivalent of "learning to read English in elementary school".

The Berklee "Music composition for Film, etc" is at a higher level, but read the first sentence of the Overview: "Gain the practical skills to compose, arrange, and orchestrate effective dramatic music for visual media, including film, television, and interactive media." This is a practical course, not an academic one to prepare you for an MA or PhD. Also, note that the admission requirements include submitting two original compositions in sheet music form, plus a video demo of your performing ability.

If you read the all the comments, you find this difference between the Berklee college courses and the online version:

While both degrees are from Berklee and share the same accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the Bachelor’s of Music (BM) program has private lesson requirements, ensemble/instrument lab requirements, audition requirements, and also a different set of core music requirements. Otherwise, the BM and Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) programs are the same. The career opportunities for both programs are very similar. However, if you are planning to later pursue graduate and/or doctoral studies, some of these programs require that students have a BM from undergrad.

  • 2
    You must have completely misunderstood me. I did NOT say 'get one of those certificates and then apply for a PhD'. I said what if someone has many of those online certificates, in music theory, composition, etc. and has equally as much knowledge as a Master's degree student. – Flank Jan 13 '17 at 19:08
  • Ya know, the first part of this answer is pretty condescending – Kolob Canyon Jan 15 '17 at 3:58
  • @aleph I have just removed that first sentence. As per Kolob's comment it just detracts from your post. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 2 '18 at 19:29

I think these online courses just scratch the surface. I have done alot my self but all it does is adding a little to what you already know or just introducing you to them as it were, I think it makes more sense to have one study properly in the institutions. In simple words I think the wax courses are certificate courses not degrees so can not be compare with BA or MA

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