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Culminating Experience Resource Guide: Home

Information for Berklee Graduate students on researching and assembling Culminating Experience Projects

Culminating Experience/Thesis: Berklee College of Music


The Master of Music and Master of Arts programs at Berklee College of Music conclude with a culminating experience. The culminating experience represents the highest expression of a student's learning at the graduate level and helps to shape students’ next steps in their careers by providing them with an opportunity to complete unique and original professional work. Through the culminating experience, students make a creative contribution to define and/or to solve a problem that exists within their profession. This contribution may take the form of a research project, a creative project, a practical project, and/or another project of the student’s devising.


Students are required to document their projects with a written proposal. This proposal must be approved by the faculty advisor and/or program director. Students then build a culminating experience committee to guide and evaluate their work. Upon completion of their projects, students reflect on the experience and consider the next steps. 


In their final intensive semester, all students are required to present their work to their culminating experience committee and if applicable, the entire Berklee community.


Upon completion of their culminating experience, students will:

  • make a creative contribution to the profession, and/or define and solve a problem that exists in the discipline of study
  • design and execute an original project;
  • produce a professional piece of academic and/or creative work, whether a research project, composition, recording or production, performance, practicum, or clinical experience that is analyzed and summarized, or other;
  • evaluate their experience, assessing the contribution made to the profession; and
  • analyze their own artistic, professional, and personal growth as a result of having completed the experience.

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