All Conservatory undergraduates pursue a five-year program leading to two degrees: the bachelor of music and the bachelor of arts in a field other than music. The pursuit of these two degrees at Bard is thoroughly integrated. Conservatory students live, eat, and attend most classes with non-Conservatory students, and are fully part of the academic and social life of the College. Each Conservatory student has two academic advisers, one from the Conservatory and one from a field that the student is considering as a major for the B.A. degree.
The bachelor of music program contains many innovative components: all performance majors study composition, and the Conservatory Seminar integrates music theory and music history with special emphasis on their relation to performance.
The curricula of the Conservatory and the College are flexible, allowing participants to create the sequence of music and other courses that best suits each student. The aim of the Conservatory and the College is to foster a unified learning environment where the serious study of music goes hand in hand with the education of the whole person.
Additional music electives are available in a broad range of topics, including classes in music history, advanced analysis, and courses studying music beyond the Western classical tradition. All courses in the Bard College B.A. Music Program—including those in electronic music, jazz, and world music—are open to students in the Conservatory.