Music Education

The Music Education Department offers a BM in Music Education, an MM in Music Education, and a DMA in Music Education. The BM program is a qualified licensure program in Massachusetts. Students in the MM program can also earn licensure in Massachusetts by taking additional licensure coursework.

The department offers the MM in Music Education, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Music Education and the DMA in Music Education online.

Degrees Offered

Unique Opportunities

At Boston University, Music Education students have the opportunity to become part of a student body that includes students from throughout the United States, as well as many international students.

Boston University maintains a close relationship with the Boston Public Schools, and many other school districts in the Greater Boston Area. Our on-campus students have many opportunities to observe and intern in schools in the city, and surrounding areas.

Furthermore, our student chapters of the National Association for Music Education and American String Teachers Association provide workshops and clinics throughout the year. Other professional development opportunities that are open to students also take place on campus, with recent workshops being led by organizations such as Boston Area Kodály Educators.

Faculty Members

Notable Graduates

Our graduates hold prestigious leadership positions in music education throughout the United States.

Other Information

The Music Education faculty endorses a broad conception of music education that values traditional school music programs, but also values non-traditional school music offerings and music learning and teaching that occurs in community settings (e.g., El Sistema programs), early childhood programs, New Horizons programs, prison settings, and any other setting that involves music learning and teaching. If you wish to expand your knowledge and abilities and become a more thoughtful leader in music education, BU’s Music Education master’s program is likely right for you.

The MM in Music Education is offered on campus and online. The coursework, qualifying examinations, and dissertation requirements are equivalent for both programs.

Degree Requirements

On-campus and online options exist to meet the needs of diverse student populations. The content of the coursework is equivalent for both options.

Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 credits*
Approved Electives 10 credits
Foundations of Music Education I and II 8 credits
Introduction to Music Education Research 4 credits
Curriculum Organization in Music Education 4 credits
(includes the MM Comprehensive Exam)
Total Credits 32**

*Students with insufficient background in music theory may be required to take Graduate Theory Review.

**Course credit distribution for the online program is slightly different.

Music Teacher Licensure

For students wishing to obtain licensure in Massachusetts, a transcript review will be conducted upon matriculation and an individualized program of study created. Music teacher licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires coursework beyond what is required for the master’s degree, typically an additional 15–19 credits, as well as an additional semester during which the candidate completes a student teaching practicum. Massachusetts currently has Initial Licensure reciprocity with most other states.

Tuition Information

For students taking fewer than 12 credits in a semester, tuition is charged on a per-credit basis; students are charged at half the normal tuition rate for graduate music education courses and School of Education graduate courses that meet after 4 p.m. or on weekends. Current tuition rates can be found on the website of the University Registrar.

Other Master’s Degrees for Music Educators

Master of Education (EdM): offered by arrangement with the School of Education.

For information on these programs, contact the Music Education Department at

Upon matriculation a transcript review will be conducted and an individualized course of study created. Classes may be waived if an equivalent class was completed in the course of the baccalaureate program.

Year 1 (fall) Credits Year 1 (spring) Credits
Graduate Music Education Seminar 4 Graduate Music Education Seminar 4
Musicology Seminar 3 Teaching Secondary Music 3
Class Voice 1 Technology in Music Education 2
Class Brass 1 Class Strings 1
Introduction to Conducting 2 Class Woodwinds 1
Total 11 Total 11


Year 2 (fall) Credits Year 2 (spring) Credits
Teaching Elementary Music 3 Curriculum Organization 4
Tonal Analysis 3 Teaching Choral Music 2
Teaching English Language Learners 4 Teaching Instrumental Music 2
Class Percussion 1 Advanced Conducting 2
Total 11 Total 10


Year 3 (fall) Credits
Student Teaching Practicum 8
Practicum Seminar 0
Total 8

The DMA in Music Education is a professional degree for those committed to leadership in music education policy and practice in a variety of settings both in and outside of schools. The degree consists of three components: coursework, qualifying examinations, and dissertation. A new cohort of students is admitted each fall. Cohort members progress through coursework and weekly seminars together and attend research seminars each year. They also interact with all Music Education graduate students as part of a nationwide community of scholar/practitioners.

The DMA in Music Education is offered on campus and online. The coursework, qualifying examinations, and dissertation requirements are equivalent for both programs.

Program of Study

Every student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 48 semester credits distributed as follows:

  • Music Education Core (20 credits)
    • MU 773/777 Foundations I: Philosophy and History
    • MU 774/778 Foundations II: Psychology and Sociology
    • MU 803 Qualitative Research in Music Education*
    • MU 871 Quantitative Research in Music Education*
    • MU 735/864 Critique in Music Education (generally the last course before Qualifying Examinations)
  • Music Theory and History (12 credits)
  • Approved Electives (12 credits)
  • Dissertation (4 credits)

*Students who did not successfully complete a graduate course equivalent to MU 775 Introduction to Research will be required to complete that course before enrolling in MU 803 and MU 871.

Qualifying Examinations

Qualifying examinations are taken in music theory, musicology, and music education after completing all coursework. They require students to engage in rigorous independent study and to demonstrate via the exams that they can read and critique research, can design research studies, and are versed in the research and disciplinary traditions, literature, and vocabulary of the field.


The dissertation demonstrates a student’s ability to utilize and conduct research. It is the culmination of one’s previous professional and scholarly activities and contributes new knowledge, information, analyses, syntheses, interpretations, or perspectives about music education. It includes writing and oral defense of a research proposal, researching and writing the dissertation, and an oral defense of the dissertation before a committee of professors.


Residency requirements are met by both on-campus and online students through full-time enrollment for one academic year, doctoral seminar, and participating in lectures, regional seminars, research projects, and residencies.

Financial Aid

All admitted on-campus students are considered for available scholarships and assistantships. There is no financial aid application. For more information regarding financial aid, please visit the financial aid link.

Students taking fewer than 12 credits are charged at half the normal tuition rate for music education graduate courses and School of Education graduate courses that meet after 4 p.m. or on weekends.