Online CAGS Music Education

Degree Type

  • Certificate


  • Online


  • Off-Campus
Link to the bulletin

The online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Music Education at BU School of Music is designed for students who have a master’s degree and are interested in new applications, policies, methods, and theories. CAGS is a 32-credit program that will enhance your technological skills and revitalize your practice with new methods based on the latest theory—all without leaving your community or the job you love.

Boston University has long stood for music education with a program that is firmly built on theory-to-practice learning. Boston University’s graduate programs in music education have been created for the continuing growth of forward-thinking leaders and educators who serve as advocates for the importance of music in our lives, communities, and schools.

To enter the CAGS program, students must hold a master’s degree in music education or the equivalent (our manager of online admissions can help you figure this out). Most students should be able to complete the CAGS in 18 to 24 months.

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Our faculty include nationally- and internationally-recognized leaders in early childhood and elementary music education; instrumental and choral music education; community music facilitation; music technology; accessible music education; diversity, equity, and inclusion; student leadership; trauma-informed music education; arts integration; rock and pop pedagogy; music and wellbeing; and policy and advocacy.

The CAGS is not a pathway to the Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education at Boston University; it is a terminal certificate from our institution.

Reenergize and transform your music education practice without leaving the comfort of home and family. Learn from BU’s large, diverse faculty representing a broad range of music research and practice interests. This comprehensive and collaborative online Certificate program prepares students for working effectively within contemporary music and education landscapes.

Curriculum requirements for the online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Music Education program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.

We believe that having a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Music Education will be an outstanding credential for teachers seeking promotion and leadership opportunities in the field of music education.”

Professor Emeritus William G. McManus, EdD

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Program of Study

Students will complete several online foundational courses in music education, which will cover historical, philosophical, psychological, and sociological aspects of the field. Students will then select their remaining online courses depending on which area(s) they wish to strengthen in their practice, including music technology, policy, or research. Students may select online courses that fall within a combination of areas.

Qualities of a competitive applicant to BU’s online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Music Education include:

  • Completion of a master’s degree in Music Education or the equivalent (please contact our office for clarity regarding equivalency)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Current or recent classroom music teaching experience
  • Complete application requirements

An admitted student may petition to transfer up to 8 graduate credits (taken within the last 5 years) from a regionally accredited college or university. Faculty review the petition, transcripts, and syllabi to determine if the coursework is equivalent to courses offered at BU. Transfer credit analysis is done for students only after they are admitted.

Online CAGS Courses

We are a student-centered program committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our contemporary curriculum is taught by BU scholars in music education, theory, and musicology who are leaders in their fields. They are eager to share their expertise with you because they love to teach and are committed to expanding the number of highly qualified music educators in the field.

Our online Music Education degree graduates leave re-energized, with their teaching bolstered by new techniques, their research skills grounded in theory and history, and their analytic skills sharpened.

Study at Top-Ranked, Fully Accredited Boston University

As the oldest degree-granting music program in the U.S., BU has shaped generations of music educators and the pedagogy of music education globally, earning a reputation for excellence.

The diverse interests and expertise of BU’s music education faculty provide students with access to
unparalleled depth and diversity of expertise.

A blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities provide a distinct hybrid study experience.

Online programs at BU


In the News

For Those About to (Teach) Rock, We Salute You
CFA summer class helps music educators find their groove

By Joel Brown | BU Today Photo by Cydney Scott

On a Monday afternoon, the joyful noise echoing from a classroom into a first floor lobby of the College of Fine Arts comes from a piano, two electric keyboards, a drum set, a couple of basses, and a handful of electric and acoustic guitars, all played with abandon by people who had, in some cases, never played them before that day.

A driving if erratic rock beat, a few tentative solos, a bit of spoken word that we won’t call rap…and finally the jam ends in laughter and applause. Just another day in CFA’s Summer II course, Rock Band Performance & Pedagogy.

“We’re just getting in a groove and playing music and having people experiment with some stuff,” explains Bryan Powell (CFA’11), “because you can be expressive and it’s low-pressure. It’s a fun thing.”

Taking the pressure off is key for Powell, an assistant professor of music education at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and Gareth Dylan Smith, a CFA assistant professor of music education, who teach the course together and are also founding coeditors of the Journal of Popular Music Education.

The 13 students in the class are music teachers from all over, most of them enrolled in CFA online master’s or doctoral programs in music education.

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Next Steps for Applicants

The best way to determine if BU is right for you is to explore our admission requirements, financial tools, and resources to determine if the program is the right match.

Reach out to our Director of Admissions at with any questions along the way or to request information. We are happy to discuss your educational interests and career goals. In addition, allow us to provide you with a personalized webpage specific to your online program of interest!

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