Online DMA Music Education

Degree Type

  • Doctorate


  • Online


  • Off-Campus
Link to the bulletin

The online Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Music Education at BU School of Music is a collaborative program that prepares music educators for advancement in their field by developing and honing research skills, sharpening proficiency in teaching techniques, and producing a dissertation of publishable quality that introduces new knowledge designed to push the field of music education forward. 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.

Study with a cohort of the nation’s most innovative thought leaders, teachers, policy makers, and researchers in music education, and learn from BU’s large, diverse faculty representing a broad range of music research and practice interests.

BU’s online DMA in Music Education is for educators seeking leadership through scholarship. For you, the classroom or studio is a laboratory. You seek new and better techniques to encourage students to improve as musicians and succeed as well-rounded people. When you find something that works, you want to share it with other music professionals. Perhaps you have participated in a teacher research group in your school district, presented a clinic on best practices at a music conference, or have been invited to teach a course at a local college. It was a satisfying professional experience, and you would like to deepen your skillset.

Request more info

Now, you’re ready for more. You’re eager to develop your scholarship, keep your musicianship sharp, and continue your teaching career. This is where online learning comes in. We’ve designed this program for you to be an important member of a small, academically vigorous online doctoral program without uprooting your family or leaving the work that fulfills you.

You will prepare for advancement in the field of music education by developing and honing research skills, sharpening proficiency in theory and history, developing a specialization, and producing a dissertation of publishable quality that adds new knowledge, moving the field of music education forward. Your dissertation can become the basis for a scholarly article, series of articles, or book.

Along the way, you’ll develop close relationships with fellow students and our expert faculty, who teach both online and on campus, and benefit from their guidance. Many of our online doctoral students have collaborated with faculty mentors on music education research and have presented alongside faculty at international conferences.

Join the ranks of scholars and practitioners redefining music education for the 21st century.

Curriculum requirements for the online DMA in Music Education program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.

With an Online DMA in Music Ed from Boston University, you will…

  • Learn new techniques and strategies that can be applied in your classrooms.
  • Collaborate with influential leaders in the music education profession.
  • Participate in a weeklong residency on campus with faculty and other students.
  • Pursue your scholarly interests and connect them to music education theories and your teaching practice.
  • Advance your career and discover new opportunities.
  • Complete your doctorate without uprooting your family or leaving the work that fulfills you.

Request more info

Program of Study

As an online Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in music education degree student, you will critically examine a variety of research that informs music education. You will discuss and analyze philosophical, sociological, and psychological ideas and problems in the field of music education. Music theory and analytical techniques in composition will sharpen the eye and ear. Scholarly writing and research skills are honed as you choose from a list of engaging electives. Your online student colleagues will be music education professionals from around the world who will become lifelong friends and professional contacts.

This world-class program is an incredible place to meet future colleagues and leaders of the profession where you will be challenged and tested to your limits to produce your very best.

Dr. Gareth Dylan Smith, Assistant Professor of Music Education, Boston University

The Music Education faculty aim to prepare students to work effectively within contemporary music and education landscapes. We are a theoretically-grounded and practice-oriented department committed to practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We expect our students to be flexible musicians and thinkers who strive for excellence, no matter the venue in which they teach.

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.

We offer courses and professional development for 21st century music teachers and future professors who teach within and beyond the traditionally-conceived school day, with populations that include K–12 students, early childhood and adult students, in higher education and a variety of community settings. We encourage students to think creatively and critically, to be dedicated collaborators, and to work in multilingual and multicultural contexts with students from across the socioeconomic spectrum and with a range of ability.

online DMA Courses

We model and encourage self-reflection and dedication to continual growth. Graduate students may concentrate their degree in areas such as diversity, equity, and inclusion; antiracist pedagogy; early childhood; musicology/ethnomusicology; music technology; popular music; and wellbeing.

Our students benefit from pursuing their doctoral studies with world-class faculty publishing innovative, traditional, relevant, and diverse scholarship. Boston University’s online DMA in Music Education is a challenging and rigorous program that welcomes students who are committed to making a difference in and through music education.

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.

Our program was the first (and longest-running) online DMA in music education anywhere in the world.

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


From CFA Magazine

Play On

“We’re stepping back a little bit and looking at what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and what it means to be a music educator. We’re in a place of change right now and that’s scary and exciting at the same time.”

Heather Katz-Cote (CFA’16), K–12 Director of Performing Arts in Westwood, MA, Incoming President of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association

read more

Pictured: (left) Dana Monteiro (CFA’16) and Harlem Samba perform at the 2017 Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival in New York City. Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College

Alumni Scholarship Contributions to the Field of Music Education

Below is a selection of completed dissertations from recent online graduates of the Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education at Boston University that demonstrate the breadth and scope of topics and research methods employed by our DMA candidates:

Black Band for Brown Students: A Culturally Relevant Pedagogy?

Darryl Singleton (CFA’20), Katy, TX
Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education online

Marching Sound Machines: An Autoethnography of a Director of Bands at an Historically Black College and University

Jorim Reid (CFA’20), Durham, NC
Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education online

Self-Assessment in Jazz Improvisation: An Instrumental Case Study of Professional Jazz Musicians in a Jazz Combo Setting

Troy Davis (CFA’20), Santa Clara, CA
Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education online

Understructures, Gender Roles, and Performativity in a High School Percussion Section

Kenneth Dale Disney (CFA’18), Knoxville, TN
Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education online

Pray Play Teach: Conversations with Three Jewish Israeli Music Educators

Amira Ehrlich (CFA’18), Israel
Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education online

request more info

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!

Admissions Info

Explore More

Venues & Facilities

News & Events