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

By the numbers

  • 100+ Recent Graduates
  • 100% Graduate Job Placement
  • 23 Current Undergraduate Music Ed Majors
  • 9 Current 5-Year BM/MM Students
  • 21 Current MM Music Ed Students
  • 7 Current DMA Students

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.

The Conversation is an annual conference and ongoing online dialogue among researchers, practitioners, and students of music education. The 2018 Conversation conference will take place on September 14th and 15th on the campus of Boston University. The conference theme is Building Home: Creating Connections, Stimulating Reflection, Taking Action. This year’s conference will be convened by BU Music Education faculty members Tavis Linsin, Tawnya D. Smith, and Kinh T. Vu, as well as a team of alumni and student volunteers. The Conversation is intended to make an impact on our lives as music educators, and to make a contribution to the institutions and communities that we serve

Faculty Members

Notable Recent Graduates

  • Ruth Debrot (DMA ’16), Clerk, 2017-19, Massachusetts Music Educators Association
  • Dana Monteiro (DMA ’16), Founding Director, Harlem Samba
  • Heather Cote (DMA ’16), Performing Arts Director, Westwood (MA) Public Schools
  • Marjorie Yankeelov (DMA ’16), Lecturer, Music and Human Learning, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Nancy Barlor (DMA ’10), Professor, Music Education, Florida College
  • David Palombo (MM ’13), Director, El Sistema Somerville

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.

Two of the following:

  • Foundations of Music Education
  • Psychology and Sociology in Music Education
  • Introduction to Music Education Research
8 credits
Curriculum Organization in Music Education 4 credits
(includes the MM Comprehensive Exam)
Approved Electives 14 credits
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 credits*
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 on-campus 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 12–14 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. (The online program does not result in a teachers license.)

Tuition Information

Students taking 7-11.5 credits per semester are charged in accordance with the College of Fine Arts flat rate tuition policies. 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

*On-campus program only.

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
Instrumental Lab 3 Choral Lab 3
Elementary General Methods 4 Secondary General Methods 2
Analytical Techniques 3 Psychology and Sociology in Music Education 4
Technology for Musicians 2
Total 10 Total 11


Year 2 (fall) Credits Year 2 (spring) Credits
Instrumental Lab 3 Choral Lab 3
Foundations of Music Education 4 Curriculum Organization in Music Education 4
Musicology Elective 3 Optional Elective 0-4
Total 10 Total 7-10


Year 3 (fall) Credits
Student Teaching Practicum 8
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)
    • ME 701/741 Foundations of Music Education: Philosophy and History
    • MU 702/742 Psychology and Sociology in Music Education: Perspectives and Applications
    • ME 859/874 Problems, Theories, and Literature: Making a Contribution to the Field
    • MU 841 Quantitative Research in Music Education*
    • MU 842 Qualitative Research in Music Education*
  • Music Theory and History (12 credits)
  • Approved Electives (12 credits)
  • Dissertation (4 credits)

*Students who did not successfully complete a graduate course equivalent to ME 711/740 Introduction to Music Education Research will be required to complete that course before enrolling in ME 841 and ME 842.

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.