Master of Music Education and Doctor of Philosophy, Music Education

The School of Music offers both a Master and a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education.

Application requirements

Graduate Music Education application requirements.

In addition to the Graduate College application, Music Education program-specific requirements vary by degree. All program-specific materials can be submitted directly to the Graduate College application.

MME application requirements

  1. Under the “Program-Specific Questions” of the university graduate application, submit a personal statement discussing your reasons for pursuing graduate study in music education and your potential to contribute to a community of equity and inclusion. This statement will also be used to evaluate your writing ability.
  2. Complete a personal interview with the MME Program Coordinator (Dr. Donna Gallo) or MME+L advisor (Dr. Adam Kruse), to be scheduled after the deadline for MME applications and after all admission materials are received.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your potential for success in graduate music study and your teaching ability or potential. These letters should include recommendations from principals, supervisors, and/or former professors.

Please note that the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for application to the MME program, nor do any MME students complete an audition or take placement exams in music theory or aural skills.

Prior teaching experience is not required for admission to the MME program. Applicants who are interested in receiving licensure, should review the application requirements for the MME + Licensure. Applicants who are interested in the Summers-Only MME program should review the application requirements for the Summers-Only MME.

PhD application requirements

The quality and clarity of all application materials are important aspects of the application process. Please be sure materials represent your readiness in the best way possible.

  1. Three letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional suitability to engage in PhD study. Recommendations written by colleagues (i.e. fellow teachers and school principals) are not considered suitable for evaluating the applicant’s fitness for the academic rigors of a research-oriented doctoral program.
  2. Digital recording of one complete teaching and learning sequence (lesson or rehearsal) in your music education area of specialization (winds/percussion, choral, general, or strings) at the elementary, middle, or secondary level along with written documentation (plan and reflection).
  3. A completed master’s degree of at least 24 graduate credits with a GPA of at least 3.25 [on a 4.0 grading system] is generally required, however, it is possible to be admitted under extraordinary circumstances for the doctoral program without entering or finishing a master’s degree in music education. Contact the Music Education graduate program coordinator, Dr. Bridget Sweet, if you have questions about your academic background.
  4. An undergraduate grade-point average of at least 3.00 [on a 4.0 grading system] on the last 60 semester credits of baccalaureate music education study is required.
  5. Applicants are required to submit a resume or CV that includes educational background, accomplishments and an employment record that includes a minimum of three years of full-time music teaching experience, preferably two consecutive years in the same setting and school.
  6. Each applicant is required to submit a detailed essay for doctoral study in music education. This statement of 3-5 paragraphs in length should identify the applicant’s primary area of interest, professional activities, career goals, and why the applicant is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Illinois. This information will be used to determine the compatibility and suitability of the applicant’s program goals in relation to the music education division’s mission and to identify a faculty member potentially to serve as an academic advisor. It is important that this statement be detailed, well-written, and composed with cognizance of the specific areas of specialization held by music education faculty members. If an applicant was encouraged by a specific professor to apply as a prospective doctoral advisee of that professor, this should be acknowledged in the letter.
  7. Completion of an interview with the music education faculty to be scheduled by the graduate program coordinator upon review of application materials.
  8. Completion of a Master’s Thesis or Research Project from an accredited institution, or evidence of sufficient background to undertake a research project that is significant and substantial (e.g., domain research project/s, action research study, or field research study). It is up to each applicant to provide evidence with the initial application of prior research experience and potential for undertaking a major PhD dissertation.

About Master of Music Education and Doctor of Philosophy, Music Education

The Master of Music Education program includes coursework in which students engage in scholarly inquiry, develop or broaden their critical perspectives, apply theoretical or philosophical ideas to music teaching and learning, and expand upon their musical and pedagogical skills. The Master of Music Education (MME) is designed to meet the needs and interests of individuals who already hold a teaching license and who seek to continue their careers as P-12 school music educators or as a step toward eventual college teaching.

The MME is also available as an academic year or summers-only program. The Summers-Only MME program is designed for individuals who wish to remain in their current academic-year teaching positions while taking advantage of summer coursework. In addition, a Master of Music Education + Licensure Program (MME+L) is offered for students who have completed undergraduate or graduate degrees in fields of music other than music education and who wish to complete requirements leading to Illinois licensure in Music Grades P-12.

Doctoral students enroll in courses that provide depth and breadth in research approaches, theoretical and scholarly analysis, and opportunities to conduct research studies under the guidance of faculty members in music education and across campus. Participation in the MOSAIC Consortium, an ongoing scholarly community of doctoral students and faculty, is a critical part of the doctoral experience at Illinois.

For information regarding the PhD in Music Education at Illinois, contact Dr. Bridget Sweet.

Financial Aid

Opportunities for financial assistance are available to students admitted to a graduate program in Music Education. Assistance is awarded based on the needs of the division, the applicant’s grade point average, recommendations, potential for undertaking graduate study, and (as appropriate) prior public school music teaching experience.

Two types of assistance are available:

  • Fellowships
  • Assistantships

The amount and type of support varies with the type of appointment. Some fellowships and assistantships provide waivers of tuition and service fees, as well as a stipend. In almost all cases, these awards are given to students in the doctoral program; although it is possible for a master’s student to be awarded an assistantship or fellowship in music education.

PhD applicants who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship must complete the entire graduate application process. No additional application for assistantships or fellowships is required. Teaching assistantships will be awarded based on the needs of the division, the applicant’s letters of recommendation, prior teaching experience, and submission of the teaching video.

Doctoral students may qualify for the Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Fellowship in Music Education, which is associated with the Zimmerman Endowed Chair. In addition, the Music Education Division offers the Dr. Charles Leonhard Dissertation Research Award for doctoral candidates completing their research projects.

Music Education faculty

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