Graduate Music Education

Program specific requirements

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Music Education applicants

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. Janet Barrett, 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.

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 and 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.
• Ph.D. Applicants who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship must submit a video recording of a classroom or rehearsal teaching situation and a written explanation of the teaching context and goals. Submission of the video recording and written material is a required component of the initial acceptance procedures.