Best Doctorate Programs In Music Education

Are you interested in summer doctoral programs in music education?

The United States is home to some top music programs globally, particularly doctoral ones. The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) and the Ph.D. are the two most common options for students.

Music Education Doctoral Programs Online & On-Campus

The four-year DMA degree focuses mainly on performance, composition, or conducting and typically requires a full-time commitment of at least three years.

A performance or lecture-recital thesis is required of all DMA students before they may graduate.

It takes four years to complete a Ph.D. degree in music, but it’s geared more toward teaching and research. Those pursuing a career in music theory, musicology, or ethnomusicology would find these programs ideal.

To get their Ph.D., students must complete and successfully defend a dissertation.

There are both conservatories and institutions that provide degrees in this field. Since most liberal arts universities concentrate on undergraduate education, they do not offer DMA or Ph.D. degrees.

The kind of student life and atmosphere you desire and the exact style you wish to study music should guide your choice of program and location.

Here are the best music education Ph.D. programs.

Best Doctorate Programs In Music Education


1.   Rice University Shepherd School of Music

The Shepherd School of Music’s DMA program has 350 students, making it one of the country’s smallest university-based music schools.

Both undergraduate and graduate students must demonstrate a high level of musicianship.

The Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera are professional groups connected with the institution.

Students in the DMA program will be able to work and study alongside sector experts and become more active in the Houston area.

Indeed, Shepherd School-Houston Symphony Brown Foundation Community-Embedded Musician Fellowship was inaugurated in 2021 as a pilot program between the Shepherd School and the Houston Symphony to broaden classical music education in Houston.

The institution has launched a new program to educate underprivileged minority kids in the city.

2.   Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

The Jacobs School of Music is not just one of the most prominent music schools in the country with 1,600 students but also houses the world’s most extensive academic music library.

The Jacobs Center’s 200 studios, laboratories, practice rooms, and four performance halls are motivated enough to apply.

More than a thousand performances may be held at Jacobs each year, including seven operas and three ballets.

Many large bands, choirs, and orchestra groups are available for students to audition for, many of which are world-renowned. Some examples are Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Bastille Opera House in Paris.

The Graduate Tuition Award, the Artistic Excellence Award, the Jacobs Fellowship, and other merit-based financial aid programs are open to all DM and Ph.D. candidates.

Cash stipends and teaching assistantships that cover practically all tuition are also available to students.

3.   Harvard University Music Education

Graduate students at Harvard are eligible for up to six years of guaranteed financing, including tuition and living costs. Summer research grants and fellowships are also available with additional funding.

The program is small but well regarded and competitively ranked. Musicology and ethnomusicology, theory, composition, creative practice, and critical inquiry are only a few disciplines in which students are admitted annually.

There is no performing arts department at Harvard.

However, researchers have many resources, such as a microfilm library of sources, a collection of world music recordings, and an early instrument collection.

The Boston University, Berklee, New England Conservatory, and other area universities and professional institutions all include ensembles for students interested in performing (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Public Library).

4.   New England Conservatory of Music

NEC is the oldest and most distinguished independent music conservatory in the United States. Each year, only eight to twelve new DMA students are admitted.

Students at NEC have access to a wide range of collaboration options since the school is home to some of the best musicians in the world.

Additionally, the institution provides a music theory DMA, specializing in instruction and composition and performance and analysis.

Many of NEC’s instructors are connected to the Boston Symphony Orchestra or have already made a name for themselves in the performing arts.

This includes NEC’s quartet in residence: The Borromeo String Quartet.

Jordan Hall is one of the top music venues in the nation in terms of performance amenities. The only conservatory building in the United States with a National Historic Landmark classification is located only a few blocks from Boston Symphony Hall.

5.   University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

To be a student at SMTD is to be immersed in the performing arts on a broad level. Music students share facilities with actors and dancers, who can access 12 performance spaces and eight unique buildings.

A Javanese gamelan ensemble is only one of the many ensembles available to music students.

DMA and Ph.D. students are almost always provided with full-time support. This includes student assistantship stipends and health benefits.

Additionally, students may become Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), which allows them to earn tuition reimbursement for teaching courses and aiding researchers.

Additional financial aid is available to cover the costs of doing research, traveling, and putting on a show.

6.   Cornell University Music Education

Cornell’s five-year Ph.D. musicology funding guarantee includes support for four summers. Fellowships and teaching assistantships are broken down into two years each.

Cornell’s Composition and Performance Practice DMAs get four years of support, including at least three summers. Fellowships and teaching assistantships are common for DMAs.

Although these are three distinct programs, many students share classes, symposia, and undergraduates who work within their respective fields of study.

As a result, the department emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to music that is very customizable.

Graduate students choose their programs of study under the direction of professors, which must include a minor.

Another music specialty (theory, ethnomusicology, performance, composition) or completely other subjects might serve as the Graduate Minor (art history, mathematics, history, linguistics, psychology).

7.   The Juilliard School of Music Education

The C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellows program offers students the opportunity to pursue their DMA degree for up to five years without paying any tuition.

The DMA is the sole doctoral degree offered by Juilliard, which is why the institution is known for producing some of the top performers in the world.

Three public recitals and a lecture recital must be given by the conclusion of the third year in this very demanding curriculum. In addition, students must complete and successfully defend a dissertation to get a DMA.

Many of Juilliard’s, in addition to the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and famous groups like the Juilliard String Quartet and the American Brass Quintet, with the institution.

Emanuel Ax (piano) and David Chan (violin) have also had successful solo careers.

Itzhak Perlman, Renee Fleming, and composers Miles Davis and Philip Glass are just a few of the notable graduates of the Juilliard School.

8.   University of Southern California Thornton Music Edu

The Thornton School of Music is not only one of the best music schools in the United States, but its central location in Los Angeles makes it the ideal place to study and perform all kinds of music.

USC and the broader Los Angeles region provide a wide range of possibilities for students who desire to teach music in impoverished areas, perform at a jazz club, interact with other musicians, or join a local symphony.

There are three categories of study at USC: Classical Performance and Composition, Contemporary Music, and Research & Scholarly Studies.

USC is most renowned for its expertise in orchestral studies, jazz, early music, composition, opera, and the music business, among other areas.

The violinist Midori Goto, for example, is a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has a distinguished solo career to her credit.

9.   Yale University School of Music

The Yale School of Music is the only Ivy League institution with a music school rather than a music department.

The admission rate for the tuition-free, five-year DMA program is less than 10%. A three-year field dissertation phase follows a two-year campus residence.

Students must utilize this time to work and learn professionally in their chosen field of study – composition, conducting, or performance- under the guidance of instructors.

If you’re a composer and want to get your music played by local groups, this may include conventional recitals, leading an orchestra, or publishing your study.

Students pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) will be well-versed in music’s history, theory, composition, and performance.

10.  University of St. Thomas

Are you researching doctor of music education online programs?

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Learning trains present and future K-12, higher education, and adult education leaders to advocate for continuous improvement, systemic change, and social justice within educational institutions and communities.

Summer Residency is required for all courses. However, it may be done online (face-to-face or online).

Director of Special Education and Principal Licensure (PK-12), Higher Education Administration, Music Education, Leadership in Student Affairs, Adult Learning, and Learning Technology Leadership and Innovation are some of the concentrations or program tracks available.

To prepare students for a wide range of occupations within the education field, the Ed.D. Program offers several internships and practicums.

Academic vocations such as student affairs, tenure-track, adjunct, clinical faculty, and higher education leadership positions are well-served by the Ph.D. program.

Adult Basic Education (ABE), community education and organizing, cooperative extension, health education, and social advocacy in non-formal sectors are areas where we assist people with interests.

Critical thinking, expanding one’s viewpoint, acquiring information about research and best practices, and becoming allies and advocates for educational change and social justice will be emphasized in this course.

Students who complete the program will be able to put their newly acquired skills and knowledge to action by working with others to guarantee that all children and adults in educational and community settings have equal access, equality, and opportunity.

All in the name of the greater good.

11.  Columbia University

At least not at the very top level, Columbia University doesn’t provide any degree that entails being the best possible performer, unlike other Ph.D.-granting institutions that emphasize performance above all else.

Composition and Musicology, which includes three subcategories: Historical Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Theory, are the only areas where Columbia University offers PhDs and DMAs.

Columbia’s Ph.D. students are likely to be some of the brightest and most skilled in music instruction and writing since most Ph.D. students at other institutions will be focusing entirely on performance.

Composition Ph.D. programs are available at some universities; however, they tend to be more conventional in form and heavily weighted toward working with an orchestra.

Electronic instruments may be included in the compositions of individuals pursuing this degree at Columbia’s state-of-the-art lab, making the program cutting-edge and appealing to many current composers.

12.  Northwestern University

When it comes to earning a Ph.D. in music, Northwestern University is unique since its degree is known as a Doctor of Philosophy in Music.

Even though the term “Doctor of Philosophy” doesn’t instantly take the form of music, several qualifications concentrate only on studying music.

Composition and Music Technology, Music Theory and Cognition, Music Education, and Musicology are all Ph.D. programs offered at the Bienen School of Music in Chicago.

There’s something for everyone in those four categories, covering many subjects.

Even though Northwestern isn’t as well-known as Harvard, Yale, or Juilliard (which is why they’re at the top of the list), it’s still a great institution, and its graduates are sought-after.

13.  Princeton University

Composition and musicology Ph.D. programs at Princeton are fully accessible and provide a 12-month stipend each year for the duration of the five-year program.

Students may apply for extra research funding or summer language study grants to cover one or two years. Students may also be eligible for financing if required during their sixth year of study.

Princeton’s musicology, music theory, and composition students enjoy many research options. Unlike many other programs of this caliber, there are no restrictions on what may be studied for a Ph.D. in Western Classical Music.

To provide a well-rounded, easily applicable education, composers and musicologists are encouraged to examine current music as much as it came before it.”

Students who have had their work featured on NPR and Wired include composer Julia Wolfe ’12 and producer Nathan Michel ’07, both of whom have featured their bands on NPR and Wired.

14. Augusta University

Practitioners who work in various educational contexts can benefit from the Ph.D. program in Educational Innovation.

Educators who complete this program will be well-equipped to advocate for better teaching and learning, nurture new ideas, and adapt to the ever-changing demands on educational institutions.

Following the CPED principles, the 55-hour program contains 19 hours of core coursework, 9 hours of specialization (see the list of 21 fields), 12 hours of research, and 15 hours of capstone/dissertation in practice.

Courses are taught face-to-face over six weekends each semester as students go through the program in a group setting.

15.  Temple University

The Ph.D. in Music Education at Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance is a great way to get university-level teaching and research experience.

For music educators, this 60-credit Ph.D. program is designed to help them gain experience in research and teaching approaches.

Become an active participant in music education research and the practical application of your discoveries. Graduating students are prepared to take on leadership roles in music education.

You’ll concentrate on music education practice and research, emphasizing the growth and responsibility of diverse student populations in an ever-changing field.

Students pursuing a doctorate in Music Education pick a particular area of concentration. The Music Education Ph.D. program graduates come from various backgrounds and competence areas.

The academic adviser and the applicant will collaborate to choose a scholarly concentration. Afterward, the student and their faculty adviser work together to develop an action plan.

16.  Penn State University

The Ph.D. program in Music Education focuses on the research-based aspects of teaching and studying music.

It’s designed for those who want to learn more about music education, higher education, and music management.

The Music Education Ph.D. program includes coursework, internships, and several other experiences to prepare students for specialized leadership positions in music education.

All aspects of music, including teaching and learning methods and research, are included in the courses.

The minimum number of credits necessary for the program is 47; however, the exact amount depends on a student’s prior education and experience.

All students must complete an independent research project and a thesis at the end of their degree. A full-time residence is necessary for at least one academic year; some coursework may be performed over the summer.

Completing courses above the curriculum requirements requires students to show their understanding of Western art music’s history and theory.

17.  University of Arizona

Graduate students may pursue a Master of Music (MM), a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA), or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the School of Music.

Focus areas for MM degrees include composition (including accompanying and directing), ethnomusicology, music education, musicology, music theory, and performance (including these latter two).

Instrumental specializations include bassoon, cello, and clarinet; double bass; clarinet and double bass; euphonium; flute; guitar; horn; keyboard; piano; sax; trombone; trumpet; trombone; and viola and voice.

Choral or instrumental/orchestral conducting is a focus in the conducting emphasis.

Music teaching, theory, and musicology are all areas of study that may lead to a doctorate in music. The University of Arizona, one of the nation’s top research institutions, provides an incredibly stimulating setting for such growth.

Since so many graduate students at the School of Music, they may have a wide range of official and informal interactions.

Students may learn from world-class researchers, musicians, and composers on our globally acclaimed music faculty.

Students work one-on-one with professors in small seminars and tutorials, casual studio and coaching sessions, and intense consultations related to the development of theses, dissertations, and performance projects.

Many resources are available to students in the School of Music and the College of Fine Arts. The institution offers an intellectually stimulating atmosphere and encourages interdisciplinary investigation.

18.   University of North Carolina Greensboro

UNCG’s Music Education department has been hailed as one of the best in the country.

Students in our doctoral program work with world-class teachers and peers who excel in teaching and research at a school of music that places high importance on music education.

We believe everyone should have access to music education, reflected in the wide range of music teaching, learning, and research options available to our students.

Join us right now!

Those who get a doctorate in music education may expect to work as college professors, school administrators, and other leaders in the field. Students join a friendly and collaborative community for advanced studies in music teaching, learning, and research.

Doctoral students take introductory coursework in music teaching and research before choosing electives from a wide range of musical and non-musical fields to tailor their program to meet their professional goals while still achieving the highest scholarly achievement possible.

Successful applicants for this program have one or more of the following characteristics: (a) a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music education, (b) three to five years of full-time experience teaching K-12 music, (c) a teacher license or the ability to get one.

19.  Kent University

The School of Music is home to a diverse community of students and professors interested in music education.

You’ll be a part of one of Ohio’s best Music Education programs, with over 90 undergraduates and 150 graduate students in the country’s most extensive online master’s program.

Kent State’s Ph.D. in Music Education program has a worldwide reach and substantial influence. Faculty mentors will assist you in your professional and pedagogical growth using a student-centered approach.

Instrumental, choral, and general music faculty and colleagues will collaborate with candidates in these areas: technology, current curricula, foundational studies, curriculum development and instruction, multicultural studies, social justice and democracy, and culturally relevant pedagogy, among other things.

20.  Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Those who complete this Ph.D. program are prepared to teach at the college and university levels, do research in education, and work in non-profit and corporate contexts.

Work with artists and researchers worldwide to learn about specific methods. An online Ph.D. in Music Therapy Education is offered for qualified music therapists.

Throughout your Ph.D. degree, you’ll learn about the most essential themes and paradigm shifts in music education’s history and present.

Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches will also be taught to you as you develop your research ideas and interests, write a proposal for a dissertation, and conduct your research.

As a student, you can choose your course of study and participate in a wide range of ensembles and chamber groups led by top-tier New York performers.

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