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Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education

Scholarly studies in the processes of teaching and learning music.

The Music Education Ph.D. program offers advanced study in the processes of teaching and learning music from a research-based perspective. It’s aimed at individuals seeking greater breadth and depth in the music education profession and/or careers in higher education and music administration.


Program Application Deadline
Applications received and completed, including auditions and interviews, by February 15 will be given priority consideration for admission and graduate assistantship funding.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.


Investigate the processes of teaching and learning music from a research-based perspective.

The Music Education Ph.D. program consists of courses, internships, and other experiences designed to prepare individuals for specific leadership roles in music education. Courses cover various areas of music; theories and practices in teaching, learning, and assessment; and research. The exact number of credits required in the program will vary according to a student’s previous experience and degrees, but the minimum is 47. The program culminates with a major research project and thesis that is not included in the minimum credit requirement. At least one academic year of full-time residency is required, and a portion of the course work can be completed through summer study. Students must demonstrate knowledge of the history and theory of Western art music through competency exams or completion of courses beyond the curricular requirements.

Is the Ph.D. in Music Education right for you?

This program is designed to provide opportunities for a high level of scholarly study in the processes of teaching and learning music. Candidates are expected to develop and test new knowledge in the field of music education while preparing themselves for positions in higher education or other leadership roles within the profession. This program accepts rolling admission with first priority for funding to applicants who apply prior to January 15. The Graduate Record Exam general test (GRE) is required for admission.

Learn more!

We know that it’s important to make sure that a Ph.D. program is the right fit, that’s why we’ve compiled facts and figures and had current Ph.D. candidates frame their experiences for you. To find out more about this amazing program, visit the Music Education Ph.D program focus website.

A music education Ph.D. student shows a blue and white Penn State Nittany Lions garden flag to an older individual sitting on a couch.
A Penn State School of Music student conducts an ensemble of elementary school students during a pre-researsal of the tenth anniversary Partners in Music concert held at Eisenhower Auditorium.

Considering the Ph.D. in Music Education? Consider this.

You’ll delve deeper into the processes of teaching and learning music.

  • Upon completion, you will be prepared for careers in higher education or music administration.

  • You’ll have the opportunity to learn from other music educators with a range of experiences.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State School of Music alumna Annie Burridge

Alumni Spotlight

Annie Burridge

Bachelor of Music 2000

As general director and CEO of Austin Opera, Annie has led the development of a new strategic plan and launched an artistic initiative – Opera ATX – which brings groundbreaking artists to unexpected and unique venues throughout Austin. Before switching her focus to administration, Annie performed with numerous opera companies and orchestras, and was a young artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. In addition to her performance successes, Annie has received many leadership accolades.

Opera venue with grand piano on stage.
Two operatic performers dancing on a darkened, red-cast stage.

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