Frequently Asked Questions About the Master's in Music Education Program

This overview answers questions that prospective students typically ask about the MM in Music Education degree.  The Graduate Studies Handbook of the School of Music will be provided to you when you begin your program.

Q:  Who is eligible to apply for graduate study in music education?

A: Admission to graduate study in music at the Bienen School of Music requires a bachelor of music degree or its equivalent in an appropriate field.

Q: What are the specific admission requirements for the MM in Music Education degree program?

A: Applicants must submit an admission essay, a videotape or DVD of teaching and musicianship, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. An interview is also required.

Q: Is an audition required? Can I take lessons on my major instrument or voice?

A: An audition is not required for admission to the MM in Music Education program. However, if you wish to take lessons as an elective for your program of study, an audition is required once you arrive on campus.

Q: I cannot submit a video of teaching because I have not taught yet.  What should I do?

A: The purpose of the teaching video is to give faculty reviewers an idea of your accomplishments in teaching, as well as your potential. If you have access to students in an informal setting, such as private lessons, a community group, or small group sectionals, you can submit a video to demonstrate how you interact with students in this setting. If working with students is not possible, you should submit a short statement to describe influences on your decision to teach and the kind of teacher you intend to become. Dr. Hickey (see below) can help you tailor this admission requirement to your particular circumstances.

Q: How do I set up an interview? Can I visit campus?

A: An interview is required for admission. Interviews can be conducted by phone or in person if you plan to visit campus. We can suggest classes for you to observe as well. Once you have submitted your application, contact Dr. Hickey to schedule a time for your interview or arrange a visit. (See e-mail addresses below.)

Q: When are deadlines and when are students admitted to the program?

A: The deadline for fall admission is December 1 of the preceding year. Applications must be postmarked by that date. Northwestern follows a quarter system. The fall term begins in mid-September.

Q: Is it possible to complete a double major?

A: Students may combine the music education master’s degree with a master’s program in another area within the Bienen School of Music (such as conducting or performance) to pursue a degree with two majors or emphases. Students must meet the requirements for admission of both programs. Double majors require additional quarters of study. See the Bienen School's Double Majors web page for more information.

Q: Are there other combined programs?

A: Students interested in music education and piano pedagogy must follow admission requirements for both the music education program (see above link), and piano pedagogy.

Q: Is a thesis required?

A: A thesis is not required as part of the MM in Music Education program. In place of a thesis, the capstone requirements for the program include an oral exam, teaching demonstration, and a portfolio, which includes three domain projects demonstrating your understanding of music theory, music history, and a scholarly area of your choice, with corresponding applications to teaching.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Aid is available for students in the year-long or multi-year curriculum only. Graduate assistantships are available to students during the academic year programs. See the Bienen School's Graduate Financial Aid page for information about optional loans. More information on graduate financial aid

For questions about the admissions process, financial aid, or deadlines, contact the Office of Music Admission and Financial Aid at, 847-491-3141.

For questions about specific program requirements, the curriculum, or to set up an interview, contact Steven Demorest for the academic year/MM with Cert programs at or 847-467-1682.

Request information from the Bienen School of Music.