Music Education Masters Program Degree Requirements


  1. Foundation Courses (required)
    • Philosophical Bases of Music Education
    • Paradigms and Processes of Research
    • Technology, Computers, and the Musical Experience
    • Curriculum Development in Music Education 
  2. Professional Emphasis and Electives. Students take two related courses that form a professional emphasis.
    • Instrumental Music/Conducting. Courses may be chosen from music education, instrumental music education, conducting, arranging, and instrumental music
    • Choral Music/Conducting. Courses may be chosen from music education, choral music education, conducting, and choral music.
    • Alternative Emphasis. Courses may be chosen from an area that meets a special need (requires approval of a written plan outline).  Examples include general music, music technology, composition, creative thinking administration and supervision, music and psychology, ethnic music, music and medicine.
  3. Music History, Theory, and Aural Skills

Diagnostic exams in music theory are used to advise students in the selection of appropriate theory courses. Students are encouraged to conduct a self-analysis of their strengths and weaknesses in music history and aural skills and may elect courses in these areas. Although specific courses are not required, students must demonstrate their understanding of history and theory through special domain projects as part of the portfolio process.

Applied Music and Ensemble Participation

Private study is available for students achieving the “300” level or higher in their entering performance audition, with a maximum of three units counting toward the degree.  All students are required to participate in ensemble(s) during their residency at Northwestern.  Ensemble credit does not count toward the 12 units required for graduation.

Teaching Demonstration

All students must show evidence of outstanding teaching ability in a professional setting. Of particular importance is the application of coursework to teaching and learning.  If student teaching is part of a degree program, this experience will count as the teaching demonstration.

Final Oral Examination and Portfolio

A final examination is scheduled during the final week at Northwestern to provide closure for the master’s program. At the time of the oral exams, students present their portfolios. These portfolios include domain projects in music theory, music history, and in areas of particular interest to the student.

Request information from the Bienen School of Music.