MA in Music Education

The MA in Music Education is for individuals with an undergraduate degree in music education, a teaching certificate/license, and at least one year of music classroom teaching experience, who wish to pursue further academic study as a means to develop professionally. Coursework combines the study of philosophical, research-based, and theoretical positions of teaching and learning music with pragmatic approaches to improving music learning. 

Full-time students can expect to complete the MA degree in 2 years (9 credit units per semester). Part-time students can expect to take one class (3 credit units) per semester, completing the degree over the course of 5 years. 

Continue below for MA for Licensure (MAL).


Applicants with good academic records from fully accredited universities and colleges will be considered for admission to graduate study at Case Western Reserve University. Admission must be recommended by the department or professional school of the university in which the applicant proposes to study and must be approved by the dean of graduate studies. 

Applicants for the MA in Music Education must have at least a 3.0 GPA from a completed undergraduate degree program in music education, a minimum of 1 year of successful school music teaching experience in group settings, and evidence of strong written and spoken English skills. After initial review, applicants may be invited to campus for an interview. The MA does not require a vocal or an instrumental audition audition.

Applicants for the MAL in Music Education should have an undergraduate degree in music (BA or BM) with a GPA of 3.0 or better and some prior experience in working with children. The MAL requires a vocal or an instrumental audition.

More information about the graduate application and audition process in music is provided in the Graduate Application Procedures.

Graduate Application Procedures

Program Requirements

The MA in Music Education is formulated to suit the needs of individual students with consent from their faculty advisor. Each of the graduate programs in Music Education requires a final written project and subsequent oral examination of the materials. Preparation for this exam begins with the first class and extends through the entire course sequence. Coursework will provide students with a background in many topics as they relate to music, education, and other disciplines. The final written project offers an opportunity for students to explore topics more thoroughly and to demonstrate mastery of the degree content by transferring this cumulative knowledge to other music education and/or research environments. 

The MA in Music Education has two strands for the final project:

Plan A, Thesis

Students conduct research, write a thesis, and then orally defend the thesis document to the music education faculty. Students in Plan A receive 6 credit units for thesis research. 

Plan B, Comprehensive Exam

Students complete a comprehensive written and oral examination.

A minimum of 30 hours of coursework is required for either Plan A or Plan B, including the Graduate Music Education Core (12-15 credit units of research-based coursework in music education); the Graduate Music Core (9-12 credit units of music theory, musicology, applied lessons, or ensemble performance); Electives (6-9 credit units, Plan B only); and either the Thesis (6 hours) or Comprehensive Exam. MA students may take 300-level classes, if approved by the music education faculty, provided that they have at least 18 credit units of 400-level courses.

Find detailed program requirements, course distribution, and a sample plan of study in the General Bulletin

MA for Licensure Concentration (MAL)

The MA for Licensure (MAL) is for students with an undergraduate degree in music who wish to obtain a licensure to teach music in the public schools while simultaneously pursuing graduate study in music education.

Course requirements span six semesters and combine core graduate music and music education courses (30 credit units), licensure courses (31 credit units), with student teaching (12 credit units). Music education majors must demonstrate piano keyboard proficiency as part of their Basic Skills and Pedagogy requirement. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for an Ohio teacher license for Music P-12. Licensure may be transferred to other states. Students will also need to pass the Ohio Assessments for Educators exam and meet other state requirements for teacher licensure, such as passing a criminal background check. 

Find detailed program requirements, course distribution, and a sample plan of study in the General Bulletin

Teacher Education

Teacher Education if offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, which is the academic home of the department and programs that prepare students to become teachers. 

Additional information about the teacher licensure program for music education majors can be found in the General Bulletin.

Music Handbook and Advising

Current graduate and professional students in music should review departmental policies and procedures in the Graduate Music Handbook. The handbook provides additional information regarding graduate assistantships, general expectations and responsibilities, program outcomes, decision points, performances, scholarly activity, outside work, prizes/awards, deadlines, petitions, examinations, advancement to candidacy, and student record-keeping.

Additional resources and forms are available on the Resources for Current Graduate and Professional Music Students.