PhD in Music Education

The PhD in Music Education is for individuals who wish to teach at the college level or obtain positions of leadership in school music programs (P-12). Students admitted to this program will have a previous degree in music education, hold a valid teaching license/certificate, and have at least 3 years of teaching experience in school music settings.

A core of studies centered on philosophy and research is supplemented by coursework in music and related fields. The program focuses on encouraging each doctoral student to develop to their fullest capacity through individual research projects, independent studies with music education faculty members, presentations at professional conferences, and publications in music education research journals. Every effort is made to plan a program based around the needs and interests of students while maintaining standards of musical and scholarly excellence.

The PhD program in Music Education prepares students for music leadership positions at a time when music teaching and learning – both in and out of the schools – is experiencing great change. Graduates of the music education doctoral program consistently secure faculty positions in college and university music programs, community music schools, and K-12 settings.

The PhD program in Music Education was reviewed in 2016 as required by the Ohio Board of Regents. The next review will take place in 2024. These program goals and objectives were revised in the summer of 2016.


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 PhD in Music Education must have (a) at least a 3.0 GPA from a completed graduate degree program in music education, (b) a minimum of 3 years of successful school teaching experience, and (c) evidence of strong written and spoken English skills. After initial review, applicants may be invited to campus for an interview and teaching demonstration. There are no vocal or instrumental auditions associated with the MA admission process

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

Graduate Application Procedures

Program Requirements

The PhD in Music Education is formulated to suit the needs of individual students with consent from their academic advisor. A minimum of 60 hours of coursework is required, including the Graduate Music Education Core (15 hours of research-based coursework in music education); the Graduate Music Core (9-12 hours of music theory, musicology, applied lessons, or ensemble performance); the Outside Cognate Area (6 hours of related coursework in psychology, sociology, behavioral management, or another outside disciple that interest students); Music Education Electives (9-12 hours of MUED courses, seminars, or independent studies); and the Dissertation (18 hours).

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