The College of Arts and Architecture

Master of Music Education

Program Goals

The Master of Music Education degree program is designed to provide candidates with (1) a deeper level of musical skill and understanding, (2) an increased knowledge and skill in the pedagogy of music teaching, and (3) skills as a reflective practitioner and mentor.

The courses and experiences in this degree program are most meaningful for teachers who have taught music in K-12 settings beyond the student teaching experience.  Therefore, we require potential applicants to acquire a teaching position and gain some teaching experience prior to applying to the M.M.E.

Program Description

The master of music education degree provides the opportunity for advanced study in music, music learning and teaching, and teaching as reflective practice. The program requires one full-time year of residency at the University Park campus, and is designed to be completed in one academic year plus two summer semesters. Fulfillment of degree requirements includes successful completion of 30 credits of course work that includes a final action research project and resultant substantial article-length paper, followed by an oral presentation focusing on the candidate's projects and course work.  This presentation, including questions posed by the faculty committee, serves as the final comprehensive examination.  (Twenty must be earned at the University Park campus and 18 must be at the 500-level or higher.)

The 30-credit requirement is as follows:

Requirements Credits
Music (10 )
Music 432 Analysis of 20th Century Music* 2
Music History Course* 3
Electives in Music^ 5
Music Learning and Teaching (11 )
MU ED 541 Developing Music Curricula 2
MU ED 546 Assessment of Music Learning 2

Select one Emphasis Course:  Music 441W, 442W, 443W, 445W, 446W

MU ED 440 Music Learning and Development 2
MU ED 547 Mentoring Novice Teachers (1) (x 2) 2
Teaching as Reflective Practice (6 )
MU ED 540 Reflective Practice and Inquiry I 2
MU ED 559 Contemporary Issues (1) (x 2) 2
MU ED 550 Reflective Practice and Inquiry II 2
Electives (3 ) 3
Courses from Music, Music Learning and Teaching, Teaching as Reflective
Practice, or Other Related Areas (e.g., Education, Developmental Psychology)

Note: 18 credits at the 500-level or higher are required for degree completion.

* All students must take the music theory and history placement exams.  If students do not pass these exams they must take appropriate review course work.  One 3-credit 400-level music history review course may be applied toward the degree.  If students pass the placement exams then one 3-credit 400-level or higher music history course fulfills this requirement.  In addition, if students pass the 20th century portion of the theory placement exam, then one 2-credit 400-level or higher music theory course may be substituted for Music 432 (except for Music 498-Part-Writing/Tonal Analysis and Music 429-Aural Skills as these are review courses).

^ Maximum of two may be from ensembles.

Admission Requirements

1. A candidate applying for admission to the master of music education program should have completed a recognized bachelor's degree in music education, or a program leading to Teacher Certification in Music, with at least a 2.8 junior-senior grade-point average. In some instances, applicants without certification may work toward certification concurrently with a master’s degree in a field other than music education (such as performance, music history, music theory, etc.).  A typical bachelor's degree in music education includes the following:

  • 12-16 in music theory and analysis
  • 7 in applied music
  • 12-15 in music education methods
  • Student teaching experience

2. Evidence of successful teaching experience must be demonstrated.  This evidence typically takes the form of a reference letter from an administrator or colleague who has observed your teaching. 

A candidate who is deficient in any area may be considered for admission, but must be prepared to make up the deficiency, without credit toward the degree, during the first year of graduate study.

Student Aid

For an overview of current tuition and fees as well as the financial assistance programs available to graduate students at Penn State, see Graduate Financial Aid.

Admission Procedure Summary

Please click on Application Process for directions.

Please note that ALL application materials are to be uploaded to the online application.  Upload the following materials:

  • an official transcript - NOT an advising or unofficial transcript - (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction)
    Chinese applicants must also submit an official graduation certificate and official diploma, in Chinese and translated English, if the applicant has already earned the previous degree(s).
  • names of two references and their email addresses (Penn State will contact your references directly)
  • application for School of Music Graduate Assistantship (optional), see Graduate Financial Aid
  • statement of purpose/goals answering the questions below (5 page maximum, double-spaced)

"What are your greatest strengths as a teacher? What area(s) of your teaching would you most like to strengthen? What are your professional goals for the next 5-8 years? How do you think graduate study at Penn State will enable you to meet your goals?"

The following should be submitted to Penn State by the testing agencies at your request.  Select "Penn State University" as the destination for your TOEFL or IELTS scores by selecting the correct school code below:

  • TOEFL and IELTS scores (international applicants only) - School Code 2660

Arrangements may be made for a visit to the University Park campus and for interviews with appropriate faculty members. This is especially important when applying for an assistantship. These arrangements should be made with a faculty member representing the major area. They should be scheduled as early as possible in the semester preceding the semester for which admission is desired.

Inquiries directed to:

School of Music Graduate Admissions

The Pennsylvania State University

233 Music Building I

University Park, PA 16802-1901

Phone: 814-865-5568
Fax: 814-865-6785