The College of Arts and Architecture


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Program Goals

This program is designed for students already holding a baccalaureate degree in some field of music other than music education. Students with an undergraduate degree in fields other than music but with extensive musical experience may also be considered. 

Completion of the program requirements leads to Pennsylvania Instructional I Certification in Music K-12. Although certification requirements vary among states, Pennsylvania certification requirements meet the requirements of at least 45 other states. It is usually possible to obtain temporary certification in other states while preparing to meet their additional requirements. A teacher in Pennsylvania holding an Instructional I Certificate may teach up to six years in Pennsylvania on that certificate regardless of the time he or she starts teaching or the number of interruptions. After six years of teaching, the teacher must apply for an Instructional II Certificate. This requires the teacher to complete 24 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, to have three to six years of successful teaching in Pennsylvania, and to have the recommendation of his or her immediate supervisor.

Application Process:

1.  Applicants must file a complete application with the Graduate School/School of Music (please see admission requirements)

2.  Completed applications are reviewed by faculty in the Music Education area.  If the applicant seems a good fit for the program, s/he is invited for an interview.  The interview includes a performance of a prepared piece on your major instrument as well as memorized a cappella performance of 5 children’s songs. The children’s songs will be sent at least a month before the interview.

3. Placement exams in piano, music theory, and music history must also be scheduled.  Results of these exams will determine the number of semesters required to complete the program.  Piano placement may be scheduled at the time of the interview.  Music theory and history placement exams are typically offered in August (prior to fall semester) and January (prior to spring semester).  It is the applicant’s responsibility to schedule these placement exams.  Please contact Dr. Tim Shafer for piano placement; Lisa Stamm for the theory and history placement.

4.  Applicants are typically notified of admission status within a month of the interview. 

Completion of Program

1. Meet with your adviser to clarify your course work.

2. In order to enter the Emphasis Course (Music 44_W), you must have passed MUSIC 115 (unless your undergraduate performance major was voice), keyboard proficiency, and Praxis I tests.

3. The program typically takes three semesters of on-campus work. Music course requirements are only offered fall and spring semesters. Some of the non-music course requirements are often offered in the summer, at other Penn State campuses, or on-line via PSU World Campus. One semester of off-campus full-time student teaching is required the last semester. For students whose undergraduate degree is not in music, or for those with deficiencies in voice, piano, theory, and/or music history, completion of the program usually requires more than three semesters of course work.

This page last revised 2010-2011


Required Undergraduate Courses

Credit for approved equivalent courses at other institutions may be transferred. Additional course work may be required depending upon student’s previous course work, experiences, and results of placement exams.

Required Courses:

Music 112 (Spring I) .5
Music 115 or vocal proficiency (Fall I) 1
Music 216 (Spring I) .5
Music 151 1
Music 152 1
Music 153 1
Music 154 1
Music 295 A (Spring I) 1
          Or Early Childhood practicum (Fall I) 1
Music 340 (Fall I) 2
Music 341 (Fall I) 2
Music 395 A (Fall I) 1
Music 345 (Spring II) 2
Music 395 B (Spring II) 1
Music 44_W (Fall II) 3

Music 266 Basic Conducting (Fall I)
Music 366 Intermediate Conducting (Spring I) 1

Music 495A and B or C - Student Teaching

C I 280 3
SPLED 400 4
SPLED 403A or 403B 3
Quantification 6
Literature (Humanities) 3
Basic English 3

Select one course from:
PSYCH 100, HDFS 229, HDFS 239

All courses must be passed with a grade of “C” or better.  However, a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 that includes all the above courses must be maintained.

All teacher education candidates must have Act 34, Act 151, and FBI clearances for any Music Education course work. Information about obtaining these clearances is available in the Office of Certification and Education Services, 228 Chambers Building or in the Music Education Office, 233A Music Building I.


Piano proficiency is required of all students (click here). Instrumental techniques courses (guitar, brass, percussion, string, and woodwind), or proficiency in these areas, is also required. In addition, students must have completed the following undergraduate courses: music theory and music history (verified by competency exams), and seven semesters of applied lessons on a major instrument (verified by an audition at time of interview).

This page last revised 2010-2011


Student Teaching

The certification program culminates in a student teaching experience, which represents a student’s full academic load for one semester (12 credits). The student teaching semester may be scheduled during either fall or spring after completion of course work.  Experiences are scheduled in each of two settings (one general music and one performance): 7 credits are taken in the emphasis setting and 5 credits are taken in the non-emphasis setting. Application for student teaching is made during the fall semester in which the student is enrolled in Music 340 and 341. Applications are available online at Student teachers are placed in a public school district within 125 miles of University Park and are responsible for procuring housing and obtaining transportation. Students will not be placed in their home school districts. At minimum, student teachers are to begin and end their student teaching experience with the University Park semester schedule. The school district schedule of the student teaching site is to be followed during the semester.

Additional Testing

Various standardized tests are required for Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania.  Please refer to the following web site for scheduling and completing these requirements.

This page revised August 2014