Graduate Studies in Music Education

Master of Music

The Master of Music music education concentration has two tracks available:

  • The 36-hour option is designed for students interested in advanced study as a stepping stone to a doctorate and culminates in a master’s thesis. Thesis research is designed, carried out, and written in consultation with a faculty member.
  • The 30-hour option is designed for teachers who intend to make use of broadened and refined knowledge and skill by returning to the elementary or secondary classroom and rehearsal hall. This track culminates with a comprehensive exam.

Alternative Certification

The Non-Master’s Degree/Certification-only alternative certification program is open to students who have a degree in music. The purposes of the program are to prepare students to teach vocal or instrumental music in K-12 school settings and recommend students for Louisiana State Teaching Certification.

This alternative certification program normally requires at least 33 hours. Candidates in the instrumental, vocal, and general concentrations take the same courses in knowledge of the learner and learning environment, methodology and teaching, and student teaching, and different courses where content and skill development are unique to instrumental, vocal, or general music.

Required for admission:

  • Undergraduate degree in music from a NASM-accredited college or university (in some cases a graduate degree in music will also be accepted in lieu of the NASM-accredited bachelor's degree if the graduate transcript has an acceptably broad representation of prerequisite coursework; this will be determined at or prior to the interview)
  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on undergraduate coursework
  • Successful interview with a member(s) of the Music Education faculty

Possessing a degree in music ensures that candidates for certification are well-trained musicians and knowledgeable in the content area. Coursework required for this program parallels coursework required for the bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Therefore, because of scheduling considerations and cost to the University, it is unlikely that candidates will be able to teach full time while earning certification through this program.

The majority of successful alternative certification candidates are students enrolled in a Master of Music degree in music education, performance, or conducting who will earn certification during the same time period. Other candidates are students who elect to engage in full-time or part-time coursework toward certification only. Those interested in pursuing alternative certification must have an undergraduate transcript evaluation on file before enrolling in music education coursework.

Doctor of Philosophy in Music (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy music education concentration, with a strong research emphasis, leads to careers in teaching, scholarship, and leadership in all avenues of professional music education. Candidates for the program have at least 3 years of successful music teaching experience. Students commit to a 3-year residency, the minimum it takes to complete a 53-hour curriculum that includes coursework in music education, music theory, music history, research techniques, minor area, and dissertation.

Students have much latitude in choosing a minor area of concentrated study (12 hours), for example, psychology, anthropology, educational leadership, gifted education, piano pedagogy, applied music, conducting. Graduate assistantships provide opportunities for students to serve as research assistants, teaching assistants, fieldwork supervisors, and teachers of record. Graduate students and faculty interact regularly in an informal “Research Group” forum devoted to student-centered conversation about and development of scholarly ideas. For the dissertation, students collaborate with a faculty mentor, choose an important question to answer in music education, and opt for an appropriate mode of inquiry—quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. At the completion of the degree, students leave as our colleagues and are prepared to be excellent teachers, researchers, and leaders in music education.

Music Education Concentration with Emphasis in Piano Pedagogy

For information regarding the piano pedagogy program, please contact Dr. Pamela Pike, Aloysia Landry Barineau Professor of Piano Pedagogy, at


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Questions? Contact Us!

Office of Graduate Studies
102 School of Music Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-2504