Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE

Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education.

About the Program

The PhD program in Music Education stresses the development of university teaching skills and research experience. It prepares music educators with advanced skills in quantitative or qualitative research methods to effectively translate research findings into music education practice and develops a cadre of music education professors who can assume leadership roles in the music education profession. Students are offered advanced study through specialization in music education practice and research, focusing on skills development and accountability for a diverse student population in a rapidly changing educational terrain. The program provides a home for those with traditional and non-traditional backgrounds. Its breadth and flexibility allow outstanding opportunities for differences in expertise and focus. The curriculum is overseen by the academic advisor in concert with the departmental PhD advisory committee.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Interdisciplinary study is encouraged.

Accreditation: The Music Education programs at Boyer College of Music and Dance are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Areas of Specialization: Students enrolled in the PhD program in Music Education identify an area of scholarly focus while at Temple. Examples include, but are not limited to, arts education, choral education, composition, conducting, dance and movement, early childhood music education, educational administration, educational policy studies, elementary music education, general music education, instrumental education, kinesiology, music history, music theory, psychology, secondary music education, sociology, technology and urban education.

Job Prospects: Graduates of the program typically find employment in colleges and universities, public and private educational systems, and other venues in the music industry, or as independent researchers.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in select courses in music with permission, but may not take applied lessons until they have been fully admitted and matriculated.

Financing Opportunities: Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring terms. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance and/or direct service related to academic programs. Assistantship and internship awards are made only in the Fall term for up to two terms: Fall and Spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: February 1
Spring: September 15

Decisions regarding admission are rendered after all required credentials have been submitted and the admissions application is complete.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into the applicant's abilities, talents and aptitude for graduate study. Applicants who received a degree from the Boyer College of Music and Dance within the previous 12 months are exempt from this requirement.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours. Doctoral candidates must hold the Master of Music degree (or the equivalent) in the field of specialization from an accredited institution. Applicants accepted with deficiencies will find the deficiencies noted in the letter of admission. Deficiencies must be addressed prior to completion of the degree.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in Music is expected. At least one degree, whether bachelor's or master's, must be in Music Education.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in Music is required.

Statement of Goals: Provide a written account of your accomplishments to date, goals and expectations for the program, goals for beyond the program, and special interests in the discipline.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE/MAT: Optional

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 68

Resume: Your current resume must be submitted in paper form with other supporting application materials and forwarded electronically to the department chair.

Interview: After the complete admissions application has been received by Temple University, applicants should contact the department at 215-204-8310 to arrange a campus visit and schedule an interview.

Writing Sample: Applicants submit a paper that was written while completing the master's degree. This paper should demonstrate the applicant's scholarship and writing ability.

Academic and Musical Profile (AMP): The Academic and Musical Profile (AMP) consists of two parts:

  1. Performance: Applicants must submit a digital video of representative instruction episodes that adequately demonstrate both teaching skills and musicianship. The recording should be no more than 15 minutes in duration and may include any type of music teaching. Applicants should include a brief written narrative explaining the contents of the video. The digital video is submitted via Acceptd.
  2. Written: This examination is completed by the applicant during the on-campus interview visit. The applicant has 90 minutes to demonstrate writing skills and general knowledge about music education, including contemporary theories, practices, problems and trends. The exam is scored by Music Education faculty. Results are considered in the admissions decision. Additional coursework may be required to remediate inadequacies.

Teaching Certification: Applicants must be certified to teach in at least one state in the United States. A minimum of three years' successful elementary or secondary teaching experience is required. A copy of the teaching certificate must be submitted.

Advanced Standing: The PhD program in Music Education consists of 60 discrete credits taken beyond the master's degree. At the time of admission, the entire master's degree serves as advanced standing credits. These credits are not counted toward the 60 required credits of the doctoral degree. However, students may transfer into the doctoral degree up to 12 additional graduate credits in coursework taken beyond the master's degree. Typically, this coursework is reviewed after admission to the PhD program and must be approved by the major advisor, the department chair, and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 32.

Other: Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 60

Required Courses:

Core Courses
MUED 8651Psych Music Lrn & Behav3
MUED 8672Supervsed Univ Music Tch (2 terms)2
MUED 8673Music Tch in Higher Educ3
MUED 8674Sem Grad Music Education (2 terms)2
Music Education 117
Music Supportive Areas 29
Cognate Area 318
Research Course
MUED 9999Doctoral Dissertation6
Total Credit Hours60

Electives in Music Education are taken in the Major Area, advised by the academic advisor. These courses are taken in Music Education and research skills development (educational psychology, statistics, etc.). A course of study is developed depending on the candidate's prior experiences and professional goals. 


Electives in Music Supportive Areas are designed to reinforce musical foundations and musicianship. They include conducting, ethnomusicology, literature, music history, music theory, and performance. 


After the candidate has been accepted into the program but prior to the first term of study, the candidate declares a cognate area in concert with the academic advisor. The candidate and faculty advisor then develop a general course of study appropriate to the cognate area. The course of study becomes the curriculum that guides the student and faculty advisor throughout the degree program. During the first year of study, students may opt to modify the course of study and/or cognate area in consultation with the advisor. Following the first year of study, the cognate area and general course of study become binding.

Additional Requirements:
Written Entrance Examinations:
All doctoral students must take written entrance exams prior to or during the first term of doctoral study. Candidates who fail the entrance examinations the first time may, upon application to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, be permitted to take the examinations a second time. A third opportunity is not allowed. If the examinations are failed a second time, remediation must occur. Students are advised by departmental faculty who develop a remediation plan according to the student's needs.

To continue registration in the doctoral program beyond the second term of study, all portions of the examinations must be passed or the appropriate review courses (or the equivalent, as determined by the examining department) must be in progress. Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the graduate secretary and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date.

  1. Music History Exam: A general examination covering the history of music is administered. Questions relative to forms, styles and periods of music are included. It is expected that all examinees are acquainted with the standard literature of music.
  2. Harmony Exam: This exam involves completion of a harmonic excerpt in advanced chromatic idiom and the creation of a bass line with figuration (figured bass) in Baroque style.
  3. Counterpoint Exam: From a given motive, approximately 20 measures of imitative counterpoint in three parts are to be completed.
  4. Form and Analysis Exam: A score is provided at the examination that requires analysis of specified passages.

Continuous Registration:
Continuous registration of at least 3 credits must be maintained each term, with the exception of Summer, from the time of acceptance into the PhD program in Music Education until completion of all coursework.

Continuation in the PhD Program:
Each course or seminar requires an end-of-term final grade based on papers prepared, recitals presented, discussion and/or examinations taken during the course of the term. Each term of private study culminates in a performance examination or jury, except during terms in which the student has presented one of the required adjudicated recitals. Screening for continuance in the program after the first term of study is conducted at adjudicated recitals, end-of-the-term juries, and major examinations. This ensures that only the most qualified students continue beyond the early stages of the program.

For all doctoral programs, only grades from "A" to "B-" can be applied toward degree requirements. Grades of less than "B-" cannot be counted toward the degree. Any student who earns a grade of less than "B-" may, with permission of the department chair and the Associate Dean, retake the term of study one additional time. The same applies to recitals.

Professional Development Policy:
In addition to taking the required subjects for their degrees, all students in the Boyer College of Music and Dance are obligated to serve in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical expertise. Boyer College of Music and Dance believes that such experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes; tutoring; teaching private lessons; coaching; participating in the distribution and inventory control of Temple University-owned musical instruments and instructional materials; participating in ensembles; accompanying; performing at admissions and open house events; supervising performance classes; and engaging in other academic activities.

Independent Study Courses:
Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty member providing the instruction, the students' major advisor, and the Associate Dean. Approval is granted only after the student has presented a detailed description of the intended independent study project. Approval of independent study projects is granted only for students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate form of independent study.

Acceptable English:
All students, including those for whom English is not the native language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on plagiarism and academic honesty.

Written Preliminary Examinations:
The written preliminary examinations may be taken during the final term of coursework, but no later than in the term after completion of coursework. They are administered several times each calendar year, and span two consecutive days of six hours of examination each day. They should be taken no later than the end of the fifth year. Subject areas are in the major field, as well as in the minor field areas (typically Music History and Music Theory). The written preliminary examinations in Music Education require the student to demonstrate knowledge and the ability to transfer concepts and ideas. The focus is on assessment methods; current issues in Music Education; foundations (psychological, sociological, historical, philosophical); music perception and cognition; musicianship and aesthetic development; research interpretation; research methods; and teaching methods.

Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the graduate secretary and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date. Students are then notified in writing of the specific dates and administration times of the preliminary examinations for which they have been scheduled. A study guide for the Music Education Preliminary Examinations is available in the Music Education Office. Students are advised to prepare written answers to the questions in the study guide.

Faculty members within the student's major and minor subject areas are involved in preparing the examination questions. At least three graduate faculty members independently read and score each section of the written preliminary examinations. Students typically are graded "Pass" or "Fail" based on a consensus of the examination readers.

Oral Preliminary Examinations:
For those students who pass the written preliminary examinations, no oral preliminary examination is required. (This refers only to the oral preliminary examination and does not refer in any way to the oral defense of the dissertation/monograph.)

If a student fails one or more portions of the written preliminary examination, an oral examination is administered by the major advisor and a minimum of two additional faculty members. In the case of failure in one subject area, two members of that department are asked by the student's major advisor to participate with the major advisor in the examination. In the case of failure in more than one subject area, at least one faculty member from each of the departments in which the failure occurred is asked by the student's major advisor to participate in the examination.

The examination is to be a formal oral examination rather than an informal meeting with graduate faculty from departments in which the examination revealed that the student needs further work. This does not preclude such informal meetings, however, in preparation for the oral examination. Upon passing the oral examination, the student, as advised by the examining committee, is permitted to schedule a second and final attempt at the failed portions of the written examination.

Paper Project:
While a student is matriculated, completion of at least one pre-dissertation sole-authored article suitable for publication in a refereed journal is required. The paper project must demonstrate the ability to synthesize information and processes of research and go significantly beyond any course assignment. It may not duplicate any previous papers completed by the student outside of the degree program. The work on this paper may begin at any time during coursework and must meet current professional standards for publication. The student works with the academic advisor on planning the paper project as soon as the student matriculates in the program. The academic advisor and department chair must approve all project plans.

A one-year residency of two contiguous (Fall and Spring) terms is required for PhD candidates. During the residency, internship requirements are met. The residency provides candidates with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor and allows focused time for work toward degree completion with faculty guidance. Candidates with previous University teaching experience may apply for a residency waiver.

All incomplete grades and keyboard proficiencies must be fulfilled by the first day of the month in which the student expects to graduate.

Graduate assistantships and other forms of University-sponsored financial aid do not cover private lesson and recital extension fees.

Culminating Events:
Students work with the major advisor to prepare a proposal. With the knowledge of the major advisor, the student may consult other faculty members. When the major advisor approves the dissertation proposal, an oral defense of the dissertation proposal is scheduled with all Music Education faculty members present. Faculty members must receive a hard copy of the dissertation proposal no fewer than two weeks before the scheduled defense.

After a dissertation proposal has been developed by the student and approved by the major advisor and Music Education faculty at the oral defense, the student prepares a final copy for approval. At the same time, the student identifies the members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC) in consultation with the major advisor. The major advisor then provides the names of the DAC members to the Associate Dean for consideration. The DAC is appointed officially by the Graduate School. The DAC consists of no fewer than three persons: the student's major advisor, a second person from the department, and a third person from outside the department. Each member of the DAC must sign the final proposal. When all DAC members have signed the title page, the student copies the final proposal and delivers, within 30 days, one copy to each member of the DAC, the department chair, the Associate Dean, and the Graduate School.

After all coursework is completed, preliminary examinations have been passed, and the dissertation proposal has been accepted by the Music Education faculty, the candidate should register for MUED 9999 Doctoral Dissertation each Fall and Spring term until the dissertation has been successfully defended. Doctoral candidates are required to register for a minimum of 6 credit hours of MUED 9999 during their program as a whole, but must register for a minimum of 1 such credit each term while working on the dissertation.

The completed dissertation demonstrates the capability to integrate coursework; identify a viable research topic; develop an appropriate research design; systematically gain evidence toward resolving the stated problem; and write, defend and publicize the results in a professional manner. When the dissertation is complete and approved by the major advisor, the major advisor of the DAC asks the Associate Dean to appoint an outside reader, who is a graduate faculty member from Temple or another university, but not from the faculty of the student's home department. The DAC plus the outside reader comprise the Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) for the oral defense. The DEC is formed early in the term in which a defense is anticipated.

One month prior to the requested defense date, the "Announcement of Oral Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within "University Forms," must be submitted to the Associate Dean bearing all appropriate signatures. Two weeks prior to the oral defense, the student submits individual copies of the abstract and the completed dissertation to the Associate Dean and each member of the DEC. The graduate secretary notifies the Graduate School and posts notices of the impending defense on bulletin boards located within the Boyer College of Music and Dance. All members of the DEC attend the oral defense and vote to pass or fail the dissertation and its defense after the conclusion of the public presentation.

Changes in membership of a DAC or a DEC must be approved by the Associate Dean. The change also must be communicated to the Graduate School.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Music Education and Therapy

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6079


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


James Short


Program Coordinator:

Dr. Rollo Dilworth



Dr. Rollo Dilworth