Northwestern University has been in the forefront of music education for decades, producing literally thousands of teachers that can be found throughout the world.

Flexible programs offer a wide array of coursework as well as options for double majors, added certification, and many opportunities for independent study. Classes are small so that students receive individual attention from faculty who are vitally interested in issues of creative and critical thinking, philosophically based education, student-centered learning, issues of social context, and music technology.

The Doctoral Research Center CSEME (Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience) engages graduate students in creative study side by side with faculty, a feature that makes this program especially innovative.

The graduate student support provided to PhD students includes year-round tuition and stipend and fully subsidized health insurance.

Music Education Faculty

Undergraduate Program

Northwestern's undergraduate program offers distinct advantages. Not only does its high standards far exceed state and national requirements, but the quarter system allows for more courses and experiences in four years than are generally found in other programs. Students frequently elect to double major in music education and performance, and can complete the double major in four years. Collaborations with over 60 schools in the Chicago area provide many opportunities for practice teaching, Every methods-based course includes weekly experiences in area K-12 schools. Job placement each year is 100%. 

Undergraduate music education majors are required to complete a music education interview and a performance audition.

See Bachelor of Music Admission Requirements

Note: The Music Education Program is closely aligned with the School of Education and Social Policy teacher education unit. Students receive their K-12 certification from the SESP certification office. As part of that unit, the program has adopted the Conceptual Framework philosophy, created by the teacher education unit.

Graduate Programs

Graduate study in music education offers the flexibility to tailor your studies to your professional interests. After completing master’s study, many Northwestern graduates pursue advanced degrees or professional roles in research, conducting, pedagogy, or administration.

The Master of Music in Music Education

The master’s degree program provides a strong foundation in philosophy, research, and curriculum design. In planning an appropriate course of study, students may draw upon the resources of the Bienen School of Music as well as the entire University to meet individual professional interests and needs. Competitive applicants will typically receive an offer of scholarship support and/or a graduate work stipend.

There are two options for individuals interested in the MM in Music Education:

For currently certified music teachers:

  • A one-year program open to individuals who hold teaching certification in music. This program can be completed within an academic year of three quarters. A typical load is four graduate courses per quarter with required participation in ensembles.

See Admission Requirements for 1 Year MM Program

For those seeking certification with the Master’s degree:

  • A two-year program for individuals with a completed bachelor’s degree in music but who do not have teaching certification. Program requirements include the core graduate courses as well as methods classes, field experiences, and at least a quarter of full-time student teaching. (Northwestern does not offer a certification-only program.)

See Admission Requirements for 2 Year MM Program

Double Major

Students may combine the music education master’s degree with a master’s program in another area within the Bienen School of Music (such as conducting or performance) to pursue a degree with two majors. Students must meet the requirements for admission of both programs. For more information, contact the Office of Music Admission at musiclife@northwestern.edu.

Music Education and Piano Pedagogy

The Bienen School offers a Master of Music Education and Piano Pedagogy. Applicants must fulfill all admission and audition requirements for both Music Education (1 year or 2 year with certificate) AND Piano Performance and Pedagogy. 

See Admission Requirements for MM in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy

PhD Program

The PhD program in music education is considered one of the finest anywhere. Graduates can be found in prestigious positions at colleges and universities both in the United States and abroad. Interdisciplinary in nature, the program combines coursework within the Bienen School of Music with programs located in many other parts of the University. All students accepted in the PhD program receive a fellowship that includes a full tuition waiver and stipend guaranteed for up to 5 years.

See PhD Admission Requirements 

For questions about applying to the PhD program or to arrange a visit to campus, please contact Steven Demorest, music education graduate program advisor, at sdemorest@northwestern.edu.

Doctoral Research Center

The Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME) engages graduate students in creative study side by side with faculty.

Learn More

Music Education PhD Students

PhD candidate

jacobberglin2018@u.northwestern.edu

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Jacob Berglin

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PhD candidate

jacobberglin2018@u.northwestern.edu

Jacob Berglin is a PhD candidate in Music Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Valparaiso University, teaching certification from Western Michigan University, and a masters’ degree in music education from the University of Michigan. Jake grew up in Michigan, where he spent the last six years teaching urban public middle and high school choral and general music. Currently, his research interests include access to music based on race, class, and gender, as well as the social and vocal concerns surrounding transgender student participation in choral music programs.

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PhD Candidate

ericasagerman2019@u.northwestern.edu

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Erica Desaulniers

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PhD Candidate

ericasagerman2019@u.northwestern.edu

Erica Desaulniers is a third-year music education PhD candidate. She originally hails from upstate New York and earned both her BM and MME at SUNY Fredonia. She has experience teaching music in Buffalo (NY), Houston, and at The American School of Madrid. While in Europe, Erica presented at conferences in Vienna, Paris, and Rome. Erica has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Fredonia, Roosevelt University, and Lake Forest College. Prior to arriving at Northwestern, she was the Department Chair of Fine Arts at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, IL. Erica’s research interests include music fandom culture and its implications for music education.

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2nd year PhD

PatrickHorton2021@u.northwestern.edu

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Patrick Horton

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2nd year PhD

PatrickHorton2021@u.northwestern.edu

Patrick Horton is a 1st year PhD student in music education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in music education from Ball State University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Patrick taught middle school and high school band and general music in Ohio and Indiana where his groups regular earned top ratings. His current academic interests include technology in the music classroom, project-based learning and cooperative learning in music, and assessment in music.

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Jacob Berglin

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PhD candidate

jacobberglin2018@u.northwestern.edu

Jacob Berglin is a PhD candidate in Music Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Valparaiso University, teaching certification from Western Michigan University, and a masters’ degree in music education from the University of Michigan. Jake grew up in Michigan, where he spent the last six years teaching urban public middle and high school choral and general music. Currently, his research interests include access to music based on race, class, and gender, as well as the social and vocal concerns surrounding transgender student participation in choral music programs.

Erica Desaulniers

Close

PhD Candidate

ericasagerman2019@u.northwestern.edu

Erica Desaulniers is a third-year music education PhD candidate. She originally hails from upstate New York and earned both her BM and MME at SUNY Fredonia. She has experience teaching music in Buffalo (NY), Houston, and at The American School of Madrid. While in Europe, Erica presented at conferences in Vienna, Paris, and Rome. Erica has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Fredonia, Roosevelt University, and Lake Forest College. Prior to arriving at Northwestern, she was the Department Chair of Fine Arts at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, IL. Erica’s research interests include music fandom culture and its implications for music education.

Patrick Horton

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2nd year PhD

PatrickHorton2021@u.northwestern.edu

Patrick Horton is a 1st year PhD student in music education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in music education from Ball State University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Patrick taught middle school and high school band and general music in Ohio and Indiana where his groups regular earned top ratings. His current academic interests include technology in the music classroom, project-based learning and cooperative learning in music, and assessment in music.

PhD Candidate

amandamcclintock2014@u.northwestern.edu

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Amanda McClintock

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PhD Candidate

amandamcclintock2014@u.northwestern.edu

Amanda McClintock is a third-year PhD candidate in the music education program at Northwestern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Coe College in Cedar Rapids IA and a master’s degree in music education from Northwestern. Prior to her study, Amanda taught elementary and middle school general music for 10 years, most recently for Chicago Public Schools. Her academic interests include investigating the utilization of music with diverse learners, a focus on music and autism research, and teacher preparation for special education in music.

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3rd year PhD

CaseySchmidt2010@u.northwestern.edu

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Casey Schmidt

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3rd year PhD

CaseySchmidt2010@u.northwestern.edu

Casey Schmidt is a second year PhD student in music education.  He holds a BM in music education and saxophone performance from Lawrence University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University.  Prior to starting his most recent studies at Northwestern University, Casey taught instrumental music in Illinois and Wisconsin public schools for thirteen years.  Casey’s research interests include music teacher education and the modes and processes music teachers use to self-reflect, assess, and modulate their practice and the infusion of composition and improvisation in performance ensemble curricula.

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3rd year PhD

AdamWhite2020@u.northwestern.edu

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Adam White

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3rd year PhD

AdamWhite2020@u.northwestern.edu

Adam White is a second year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in music education (choral pedagogy) from the University of Kansas.  Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Adam taught choral music in rural and suburban public schools for sixteen years.  His choirs have performed at the Kansas Music Educators Conference and have regularly received top ratings at festivals.  Adam’s research and academic interests include sight-singing, assessment, psychoacoustics, and cooperative rehearsal practices.

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Amanda McClintock

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PhD Candidate

amandamcclintock2014@u.northwestern.edu

Amanda McClintock is a third-year PhD candidate in the music education program at Northwestern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Coe College in Cedar Rapids IA and a master’s degree in music education from Northwestern. Prior to her study, Amanda taught elementary and middle school general music for 10 years, most recently for Chicago Public Schools. Her academic interests include investigating the utilization of music with diverse learners, a focus on music and autism research, and teacher preparation for special education in music.

Casey Schmidt

Close

3rd year PhD

CaseySchmidt2010@u.northwestern.edu

Casey Schmidt is a second year PhD student in music education.  He holds a BM in music education and saxophone performance from Lawrence University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University.  Prior to starting his most recent studies at Northwestern University, Casey taught instrumental music in Illinois and Wisconsin public schools for thirteen years.  Casey’s research interests include music teacher education and the modes and processes music teachers use to self-reflect, assess, and modulate their practice and the infusion of composition and improvisation in performance ensemble curricula.

Adam White

Close

3rd year PhD

AdamWhite2020@u.northwestern.edu

Adam White is a second year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in music education (choral pedagogy) from the University of Kansas.  Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Adam taught choral music in rural and suburban public schools for sixteen years.  His choirs have performed at the Kansas Music Educators Conference and have regularly received top ratings at festivals.  Adam’s research and academic interests include sight-singing, assessment, psychoacoustics, and cooperative rehearsal practices.