For individuals interested in pursuing a music-related degree, there are a wide variety of programs available. The choice of which program to select will heavily depend on a student's career goals. Whether someone wants of be a professional musician, a music teacher, a composer, or a musical engineer will help determine what degree to pursue.
10 Music Schools
The following are 10 schools with music programs. Up-to-date tuition statistics and information about program levels can also be found below.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Southern Methodist University||Dallas, TX||4-year, Private||Bachelor's Master's||$48,190|
|Boston College||Chestnut Hill, MA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$49,324|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$43,450|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$47,600|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$46,320|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$49,116|
|Brown University||Providence, RI||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$49,346|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$49,241|
|Columbia University||New York City, New York||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$53,000|
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg, VA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$19,372 (in-state), $41,072 (out-of-state)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Music Composition and Theory
- Music History and Literature
- Music Merchandising and Management
- Music Pedagogy
- Music Performing
- Musical Conducting
- Musicology and Ethnomusicology
- Piano and Organ
- Stringed Instruments
- Voice and Opera
University Selection Criteria
Music degree programs vary widely depending on whether they are performance or theory focused and at what educational level they are taught. Students should keep this in mind when selecting a school, as well as a few of the other factors mentioned here.
- Students should research faculty profiles to see if they share a focus area or have a performance instrument in common.
- The caliber of visiting speakers and performers a school brings in should be considered when making a choice.
- Students should research the performance opportunities, such as campus bands, orchestras, choirs, ensembles and other groups, along with the potential for participation in student performances.
- It may be wise to find out how successful graduates of the music programs are in finding work.
Students who have a general interest in music may wish to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Music or a Bachelor of Music program, which provide students with a strong basis of knowledge in music theory and possibly performance. Students who already have a focus area, such as violin performance, can seek out specific bachelor's degrees in that field. Beyond performance and theory, there are a wide variety of other undergraduate music degrees in areas like music engineering, musical theatre, entertainment business, composition, music therapy, jazz and musicology.
A master's degree in music can build on a student's prior musical education or help an individual refocus their career in a more music-specific direction. For aspiring music performance professionals, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in their selected instrument will help them continue to refine and perfect their skills. Another option is a two-year Master of Music (MM) program that includes advanced courses in music history and theory while allowing students to choose electives in their specialty area, such as composition, conducting, performance or voice. A third option is a Master of Arts (MA) degree, in which students conduct independent research leading to a graduate thesis.
At the doctoral level, the most common degree is the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree. These programs typically require students to choose a major in either performance, conducting or composition, and students spend the bulk of their two-year residency achieving excellence in this area. At the same time, students take graduate level history and theory courses to supplement their technical training. Another doctoral option is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which typically allows students to explore a specialized area of music through intensive academic research leading to a dissertation. In addition, students may gain teaching experience to help prepare them for jobs as college or university professors in the future.
Regardless of a student's interest within the field of music, there are undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can provide relevant training. These programs may be found at traditional universities or dedicated music schools.