University of South Florida

School of Music

USF College of The Arts

Degrees & Programs of Study

BS in Music Education

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in music education is designed to prepare students as practitioners in the field. Practical experience is the underlying value in all courses and field experiences. Student receive direct experience with the K-12 schools beginning early in the degree program. As students progress in a robust, semester-long, student-teaching experience. This degree program challenges and prepares students to not only embrace the traditions of music education in the schools, but also to incorporate new potentials for the future.

MA in Music Education

The Master of Arts (M.A.) is a unique curriculum focused on alternative pedagogical techniques as applied in music, as well as techniques of research.

The Guiding Principles For The Degree Are To Help Students

  • Establish a global context focused on learner-centered pedagogy
  • Become proficient in using learner-centered skills in their classrooms
  • Conduct action research in their classrooms
  • Participate in a peer mentoring process within the program

Degree Curriculum (30 hours)

Core (6 credits):
MUE6785 Research Design and Methods in Music Education - 3 credit hours
MUE7939 Center for Music Education Research Seminar – 1 credit x 3 semesters

Select one from the following (3 credits):
Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education - 3 credits
Music Perception - 3 credits

Select two from the following (6 credits):
MUE7746 Measurement & Evaluation in Music - 3 credits
MUE7748 Creativity Conceptions - 3 credits
MUE7786 Qualitative Research Methods - 3 credits
MUE7815 Social Psychology of Music - 3 credits
MUE7816 Music Cognition - 3 credits
MUE7835 Philosophical & Historical Issues in Music Education - 3 credits

Electives (9 credit hours) - any graduate level music courses or courses related to the student’s research interests.

MUS6971 Graduate Thesis (6 credits)

Admission Requirements

At least two years of K-12 music teaching experience, or the equivalent, are required for admission. A résumé, a personal goal statement and a minimum of two current letters of recommendation from people qualified to speak on behalf of the applicantʼs academic and professional capabilities must accompany the application. An official transcript for a completed undergraduate degree in music (from an accredited program) is required with the application. The overall Grade Point Average (GPA) for upper division credit hours (all credits beyond the first 60) must be at least 3.0, and the GPA for all music, music education, and education courses included in the undergraduate degree must be at least 3.0. Final approval for admission must be granted by the music education faculty. There is no music audition required and the GRE exam is not necessary.


What does learner-centered mean?

The learner-centered classroom includes significant time for students to work in small groups where they contend and struggle with the messy work of musical problem solving. Students also have extensive control and autonomy over their work making musical and creative decisions and determining which musical styles to study and which musical instruments are best for those styles. In this classroom the teacher has several roles which include developing assignments, providing skill instruction, supervising, making recommendations, observing, answering questions, advising, assessing, and generally ‘just being there’ for when they are needed.

The learner-centered MUSIC classroom will often involve students working collaboratively within small groups, and across the class, making musical decisions both covering and performing previously composed material and creating their own original pieces, while engaging in musical problem solving. They would also have opportunities to reflect on, analyze and critique their work.

How does USF’s MA in Music Education relate?

Our degree program is focused on developing teachers that are equipped to help students excel in a learner-centered classroom. Whether you are new to this pedagogical concept or have been teaching in a learner-centered environment for sometime, you will expand your teaching expertise in ways that will help you reach a more diverse set of students and enable your students to develop musical skills they will be able to use throughout their lives.

Why the focus on research?

During degree study you will develop into a proficient action researcher. This will enhance your teaching in two ways. First, you will learn how to read and interpret previous research with the learner-centered classroom that can have significant influence on your teaching methods in the classroom, and second you will be capable of applying action research to help you better evaluate the effectiveness of your learner-centered methods. By the end of your program the final project should be ready to submit for publication in an appropriate professional journal so that you might help other teachers understand learner-centered techniques.

What happens during the one week on-campus experience?

The first course you take in the degree program, Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education (six credit hours), is divided into three sections. The first is a seven-week online session that will introduce concepts and research concerning learner-centered pedagogical techniques. It will also involve theories of pop/rock music. Following this is one week (Monday-Saturday) of intense on-campus work where you will put into practice everything that was covered during the first seven weeks. You will spend a good deal of this week in small, learner-centered groups, solving musical problems by covering songs and creating new material. You will learn techniques in recording, mixing, and producing and you will have opportunities to experiment with a wide range of electronic and digital musical instruments. You will have fun, you will laugh, and you will learn a lot about implementing learner-centered approaches in your own teaching. As a follow-up to this on-campus experience you will spend one week reflecting on all the previous work with your fellow classmates. Note that on-campus expenses, including housing, meals and all materials, are included in the regular tuition charge (excludes travel to/from Tampa).

How long will it take me to finish the degree requirements?

There are many possible variations based on individual needs. The most direct path would include twelve hours in the first summer, six in the second summer, and nine hours of electives plus the Blues and Rock course during fall/spring semesters between.

Summer One

MUE6428 Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education I (6)
MUE6785 Research Design and Methods in Music Education (3)
MUE6787 Literature Review in Music Education (3)


MUS5905 Elective (3)
MUS5905 Elective (3)


MUH6376 History of Blues and Rock (3)
MUS5905 Elective (3)

Summer Two

MUE6788 Research Data Analysis and Report Writing in Music Education (3)
MUE6429 Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education II (3)

Contact Dr. Clint Randles, the academic advisor for this program, for more details.

PhD in Music Education

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in music education is a research-focused terminal degree in the field. At the University of South Florida, this program is intended for the aspiring pinnacle leader in music education research, teaching, and administration. The curriculum prepares the student to engage in original research in music education and related fields (arts education, music technology, music psychology, etc.). In coordinating with faculty mentors, the student has great flexibility in designing a program that fits his/her interests and strengths. A cognate area of studies is built into the program. Examples of cognate studies include conducting, composition, performance, as well as fields outside of music, such as educational psychology, neuroscience, statistics, multicultural education, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, educational administration, and so forth.

Admission requirement include an interview with the music education faculty and the submission of writing samples and GRE scores. A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available to outstanding students.

Download the program admission and requirements.

Contact Dr. C. Victor Fung, the academic advisor for this program, for more details.

Sample PhD Alumni Placements

  • Jon Bassett, Professor, Florida College, Florida
  • Zadda Bazzy, Music Specialist, Onslow County Schools, North Carolina; Manatee County Educator of the Year (2013)
  • Joshua Blair, Director of Bands, Plant City High School, Florida
  • Matthew Buckmaster, Assistant Dean of Global Education & Associate Professor, Elon University, North Carolina
  • Morgan Jolley, Assistant Professor, Ithaca College, New York
  • Mark Cole, Assistant Professor, Gardner-Webb University, North Carolina
  • Gary Compton, Fine Arts Chair, Academy at the Lakes, Florida
  • Wayne Gallops, Professor & Director of University Bands, Radford University, Virginia
  • Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham, Executive Director of Independent Education and Parental Choice, Florida Department of Education; Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year (2019) & Florida Teacher of the Year (2020)
  • Timothy Groulx, Assistant Professor, University of North Florida, Florida
  • Patrick Hernly, Academic Chair of Music Industry Recording Arts, St. Petersburg College, Florida, Commercial Drums, University of South Florida
  • Jonathan Kladder, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Lisa Lehmberg, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
  • James Lindroth, Assistant Professor, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma
  • Marian Newsome Moorhead, String Specialist, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida
  • Rebecca Rinsema, Lecturer, Northern Arizona University, Arizona
  • Kathy Rolsten, Instructor, University of Toledo, Ohio
  • José Valentino Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Lee University, Tennessee
  • Cynthia Selph, Assistant Professor, Saint Leo University, Florida
  • Andrew Sioberg, Director of Teaching and Learning Conditions Initiative, New Teacher Center, North Carolina
  • Melissa Slawsky, Instructor, St. Petersburg College, Florida
  • Nick Stefanic, Music Technology Specialist, Pinellas County Schools, Florida
  • Michael Zelenak, Assistant Professor, Alabama State University, Alabama