Online Master’s In Music Programs

Want to take your studies even further, an online music master’s degree is the first step in achieving your goal. Learn more about master programs in music.

Updated September 21, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Music Programs

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Music careers often require equal parts talent, perseverance, and training, especially for musical performers and composers. Music majors establish careers in a variety of professional arenas. From concert halls to classrooms and from stages to recording studios, music graduates enter a field with opportunities for instrumentalists, singers, composers, teachers, and coaches.

Professionals with a master's in music can potentially earn a comfortable salary. For example, music directors and composers earn a median annual income of $51,670, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This page features the top online master's in music programs, including common courses and scholarships for music students.


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Understanding a Master's in Music Programs


How long does it take to get a master's degree in music?

Learners typically need 1-2 years to earn a master's in music. However, factors such as learners' enrollment status and program delivery format may impact this timeframe.

What kind of jobs can you get with a music degree?

Music majors often qualify to work as music teachers, sound technicians, musicians, and music producers.

What kind of degrees are there for music?

Students can pursue a degree in music at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

What music jobs pay the most?

Salaries for music professionals vary widely. For example, music teachers earn a median annual salary of $59,420, according to the BLS, while producers and directors earn $74,420.

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Why Get a Degree in Music?

Enrolling in a formal music program allows musically inclined learners to discover and focus on a specific musical arena. Music majors can specialize in musical composition, performing, or teaching music in a school or private setting.

Many music programs require an internship, which allows students to develop valuable industry contacts. However, not all states can support a top-level music program. By enrolling in an online master's in music program, students can pursue a degree regardless of where they live.

How Much Does a Music Degree Cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that students who enrolled in public colleges or universities in their home state paid $12,171 on average for the 2018-19 academic year. Learners who enrolled in a four-year, nonprofit private institution paid an average of $27,776. Many master's in music programs fall within this price range.

Depending on their specialization area, music majors may need to factor in additional expenses. For example, music majors who specialize in performance must often stage a concert or some type of live performance for their culminating experience. Students may need to pay for a concert hall or recording studio rental and the salaries of support personnel such as stage hands or sound technicians.

Students enrolled in online programs save money by not incurring additional housing and transportation expenses.

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How Much Do Music Majors Make?

Salaries for music majors vary greatly, often depending on the field. According to the BLS, music directors and composers earn a median annual salary of $51,670. Music graduates who teach at the kindergarten and elementary levels earn $59,420, while high school music teachers earn $61,660.

The BLS does not compile data on musicians and similar types of performing artists since many do not work full time year round. However, the BLS notes that musicians and singers earn a median per hour rate of $30.39, which is higher than the average median per hour rate of other workers of $19.33, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Master's in music degree-holders sometimes teach at the college level, either in two-year community colleges or four-year institutions. Postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $79,540, according to the BLS. Aspiring music teachers must first secure a state license before they can begin their teaching career.

Courses in Music

Master's in music programs usually include foundation coursework and concentration classes. Enrollees can typically design an individualized plan of study that supports their educational and career goals.

The culminating experience for a master's in music program usually depends on a candidate's concentration. Learners specializing in composition may submit original music, while students focusing on a specific instrument may stage a performance. Many schools offer the foundational coursework below.

Certifications and Licensure for Music

Music majors who wish to teach must first secure a teaching license from the state where they plan to practice. While typically not required when pursuing a music career outside of the classroom, an industry-recognized certification presents the holder as a learned and trained professional committed to the music field.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) allows practitioners to determine different states' certification requirements. NAfME updates information on its website regularly to ensure information remains current. The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) administers the MT-BC credential for candidates who have completed an academic program and finished clinical training approved by the American Music Therapy Association. Candidates must pass an exam on all CBMT domains, including assessment, treatment planning, and documentation. The Music Teacher National Association reserves this credential for full-time or part-time college music teachers with dean- or supervisor-verified qualifications. Music teachers not part of a collegiate faculty can apply for the certification by completing the five Teacher Profile Projects described in the application.

Scholarships for Music

Most colleges and universities offering a master's in music support their students through scholarship and grant programs. Schools also offer teaching or research fellowships for qualified postgraduate enrollees. Music students can explore financial assistance from nonprofit private organizations and professional associations with ties to the music industry. See below for three scholarships open to students pursuing a master's in music.

Scholarships for Music
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Great Value Colleges Music Scholarship for Black Students

$5,000 Undergraduate or graduate African American students pursuing a music-related degree may apply. Applicants must submit an essay containing 1,500-2,000 words or a video 5-10 minutes long describing their musical journey and future plans.

Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship

$1,000 Asian American students pursuing a degree in the visual or performing arts, including music, can apply. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must demonstrate leadership through community service or extracurricular activities.

Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship

$1,000-$2,000 The Mario Lanza Institute has awarded more than 200 vocal scholarships to talented young singers since the institute's incorporation in 1962. Aspiring singers ages 21-28 may apply. Applicants must pay a $50 application fee and prepare three opera arias and one song.

Online Master's in Music Programs 2021

#1

Eastern Illinois University

School Information
Location Charleston, Illinois
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Distance learners at Eastern Illinois University can pursue a variety of respected degrees, including a master's in music. With a variety of online offerings, the public institution enrolls 2,639 remote students. Many virtual programs feature flexible scheduling options that benefit working professionals.

Degree-seekers complete a rigorous curriculum and gain field-specific training while fulfilling requirements for the master of arts in music. Faculty mentors work with graduate students to ensure the curriculum aligns with their professional goals. The online program emphasizes field-specific skills and knowledge. Learners currently employed in the music field often qualify for career advancement after graduation. The institution's career services and alumni network can help master's students locate and secure professional opportunities.

In addition to online support services and career advising, the school offers financial aid counseling. Online learners benefit from affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce their financial burden. They may also qualify for scholarships, fellowships, or other forms of financial aid.

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#2

Southern Utah University

School Information
Location Cedar City, Utah
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Among Southern Utah University's online offerings is a top-ranked master's program in music. With 3,951 distance learners, the public institution also delivers programs on campus in Cedar City, Utah. Many online programs feature flexible scheduling options, which can make earning a degree easier for busy students balancing academics with personal obligations.

The master of music education features a rigorous curriculum, helping degree-seekers develop foundational knowledge in the field. Faculty mentors assist graduate students as they tailor the program curriculum to their interests and career aspirations. The online program prioritizes flexibility and career preparation. Graduates of the master's program often secure high-paying leadership roles in the music field. Master's students can take advantage of the institution's career services to prepare to transition from their studies into the workforce.

Support services, including career advising and financial aid counseling, prepare learners to succeed academically and professionally. The school charges online degree-seekers affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Scholarships and fellowships can also help enrollees fund their master's studies. 

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#3

Rutgers University–New Brunswick

School Information
Location New Brunswick, New Jersey
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Rutgers University–New Brunswick delivers high-quality virtual programs for distance learners. The public institution offers 33 remote programs, along with in-person programs at its campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. At the school, graduate degree-seekers can enroll in a master of music in music education. Busy students balancing academics with personal obligations often benefit from the online music program's flexible scheduling and enrollment options.

Core classes help learners develop transferable skills and prepare for advanced music classes. Students can select field-specific electives and complete practical learning experiences to prepare for industry roles. Graduate degree-seekers typically require 1-2 years to earn their music master's degree if enrolled full time. Prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor for exact application deadlines and requirements.

The school's affordable tuition rates make it easier for learners to pursue graduate degrees. The institution charges average graduate tuition rates of $17,736 for in-state students, while nonresidents pay an average of $30,144. Enrollees at the accredited institution can receive federal financial aid. Of all the school's students, 71% obtain financial aid to fund their studies.

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#4

Eastern Kentucky University

School Information
Location Richmond, Kentucky
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Eastern Kentucky University, a public institution located in Richmond, Kentucky, offers online undergraduate and graduate programs. The school offers 16 online master's programs, which often benefit learners with personal or professional responsibilities.

The institution's online master of music in music education benefits remote degree-seekers seeking career advancement in music. Graduates can transition to a music career or advance their current career in the field after earning their master's degree. Support services, including faculty mentorship and career counseling, prepare learners to succeed academically and professionally.

Affordable tuition rates and institutional funding make pursuing graduate studies easier for many enrollees. The institution holds accreditation, which means students can qualify for federal financial aid programs. Additional funding options for graduate-level learners include private scholarships and institutional fellowships. 

Eastern Kentucky University Numbers:

Fee Per Credit: $474

Students Receiving Aid: 98%

Students Receiving Loans: 50%

Total Master's Programs: 40

Transfer Credits Accepted: No

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#5

Stephen F. Austin State University

School Information
Location Nacogdoches, Texas
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Nacogdoches, Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University features an academic catalog with programs that appeal to all kinds of people. Undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers can pursue the school's programs remotely or in person. The school delivers 16 master's programs online.

The institution's master of music: music education prepares online degree-seekers to succeed in music careers. Learners currently employed in the field often qualify for career advancement after graduation. Students enrolled in the school's master's programs can access academic advising, faculty mentorship, and career counseling.

The school charges online enrollees affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Students at the accredited institution can qualify for federal grants and loans. Additional financial aid options include private scholarships and fellowships. 

Stephen F. Austin State University Numbers:

Students Receiving Aid: 86%

Students Receiving Loans: 52%

Total Master's Programs: 40

Transfer Credits Permitted: No

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