Dec 08, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Music, Ph.D.

College of The Arts  
Department: School of Music 
Financial Aid Deadlines: Contact Department for funding opportunities and deadlines.


  • Music Education


The Doctor of Philosophy in Music is the highest degree in the field. At the University of South Florida, this major is offered with a Concentration in Music Education, which is designed to develop leaders 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, aesthetics, philosophy, cognitive development, creativity, social psychology, neuropsychology, engineering, gerontology, speech and communication sciences, special and gifted education, etc.). In coordination with faculty mentors, the student has great flexibility in designing a program of study that fits his/her interests and strengths. A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available for qualified students.

Music Education Concentration in the Ph.D. in Music

Studies in the Ph.D. major varies, depending on individual interests and needs. All applicants are expected to have two or more years of teaching experience in a public or private school (or its equivalent). A dissertation and dissertation defense are required. The Ph.D. degree empowers students to become scholarly producers of research in music education.

Music Faculty, Alumni, and Students

The most compelling reason to study music at the University of South Florida is the opportunity to work with our superb music faculty. These gifted, dedicated artists/scholars are among the preeminent leaders in their fields and have been carefully chosen for their professional training, excellence in musical performance and research, and pedagogical expertise. They are featured on many professional recordings and appear in prestigious concert venues around the world. Their compositions are premiered globally. Their scholarship is published in the leading research journals, books, and monographs in their disciplines. The School of Music also invites guest composers, conductors, and performing musicians to enhance its performances and to provide master classes, symposia, and clinics for students and the public. Many USF music alumni are currently performers in a variety of concert settings and successful teachers in public schools, colleges, and universities around the country in a variety of concert settings. The School of Music at USF offers the student the opportunity to study with distinguished faculty and to be in the company of other superior music students for an exciting and exacting period of study.


National Association of Schools of Music (N.A.S.M.); National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (N.C.A.T.E.)

Major Research Areas:

Alternative Methods, Community Collaboration, Contemporary Changes, Creativity, Early Childhood, General Music, International Perspectives, Multicultural Issues, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Teacher Behaviors, Technology, and Lifelong Learning in Music

Admission Information

Doctoral applicants are encouraged to contact the Graduate Coordinator of the Doctoral Major, as early as possible.

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements, as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Official Application to the USF Office of Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. in Music with a concentration in Music Education
  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be received at the same time as the application for admission. Credits to be considered for transfer to this major, which are reflected on other transcripts besides the degree-bearing transcripts, must also be sent for consideration by the faculty.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.50 for master’s degree.
  • GRE General Test required.
  • Successful interview with the music education faculty, either in person or by other arrangement. Prior to the interview, the following must be reviewed by the music education faculty:
    • At least three letters of recommendation from people qualified to speak on behalf of the applicant’s academic and professional capabilities.
    • Sample of the applicant’s best academic writing.
    • Curriculum vitae.
    • 15-20 minute video recording of the applicant teaching music.
    • Personal goal statement.

International students must include copies of graduation Certificates and Diplomas (in addition to official transcripts) with their applications

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours – 60 (post-masters)

  • Core - 6 Credit Hours
  • Concentration - 18 Credit Hours 
  • Cognate - 9 Credit Hours
  • Statistics and Measurement - 9 hours
  • Dissertation - 18 hours

The responsibility for seeing that all graduation requirements are met rests with the student.

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Music Education Concentration (18 Credit Hours Minimum)

Cognate (9 Credit Hours)

Choice of graduate courses in music (normally outside music education) and/or from fields related to music and/or education.  All cognate courses are to be associated with a particular topic approved by the advisor.

Statistics and Measurement (9 Credit Hours)

Comprehensive Qualifying Exam

The Comprehensive Qualifying Exam consists of a written component and an oral component.  The written component is an open-book exam, in which the student writes four article-length papers in eight weeks.  The oral component consists of a meeting with the exam committee, discussing each of the four papers.

Dissertation (18 Credit Hours Minimum)