May 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Music Education, Doctor of Philosophy - Admissions Temporarily Suspended

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School of Music, Theatre and Dance
207 Varner Hall  (map)
(248) 370-2030 • Fax (248) 370-2041

Jeffrey Heisler
317 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2871

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Graduate Catalog Addendum  

Program description

The Doctor of Philosophy in music education degree program is designed to develop individuals who can provide leadership for music education practice as teacher educators, curriculum leaders, and researchers.

Core concepts in the program include constructivism, cultural psychology, social democracy in music learning and teaching, qualitative research, history of music education and current trends.

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the semester deadlines listed below.

Current Deadlines

  • February 1 for fall and summer semesters
  • February 25 interview deadline for applicants who qualify for an admission interview
  • International applicants   

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements
  • Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate and master’s degree in music (preferably music education) from a regionally-accredited institution or proof of a U.S. equivalent degree for foreign educated applicants.
  • Teaching experience relevant to the applicant’s intended area of study
  • Written statement of professional goals
  • Additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form
    In addition to the two recommendations listed above, a third recommendation is required by the program.
    Requirements for recommendations
    All three forms must be from an academic instructor or from an employment supervisor.
  • Writing Sample: Applicants will provide evidence of their prior knowledge and understanding of music and music education by submitting a paper written in a scholarly fashion on any educational topic.
  • Applicants who qualify as a result of this screening process must complete their scheduled interview with the music education faculty prior to the published deadline.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to the Doctor of Philosophy in music education program, the department evaluates admission candidates as musicians, scholars and practitioners through assessment of prior coursework at the undergraduate and graduate levels, professional experience, written statement of goals, professional letters of recommendation, interview and any other admission requirement established by the academic program.

Degree requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in music education degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of a minimum of 58 credits in an approved program of study, successful admission to candidacy, successful defense of the dissertation and final approval and submission of the dissertation. This program of study was approved in 2018 effective 2019-2021 Graduate Catalog.

Course requirements

b. Approved electives (minimum of 18 credits)

c. Dissertation (16 credits)

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0. Minimum grade for SAP for each course is B (3.0). Students who receive a B- or below in any course will be placed on academic probation. Students who receive a B- or below in 2 or more courses will be dismissed from the program. No grades below a C will count toward the degree and will need to be retaken.

Unresolved P grades are also grounds for academic probation and/or dismissal from the program.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Qualifying examination and dissertation committees

The qualifying examination and dissertation committees are made up of a minimum of three members. These faculty must be tenure-track faculty at Oakland University, and at least two members must be from the Department of Music. In addition, the student may choose to add a fourth member to the dissertation committee. This additional member can be another faculty member from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance or other department in the College of Arts and Sciences; a faculty member from the School of Education and Human Services; or a faculty member from another institution, provided this person is approved by the Oakland University members of the dissertation committee.

The dissertation chair oversees the student’s candidacy, assists the student in developing the dissertation proposal, guides the student’s research, and certifies to Oakland University Graduate School that all degree requirements have been fulfilled.

All core coursework and admission to candidacy must be completed, with no outstanding (P) or (I) grades, before students may register for credit in Dissertation Research (MUS 9999 ) using their dissertation chair as instructor of record. Students advanced to candidacy must be continuously enrolled in Dissertation Research (MUS 9999) each semester in the academic year, including the semester of the dissertation defense. To satisfy degree requirements, students must have completed a minimum of 16 credits of MUS 9999 by the end of the semester in which their dissertation is registered and defended.

Qualifying examination

Upon completion of all required coursework (after MUS 8961   and before MUS 9900 ), the student must pass a qualifying examination in the fields of music education philosophy, psychology, research, and practice. Failure to pass the examination within two attempts shall constitute failure and dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

The qualifying examination provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate achievement of a level and quality of knowledge and skill sufficient to be considered a Doctor of Philosophy in music education. It also provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate preparedness and readiness to engage in the dissertation study.

The examination will consist of three questions, generally one dealing with philosophical, psychological, and sociocultural foundations of music education; a second dealing with literature related to the candidate’s interest area within the field; and a third with research methodology.

Students must complete all core courses before officially initiating the examination process. Once initiated, students have one calendar year to complete their responses. Non-core coursework may continue during the period of examination, but should be substantially completed. To initiate the process, the student invites faculty members to serve on his or her Qualifying Examination Committee. The committee then writes three questions.


An integral and major component of the program is the successful completion of original research to study a problem of current interest in the field. Each student shall, in consultation with his or her adviser, prepare a dissertation proposal consisting of a general introduction explaining relevance to the field, an extensive literature review, and an explanation of methodology of the study. Approval of the proposal by the dissertation committee is required.

The work shall be deemed ready for submission as a dissertation at such time as the committee agrees that the student has completed the work and has demonstrated a sufficiently high level of expertise in the area of focus to be called an expert in that area. At that time, the student shall submit the dissertation to the committee and shall defend the dissertation in an oral examination conducted by the committee. This defense shall be open to the public.

Acceptance of the dissertation by Oakland University Graduate School requires favorable recommendations by the dissertation committee. All dissertations must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation ).

Academic advising

Upon acceptance into the program, the coordinator of the Ph.D. in music education program advises all students. After the first year of study, each student seeks a dissertation chairperson who will then serve as adviser.

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with their committee adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the student will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the committee adviser and submitted to Oakland University Graduate School.

Continuous enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive, preliminary or qualifying examination is taken, defense, and each subsequent term (fall and winter) until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is submitted to Oakland University Graduate School.

Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.

Time limits

The maximum time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is no more than ten years from the term of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program.

The Time Limit for Completing a Ph.D. Degree policy requires a student to achieve candidacy within six years from the first course enrollment in the doctoral program. After being advanced to candidacy, a student is expected to complete the remaining degree requirements within four years (including the dissertation defense).



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