2017 Top Online Schools for Music

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering music degrees online.

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School Rankings


Liberty University

Liberty University's Department of Music offers several master's programs through Liberty Online. Some can be completed entirely online, and some require short, intensive residencies at the campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Master of Arts in Music Education is a 36-credit program that can be completed entirely online. Students may transfer up to six credits. The program focuses on strengthening teaching skills while increasing students' knowledge of music theory and methodology. The Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology requires two one-week intensives on campus. The 45-credit program requires students to complete a thesis and perform a field experience. The Master of Arts in Music and Worship requires up to four intensives, and students must earn between 30 and 45 credits.


Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Colorado State University offers a graduate degree in music that can be earned almost entirely online with a requirement for a brief residency on campus. The Master of Music with a specialization in Music Therapy includes classes in music theory, history, and composition as well as coursework in psychology, physiology, and research aspects of music therapy. All candidates are required to attend one four-day session on campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. Students must also complete a practicum in music therapy. Students have the option of a 30-credit plan with a thesis, or a 32-credit plan with a project and written exam. Students can transfer up to six credits, and the program can be completed in about two years.

Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation


University of Miami

The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has two online master's programs in music. The Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries is a 30-credit program that students can complete in as few as 18 months. The program is designed for students who want to work on the business side of music in areas such as music publishing, talent agencies, and record companies. Required courses cover topics such as music copyright law, international music publishing and licensing, and music industry agreements. The Frost School also has an online, 30-credit Master of Arts in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management, designed for students who want to be producers and presenters of live entertainment.

Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation


New Mexico State University-Main Campus

New Mexico State has a completely online program leading to a Master of Music in Music Education for students who already have an undergraduate degree in music education and are working as a licensed music teacher. Students will gain skills in classroom management, learning techniques and teaching strategies. To earn the degree, students must complete 31 credits, including a written project. Required courses cover research, music theory, music education, music history and literature, and an approved elective. Candidates are required to pass a comprehensive oral exam after turning in their written project.

Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation

Evaluating Online Music Degrees

In general, you’re more likely to find master’s degrees and graduate certificates in areas such as music education and music technology than online undergraduate degrees. If you’re lucky, you may come across accredited “hybrid” degrees that combine on-campus performances or recorded performances with online classes.

If you’re interested in a BMus, we’d advise you to think carefully about your options. There is nothing that can replace hands-on teaching. An online degree will also limit your exposure to in-person networking opportunities. In the field of performing arts, it’s all about who you know.

Whatever you do, be sure to check to see if the school has:

  • Regional accreditation
  • Programs that arrange real-world internships, performance practicums, and/or supervised teaching experiences (for music education degrees) in your local area
  • Solid “brick and mortar” reputation (e.g. top school rankings, strong music centers, and distinguished alumni)
  • The same faculty who teach on-campus courses teaching online
  • Dedicated distance learning support services
  • Career centers with job placement figures

Avoid schools with low completion rates and high student loan default rates.