Music Education, B.M.E.

Program Code: MUED_BME

Program Description

The Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) degree is a professional program that helps prepare students for teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Students are expected to meet all requirements for Entrance to Teacher Certification Program in Music, must pass the piano proficiency, complete all music courses, SPLED 400 and SPLED 403A or SPLED 403B, prior to student teaching. Graduates of this program are prepared to receive the Pennsylvania Instructional I certificate for teaching music K-12. (See also Teacher Education Programs.)

The goal of the Penn State Music Teacher Education Program is to prepare exemplary music teachers for K-12 music programs. Such individuals can provide outstanding personal and musical models for children and youth and have a firm foundation in pedagogy on which to build music teaching skills. Penn State B.M.E. graduates exhibit excellence in music teaching as personal and musical models as well as emerging pedagogues.

What is Music Education?

It’s sharing both your knowledge of music and your passion for it with others. Music education fosters the continuation of the art of music through the development of new musicians and new audiences. Music educators share their musical skills with widely diverse populations. Teaching early childhood music classes, elementary school music, middle and high school band, orchestra and choir, and adult community ensembles are just some of the ways music educators ply their trade.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You have a good level of musical skill and are passionate about sharing your musical knowledge with others, particularly in a school environment.
  • You possess an outgoing personality, good social skills, and leadership qualities that will inspire students to achieve success.

Entrance to Major

All candidates seeking entrance to the Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) must meet the following entrance to major criteria:

  1. Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA by the end of the semester prior to ETM semester and at least 48 credits completed by the end of the semester prior to ETM semester.
  2. Either qualifying scores from the PECT PAPA for Reading, Writing and Mathematics; qualifying Scholastic Achievement Test scores for the combined and individual Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics sections; or qualifying American College Test Plus Writing composite and individual English/Writing score and Math score as specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  3. Complete 6 credits in quantification (GQ) (Require a grade of C or better).
  4. Complete 3 credits in literature (GH) (Require a grade of C or better). See:
  5. Complete ENGL 15 or ENGL 30H (Require a grade of C or better).
  6. Complete early field experience (Require a grade of C or better).
    1. Course List: MUSIC 295A.
  7. Complete EDPSY 10 and 3 additional credits of the education core (Require a grade of C or better).
    1. Course List: EDPSY 10, PSYCH 100, HDFS 229, HDFS 239.
  8. Complete 15 credits of required courses in teaching area (Require a grade of C or better).
    1. Course List: MUSIC 112, MUSIC 151, MUSIC 153, MUSIC 154, MUSIC 162, MUSIC 216, MUSIC 222, MUSIC 261, MUSIC 262, MUSIC 331.
  9. Complete primary level IV on applied instrument (Require a grade of C or better).
  10. Complete and document a minimum of 80 hours of paid or volunteer work with age-appropriate population. At least 40 hours of these age-appropriate 80 hours would be satisfied by working with "under-represented learners."
  11. Complete additional requirements: Voice Requirement (MUSIC 116 or VOICE 270), Piano Requirement (MUSIC 270 or KEYBD 270), and Percussion Requirement (MUSIC 152 or PERCN 270) (Require a grade of C or better).
  12. Approval from the professional education adviser or the head of the pertinent certification program.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both an academic review and a successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: Students offered admissions will enter the AAMUS pre-major. Students will be required to complete the entrance-to-major requirements listed above.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of Major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: Students will enter the AAMUS pre-major upon successful audition. Students will be required to complete the entrance-to-major requirements listed above.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both acceptable academic credentials, determined by admissions, and a successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: Students will enter the AAMUS pre-major upon successful application for admission and audition. Students will be required to complete the entrance-to-major requirements listed above.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Music Education degree, a minimum of 139 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 104-106

10-12 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GS, 1-3 credits of GA, and 3 credits of GH.

18 of the 45 credits for General Education are required for Entrance to Teacher Certification. 

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CI 280Introduction to Teaching English Language Learners Keystone/General Education Course3
EDPSY 10Individual Differences and Education Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 40First-Year Seminar in Music Education1
MUSIC 101Music Common Hour1
MUSIC 112Guitar Techniques I0.5
MUSIC 121Basic Musicianship I1
MUSIC 122Basic Musicianship II1
MUSIC 131Music Theory I2
MUSIC 132Music Theory II2
MUSIC 151Brass Techniques I1
MUSIC 153String Techniques I1
MUSIC 154Woodwind Techniques I1
MUSIC 162Introduction to Music History2
MUSIC 216Care and Nuture of Young Singing Voices0.5
MUSIC 221Basic Musicianship III1
MUSIC 222Basic Musicianship IV1
MUSIC 231Music Theory III2
MUSIC 261Survey of Music History I Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 262Survey of Music History II Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 266Basic Conducting1
MUSIC 295AEarly Field Experience in Music Education1
MUSIC 331Tonal Analysis2
MUSIC 332Analysis of Twentieth Century Music2
MUSIC 3402
MUSIC 341Instructional Materials in Music2
MUSIC 345Instrucational Practices in Music2
MUSIC 366Intermediate Conducting1
MUSIC 395ACohort Practicum I1
MUSIC 395BCohort Practicum II1
SPLED 400Inclusive Special Ed Foundations: Legal, Characteristics, Collaboration, Assessment, and Management4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
INART 258AFundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course1-3
or INART 258B Fundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course
MUSIC 181Jazz Improvisation I2
or MUSIC 267 Techniques of Composition
SPLED 403AEvidence-Based Instruction for Elementary Students with Disabilities in Reading, Math, and Writin3
or SPLED 403B Evidence-Based Methods for Teaching Secondary Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings
Select 7 credits of ensembles of the following:7
Chamber Orchestra
Philharmonic Orchestra Keystone/General Education Course
Symphonic Wind Ensemble Keystone/General Education Course
Symphonic Band Keystone/General Education Course
Marching Blue Band Keystone/General Education Course
Concert Band Keystone/General Education Course
Jazz Ensemble Keystone/General Education Course
Percussion Ensemble Keystone/General Education Course
Mallet Ensemble
University Choir Keystone/General Education Course
Glee Club Keystone/General Education Course
Oriana Singers Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Music for Voices Keystone/General Education Course
Essence of Joy Keystone/General Education Course
Women's Chorale Keystone/General Education Course
Concert Choir Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Singers Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Music for Strings Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Music for Woodwinds Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Music for Brass Keystone/General Education Course
Sonata Duos
Studio and Recital Accompanying
Select 14 credits in applied music through Primary Level VII14
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Infant and Child Development Keystone/General Education Course
Adolescent Development Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Emphasis in Elementary General Music
Emphasis in Elementary and Intermediate Band
Emphasis in High School Band
Emphasis in Strings and Orchestra
Select 12 credits from MUSIC 495A, MUSIC 495B, MUSIC 495C, as follows:12
5 or 7 credits of MUSIC 495A
5 or 7 credits of MUSIC 495B or MUSIC 495C
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 10 credits for the Individualized Emphasis, an individualized cluster of courses approved in advance by the Music Education Faculty, from an approved department list10

Learning Outcomes

  • Competence as a conductor with the ability to create accurate and musically expressive performances with various types of performing groups and in general classroom.
  • Ability to arrange and adapt music from a variety of sources to meet the needs and ability levels of individuals, school performing groups, and in classroom situations.  
  • Functional performance abilities in keyboard and the voice.
  • Ability to apply analytical and historical knowledge to curriculum development, lesson planning, and daily classroom and performance activities.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Margaret Higgins
Academic Adviser
104 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Music Education, B.M.E. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
MUSIC 121*1ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H‡#3
MUSIC 131*2INART 258B or 258A (GA)*#†11-3
MUSIC 40*1EDPSY 10 (GS)*#†3
General Education, Literature Course (GH; US)*#†3MUSIC 116 or VOICE 270*#31
General Education Course (GQ)‡#†3MUSIC 112*#0.5
Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12MUSIC 122*1
Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11MUSIC 132*2
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*22MUSIC 162 (IL)*#2
 Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
 Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
 Supporting Course for Major (see note)*21
 15 17.5-19.5
Second Year
MUSIC 151 or 152*#1MUSIC 151 or 152*#1
MUSIC 153 or 154*#1MUSIC 153 or 154*#1
MUSIC 221*1MUSIC 216*#0.5
MUSIC 231*2MUSIC 222*#1
MUSIC 262*#3MUSIC 261*#3
MUSIC 340*2MUSIC 270*#31
Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12MUSIC 295A*#1
Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11MUSIC 331*#2
General Education Course (GQ)‡#†3PSYCH 100, HDFS 229, or HDFS 239 (GS)*#†13
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*21Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
 Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
 General Education Course3
 17 19.5
Third Year
CI 280 (GH)*†3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3MUSIC 345*2
MUSIC 266*1MUSIC 366*1
MUSIC 332*2MUSIC 395B*1
MUSIC 341*2SPLED 400*4
MUSIC 395A*1Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11General Education Course3
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*21General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 Supporting Course for Major (see note)*22
 16 20.5
Fourth Year
MUSIC 101*1MUSIC 495 (see note on 495A, B, and C)*112
MUSIC 332*2 
SPLED 403A or 403B*13 
MUSIC 441W, 444W, 445W, or 446W (W)*13 
Additional Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12 
Additional Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11 
General Education Course3 
General Education Course3 
General Education Course (GHW)1.5 
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*22 
 21.5 12
Total Credits 139-141

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Career Paths

A degree in music education prepares students in teach music in a variety of school settings to children in grades K-12.  A degree in music education may serve as the basis for graduate study not only in music education, but also in performance, composition, conducting, music theory, music history and others.


Graduates of the B.M.E. program receive Pennsylvania certification to teach K-12 instrumental, vocal and general music. Additionally, the degree includes an “individualized emphasis” based on the student's strengths and interests. B.M.E. graduates are prepared to enter the classroom and have successful careers as an elementary, middle, or high school music teachers.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Because the music education degree program develops a complete, well-rounded musician, graduates are prepared to pursue graduate study in not only music education, but all other areas of music as well. Graduate study in performance, conducting, theory and composition, musicology, and more are all possible with a B.M.E. degree.



The Penn State School of Music is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music. NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities with approximately 650 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other music-related endeavors.


Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


University Park

233 Music Building I
University Park, PA 16802