Why This Matters

  • CHOOSE FROM OVER 15 DIFFERENT CAREER PATHS

    Depending on your interests and goals, a master’s degree in music can prepare you for a range of careers, including music teacher, composer, sound engineer, concert producer, music therapist, record label executive, and more.

  • SOUND ENGINEER JOBS TO INCREASE 8% BY 2028

    One of the fastest growing music industry jobs is sound engineering technician. Over 11,000 new jobs are predicted for individuals who can set up audio and visual equipment, and improve sound quality.

  • 11K NEW POSTSECONDARY ARTS TEACHERS NEEDED

    Employment of postsecondary teachers of the arts, including music, is expected to increase 7% within the next decade. Individuals with a master’s degree in music education will have the best job opportunities.

Our Research

For this list, we researched master’s-level degrees in a variety of music-related fields, including performance, education, therapy, and production. The types of degrees vary based on the particular area of study, but they include Master of Music (MM), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Science (MS).

Students can complete most of these programs online, although some are only available as hybrid programs. Others offer their curriculums in on-campus settings as well.

We only included regionally accredited schools on this list, as an assurance of quality in higher education. Many programs also have programmatic accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), which sets national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees in music-related fields.

Our team evaluated each program for its faculty, flexibility, outcomes, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in music are affordable, respected, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 74 hours to write this article
  • 163 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 408 education programs we compared

The Top 15 Online Master’s in Music Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Just as music is an incredibly diverse field in terms of employment opportunities, there are a variety of ways to pursue careers in music. Some, like music education or music therapy, require that individuals have a degree in order to obtain the necessary professional certifications. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient, or you may need to earn a master’s degree in order to advance your career to a higher level.

Other music-related professions, like singers, instrumentalists, songwriters, and producers have more flexible thresholds for entry. Individuals may pursue these careers with little or no formal training, or a combination of formal education and hands-on learning.

Earning an advanced degree in an area like performance can help you improve your musicianship, provide valuable networking opportunities, and open up additional career paths like teaching at the collegiate level. However, before enrolling in a master’s in music program, it is important to consider your career goals, and if formal education is the best path towards achieving them, or if you should dedicate your time and energy to working in the field or engaging in private lessons and mentorship.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Music programs:

  • Is there a portfolio or audition requirement? Depending on the type of program you are seeking, you may need to demonstrate your musical skills and knowledge, either through an audition or a portfolio of work. Check the program’s admission requirements, or talk to a program representative, to find out what applicants are required to submit as evidence of their musical abilities.
  • Are there any in-person requirements for this program? While the programs we reviewed are primarily delivered online, some do have in-person requirements. In some instances, students are required to visit the campus for certain classes or residencies. In other cases, there are experiential learning components, particularly for music education or music therapy programs. Look carefully at the program’s curriculum, or talk to a program representative, to ensure you’re aware of any in-person requirements, and can accommodate them in your schedule and budget.

You will also want to make note of application deadlines and gather application materials like transcripts and letters of recommendation. Financing your graduate education is another consideration. Research sources of funding including scholarships, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer.