PhD in Music Education

image of lecture

Admission Requirements

  • A Master's degree in Music Education (or equivalent)
  • Minimum 70% average in the Master's degree

Application Materials

  • Two essays (3,000-4,000 words) that demonstrate the ability to articulate and carry out research in music education
  • A statement of interest video (10 minutes)
  • A recent music teaching video (15-20 minutes) including a reflective running commentary (voice-over or subtitles)
  • A current resume or CV
  • Three confidential letters of reference
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended, uploaded in PDF
  • Proof of English language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Selected candidates will be invited for an interview

Application Deadline: December 1

The PhD in Music Education program challenges students to think critically and creatively, applying theoretical ideas to their experiences as musicians and educators. Pedagogical issues are explored through diverse lenses that consider the past, present, and future of music education. Our students actively present their research at conferences and workshops around the world.   

Xiao Dong

I think faculty members and also all my colleagues are very supportive, especially as an international student. My first year here [I] was overwhelmed not only because of the language barriers but also about a lot of academic things I was not so familiar with. And all of the faculty members and colleagues, they helped me a lot. And I felt like I'm in the family and everyone supports each other."
Xiao Dong, PhD Candidate

Video interview: Xiao Dong and our PhD in Music Education program. 

Program Requirements


(3.5 credits)

4 required courses (2.0 credits): 
9640 Theories of Music Education
9641 Philosophical & Historical Inquiry
9651 Qualitative Research
9652 Quantitative Research

3 electives (1.5 credits)


Academic Integrity Module

To support success in graduate studies, all incoming graduate students are required to complete the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) Academic Integrity Module in order to progress beyond the first term of their degree. Eligible students can access the module in the Graduate Student Web Services Portal.

Students who do not complete the module will not be able to progress beyond the first term of their degree.

This module is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge and resources to abide by academic principles during their graduate career and to help combat scholastic offenses. After reviewing the material and finishing the readings, students are required to complete both a multiple-choice assessment and a series of short case studies to evaluate their knowledge of academic integrity. Students have unlimited opportunities to pass the module. 

Research Ethics Tutorial TCPS-2 CORE

New doctoral students in Music are required to complete the TCPS 2: CORE-2022 (Course on Research Ethics) in their first term. 

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) is a joint policy of Canada’s three federal research agencies: CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC.

This policy is a Canadian guideline for the ethical conduct of research involving human participants. TCPS 2: CORE-2022 is an online, self-paced tutorial featuring interactive exercises and examples from each of the three agencies that help to familiarize researchers with the TCPS 2 guidelines. The course consists of nine modules and a knowledge consolidation exercise.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is normally completed in Term 6. The student must identify a dissertation supervisor and second reader upon completion of course work, before formally embarking on the Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination is assessed by the proposed dissertation supervisory committee. A note is added to the student’s record when this program milestone has been completed.

The Qualifying Examination for the PhD in Music (Music Education) consists of two papers:

  • Paper 1 situates the research area in the literature and develops a rationale for research in this domain.
  • Paper 2 locates the research within potential methodological frameworks and begins to develop a methodology for the proposed dissertation research.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Normally in Term 7 (Fall of Year 3), candidates for the PhD in Music (Music Education) must submit a research proposal to their dissertation supervisory committee, and make an oral presentation to the committee (to which all faculty and graduate students in music education will be invited).

Once the written proposal and oral presentation are approved by the dissertation supervisory committee, the student submits a final version of the proposal to the office of the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) for approval by the Graduate Committee. This marks the completion of this milestone.

pdf icon Guidelines for writing a dissertation proposal

Doctoral Seminar

The Doctoral Seminar in Music Education is a regularly scheduled event where all music education faculty and doctoral students meet to address current research issues, discuss work in progress, and engage with presentations by visiting scholars/artists. Students must attend the Doctoral Seminar regularly for at least five terms.

Dissertation and Oral Defense

The length of a PhD dissertation in music education is usually 200-250 pages.

All procedures and formatting found in the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies' (SGPS) Thesis Regulation Guide must be followed in the preparation of a dissertation.

Please note the deadlines set by SGPS for dissertation submission and scheduling of the defense.

All PhD candidates must present a public lecture (approx. 45 minutes) which is usually on the same day just before the defense. 

pdf icon Guidelines for requesting a doctoral defense 


Expected duration of program

12 terms (4 years)


Timeline for Progression

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4



Seminar in Music Education



Seminar in Music Education

for Qualifying



Seminar in Music Education


Seminar in Music Education


Dissertation Proposal Defence

Seminar in Music Education

Dissertation Research and Writing

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*Students are encouraged to take at least one of their electives outside of the Faculty of Music.


  • Students are encouraged to develop their topics for each of the 2 Qualifying Examination papers (Literature/Theoretical Framework and Methodology) throughout Terms 3, 4 and 5. Consultation with faculty is highly encouraged.
  • By May 1 (start of Term 6), each student should have a confirmed dissertation supervisory committee (normally a dissertation supervisor and a second reader). The dissertation supervisory committee will determine a deadline for submission of the Qualifying Examination papers. The dissertation proposal should follow from the Qualifying Examination.
  • The Dissertation Proposal Defense should be completed as early as possible in Term 7, following successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.
  • This chart does not include the application for ethics approval (where applicable). The student and supervisor must plan accordingly. 

Directory of Current PhD Students

Recently Completed Dissertations 

Contact Info

Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) 
Kevin Mooney
TC 215

Graduate Program Assistant
Audrey Yardley-Jones
TC 216
519-661-2111 x85354