UAB's Music Education program consists of a Master of Arts degree in Music Education (traditional program) and an Alternative Master's degree in Music Education (alternative program). The program is housed in the UAB School of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction and has three goals:
  • to train you to meet the evolving needs of learners in grades P-12 in today's rapidly changing society,
  • to deliver cutting-edge instruction through a standards-based, inquiry-focused approach that prepares you to use state-of-the-art instructional strategies in you own classroom, and
  • to ensure that a quality program is available to pre-service and in-service teachers who may be unable to attend class during traditional class hours.
Our program is unique in how it combines online support with a variety of delivery formats: blended courses (online alternating with face-to-face evenings), flexible summer programming, totally online platforms, and Saturday classes. Prospective students should contact the Program Director, Dr. Susan Spezzini, (205) 934-8357.

Getting into the Program

Entrance procedure overview:
  • Apply to UAB Graduate School.
  • FAX transcript of all previous undergraduate/graduate work to UAB Music Office, (205) 975-1931.
  • Set up initial interview with Dr. Gainey and Dr. Kittredge, (205) 934-7376.
  • Set up interview with the School of Education (SOE, Room 100).
  • Fill out UAB student information form in music office.
  • Complete GRE or MAT. See the Graduate School website for scheduling information.
  • Complete music placement tests in theory and history.
  • Audition for music faculty.
  • Complete piano proficiency.
  • Interview with representatives of graduate music faculty.
  • Students interested in the Alternative Fifth Year program must schedule an interview with Dr. Angela Gray, (205) 934-5323.

Further Information

Complete information about applying to graduate school can be found on the Graduate School website, including additional admission requirements, forms, fees, transcripts, and English equivalency exams if English is not your native language.

In general, the Graduate School welcomes applications from students who have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited academic institution, who have good letters of evaluation, and who have scored well on a recognized standardized test (usually the Graduate Record Examination General Test).
Admittance to UAB Graduate School involves two levels of review. The Graduate School sets general admission requirements, and each graduate program specifies its particular requirements.
The UAB Graduate School recommends a score of 500 on the GRE or 50 on the MAT for admittance to graduate programs. If space is available, programs may allow probationary admission to applicants who fall short of that standard. In addition to standardized testing, successful applicants have usually presented at least a B average on undergraduate work. Please check with the School of Education for current requirements.
Each transcript submitted to the music faculty is evaluated by comparing a student’s previous course work to the current UAB undergraduate degree in music education. Deficiencies in a student’s transcript will result in additional courses being added to the student’s course of study.
The prospective graduate student should schedule a meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies (Dr. Denise Gainey) for purposes of introduction and a brief overview of the degree.
Please visit the music office to fill out a student information form. This form will be kept in the music office for contact information.
A general review of undergraduate music history is recommended. Some good resources are:
  • Donald Grout and Claude Palisca, History of Western Music, 5th ed. (W.W. Norton and Company, 2000).
  • David Poultney, Studying Music History: Learning, Reasoning, and Writing About Music History and Literature, 2nd edition (Prentice Hall, 1996). 
  • Aural: identifying triads, intervals, melodic and harmonic dictation. 
  • Theory: basic part-writing, chord analysis (including borrowed chords and secondary functions), and simple formal analysis.

Good resources include:
  • Robert W. Ottman, Advanced Harmony, Theory & Practice, 4th ed. (Prentice Hall, 1992).
  • Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne, Tonal Harmony, 4th ed. revised printing (McGraw-Hill, 2000).
Students who show deficiencies in music history or music theory will be required to enroll in undergraduate theory or history classes to satisfy the deficiency. Students will not be able to enroll in graduate history or theory classes until they have satisfied the deficiency with a grade of B or better.
Prospective graduate students will audition for the faculty on the same day undergraduate students audition. Graduate students are expected to meet or surpass performance levels of senior undergraduate music students who have completed a minimum of six semesters of private study. Memorization is strongly encouraged and an accompanist will be provided.

Repertoire recommendations for each area are as follows:
  • Vocal: Three contrasting art songs or arias in different languages.
  • Instrumental: Two contrasting works.
  • Piano: Two contrasting works.
Additional repertoire suggestions for percussion:
  • Two contrasting works on either marimba or vibraphone, one of which should demonstrate sufficient four-mallet technique
  • One work on either timpani, snare drum, multiple percussion, or drum set.
The purpose of the piano proficiency is to ensure that students, especially at the graduate level, have functional keyboard skills. The exam will last approximately 15 minutes and will cover examples from the areas listed below. The examination may be attempted once per semester until it is passed. If the student has completed these requirements at another accredited institution within the past five years, and documentation is provided, the piano proficiency will be considered met.

Requirements include:
  • Sight-reading song arrangements and/or simple solo piano literature (see Elmer Heerema, Progressive Class Piano, Chapter V, pages 195-219)
  • A solo selected from the following list or from similar repertoire: J.S. Bach, "Little Preludes"; M. Clementi, "Sonatinas"; R. Schumann, "Album for the Young."
  • All major and harmonic minor scales: two octaves, parallel motion, hands together.
  • All major and minor arpeggios; two octaves, hands together.
  • Functional skills:
    • Accompaniment improvisations (see Progressive Class Piano; each chapter contains sections on harmonization and improvisation) 
    • Transpose a simple accompaniment or song at sight (see Progressive Class Piano, Chapter V, pages 195-204)
    • Play the harmonic progression I-IV-I6-V7-I 4 hands together in all major and minor keys
Prospective graduate students will meet with representatives of the graduate music faculty to discuss their goals in music and expectations of the faculty.

How Much Does it Cost?

Detailed tuition and fees information can be found on the UAB Students page.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: August 21, 2015
  • Spring Admission: January 2, 2015
  • Summer Admission: May 1, 2015


Please contact Denise Gainey.

Upcoming Events

How to audition for the UAB Department of Music.