Music Education Undergraduate

Degrees Available
Music Education majors may choose between a vocal/elementary general music track or an instrumental (band/orchestra) track.

The major in music education is the joint concern of the School of Music in the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. Admission to the program is granted only after the successful completion of an audition in the student's performance area. In addition to completing the required courses, the student must present a half-recital or the equivalent on the major instrument or in voice during or after the sixth semester of study.

Except for a series of three professional education courses, all classes are taught by music professors. The Music Education program at the University of Kentucky is an integrated P–12 initial preparation program. Although music education students may specialize in a given area such as vocal/general or instrumental, all students are certified to teach P–12 music in the state of Kentucky. 

For music education majors at UK, even though preparation for teaching is a primary goal, it is equally important that all students are expected to be well-trained musicians. In most cases, there is minimal difference between the performance and academic expectations for music education majors and those who are classified as performance majors. An outstanding performance faculty in voice, keyboard, strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion provides superior instruction for all music education majors. Relative to the development of musicianship for all music education majors is the experiences of playing in outstanding performing organizations, including the University Chorale, University Choristers, the Men’s and Women’s Choirs, the Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, the Symphonic Band, the Wildcat Marching Band, and two nationally renowned Jazz Ensembles.

UK prides itself in educating not only superior teachers but superior teachers/musicians as well. Currently, approximately 50% of the undergraduate music majors at UK are music education majors.

For complete information about entrance and course requirements, please see the current UK Bulletin. The requirements below have been condensed for brevity and presented for your convenience.

UK Core Requirements (30 credit hours)

Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement 

  • EPE 301 Education in American Culture (3 credit hours)

Professional Education Requirements

  • EDP 202 Human Development and Learning (3 credit hours)
  • EDP 203 Teaching Exceptional Learners in Regular Classrooms (3 credit hours)
  • EPE 301 Education in American Culture (3 credit hours)
  • EDC 377 Student Teaching in Music (12 credit hours)
  • Computer Competency: MUS 317 or EDC 317 or equivalent (0-1 credit hours)

Professional Subtotal: 21-22 credit hours

General Music Requirements

  • Recital Attendance: (four courses – 0 credit hours)
  • Music Theory: MUS 170, 171, 172, 173, 270, 271, 272, 273, 371, 372 (20 credit hours)
  • Music History: MUS 203, 302, 303 (9 credit hours)
  • Performance: MUP course in chosen major performance area (12 credit hours)
  • Senior Recital (MUP 440): the successful completion of one half a solo recital must be completed for graduation. 
  • Ensembles (one of which must be a chamber music ensemble) (6 credit hours)
  • Electives (6 credit hours)

General Subtotal: 53 credit hours

Major Performance Area Requirements

All music majors must pass a piano proficiency examination and should schedule, in consultation with their advisor, a suitable course each semester until this requirement is completed. Students with little or no prior piano study should normally expect to complete the piano proficiency examination by the end of four semesters of study. Music Education majors should pass the piano proficiency examination at least two semesters before student teaching.

Depending on the area of interest, the student must select one of the major performance areas below: 


  • Diction: MUS 120 (two semesters) (2 credit hours)
  • Piano proficiency (0-4 credit hours)
  • Music Education: MUS 260, 262, 264, 361, 362 (15 credit hours)
  • Secondary Instruments (3 credit hours)
    • Choose three of the following: MUC 157, MUC 158, MUC 161, MUC 163

Vocal Subtotal: 20-24 credit hours


A voice proficiency test must be passed prior to student teaching.

  • Piano proficiency (0-4 credit hours)
  • Minor Performance: MUP 102, 202 (3 credit hours)
  • Pedagogy and Literature (3 credit hours)
  • Select one of the following: MUS 522, MUS 523, MUS 566
  • Music Education: MUS 260, 262, 264, 361, 362 (15 credit hours)
  • Secondary Instruments (3 credit hours)
    • Choose three of the following: MUC 157, MUC 158, MUC 161, MUC 163

Keyboard Subtotal: 24 credit hours

Woodwinds, Brass, Strings, Percussion

  • Piano proficiency (0-4 credit hours)
  • Secondary Instruments Brass, Woodwind and String
  • Choose 5 credit hours from: MUC 158, MUC 161​​​​​​, MUC 163
  • Plus 1 credit hour MUC 157

Percussion (6 credit hours)

  • Take two hours each of: MUC 158, MUC 161, MUC 163
  • Music Education: MUS 260, 263, 265, 363, 365 (15 credit hours)

Woodwinds, Brass, Strings, Percussion Subtotal: 21-25 credit hours

Total: 125-131 credit hours


Teacher Education Program

What is TEP?

All applicants for teacher preparation programs complete a standard application process and are assessed through a rigorous interview procedure with a specific program admissions committee. Admittance to TEP gives you access to:

  • 300-level courses
  • Student teaching
  • Graduating with a degree in Music Education

Freshman Year Checklist

  • Take and pass all sections of the Praxis Core (combined test).
  • Maintain a 2.75 GPA
  • Plan to enroll in MUS 262 or MUS 263, and EDP 202 for your sophomore year. You may consider enrolling in MUS 260 as well if you are interested in teaching elementary music. Otherwise you can complete your junior year and stay on track.
  • Email the following to Christopher Reese ( to set up your account in the UK Ed Prep Application:
    • First and Last Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Link Blue ID
    • Student Number
  • Get a head start on applying to TEP by completing components of the UK Ed Prep Application and the Music Education Portfolio linked in the Sophomore section.

Sophomore Year Checklist

  • Complete EDP 202 and either MUS 262 or MUS 263 with a C or better. Completing MUS 260 your sophomore year is recommended if you are interested in teaching elementary music. Otherwise you can complete your junior year and stay on track.
  • Complete 45 credit hours
  • Apply to TEP in January/February by submitting two applications:
  • Complete the TEP interview. Dr. Vasil will schedule this after your applications are in.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my GPA falls below 2.75?
You will not be in the TEP anymore. You will have to raise your GPA and apply again.

What if I don’t pass one section of the PRAXIS core?
You can retake JUST that section. 

What happens if I don’t have passing PRAXIS core scores by January of my sophomore year?
You cannot apply. You need to have passing PRAXIS core scores in hand before applying to TEP. You would have to apply for TEP in the fall of your junior year, which places you in danger of falling behind schedule for your degree completion. 

What happens if I don’t pass the interview?
You would interview again during the next TEP cycle. There are two times to apply for TEP each year, in the Fall and the Spring.

Learn More About the Teacher Education Program at UK

Created 07/22/2021
Last Updated 02/09/2022