Graduate Admissions

Master's & Certification Program


If you have a music degree and want to teach, VanderCook's Master of Music Education and Certification (MCert) program is your best route to the classroom.

Who is the program for?VCM9789

This program is designed for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in an area such as music theory, music history, music performance or music therapy and want to become certified to teach music in schools. You will complete your teacher certification requirements while pursuing graduate education studies. Students choose to have an emphasis in band, choral or string music education. Contact us today to find if your degree applies.

How long will it take?

Full-time students typically complete the program in two years. You will focus on teacher certification requirements during the fall and spring semesters, and master's degree requirements during the summers. Need more time? You have up to seven years to complete the program.

Why choose VanderCook?

VanderCook's pragmatic approach to teaching and learning perfectly complements students with advanced performance skills. Because we focus on pedagogy as an art and science, VanderCook students demonstrate an astounding commitment to the teaching profession. On average, 90% of our graduates secure a job in music education within six months following graduation.

Our graduate students are required to show proficiency in completing:

  • A set of core requirements to develop competence in musical performance
  • Required courses organized for study of band, choral and string music education
  • Professional and general education courses
  • A master's project and a professional teaching portfolio
  • The Illinois State Board of Education teacher certification tests: the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), the Music Content Area Test and the Assessment of Professional Teaching test

Students entering the master's and certification program are able to transfer some coursework from their undergraduate institutions to satisfy many of the requirements. Your course of study will be designed to be completed as efficiently as possible, while satisfying VanderCook’s core mission to develop:

  • Excellence in Music
  • Strength in Character
  • Professionalism in Teaching

Application Information

  • Submit the Graduate Application online or download the paper version. A completed application will include:
    • Your philosophy of music education
    • A current resume
    • Three letters of recommendation
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges attended including any previously earned graduate credit.
  • Submit one of the following:
    • Official scores from the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) OR
    • SAT with Writing and earn a combined score of 1110 (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Mathematics = 1110 or higher) AND a minimum score of 26 on Writing and Language on SAT exams OR
    • ACT with Writing and earn a composite score of 22 with a Writing score of 6 or higher on ACT exams
  • Schedule your audition

Contact Admissions for more information at 312.788.1120 or


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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