Vander Cook Sign 1 1


Bachelor of Music Education

The transformation from student to music educator starts here!

The Bachelor of Music Education (BMEd) program confers the music education degree to students who complete comprehensive coursework and pass additional requirements designed to prepare them to teach music. Examples of careers for graduates with a music education degree include:

At VanderCook College of Music, the music education major will receive a well-rounded education. Candidates may declare a specialization toward either an instrumental or choral track, but all students will receive thorough training in both, and will complete general music education curriculum prior to receiving their degree.

Prospective music education majors are required to submit an online application to be considered. Candidates must also meet admission requirements and follow all academic dates and deadlines, as listed.  Learn more about how to apply for the Bachelor of Music Education degree program.

In order to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, students must complete the following program requirements:

  • A minimum of 136.5 credit hours distributed between general education (39 hours), fundamentals and theory (16 hours), professional education (21.5), music education (20-21), and applied music (39-41).
  • 14 weeks of student teaching in an approved, real-world educational environment overseen by a professional music educator.
  • Upon completion, graduates will have fulfilled all academic requirements needed to earn the Illinois Professional Education License (PEL) with a Special Pre-K-12 Endorsement in Music as prescribed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
  • Candidates are required to pass all ISBE teacher certification requirements prior to earning a license to teach.

Students participate in on-campus enrichment clinics starting in their first semester at the College. BMEd students are prepared to become educators throughout every semester of attendance.
Regardless of chosen track, the Bachelor of Music Education graduate will have a complete understanding of the methods used to provide school-aged children with an exemplary education in instrumental, choral, and general music. Graduates will also have a knowledge base to incorporate organizational and administrative methods as a licensed educator.

BMEd students will receive a complete music education through their coursework, including in the fields of applied music performance. Here are the requirements and types of courses: 

  • 39 credit hours (instrumental-track candidates).
  • 41 credit hours (choral-track candidates).
  • Courses: Large Ensembles, Chamber Ensembles, Honors Chamber Ensembles, Applied Lessons, Techniques Classes (band instruments, orchestra instruments, voice, guitar, piano).

View more about undergraduate course of study and program structure below:

In planning a program of study at VanderCook, undergraduate candidates should note the distinction between degrees, degree track, and full- and part-time enrollment.

Degree and Declaration of Track

Upon admission to the College, candidates must declare either an instrumental or choral track, based on their major applied areas. Piano and guitar majors may choose either track.


The bachelor’s degree is conferred on candidates completing 135 or more credit hours of required coursework during the program. Two semesters of 16 weeks each constitute the regular academic year.

Full- and Part-Time Enrollment

A candidate is considered full-time when enrolled in at least 12 credit hours of coursework in a semester.

Degree Completion

Undergraduate candidates are expected to complete all degree requirements within ten years from the date of first enrollment at VanderCook. Candidates may petition the undergraduate dean for exemption from this rule.

Classification of Undergraduate Candidates

Levels are defined as follows for the purposes of external institutional data reporting*:

  • Level 1 candidates have completed 35 or fewer credit hours.

  • Level 2 candidates have completed between 35.5 and 70 credit hours.

  • Level 3 candidates have completed between 70.5 and 105 credit hours, plus the Teacher Candidacy Skills Assessment (TCSA), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP).

  • Level 4 candidates have completed 105.5 or more credit hours.

* Please note that the credit hour classifications used by the Financial Aid Office differ slightly.


VanderCook College of Music looks forward to teaching the next generation of music educators! Interested in earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education but have questions? Contact us today to receive additional information.

How do I pay for college and when should I apply?

VanderCook College of Music works tirelessly to keep tuition costs lower than other schools, however, it can still be difficult to fund your education. 100% of our undergraduate students receive institution aid. Over 90% are awarded financial assistance. Contact our financial aid office to develop a plan that works for you. Are you ready to begin your journey at VanderCook? Apply now and follow all admissions requirements and timelines. Stay connected to VanderCook through our social media links and events calendar.

Student Resources

2021-2022 College Catalog

2021-2022 Student Handbook

Performance Opportunities

You will perform over 20 times a year!

As a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, String Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Band, you will perform over 20 times a year on campus and throughout the city of Chicago.

Schedule a Campus Visit or Audition

Contact Admissions at
312.788.1120 or

The Midwest Clinic

VanderCook co-founded The Midwest Clinic: an international band and orchestra conference held in Chicago with more than 18,000 attendees from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.  Throughout the history of The Midwest Clinic, VanderCook is the only college Symphonic Band invited to perform every year.

Chicago at Your Fingertips

Attending VanderCook gives you instant access to many of the city’s most famous and important cultural landmarks, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier and the Lyric Opera – all just minutes away from campus by bus, train or bike. All undergraduates receive a Ventra card for unlimited access to CTA trains and buses during the fall and spring semesters.

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2022 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
Scroll to Top