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Career & Personal Growth

Graduate Program

VanderCook offers a comprehensive master's degree program that prepares music teachers to take their careers — and their personal growth — to the next level.

VanderCook boasts one of the largest and most diverse graduate music education programs in the world. Comprehensive review projects are practical. We offer a customizable and pragmatic degree. Students may use up to 12 MECA continuing education credits towards their graduate degree. VanderCook College of Music is one of the only graduate music education degree programs in the nation that allows you to earn your degree without cutting into your work schedule. Most students earn their degree in three summers. VanderCook’s graduate degree program engages you in real-world professional development.

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Master of Music Education (MMEd)

VanderCook’s Master of Music Education (MMEd) program provides courses that enable working teachers to secure a degree without interrupting a full-time teaching schedule.

  • Comprehensive and practical
  • Flexible programming to fit individual needs, flexible duration
  • A broad menu of electives
  • 3 weeks online and 3 weeks in person each summer

Up to 12 graduate credits through MECA continuing education program can be applied towards the MMEd degree for added flexibility in program design.

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Master of Music Education and Certification (MCert)

The Master of Music Education and Certification (MCert) 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.

  • Comprehensive and practical
  • Flexible programming to fit individual needs, flexible duration
  • A broad menu of electives

MCert candidates are able to transfer coursework from previous institutions to satisfy general education, professional education, and other licensure requirements. 

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Teacher Certification Entitlement Program (TCEP)

This program was designed for candidates who have earned a baccalaureate or advanced degree in music and wish to earn a certificate to teach in the public schools.

  • Earn a certificate to teach in Illinois public schools.
  • Transfer coursework from your previous institutions.
  • Outstanding coursework is plotted semester-by-semester.

TCEP candidates are able to transfer coursework from previous institutions to satisfy general education, professional education, and other licensure requirements.

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Continuing Education (MECA)

VanderCook’s Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education program offers graduate courses for teachers seeking practical knowledge and skills that can be used in their classrooms immediately.

Up to 12 graduate credits earned in MECA courses can be applied to a Master of Music Education degree at VanderCook.  Candidates seeking initial licensure from outside of Illinois will need to consult with that state’s board of education about any additional requirements to be licensed to teach in that state.

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Maria Pulido

MECA Student

“The MECA courses at VanderCook have improved my approach to teaching music in a way that is more pragmatic, fun, and creative. The MECA program has helped rejuvinate my passion for teaching children!”

Inspiring
Motivating
Comprehensive
Pragmatic

VanderCook’s Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education program offers graduate courses for teachers seeking practical knowledge and skills that can be used in their classrooms immediately.

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.

VanderCook Alumni

VanderCook alumni are spread throughout the United States and internationally in countries including China, Japan, Ecuador, the Bahamas, Kenya and Bermuda. VanderCook’s reach is vast. Our alumni teach and perform at some of the most esteemed institutions in the country, including:

Chanticleer Ensemble
Chicago Public Schools
Georgia State University
Ithaca College
Northshore Concert Band
Pittsburgh State University
Robert Morris College
Thornton Fractional High School

University of Arkansas
University of Houston
Joliet Central High School
Lafayette College
Loyola Academy
Lyon and Healy Corp.
Naperville School District

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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.
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