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An online bachelor’s degree in music can help you transform your passion for music into a financially viable career. With on–demand streaming and music apps, individuals around the world consume more music than ever before. According to Forbes, Americans listened to approximately 32 hours of music per week in 2017, an increase from 23.5 hours per week in 2015. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as the digital marketing industry expands, marketing agencies need more composers to write music for commercials and other advertising videos. The BLS projects that jobs for composers and music directors will increase 6% between 2016 and 2026, about the average rate for all jobs in the United States.

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Online Bachelor’s in Music Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Music Degree Programs

#1 The Best Online Bachelor’s in Music Programs

Valley City State University

  • Valley City, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Valley City State University, a public institution in Valley City, North Dakota, offers many competitive bachelor's programs. Distance learners can choose from 13 fully online bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor's in music education.

The music program connects students with a supportive online learning community, while enabling flexibility. In consultation with their academic advisor, enrollees can modify their course load to suit their needs. Students can choose electives and pursue other educational opportunities relevant to their career goals.

The accredited school reports undergraduate tuition as $10,297. Degree candidates can pursue funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships, to support their studies. At the college, students receive an average of $5,795 in financial aid.

Valley City State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 915

Total Online Programs: 22

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 76%

Transfer Credits Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,884
Out-of-state
$10,297
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
1,665
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online Bachelor’s in Music Programs

Texas State University

  • San Marcos, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

As a leader in online education, Texas State University supports 11,452 distance learners across its bachelor of arts in music program. Students looking for a music-adjacent career can pursue the degree at their own pace. The program allows for full- or part-time study, making it a flexible choice for working professionals and busy students.

Throughout the program, degree-seekers attend industry-relevant lectures while completing major-specific coursework. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their studies through modified courses, electives, minors, and concentrations.

The benefits of a bachelor's degree are varied, from increased job opportunities to higher earning potential. The school reports a median salary of $40,600 for graduates six years after completing a bachelor's degree. Students typically pay $13,178 for tuition and fees, on average, per year. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective applicants should contact the department.

Texas State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 11,452

Total Online Programs: 1

Online Bachelor's Programs: Data not available

Admission Rate: 81%

Transfer Credits Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,052
Out-of-state
$19,868
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
38,187
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Online Bachelor’s in Music Programs

Berklee College of Music

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners seeking advanced online study should consider one of Berklee College of Music's seven online programs. Undergraduate students can choose from six online bachelor's degrees. Learners hoping to advance in the music field can enroll in the college's bachelor of music. The program provides flexibility through customizable study options and classes.

Degree-seekers attend industry-relevant lectures while completing music-specific coursework. These classes equip students with knowledge and skills applicable to a postgraduate career. Enrollees can customize their studies by working with their academic advisor to choose electives, minors, and degree concentrations.

A bachelor's degree greatly increases one's earning potential. The institution reports that graduates six years out from their degree earn a median salary of $25,700. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective applicants should contact the department.

Berklee College of Music at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 1,703

Total Online Programs: 7

Online Bachelor's Programs: 6

Admission Rate: 51%

Transfer Credits Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$44,360
Out-of-state
$44,360
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
6,999
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Online Bachelor’s in Music Programs

University of Maine at Augusta

  • Augusta, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Maine at Augusta enrolls distance learners in 30 programs. Undergraduate students can choose from 13 online bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor's in contemporary and popular music. The program accommodates full- or part-time study.

Degree candidates complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the music field. These classes equip students with knowledge and skills applicable to a postgraduate career. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree through electives, minors, and concentrations.

A bachelor's degree greatly increases one's earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $26,000 for graduates six years after completing their studies. The average undergraduate pays $10,046 in tuition and fees yearly. Applicants interested in learning more about admission requirements, application materials, and financial aid opportunities should directly contact the music department.

University of Maine at Augusta at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 3,298

Total Online Programs: 30

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: Data not available

Transfer Credits Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,170
Out-of-state
$17,340
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,361
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
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Choosing an Online Music Program

Earning your music bachelor’s degree online involves several courses in music history, theory, composition, and advanced techniques. Undergraduates typically focus on a specific instrument or type of singing and then take several courses in this area. Most music programs require students to complete a certain number of ensemble hours each semester; these hours involve rehearsing and performing with small groups of other singers and musicians. Music majors must also take core education classes in English, math, history, and social studies.

Because the music industry spans so many different occupations and genres, academic programs in this field typically allow students to specialize in a specific area. Common concentrations include composition, music production, music business, music education, and songwriting. Many programs allow students to take 20 or more elective credits so they can further tailor the degree to their interests.

Other requirements may include participating in a senior recital, writing a thesis, or composing an original piece of music.

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What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Music Program?

Online music bachelor’s degrees vary significantly depending on the school. However, most programs cover core concepts and skill sets, including music theory, basic conducting, and music history. The section below lists more information.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Music

Music Theory
Music theory classes focus on reading, transcribing, composing, and analyzing music. Since most musicians and other professionals in the field rely heavily on music theory, these classes prepare students for a variety of careers.
Piano Techniques
This class provides basic skills in piano scales, chords, sight–reading, harmonization, and improvisation. These skills prepare students for careers as composers, teachers, directors, producers, songwriters, and professional performers.
History of Music
History of music classes examine music from ancient to modern times. Students learn about aesthetics and concepts specific to various time periods and regions. The course prepares students for careers in music education and composition.
Basic Ear Training
Students in this course learn how to identify and notate basic rhythms, pitches, and harmonies. The class also emphasizes other skills necessary to composing and performing, including identifying different time and key signatures.
Basic Harmony
This class helps students grow into more creative and skilled performers, composers, arrangers, and producers. Topics of study include harmony in contemporary music, chord progression, and improvisation.
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Careers with a Bachelor’s in Music

Graduates with online music bachelor’s degrees may pursue several different career paths. Many music majors continue their studies and earn graduate degrees in music or a related field. Others find jobs as music teachers for elementary and secondary schools, voice coaches, or instructors for specific instruments. A few music majors work as professional musicians and performers; these individuals play for symphonies and orchestras, for smaller bands, or for themselves as freelancers.

Sound Engineering Technician
Sound technicians work for radio stations, television studios, concert venues, recording studios, and film companies. They maintain and improve audio, video, and broadcasting equipment to ensure that events and recordings proceed smoothly. Sound technicians usually need an associate or bachelor’s degree.
  • Median Annual Salary: $42,650
  • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Composer
Composers write music for film, television, marketing campaigns, professional musicians, operas, orchestras and symphonies, and other groups. While the education requirements for this occupation vary, many employers seek composers with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in music and composition.
  • Median Annual Salary: $50,590
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Musician
Musicians perform for audiences, create recordings, rehearse with small and large ensembles, and spend several hours per week practicing their instrument or vocal skills. They often travel for performances. Many musicians who work for operas, symphonies, and other professional groups have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Median Annual Salary: $56,000
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


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