Graduate students balance lives with online education

SUNY Buffalo State is one of 10 colleges in the United States to offer an online master’s degree in music education. This accredited program aims to help students become accomplished, reflective educators.

“It’s something new, exciting, and different for SUNY in general because it’s the first fully online program,” said Victoria Furby, the program’s coordinator.

Furby said that Buffalo State made the decision to offer a master’s degree in music education after surveying alumni. Post-graduates indicated that it would be more beneficial to offer a curriculum that could be completed while they were still working.

I think it’s a good idea because you could learn both ways. You could learn either in school or online.

— Sam Salem

The program gives students the opportunity to balance their lives with the convenience of not having to sit in a classroom.

“Most of our students are interested in something that doesn’t bind them by location. This offers flexibility both in location and with time,” Furby said. “You can work on your classes on your own time, or work ahead in some of the classes.”

Amanda Paruta, a sophomore majoring in music education, realized why the choice is available.

“I understand the convenience of online classes and why they should be an option for education,” Paruta said. “It’ll help teachers because they have to get a master’s degree in order to continue teaching in New York State. This program is good for teachers who have to work full time and get that degree.”

Sam Salem, a sophomore business student, also believes online classes are beneficial and convenient.

“I think it’s a good idea because you could learn both ways,” Salem said. “You could learn either in school or online.”

Students will be able to learn with the use of video, collaborative meetings, and websites such as Blackboard.

“It’s a different world than it used to be,” Furby said. “The tools at our disposal I think now are really opening the geographic boundaries of studies.”

Twelve to 15 students will be accepted into the degree program.

Competition will not only come from Buffalo State students, but from out-of-state students as well.

“We’re hoping to have lots of applicants and take the best of those applicants,” Furby said. “That way the students that are accepted are really getting that experience of working within a coherent of very qualified applicants.”

To complete the degree, students are required to take 30 credit hours. This includes four classes in music history and music theory, two or three electives, and either a project or a thesis of their choice. Students can expect to complete the degree in as few as five semesters.

For more information on the program students can visit

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