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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Lisa Lehmberg

Second Advisor

Sara Jones

Third Advisor

Lan Wang-Hiles

Subject Categories

Art Education | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Higher Education | Music Education | Music Pedagogy | Music Practice


The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of Chinese graduate students enrolled in music education master’s and doctoral degree programs in the United States. Specifically, it explored participants’ perceptions of (a) their educational experiences (past and present), (b) the challenges they faced, (c) their strategies for success, (d) the benefits they experienced as international graduate students in the United State, (e) the effect of this experience on their thinking, self-perception, and behavior, and (f) how they planned to move forward or move on following this experience. Participants were six native Chinese graduate students enrolled at the time of data collection in master’s and doctoral level music education degree programs within U.S. higher education institutions, including myself as participant-observer. Data included interview transcriptions, online discussion forum posts, personal statements from participants’ graduate school applications, and research notes. Qualitative techniques were used to analyze data and identify emergent themes and meta-themes, which were then used to address research questions and draw conclusions. From the results, models were generated of (a) Chinese music education graduate students’ experience in the United States. and (b) the three-stage cross-cultural adaptation process of Chinese music education graduate students in the United States. In a broad sense, this study will contribute to the growing body of literature on international students in U.S. higher education institutions. More specifically, results could help to provide understanding and insight into the experiences of Chinese students enrolled in graduate level music education master’s and doctoral degree programs in the United States. and may illuminate considerations for how these experiences might be improved. Results could also help U.S. educators and music educators in higher education institutions to better understand Chinese music education graduate students’ experiences at different stages and could provide new ideas concerning effective strategies for working with them.