M.A. in Music Therapy
The Graduate Music Therapy Department provides a unique educational experience for students interested in establishing or advancing a career in music therapy. The Master of Arts programs prepare students to practice music therapy at an advanced level, with a special emphasis on music-centered psychotherapy.
The 60-credit Master of Arts provides a comprehensive program of education and training for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field (e.g. music, music education, psychology, etc.) and wish to become Board-Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC).
The 48-credit Master of Arts provides advanced theoretical, clinical and musical knowledge and skills for those who already have the MT-BC credential and wish to develop advanced clinical practice skills, with a special emphasis on music-centered psychotherapy.
Both programs fulfill the educational requirements for a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania (LPC).
What is music therapy?
Music therapy helps clients to develop skills, adapt behavior, and overcome obstacles in their lives. Music therapists use different kinds of musical experiences, such as singing, improvising, writing songs, and listening to and talking about music, to meet clients’ needs using the unique relationship between the client, the music and the therapist.
At Immaculata, you will take music therapy and psychology courses in your degree program. Music therapy courses focus on the theory and practice of the field, including courses in clinical improvisation, music and imagery, research and ethics. Psychology courses focus on advancing your understanding of human development and psychopathology.
Download a suggested reading list to learn more about the field.
- More than 30 year-old program with a dynamic, innovative tradition. E-How.com ranked our program among the top 10 in the country.
- Comprehensive music therapy education and training, focused on understanding theoretical principles and applying them to methodology.
- A variety of enrichment programs
- Faculty with more than 30 years of combined clinical experience, along with research and publication experience. We see your education and training as mentoring, helping you develop your own unique clinical focus.
- A range of research opportunities, including your own culminating project
- Assistance in preparing for the board certification (CBMT) exam. Our students' first-time exam pass rate is well above the national average (over 90 percent in 2011).
60-credit Program Highlights
- Learn how music therapy applies to diverse clinical populations, including children with special needs, people with medical conditions, adolescents and adults with psychiatric problems, retired adults, and adults in hospice or palliative care.
- Develop your clinical musicianship, learning how to use guitar, piano, voice and your major instrument (e.g. clarinet) in different clinical settings.
- Experience different clinical settings to observe, assist, and lead music therapy sessions with different client groups, under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist.
48-credit Program Highlights
- Learn advanced music therapy methods and techniques in improvisation, music and imagery, and song use.
- Develop a comprehensive knowledge of client assessment.
- Receive advanced clinical supervision.
- Take advanced music skills courses, tailored to your needs, to enhance clinical practice.
- Courses are offered on campus during evenings or in an intensive, distance-learning format.
Music therapists work in a wide variety of clinical and educational settings: hospitals, psychiatric institutions, nursing homes, community mental health centers, prisons, schools, private practice, and hospice facilities.
As the profession continues to grow, there is an increasing demand, particularly in psychiatric settings and hospitals, for music therapists with clinical experience and advanced degrees. Immaculata receives many requests for assistance in finding music therapists to fill positions, and these are shared with students in the program. Professional job listings are also published bimonthly by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association (MAR-AMTA).
Full-time and part-time internships are offered in a wide variety of clinical settings, under close supervision. Students must complete a minimum of 900 hours for their internship.
The Master of Arts in Music Therapy is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). For further information on music therapy (including educational guidelines), consult AMTA’s website.
Students who come into our Music Therapy program are looking to combine their love of music with a desire to help others, and they are often interested in psychology, medicine and/or philosophy.
Being intellectually curious is very important. Opening yourself to new theories and ideas is essential in your development as a music therapist, as are your writing and critical thinking abilities.
Being a competent musician is also very important. You need to be well-rounded musically in order to reach others through singing and playing, improvising and moving to music. During your training, you will develop guitar, piano and vocal skills in a range of styles such as rock, folk, country, oldies, kids’ songs and sometimes even your own compositions. You will further advance these skills through courses in areas such as vocal psychotherapy and improvisation.
Finally, being in good mental and physical health is very important. You need the motivation, maturity and creativity to work with people who have a wide range of needs. This means adapting to different settings and people, being open to supervision and feedback, and having the emotional fortitude to “be there” for someone. The best therapists have often used music to help or heal themselves—they know first-hand what it’s like to use music therapeutically, and what it’s like to overcome life’s challenges.
Applying to the program
After applying to the College of Graduate Studies (CGS), you must arrange an audition and interview by emailing Dr. Eyre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about applying and auditioning. In order to be admitted into the Music Therapy program, students must be admitted into CGS and pass the graduate audition and interview.