The graduate program in music therapy in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian offers board certified music therapists preparation for advanced practice in music therapy in their desired areas of clinical practice. It also offers students who hold a bachelor’s degree in music the academic and clinical training to become board certified music therapists before undertaking the advanced courses in music therapy.
The Master of Music Therapy Degree
The Master of Music Therapy (MMT) degree is designed to prepare board-certified or board-eligible music therapists for advanced practice in music therapy. Students undertake academic courses and advanced clinical work in order to demonstrate the Advanced Competencies outlined by the American Music Therapy Association. In cooperation with the academic advisor, each student selects a Specialty Area and elective courses that will help meet individual career objectives. Some Specialty Areas include Addictions, Expressive Arts, Gerontology, Health Care, Mental Health, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. In consultation with the advisor, the student also may design a unique specialty area. This degree is designed to meet the standards established by the American Music Therapy Association and the National Association of Schools of Music for the Master of Music Therapy degree.
The Music Therapy Equivalency
The Music Therapy Equivalency is designed for students who hold undergraduate degrees in fields other than music therapy and who wish to prepare for professional certification as a music therapist. The Music Therapy Equivalency prepares the student to demonstrate the Professional Competencies outlined by the American Music Therapy Association. The Equivalency program leads to eligibility to take the national music therapy certification examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
The Equivalency applicant whose Bachelor's degree is in music is eligible to apply for admission to the combined Equivalency and Master of Music Therapy degree. Applicants who hold baccalaureate degrees in music, but not music therapy, are required to complete the requirements for the Music Therapy Equivalency prior to enrolling in advanced music therapy courses required for the MMT degree. Those whose Bachelor's degree is outside of music will apply for admission as a transfer student to the Bachelor of Music in music therapy.
Combined Equivalency and Master of Music Therapy Degree
Prospective students who hold baccalaureate degrees in music, but not music therapy, may apply for admission to a combined Equivalency and Master of Music Therapy program. In this program, students
- Complete both requirements for eligibility to sit for the examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists and Master's degree requirements.
- Typically take only equivalency courses in the first year of enrollment
- Complete all Equivalency requirements including the internship prior to enrolling in MUS 5050, MUS 5051, MUS 5061, or MUS 5900.
Continuation in the MMT program requires a grade of at least a B (3.0) in each music therapy course taken in each of the first two semesters of the Equivalency program and a cumulative Equivalency GPA of 3.0 Completion of both the Equivalency and the MMT is likely to require 3 ½ to 4 years of full-time study, including completion of clinical training.
Training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)
Appalachian offers all levels of training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), an advanced music psychotherapy method. Level I of GIM training is a required part of coursework for the Masters in Music Therapy. While all three levels of training in GIM may be beyond the scope of a master's degree, GIM training beyond Level I may be incorporated into an individual's graduate course of study, and the student may continue to the completion of training in the postgraduate period. MMT students interested in pursuing GIM training are encouraged to enroll in Level I training in the summer before their first fall semester of graduate study.
Dual Master's Degrees: Master of Music Therapy and Master of Arts Degrees
Students who desire to do so may be able to pursue a master's degree leading to licensure in clinical mental health counseling concurrently with the MMT degree. Admission to the dual master’s degree program requires that the student apply and be admitted to both programs. The courses of study require completion of the core requirements for both the Master of Music Therapy and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree programs. For students completing the dual degrees, some counseling courses serve as the Specialty Area courses for the MMT degree.
Successful applicants for the Master of Music Therapy degree program must have:
- Completed a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
- Acquired proficiency in music theory, music history/literature, music performance
- Passed the examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists or enroll in the Music Therapy Equivalency Program. Continuation in the MMT program by Equivalency students requires a grade of at least a B (3.0) in each music therapy course taken in each of the first two semesters of the equivalency program and a cumulative Equivalency GPA of 3.3
- Scores from the GRE General and Writing tests no older than 5 years. This requirement may be waived upon request, if the undergraduate GPA is equal to or greater than 3.0.
- Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can address the applicant’s academic, personal, and professional suitability for graduate-level work in music therapy.
- Master of Music Therapy Program Questionnaire. There are two forms, one designed for students who have completed a degree in music, but not music therapy and another for students who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalency in music therapy from an approved degree program:
- An audition to demonstrate music skills (see Audition Information below)
- An interview (live or by web cam) with the Music Therapy Admissions Committee
Students who are neither board-certified in music therapy nor board-eligible should clearly indicate whether they wish to apply for the Equivalency only or the combined Equivalency and MMT.
Board-Certified Applicants: Application for admission to the Master of Music Therapy degree requires the board-certified therapist to submit a live or videotaped audition demonstrating music skills for professional music therapists. The audition will consist of three popular, folk, or standard songs, each sung and played on either piano or guitar by the applicant.
Equivalency/MMT Applicants: For the Equivalency/Master's audition, the applicant must demonstrate proficiency on his/her principal instrument, basic piano proficiency (not required of piano principals), and basic singing ability (not required of voice principals). Applicants who completed a Bachelor of Arts in music submit a video recording to demonstrate proficiency on the principal instrument. For applicants who hold the Bachelor of Music degree from an NASM-accredited music program, completion of the degree will serve as evidence of proficiency on the principal instrument. See Piano and Singing Requirements (PDF, 143 KB).
Enrollment Limit and Application Deadline
In order to maintain a high-quality and individualized program, enrollment in the Master of Music Therapy (MMT) degree program will be limited to 10 students per academic year. Early application is encouraged, and application materials should be received and interview completed by March 1.
Transfer of Credits
Students may be permitted to transfer into the MMT degree up to 6 semester hours of appropriate resident work completed in another approved graduate school, provided the work has been included in neither a previous degree nor in a Music Therapy Equivalency.
Degree Course Requirements
Course Requirements for the Master of Music Therapy (Code: 560A)
Required Music Therapy Courses
Music or Music Therapy Elective Courses
Specialty Area Courses
Schedule of Course Offerings
Courses Offered During the Academic Year
- MUS 5050 Supervision in Music Therapy
- MUS 5051 Advanced Topics in Music Therapy
- MUS 5061 Advanced Clinical Improvisation
- MUS 5200 Music Therapy Laboratory
- MUS 5900 Advanced Music Therapy Practicum
Courses Offered Every Summer
- MUS 5060 Bonny Method of GIM
Courses Offered Every Term
- MUS 5999 Thesis
- Research Methods
- Specialty Area Courses
Assistantships and Scholarships
Music Therapy Assistantships
The Cratis Williams School of Graduate Studies at Appalachian awards several scholarships to outstanding graduate students each year. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, talent, and financial need.
Graduate assistantships are awarded to full-time graduate students on a yearly basis and carry a stipend of $9,000-$11,000, depending on duties. Responsibilities of qualified graduate assistants in music therapy may include supervision of students completing pre-internship clinical experiences. Music therapy graduate assistantships that include supervision will be available only to applicants who are board certified music therapists.
For information about the Music Therapy Program at Appalachian State University, contact
Cathy McKinney, Director
Graduate Music Therapy Programs
Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina 28608