Music therapy is a growing field that uses music in a therapeutic relationship to address a variety of individual or group needs. Our music therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. The curriculum is designed to develop your musical and therapeutic skills, and combines coursework in music, music therapy, psychology and related natural and social sciences. After fulfilling all degree requirements (including an internship), you will be eligible to complete the national board certification exam administered through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Music therapists work in a variety of clinical and wellness settings, such as older adult care facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, schools, hospice centers, correctional facilities, and in private practice. Our program also prepares you for a graduate program in music therapy or a related profession.
In addition to the music department admissions process, students desiring to pursue the music therapy degree need to submit an essay as part of their application package. Upon invitation to audition, an interview and functional music assessments will be scheduled. Acceptance is determined by music faculty and university admission staff.
Program Learning Outcomes
Students with a Bachelor of Music Therapy will be able to:
- Demonstrate all the learning outcomes of the Marylhurst music core.
- Demonstrate basic compositional and arranging skills.
- Reach a level of sufficient clinical proficiency on the three clinical instruments: piano, guitar and voice, in addition to acquiring skillful techniques on percussion and non-symphonic instruments.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the use of movement for therapeutic populations and within the context of the therapeutic relationship.
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of the principles of typical human development throughout the lifespan, exceptionality and the therapeutic relationship.
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of music therapy foundations, principles of clinical application and current research methods.
- Demonstrate achievement of AMTA professional competencies by the completion of internship.
- Demonstrate competency in understanding and applying music therapy research to clinical practice.
Additional Program Information
Each music therapy student receives a minimum of 180 hours of pre-internship clinical training, which includes weekly fieldwork experience (direct client contact and on-site debriefing/supervision) and group supervision in the practicum and seminar courses (MT 285, MT 286, MT 287, MT 385 and MT 485). Following completion of coursework, students are required to complete an internship for a combined total of 1,200 hours of clinical work.
Clinical Instrument Proficiencies
The music therapy degree requires the student to reach a certain level of proficiency on the designated clinical instruments of voice, piano and guitar. The standards for each proficiency are given to the students upon admission to the music therapy program and are available in the music office. It is highly desirable that prospective music therapy students begin acquiring competency on at least one of these three instruments before entering the program. In addition to the courses and additional requirements for the major, students may enroll in the following elective courses to assist in acquiring proficiencies:
The capstone project for the Bachelor of Music Therapy includes: 1) a public presentation concerning music therapy; 2) a comprehensive proposal for music therapy services or a creative endeavor particular to the music therapy student’s career development interests, and 3) completion of an individualized AMTA competency evaluation and internship training plan, with support of the music therapy faculty. Capstone project proposals must be evaluated and approved by the director of the music therapy program.
Upon completion of academic coursework, students are eligible to apply for a clinical internship to one of the AMTA National Roster Internship sites or to one of Marylhurst University’s university-affiliated internships. Following the internship, students will receive their Marylhurst diploma, complete the national board certification exam, and then be eligible to begin their career as a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC).
Second-Degree Students/Equivalency Program
Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to prepare for a career as a board-certified music therapist may pursue a degree equivalency program by completing the Bachelor of Music Therapy as a second-degree student. Second-degree students need only to complete the course requirements within the music therapy major, a total of 142 credits rather than the 180 credits required for a first degree.
- Students with a previous Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Music Education from a National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)-accredited school will find that their previous music coursework fulfills most of the Marylhurst Music Core, Applied Study on the Primary Instrument, and Major and Small Ensembles so that approximately 77 credits would remain to be fulfilled at Marylhurst.
- Students with a Bachelor of Arts in Music or a music degree from a school not accredited by NASM will have their transcripts evaluated and may have additional coursework to fulfill to attain the musical proficiency required for professional music programs.
- For students whose previous degree is in psychology, many of the required 28 credits in the human sciences, science and mathematics will have already been satisfied, so that approximately 120 credits of the major would remain to be fulfilled. Completing the music therapy and general music requirements will be a four-year commitment for these students.
Code of Conduct
Continuation in the music therapy program is contingent upon maintaining high academic standards, as well as personal and professional standards outlined in the Marylhurst Music Therapy Code of Conduct and in the AMTA code of ethics.
If a student is failing to meet program standards, such as standards of progress or professionalism, the student will receive a written warning from the program director. Continued failure to meet standards may result in dismissal from the program at the discretion of the program director.