Top Affordable, Accredited Master’s in Music Therapy

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Music therapy professionals use evidence-based music interventions to provide therapeutic services to people with mental health and psychological issues. Music can provide an outlet for clients or patients to express their feelings, and music therapists help them do so by listening to, creating, or participating in music. This field can also help children and adults with cognitive or developmental disabilities.

To follow this career path, interested individuals must pursue a career in music therapy. Although they can earn certification with a bachelor’s degree, many choose to pursue a graduate degree. A master’s in music therapy can be a good option for music therapy majors who want to pursue a more advanced level of coursework. These programs typically last two years, and the curriculum covers music foundations, general clinical therapy, and music therapy.

The list below outlines the best affordable music therapy graduate programs.

Top 10 Affordable, Accredited Master’s in Music Therapy

Rank School Location
1 Alverno College Milwaukee, WI
2 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
3 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX
4 Immaculata University Immaculata, PA
5 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
6 Augsburg University Minneapolis, MN
7 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
8 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA
9 Illinois State University Normal, IL
10 Radford University Radford, VA

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Alverno College
    Location

    Milwaukee, WI

    Alverno College offers an accredited Master of Music Therapy degree online. As one of the first programs of its kind, Alverno College has been a leader in the field of Music Therapy. The program strives to be flexible and accessible for all students with their online programming. Students in this distance learning program will complete most coursework online along with a one week on-campus summer residency requirement. The program emphasizes a commitment to understanding and utilizing research and training students to use evidence-informed techniques in their music therapy practice. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty to select from a number of unique electives designed to support students in identifying and working towards individual professional career goals. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work professionally in a variety of setting including hospitals, community mental health clinics, and private practice.

    Courses include: Advanced Music Therapy Theory I Music and Neuroscience; Advanced Clinical Practice in Music Therapy; Music Therapy Research and Evaluation Methods; Topics in Diversity; Advanced Music Therapy Practicum; Clinical Songwriting; Vocal Health; Music Therapy and Human Dynamics; Advocacy in Music Therapy; Leadership in Music Therapy; Music Therapy Business: Development and Best Practices; Human Development in Community Community Contexts; LGBTQ Counseling; Culturally Engaged Counseling; Trauma Counseling; and Substance Abuse Counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $10,394.00
    • Credits Required: 48
    • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  2. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    Location

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has an online Master of Arts in Music Therapy. Students will complete courses online along with on-campus residencies at the beginning of each semester and during the summer. This online program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association and is designed to support students in acquiring an advanced understanding and practice of using music therapeutically. This program will be a good fit for board certified music therapists that wish to pursue an advanced degree in music therapy. Graduates will be have a strong personal and professional understanding of how to utilize music therapy and counseling techniques in a clinical setting. Graduates of the program will be prepared to teach at colleges and universities, advance research in the field of music therapy, and practice music therapy in medical, psychiatric, and private practice settings.

    Courses include: World Music; Topics in Music History and Literature; Contemporary Issues in Music; Advanced Improvisation and Composition for Music Therapy; Advanced Music Therapy Practicum; Assessment in Music Therapy and Counseling; Music Therapy in Medicine and Health Care; Guided Imagery and Music; Professional Ethics; Music Psychotherapy; Research Methods; Thesis; Psychopathology; Theories and Techniques of Counseling; and Group Dynamics in Counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $10,490.00
    • Credits Required: 43
    • Application Deadline: May 1st
  3. Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Texas Woman's University offers a Master of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Therapy. This well established, 36 credit program is designed for students that hold a bachelor's degree in music therapy. Students will engage in coursework integrating the theory and practice of music and therapy. Students in the program will learn through coursework as well as a 6 month, full time, internship. During the course of the internship students will work closely with their supervisor to develop skills and gain confidence in working as a professional music therapist. Students in the program will be qualified to pursue credentialing as a music therapist. Students that are interested may choose to complete the 64 credit dual degree in music therapy and counseling also available at Texas Woman's University. Graduates with the dual degree will be eligible to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor as well as becoming board certified music therapists.

    Courses include: Philosophies and Theories of Music Therapy; Multicultural Perspectives in Music Therapy; Professional Paper; Styles in Music; Research on Music and Behavior; Analytical Techniques in Music. Students will have the opportunity to complete additional approved electives from relevant departments including: Psychology, Sociology; Social work; Drama; Special Education; Business; and Economics.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $12,142.00
    • Credits Required: 36
  4. Immaculata University
    Location

    Immaculata, PA

    A Master of Arts in Music Therapy is offered at Immaculata University. The program works to offer flexible scheduling with courses offered in the evenings and on weekends to meet the needs of working students. With small class sizes students will benefit from the opportunity to work closely with faculty. The program emphasizes a commitment to research with numerous research opportunities available to students including lab experiences. Students will enhance their musical capacity while in the program through individual lessons in areas including piano, guitar, and voice. Graduates will meet the academic requirements for the state of Pennsylvania to be a board-certified music therapist and to pursue licensure as a professional counselor. Applicants that plan to work in a different state should consult their home state licensure board for individual state requirements.

    Unique Features: Students can elect to complete the 48 credit or 60 credit program depending on their individual professional and career goals. Additionally, students that plan to work with adolescent and adult populations may be interested in completing an optional 15 credit graduate certificate in addiction studies.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $12,780.00
    • Credits Required: 48 / 60
    • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions
  5. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Music with a Music Therapy Track. This 30 credit degree is focused on supporting the professional development of the music therapist. Approved by the American Music Therapy Association, this program will prepare graduates to pursue their individual area of interest in music therapy. The Music Therapy Faculty bring a diverse set of experiences and interests to the program. Students will be supported in exploring and identifying their individual interests and professional goals within the field of music therapy to support individuals from diverse backgrounds across the lifespan.

    Courses include: Analytical Techniques; Research Techniques; Music History; Philosophy and Theory of Music Therapy; Graduate Music Therapy Practicum; Thesis; Advanced Music Therapy Practice; and Social Statistics.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $12,861.00
    • Credits Required: 30
    • Application Deadline: Fall: August 1, Spring: December 1, Summer: May 15
  6. Augsburg University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    A Master of Music Therapy is available at Augsburg University. Established in 1974 this Music Therapy program is offered through a flexible hybrid format with online courses. Students will complete coursework online and attend intensive week long sessions on campus each semester. Additionally, students will participate in a practicum experience in music therapy in their hometown. Students in the program have access to rich clinical work and research opportunities at leading healthcare organizations. The program emphasizes a commitment to holistic health with a focus on integrating music into the healthcare setting. Graduates will be prepared to promote health and well being in a variety of settings through the professional practice of music therapy.

    Courses include: Advanced Music Therapy Theory; Advanced Music Therapy Clinical Practice; Music and Imagery; Advanced Music Therapy Clinical Practice; Ethics; Music Psychotherapy; Cross Cultural Awareness in Music Therapy; Music, Neurology and Physiology; Music Therapy Research; Supervision and Professional Development; Research; Music Therapy and Palliative Care; Music Therapy, Spirituality, and Well-being; Advanced Music Therapy Group Work; Interdisciplinary Practice and Research; Advanced Music Therapy with Infants, Children, and Family; Trans cultural Music Therapy; and Music Therapy in Trauma Informed Care.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $12,956.00
    • Credits Required: 36
    • Application Deadline: February 1st
  7. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Maryville University of Saint Louis offers a Master of Music Therapy. Program training focuses on teaching students the skills to work successfully with diverse populations of individuals experiencing mental health challenges and substance abuse as well as developmental and physical disabilities. Faculty work hard to promote the professional growth of each student so that graduates are prepared to successfully pursue their career and individual areas of interest within the field of music therapy.

    Courses include: Introduction to Music Therapy; Medical Term for Music Therapy; Music Foundations for Music Therapy; Music Therapy Abroad; Music Notation Technology; Music Recording Technology; Research in Music Therapy; Psychology of Music; Clinical Internship; Music Therapy Assessment; Music Psychotherapy; Music Therapy in Rehabilitation and Medicine; Music Neuroscience; Specialization in Music Therapy; and Master of Music Therapy Oral Exam.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $14,346.00
    • Credits Required: 36
  8. Loyola University New Orleans
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    A Master of Music Therapy is offered at Loyola University School of Music. This graduate program is offered through the traditional on-campus program as well as through their new online graduate program in Music Therapy. Students entering the program without a music therapy undergraduate degree can complete the equivalency program leading to certification in music therapy. The 34-36 credit graduate program is taught by faculty with experience in not only teaching and research but also clinical practice. Faculty areas of expertise include: Addictions; Mental Health; NICU; Older Adults; Hospice; Pediatric Medical; Traumatic Brain Injury; and Dual Diagnosis.

    Courses include: Music Therapy Research; Advanced Practicum; Music Therapy Supervision; Advanced Music Psychotherapy Models; Music Therapy in Medicine; Music Therapy Theories; Multicultural Issues in Music Therapy; Guided Imagery and Music; Advanced Research Methods; Music Therapy Group Work; and Research Apprenticeship.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $14,724.00
    • Credits Required: 34-36
    • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions
  9. Illinois State University
    Location

    Normal, IL

    The College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University offers a Master of Music In Music Therapy. Through clinical experiences, students will learn to work with diverse populations from newborns and their families to the elderly and dying and their families. Students entering the program with a bachelor's degree in music therapy will appreciate the graduate program's attention to advanced study in research and clinical practice. The faculty work to ensure that students have the opportunity to engage in rich clinical experiences to support their professional development as music therapists.

    Unique feature: Students have the opportunity to engage in clinical experiences working in diverse settings such as: Addiction Recovery; In-Patient Medical Care; Schools; Juvenile Detention; Residential Care Homes; Eating Disorder Clinics; and Day Treatment Programs.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $15,445.00
    • Application Deadline: January 15th
  10. Radford University
    Location

    Radford, VA

    A Master of Science in Music with a concentration in Music Therapy is offered through the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Radford University. Radford University is able to offer financial assistance to qualified graduate students through graduate assistantships as well as tuition and fee waivers. Some out-of-state tuition waivers are available to graduate students as well as stipends in the range of $4,000-$8,000. Students at Radford University benefit from the opportunity to work closely with faculty with their support in the classroom and also with their professional connections to internship and employment opportunities. The program offers a variety of unique electives allowing students to select courses that match their individual professional interests.

    Courses include: The History and Analysis of Western Art Music; Research Methods in Music; Clinical Improvisation in Music Therapy; Advanced Methods and Materials in Music Therapy; Practicum in Music Therapy; Supervision and Training for Music Therapists; Special Applications in Music Therapy; Music Therapy Project; Research and Thesis; Introduction to Counseling Theories and Techniques; Group Counseling Theories and Techniques; Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling; Assessment and Appraisal Techniques in Counseling; Cultural and Diversity Counseling; Gender Issues in Counseling; Human Sexuality Issues in Counseling; Death, Loss and Grief Counseling; Counseling and Spirituality; and Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $16,862.00
    • Credits Required: 61
    • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

Applying to a Top Affordable Accredited Master’s in Music Therapy

Admission requirements for music therapy master’s programs vary, but typically applicants can expect to submit their bachelor’s degree transcripts. Graduate schools require prospective students to meet a minimum 2.5 GPA or higher. Sometimes music therapy master’s programs look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in music, psychology, or a related field, although this isn’t always the case.

In terms of supplemental material, some graduate schools ask candidates to submit GRE or MAT scores. Applicants may need to send in a music portfolio or participate in an audition to demonstrate their musical abilities. Additional requirements may include personal statements and recommendation letters. Prospective students can strengthen their applications with any previous work or volunteer experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to become a music therapist?

    It can take 4-6 years to become a music therapist depending on your pathway. Individuals can become music therapists with a four-year bachelor’s degree in music therapy. Others might study another field for their undergraduate degree, such as music or psychology, and then pursue a two-year master’s in music therapy. Keep in mind that part-time students typically take longer to complete their degree.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accreditation is the process of evaluating higher education degrees and schools to ensure that they offer students a high quality education. That’s why prospective students should look for programs with accreditation; programs without accreditation should register to applicants as red flags. When researching potential programs, look for degrees accredited by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

  • What qualifications do I need to become a music therapist?

    To become a music therapist, candidates need at least a bachelor’s in music therapy accredited by the AMTA. A master’s degree in music therapy should count as well with potential opportunities for further professional growth. Professionals also should obtain the Certification Board for Music Therapists credential by passing a certification exam.

  • How much do music therapists make?

    Music therapists make an average salary of $42,140, according to PayScale data. This figure depends on many factors; a higher degree may lead to higher earnings, for instance. Experience level matters too. While entry-level music therapists make an average salary of $39,240, PayScale data shows that late-career professionals earn an average annual pay reaching $52,900.


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