Online Music Therapy Graduate Degree Program Options

Music therapy is a field of study that combines various aspects of acoustics, music theory and music production to design treatment plans for individuals with a range of physical and mental illnesses. Online master's degrees are available for certified music therapists who have attained their bachelor's degree in the field. Most programs can be completed in two to three years.

Essential Information

Online music therapy master's degree programs are designed to help current music therapists advance their skills or specialize in a specific area of music therapy, such as developmental disabilities, administration or mental/physical health. These programs often require applicants to already have an undergraduate degree in music therapy and be currently practicing music therapists; some programs may also require applicants to be board certified. Music therapy master's degree programs can be found in a fully online format; however, depending on the school, most programs require an internship or on-campus residency. In addition to coursework, programs may include a thesis requirement, which involves research and clinical practice.

Online Master's Degree in Music Therapy

Board-certified music therapists interested in strengthening their credentials may enroll in an online music therapy master's program. Students learn to create and lead treatment sessions designed to improve the overall well-being of individuals with neurological, physical or emotional disorders and disabilities.

Most programs require students to obtain a bachelor's degree in music therapy before applying. Other prerequisites may include successful completion of the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) and an in-person or telephone interview with program supervisors.

Program Information and Requirements

Because the study of music therapy involves hands-on training, master's programs are often delivered in a hybrid format. In addition to completing online coursework, students are asked to attend one or two campus-based learning sessions per year. Most programs culminate in a clinical internship or practicum.

Streaming audio and video applications are used for course delivery, requiring a computer with Internet access. Additionally, some master's music therapy programs require students to have access to digital music technology software and other equipment used for music production. Students may earn their master's degree in 2-3 years.

List of Common Master's-Level Music Therapy Courses

General education classes are not required for master's students. Coursework deals specifically with professional issues in music therapy practice.

Music Technology Course

Class lessons revolve around the application of music technology in therapy sessions. Students learn how to use music notation and production software. Emphasis is placed on incorporating music technology into patient treatment plans.

Research Techniques for Music Therapists Course

Quantitative and qualitative methods in research are discussed. Students examine how music therapy professionals use statistical prediction and data analysis in everyday practice.

Communication in Music Therapy Course

Gender-, race- and age-related issues can often impede interaction between patients and music therapists. In this course, students explore various techniques for bridging personal and cultural divisions within the patient-therapist relationship.

Career Information for Graduates reports that in 2009, music therapists earned between $33,000 and $47,000 annually. Many were employed by hospitals, private clinics and mental health agencies. The field of recreational therapy, which includes music therapists, is projected to experience a 15% employment growth between 2008 and 2018, as noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

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