Skip to Content

Music Therapy

The Master of Arts in Music Therapy program at University of the Pacific prepares students for a career using music-based interventions in a focused and concentrated manner to address health-related, psychological, educational, and other rehabilitative needs. The program offers students greater depth and breadth in knowledge and skills for advanced clinical competency. Through advanced learning and skill development, students will have a vital competitive advantage in the current healthcare market to provide quality patient care.

Two paths to obtaining an MA in Music Therapy

  • Two-Year Master of Arts in Music Therapy: This 32-unit program is designed for students who hold an undergraduate degree in music therapy (or its equivalent) and are looking for advanced-level clinical skills or research practice to secure a competitive position in today's rapidly growing health care system. 
  • Three-Year Plus Internship Master of Arts in Music Therapy:  This 55-unit* program is designed for those with a bachelor's degree in music or related fields (e.g. psychology, special education, etc.) who seek both entry-and advanced-level training in music therapy. This popular and flexible learning option starts with strong basic musicianship and adds specific knowledge and skills to meet the requirements of the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) and the American Music Therapy Association. 

* Additional units may be required depending on prior degree, coursework and experience

Plan of Study

Students focus on their specific personal career goals by selecting one of two tracks supporting: a) development of advanced clinical, administrative, and program development skills, or b) preparation for eventual entry into teaching and research careers.

Both tracks in the Master of Arts in music therapy program allow for flexibility in the design of individualized study plans.  Master of Arts students should consult with their advisor during the first term in residency to determine their overall plan of study and to detail their schedule of classes for each semester.

Program Policies

  1. The work for the master’s degree must be completed within 7 years from the first semester of classes.
  2. Students must pass the Board Certification Examination or provide evidence of current re-certification (MT-BC) status prior to completion of the Master of Arts degree in music therapy.
  3. Students who provide evidence of equivalent prior coursework may substitute a free elective for any required course, with permission of the advisor and music therapy program director.
  4. In order to provide Protection of Human Research Subjects, IRB oversight, student liability insurance coverage, and ongoing faculty mentoring of students during Thesis and Clerkship work:
    • Students must be continuously enrolled for a minimum of 1 unit of credit each Fall or Spring semester while working with human subjects on thesis or clinical clerkship projects. 
    • Students must be enrolled for a minimum of 1 unit of credit during the semesters in which the thesis or clinical clerkship is proposed and when it is defended. Thesis and Clerkship proposal and defense meetings with the student’s faculty committee must be scheduled between September 1 and May 1.

Required Advanced Clinical Competencies

Students must demonstrate advanced clinical competencies as defined by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Particular emphasis is placed upon the acquisition of advanced competencies relevant to the student’s area of specialization.

Master of Arts in Music Therapy

Students must complete a minimum of 32 units with a Pacific cumulative and major/program grade point average of 3.0 or higher in order to earn the Master of Arts degree in music therapy.

Music Therapy Foundational Courses:

MTHR 231Individual Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques3
MTHR 232Group Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques3
MTHR 251Music Therapy Supervision I: Introduction to Theory and Applications1
MTHR 252Music Therapy Supervision II: Applied Experience1
MTHR 260Advanced Clinical Practice in Music Therapy *2
MUSC 203Contemporary Issues in Music Education and Music Therapy3
*

1.Two semesters, one unit each semester.
2. Students may fulfill one unit of this requirement by completing a Special Topics course in a clinical practice area.


Choose one of the following Options:

Option A, Thesis Plan

EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
or MTHR 239
MTHR 265
Research in Music
and Human Research in Music Therapy: Supervised Experience
MUSC 202Introduction in Music Research3
MTHR 299Thesis4
Select three of the following Specialized Electives:9
Nature and Conditions of Learning
Advanced Human Development I
Advanced Human Development II
Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Crisis Intervention
Consultation Methods
History and Systems in Psychology
Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion
Neuropsychology
Psychology of Music
and Graduate Independent Study

Option B, Non- Thesis Plan

EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
or MTHR 239
MTHR 265
Research in Music
and Human Research in Music Therapy: Supervised Experience
MTHR 245Clinical Clerkship in Music Therapy1
MUSC 202Introduction in Music Research3
Select four of the following Specialized Electives:12
Nature and Conditions of Learning
Advanced Human Development I
Advanced Human Development II
Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Crisis Intervention
Consultation Methods
History and Systems in Psychology
Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion
Neuropsychology
Psychology of Music
and Graduate Independent Study

Master of Arts in Music Therapy - 3 Year Internship Option

Students must complete a minimum of 32 units with a Pacific cumulative and major/program grade point average of 3.0 or higher in order to earn the Master of Arts degree in music therapy.

Pre-Board-Certification Courses:

MTHR 011Music as Therapy: A Survey of Clinical Applications3
MTHR 018Basic Skills for Music Therapists and Allied Professionals3
MTHR 020Observation and Assessment in Music Therapy2
MTHR 135Music with Children in Inclusive Settings: Therapeutic and Educational Applications3
MTHR 141Music Therapy in Mental Health and Social Services3
MTHR 142Music Therapy in Medicine and Health Care3
MTHR 150Fieldwork in Music Therapy4
MTHR 187Internship in Music Therapy2

Music Therapy Foundational Courses:

MTHR 231Individual Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques3
MTHR 232Group Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques3
MTHR 251Music Therapy Supervision I: Introduction to Theory and Applications1
MTHR 252Music Therapy Supervision II: Applied Experience1
MTHR 260Advanced Clinical Practice in Music Therapy *2
MUSC 203Contemporary Issues in Music Education and Music Therapy3
*

 Two semesters, one unit each semester. 

Choose one of the following Options:

Option A, Thesis Plan

EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
or MTHR 239
MTHR 265
Research in Music
and Human Research in Music Therapy: Supervised Experience
MTHR 299Thesis4
MUSC 202Introduction in Music Research3
Select three of the following Specialized Electives:6
Nature and Conditions of Learning
Advanced Human Development I
Advanced Human Development II
Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Crisis Intervention
Consultation Methods
History and Systems in Psychology
Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion
Neuropsychology
Psychology of Music
and Graduate Independent Study

Option B, Non-Thesis Plan

EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
or MTHR 239
MTHR 265
Research in Music
and Human Research in Music Therapy: Supervised Experience
MTHR 245Clinical Clerkship in Music Therapy1
MUSC 202Introduction in Music Research3
Select four of the following Specialized Electives:12
Nature and Conditions of Learning
Advanced Human Development I
Advanced Human Development II
Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Crisis Intervention
Consultation Methods
History and Systems in Psychology
Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion
Psychology of Music
and Graduate Independent Study

Graduate Programs

MTHR 018. Basic Skills for Music Therapists and Allied Professionals. 3 Units.

MTHR 018 focuses on the development of applied/basic music skills necessary for implementing therapeutic music interventions with children and adults. Students increase performance competencies in the areas of singing and accompanying, and explore improvising/ composing/arranging with instruments such as autoharp, Orff and other rhythmic/ethnic instruments. The course includes development of song repertoire commonly used across various therapeutic settings. This course is open to non-Major. Prerequisite: MCOM 002.

MTHR 011. Music as Therapy: A Survey of Clinical Applications. 3 Units.

This course introduces the uses of music as a creative arts therapy, and it includes an overview of the history, theory, and clinical practice of music therapy across a broad range of settings. Classroom experiences, reading, films, and field observations introduce the student to various uses of music in the treatment of children and adults that are a foundation for the sequence of music therapy courses which together support development of required AMTA competencies for the professional music therapist. This course also offers an introduction to music therapy for interested persons in other health and pre-professional programs. This course is open to non-majors.

MTHR 020. Observation and Assessment in Music Therapy. 2 Units.

This course focuses on developing observation skills and assessment competencies. Students will practice implementation of standardized and therapist-constructed assessments (through simulation) to appropriately measure and monitor progress and evaluate effectiveness of music therapy interventions for children and adults. For graduate students only who need to fulfill coursework for board-eligibility through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

MTHR 135. Music with Children in Inclusive Settings: Therapeutic and Educational Applications. 3 Units.

This course presents specific music therapy techniques and skills for development of programs for children's successful integration within home/school/community environments. Students will identify and create therapeutic music strategies to effect changes in children's academic, social, motor, and leisure skills development. This course also acquaints students with relevant music therapy/education research and current legislation regarding children within inclusive settings. Open to non-majors. Prerequisites: SPED 123 and either MTHR 018 or MCOM 002; or with instructor permission.

MTHR 139. Research in Music. 2 Units.

The application of scientific methods to investigate music therapy and related disciplines (e.g., music education and music psychology) are reviewed, including: qualitative and quantitative methods and related designs, review and evaluation of research literature, and writing a research proposal. Statistical analyses and evidence-based practice are introduced. Prerequisite: MCOM 002 or Instructor Permission.

MTHR 140. Psychology of Music. 2 Units.

This course introduces the psychological foundations of music, including the study of acoustics, perception of sound, music and neuroscience, and physical and psychosocial responses to music. Prerequisite: MTHR 139 or MTHR 239 or permission of the instructor.

MTHR 141. Music Therapy in Mental Health and Social Services. 3 Units.

MTHR 141 examines theory, research, and clinical skills related to music therapy for adults, children, and adolescents in various mental health and social service treatment settings. It also includes an introduction to current DSM criteria for mental disorders commonly encountered by music therapists, and an overview of major theories of psychotherapy as they relate to music therapy. The course introduces music therapy techniques for group treatment which includes music improvisation, songwriting, and basic relaxation methods. This course is for music therapy majors only and it must be taken concurrently with Fieldwork in Music Therapy. Prerequisites: MTHR 011, MTHR 018, MTHR 135, and MTHR 140, PSYC 111 and completion of Voice, Guitar, and Piano competencies.

MTHR 142. Music Therapy in Medicine and Health Care. 3 Units.

This course provides an overview of music therapy with children, adults, and older adults in medical settings. Students survey theories, methods, and empirically supported treatments in settings such as acute care, physical rehabilitation, gerontology, palliative care, preventative medicine, and health maintenance. It also includes the study of physical and psychosocial processes natural to aging and end of life, and assists students in developing skills in improvised music for relaxation and palliative care. The course is for music therapy majors only. Prerequisites: MTHR 141, BIOL 011 and completion of Voice, Guitar, and Piano competencies.

MTHR 143. Supervisory Techniques. 1 or 2 Unit.

This course offers techniques in the supervision of music therapy fieldwork. The course is only open to music therapy majors by permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: MTHR 020, MTHR 140 and MTHR 150.

MTHR 150. Fieldwork in Music Therapy. 1-2 Units.

Fieldwork provides students with structured clinical experiences in music therapy under the supervision of a music therapist in varying community settings. This course repeated for credit and taken concurrently each semester students are enrolled in MTHR 135, MTHR 140, MTHR 141 and MTHR 142. Prerequisites: MTHR 011 and MTHR 018. This course is open only to music therapy majors, and a minimum of 4 units of Fieldwork (MTHR 150) is required for completion of the music therapy degree program.

MTHR 187. Internship in Music Therapy. 1 Unit.

This course consists of clinical training experience at an internship site approved by the AMTA. Successful completion of required hours and competencies allows students to sit for the Music Therapy Board Certification Examination. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all coursework and functional music skills, competency evaluation and individualized internship training plan. Students are required to enroll in MTHR 150 within the period of one year prior to the start of internship.

MTHR 191. Independent Study. 1-2 Units.

MTHR 197D. Undergraduate Research. 1-4 Units.

MTHR 230. Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music Level I Training. 3 Units.

Intensive 5-day residential seminar introduces theory and clinical applications of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) and other music and imagery techniques. Participants gain intensive personal experience with BMGIM. Hands-on experiential exercises, demonstrations, and clinical examples introduce simple imagery techniques to add to participants' existing repertoire of therapeutic interventions. This residential phase of the course meets the Association of Music and Imagery (AMI) requirements for introductory training in the Bonny Method. The on-line learning component extends and deepens the student's understanding through exposure to literature in the Bonny Method, sharing of discoveries from readings and music listening, as well as personal reflection and integration of experiential learning. Due to the experiential nature of this course, participants must be willing to participate in all learning activities and in the group sharing process, and attend all seminar sessions as listed in the residential seminar course schedule. All students and instructors are expected to maintain confidentiality of personal material shared by group members. Prerequisites: Evidence of clinical experience and permission of instructor.

MTHR 231. Individual Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques. 3 Units.

This course explores current theories and techniques of music-centered psychotherapy for supportive, re-educative/rehabilitative, and re-constructive levels of clinical practice with a variety of populations. The course includes development of therapeutic relationship through music improvisation, and focused music-evoked imagery to address supportive and re-educative goals for individual clients. Experiential learning includes classroom simulations and supervised clinical practice. Prerequisites: MTHR 187 (or an AMTA-approved clinical internship) and MTHR 230 (or Level I training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music) or permission of instructor.

MTHR 232. Group Music Therapy: Advanced Theory and Techniques. 3 Units.

This course examines theories and models for group music therapy with applications for a variety of clinical populations. The course includes approaches for quick group assessment and brief treatment environments. The focus in on therapist and member roles and tasks within group development processes. Students refine group facilitation skills that use music-centered techniques of improvisation and music-evoked imagery through in-class simulations and supervised clinical practice. Prerequisite: MTHR 231 with a "B" or better or permission of instructor.

MTHR 239. Research in Music. 2 Units.

The application of scientific methods to investigate music therapy and related disciplines (e.g., music education and music psychology) are reviewed, including: qualitative and quantitative methods and related designs, review and evaluation of research literature, and writing a research proposal. Statistical analyses and evidence-based practice are introduced. Prerequisite: MCOM 002 or Instructor Permission.

MTHR 240. Psychology of Music. 2 Units.

This course introduces the psychological foundations of music, including the study of acoustics, perception of sound, music and neuroscience, and physical and psychosocial responses to music. Prerequisite: MTHR 139 or MTHR 239 or permission of the instructor.

MTHR 245. Clinical Clerkship in Music Therapy. 1-4 Units.

As an alternate requirement for Thesis, Clinical Clerkship is designed for students who may want to focus on clinical skills and knowledge. Students complete a major project related to an applied therapeutic or educational setting.

MTHR 251. Music Therapy Supervision I: Introduction to Theory and Applications. 1 Unit.

This course provides a foundation for effective music therapy clinical supervision. It introduces multicultural, ethical, and legal considerations and explores factors unique to music therapy supervision. Readings, workbook assignments, field observations and in-class discussion of theories and techniques prepare students for MTHR 252, and practical experience supervising undergraduate students in clinical training settings. Prerequisite: MTHR 187 or an AMTA approved clinical internship.

MTHR 252. Music Therapy Supervision II: Applied Experience. 1 Unit.

This course provides mentored practice in clinical supervision and it supports individualized skill development of competencies for professional participation in clinical management and student, volunteer, or peer supervision situations. Learning experiences include direct on-site supervision of undergraduate music therapy students in fieldwork placements, maintaining the on-site learning environment, monitoring student progress, conducting formal evaluations, conducting group student supervision and regular participation in supervisors group consultation meetings with faculty. Prerequisite: MTHR 251 with a "B" or better.

MTHR 260. Advanced Clinical Practice in Music Therapy. 1 Unit.

This course provides individualized experiences for development of advanced clinical skills in music therapy. Students may focus on a new area of specialization, or may work within a familiar clinical environment that develops skills at a more advanced level. Experiences may include supervised practice in advanced music therapy techniques, interdisciplinary collaboration, new program development, or expansion of an existing clinical program. Prerequisites: two semesters of MTHR 187 or clinical internship.

MTHR 265. Human Research in Music Therapy: Supervised Experience. 1 Unit.

This course offers individualized experiences for development of advanced research skills in music therapy. It provides faculty oversight and supervision of human research in clinical or laboratory settings. Students may focus on their own independent research project or may work within a collaborative or faculty-directed research environment. It is required for students who conduct summer research activities with human subjects and includes projects that contribute to completion of the master's thesis or clinical clerkship. This course may be repeated. Prerequisites: Completion of University Human Subjects (IRB) training for student investigators, and permission of instructor.

MTHR 275. College Teaching in Music Therapy: Curriculum, Competencies and Classroom. 3 Units.

Students review the AMTA requirements for music therapy undergraduate program curriculum and for competency-based education and clinical training. The course provides mentored practice in teaching foundational level music therapy college courses, and it supports individualized skill development for professional participation in academic music therapy programs as an instructor. Permission of instructor.

MTHR 291. Graduate Independent Study. 1-4 Units.

MTHR 299. Thesis. 1-4 Units.

Students create an original monograph that embodies original research.