Music Therapy MA

Postgraduate ( full-time)



Course duration: 24 months full-time.

Teaching times: two days a week plus two days on a clinical placement (Year 1). One day a week on campus plus a placement of least one day a week (Year 2).


Get professional training in music therapy on our internationally recognised Master’s course. When you graduate, you’ll be qualified to work as a music therapist in the UK and overseas, and eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council in the UK.

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Full description


As a qualified music therapist you’ll be able to work in many different areas including the NHS, hospices, social services, the education sector and the voluntary sector. The NHS Agenda for Change has led to improved career paths for music therapists at levels similar to, or higher than, those of other allied health professions.

You may also choose to work privately, or on a freelance basis, with a client base including adults and children with learning difficulties, mental health problems, and other special needs.

Successful completion of this course will allow you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council, a legal requirement for music therapists in the UK. Your qualification should also be recognised around the world.

You’ll benefit from our links with the British Association for Music Therapy and other allied health professions; Professor Helen Odell-Miller, for example, advises at government level for the profession. You’ll also be able to forge links with practitioners such as psychotherapists, arts therapists and psychiatrists.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Clinical Placements and Experiential Development 1
    This module, together with part 2, will give you ongoing clinical experience and experiential development in the work place, where you will learn about how to practise as a music therapist/dramatherapist without discrimination. You readiness to practise will be assessed through oral assessment with examiners in two parts. You must start to demonstrate evaluative clinical knowledge and skills, and an ability to be critically aware of their own process. At the end of the module, half way through your training, you will be assessed by one examiner, and at the end of Part 2 by two examiners, in an oral assessment. You will undertake two block placements and visits. Your introductory placement and the first 5-month placement will take place in one clinical area. You will co-ordinate these in conjunction with the clinical placement co-ordinator and your tutor. Your casework will be supported by a campus-based supervision group, in which you will present, reflects upon and critically analyse a case over a period of 5 months. This module will assist your development into a music therapist/dramatherapist, using critical reflection, experiential techniques in the experiential group, and reflective analytic writing about your own process and of your own case work. By the end you will need to demonstrate the ability to follow through the music therapy/dramatherapy process, holding the whole case within the appropriate team and also within the university based supervision group. You will need to demonstrate a reflective critical awareness of the therapeutic alliance, and of how music therapy/dramatherapy has benefited the people you have worked with. You will do this through an essay and an Introductory placement report, which will be assessed together in the first semester, and also through your halfway assessment, as well as a case study and case report in the second semester.
  • Music Therapy Practical and Clinical Skills
    Clinical improvisation skills are taught in small groups, focusing first on your main instrument, followed by other areas. All students are taught improvisation skills on keyboard, a single line instrument, voice and guitar.There are also workshops on group techniques.
  • Music Therapy and Dramatherapy Multidisciplinary Theoretical Studies
    On this module, you will discover the theoretical framework for the clinical knowledge and understanding of music therapy/dramatherapy, together with your role in securing, maintaining and improving health and well-being for patients/clients. By the end of the module, you will have a detailed and professional understanding of the nature and dynamics of arts therapies. Specifically, you will acquire a detailed specialised knowledge and understanding of a variety of music therapy/dramatherapy approaches and the client groups relevant for these. You will achieve this through reading, lectures, independent research and study, and through an integration of the knowledge and skills acquired in the other modules on your course. You will discuss and write about mind-body models of human functioning, such as attachment theory, child development, the recovery model, and many others. You will also discuss the role of music therapy/dramatherapy within these models. Lectures and seminars will allow you to reflect upon, and develop an informed understanding of core processes in therapeutic practice (e.g. the therapeutic frame, the centrality of the therapeutic relationship, transference, and counter-transference). You will also attend seminars as a presenter and researcher. In these, independent participation, innovative thinking and critical analysis will be the norm. You will learn about different methods of assessment, treatment and evaluation in music therapy/dramatherapy and related disciplines. You will be assessed through two essays relating to music therapy/dramatherapy, to child development and to psychoanalysis.

Year two, core modules

  • Clinical Placements and Experiential Development 2
    On this module, you will engage in more advanced clinical work, learning how to practise as a music therapist or dramatherapist without discrimination. You will gain the skills to practise as a fully-registered music therapist or dramatherapists, and be eligible for registration with the HCPC. You will work independently at an advanced level, with supervision from tutors and placement supervisors, both at the University and in the workplace. You will be expected to show an advanced level in your understanding of casework, and demonstrate an advanced level of evaluative clinical knowledge and skills, as well as being critically aware of your own process. This will include a full understanding of the assessment and referral processes relating to casework, and the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team in community-based and other settings without discrimination with an awareness of health and social needs. You will undertake a 3-month block placement and a further 3-month case, or one 6-month case. You will choose whether to undertake the intensive treatment in two different clinical areas (3 months each), or for 6 months in the same setting. You will co-ordinate these placements in conjunction with your tutor. You will work independently and be supervised individually, rather than in a group for one case. You will reflect upon the choices you make and your interpretation of patient-led needs, and how you are meeting them effectively in the casework. You will be expected to follow through the Care Programme approach, with appropriate awareness and critical understanding of user-involvement and its impact upon the casework. You will also explore ethical considerations and issues of cultural diversity and practice, using evaluation methods as preparation for undertaking your own research. You will be assessed through a collaborative creative/performance project (with music therapy and dramatherapy students working together), and a final oral assessment, in which you will give a case presentation and discuss with the assessors. On the basis of these, together with material from your clinical placement reports, that your readiness to practise will be assessed.
  • MA Therapies Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a MA Therapies Major Project. You will receive a basic introduction to research methodology, in order to carry out a project which will involve some clinical or theoretical evaluation/research. You can either choose a project that is more research or more clinically focussed, reflecting the NHS Agenda for Change Career structure, which recognises the music therapist or dramatherapist as a specialist clinician and researcher or manager. You will have access to Faculty Research Methodology days (two annually) and some specialist taught research methods lectures by Doctoral and Postdoctoral Therapists. You will also have access to a wide variety of research resources both nationally and internationally and will benefit from close links with the International PhD programme at Aalborg University Denmark / Ecarte links in Europe, The Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre and The London Centre for Psychodrama, as well as from departmental staff who are specialists in clinical and theoretical aspects of psychological therapies. You will be encouraged to use databases and a variety of conference video/web links. You will be assessed through a 15,000-word written dissertation. Your project will be a clinically focussed evaluation with primary questions and subquestions and will include a well-developed theoretical context, relevant analysis and reflective conclusions.


You’ll demonstrate your learning in a number of ways, including essays, live presentations and practical tasks such as clinical improvisation and composition. You’ll also undertake some self-analysis and reflection with your personal tutor.

Half-way through the course, your progress and process towards becoming a music therapist will be assessed by an examiner. Your final piece of written work will be a Major Project, which involves clinical evaluation. Meanwhile, in your final oral assessment you’ll present a piece of clinical work to two examiners, who will assess your overall clinical skills and readiness to practice.

One of our modules touches on dramatherapy and covers content from our MA Dramatherapy, as well as the Music Therapy course. Where techniques and approaches are specific to each profession you’ll be taught separately but on more generic subjects, such as psychoanalytic studies, psychiatry and psychology, you’ll benefit from working together.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of Music and Performing Arts is a community of over 400 students and staff, working together in a supportive environment to create new and challenging compositions and performances. Our lecturers are research-active practitioners and recognised experts in their field, so our students always have access to the latest theories and practice, as well as invaluable career guidance.

We organise many activities to help our students prepare for the future, like concerts, theatre performances, work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

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Specialist facilities

You'll work in our new purpose-built therapy centre, which includes state-of-the-art therapy rooms and a large hall. The centre is used for all of our teaching and for our professional therapy consultations. We have a large range of musical instruments, specifically chosen for clinical work, and high-quality recording and videoing equipment in the therapy rooms.

You’ll also have access to the extensive range of facilities offered by the Department of Music and Performing Arts, including a fully-equipped drama studio, two other large drama rehearsal spaces, a recital hall, a suite of computer music studios and music practice rooms.

Our Cambridge campus also houses the Mumford Theatre, a full-size venue for professional touring companies.


Our music therapy staff members are internationally renowned researchers and consultants and our research is recognised as world-leading. We hold regular international conferences and support a vigorous community of research students.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


Approximate additional costs

Personal therapy sessions: 

Budget £1,500-£3,000

External supervision during placements: 

Budget £700-£1,500

Travelling to placements: 

Budget £500-£2,000

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

There's no statutory funding for postgraduate study. However, we offer a number of scholarships and we've put together guidance on where to start researching funding options.

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.


As this is a professional therapy training, we'll ask you to attend an interview if you're shortlisted. The day will include experiential music therapy group work with other candidates, as well as an individual interview and discussion with lecturers. These will allow us to consider your suitability and readiness for training, and also give you the chance to experience some of the teaching methods we use, so you can decide whether they're appropriate for your needs.


For the interview and audition, you’ll need to prepare a brief piece of your choice on each of your instruments. If you only play one instrument, you should prepare two short contrasting pieces on that instrument. If piano is not one of your main studies, you’ll be asked to demonstrate your keyboard skills. Please be ready to improvise as directed on the day. If voice is not one of your main studies, you’ll be asked to sing a short song of your choice. We’ll provide an accompanist if you need one.

Video conference interview

In exceptional cases if you live overseas, we may consider interviewing you over video conference. You’ll only be offered this if you give clear reasons why it’s impossible for you to attend the interview/audition, and you have access to professional video conferencing equipment.

International applicant portfolios

If you’re an international applicant who is not studying ABRSM qualifications, you’ll need to supply a portfolio containing ten to 15 minutes of varied music on your first and second study instruments that best represents your musicianship. If possible, please post this portfolio online and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements are for September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online