UWE Bristol

MA Music Therapy

With a strong emphasis on experiential learning, improvisation, song writing and listening, this flexible and highly regarded course is aimed at giving you the knowledge and practical skills to enter an existing practice or start your own.

This unique three-year part-time Master's course can lead to registration as a music therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It also provides a popular route for international students looking to develop their qualifications.

It is open to capable musicians - from recent graduates to experienced professionals, or to music therapists with a postgraduate diploma looking to add to their skills and knowledge who can access a progression route. Even if you don't have a first degree in music, we still encourage you to apply provided you can demonstrate a capacity to write and think at Master's level. All candidates will need an intuitive and communicative musical presence on at least one instrument or voice, plus the ability to provide harmonic support using, for example, piano, keyboard or guitar.

Widely applicable and sought-after skills

There is an underlying humanistic and music-centred philosophy to the course, with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. We take a 'lifespan' approach, focusing on children and adolescents in the first year, and adults in the second year. In the third year, we focus on more complex areas of work, with both children and adults, such as work in palliative care or the prison and probation services.

The course equips you with the clinical, theoretical and practical skills required to enter the music therapy profession. Successful graduates will be able to work in the NHS, education, social services, for the voluntary sector, charities, within prisons, or set up their own practice.

The part-time, flexible nature of the course means you can fit Master's level studies around paid employment, and build or enhance your career in the process.

Course tutors, and teaching and research staff from across the department have excellent links with healthcare, community and education providers, and we regularly welcome visiting lecturers from these areas.

Entry Requirements

  • a good undergraduate degree with professional music skills
  • a high level of practical performance in any musical tradition, including digital technologies and a particular interest in live improvisation
  • sufficient skills to be able to provide harmonic support
  • experience of working in relevant areas such as Health or Education (including voluntary work)
  • personal skills suited to working as a therapist
  • wide reading on the subject of music therapy
  • the ability and strong commitment to follow a personally demanding part-time course

Career Prospects

Completing the MA Music Therapy means you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC, in order to start practising as a fully qualified music therapist.

Opportunities for Master's-qualified music therapists are diverse. Previous students have gone on to practice as HCPC-registered music therapists sometimes alongside other musical work such as performing and teaching and also apply their knowledge and expertise to positions in healthcare and education. Our links with music therapy experts and practitioners give excellent insights into future careers, and part of the course is geared towards helping you find placements, attract employers or set up your own practice.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Course Details

Personal development runs throughout the course, and you must be prepared to undertake what may sometimes be challenging and rigorous explorations of your professional and personal issues and influences - excellent preparation for a music therapist. During the course, we ask you to be in confidential personal therapy with a suitably qualified therapist, for example, a creative arts therapist, a counsellor or psychotherapist. The number of hours is not specified, but the Health Professions Council requires you to have had substantive and sustained experience of personal therapy during the three years of the course (40 to 60 hours is recommended). Please note, this cost is not included in the programme fee.

There is also a counselling component within the professional practice modules. You will experience a music therapy training group facilitated by external music therapists. You will need to set aside regular time, beyond personal therapy and attending taught sessions, for reflection and study.

Year 1

Music Therapy Professional Practice with Children and Young People - This incorporates a placement within a child setting, and seminars to develop related musical and clinical skills.
Music Therapy Theory and Child Development - Taught seminars and online lectures cover theory, research and case material relating to child work in music therapy.

Year 2

Music Therapy Professional Practice and Skills with Adults - This incorporates a placement within an adult setting, and seminars extending related musical and clinical skills.
Music Therapy Theory and Practice in Adult Settings - Face-to-face seminars and online lectures covering theory, research and case material relating to child work in music therapy.
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods - This inter-professional module comprises face-to-face seminars and online lectures on qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Year 3

Music Therapy Advanced Professional Practice - You'll secure a placement, and under expert supervision, extend your entrepreneurial, musical and clinical skills.
Dissertation in Psychology - Design and implement a research project in music therapy.

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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