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Graduate Studies in Music Therapy

The purpose of the Music Therapy Master's Program at SHSU is to provide students vast opportunity to develop: a) clinical knowledge/skills and advanced application of Music Therapy, b) independent research skills, and c) accomplished and comprehensive musicianship, within a rich musical, scholarly, and communicative environment. The Master's Degree Program offers several unique features that will make it one of the most distinctive programs of its kind in the nation. First the program is built upon an integrated model of Cognitive-Behavioral Music Therapy and Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). The integrated program will advance knowledge and skills for clinical music therapy treatment based on analysis of individual's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical behgaviors, and will utilize scientific evidence regarding human perception and production of music to treat illness and disability. Second, with more than one third of graduate courses focused on research, students will have many opportunities to develop research skills. Likewise, development of professional musicianship is facilitated through 30% of graduate course work in music studies. Lastly, the program will also provide the many resources available through other academic divisions of the University.

"Music is composed of many separate yet interconnected components such as pitch, melody, rhythm, tempo, harmony, form, timbre, dynamics, and instruments. It has been my true joy to find what, within the music, changes one's life physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. Determining how to use music to achieve therapeutic goals and facilitating the best musical experience for individuals might be the utmost part of my job as a music therapist."


Eligibility for Graduate Degree Program in Music Therapy

Prospective students of Sam Houston's music therapy masters degree program are the music therapy graduates (with board eligibility) who would like to pursue an advanced degree or current board-certified music therapists who would like to enhance their understanding of advanced music therapy theories and improve their practice with solid research experience and accomplished musicianship.

Sam Houston's music therapy master's program will produce

  1. accomplished music therapists who are able to serve a wide range of patient populations with extensive clinical knowledge and experience,
  2. equipped researchers utilizing the scientific research model of music in therapy and medicine, and
  3. consummate promoters and marketers of music therapy. Therefore, upon graduation, music therapy students are eligible for a variety of employment opportunities such as:
    1. rehabilitation therapists for individuals in medical settings and psychiatric hospitals,
    2. researchers for medical centers or university hospitals,
    3. pediatric specialists/therapists in schools or treatment centers for children with developmental disorders, and
    4. private music therapists.

View Master's Degree in Music Therapy Degree Plan

View Application and Audition Requirements


Eligibility for Master Equivalency Program in Music Therapy

Combination Masters/Equivalency program is offered for the individuals who have already completed a bachelor's degree in a related discipline (not in music therapy), yet who are wishing to pursue graduate studies in music therapy. Students are required to compete the following courses before entering the master equivalency degree program: Music Theory; Musicianship; Music Literature; Music History; Conducting; Applied Lessons (6 semesters), Performing Ensembles (6 semesters), Piano Competency and Introduction to Psychology. If any of the prerequisite courses have not yet been completed, they can be taken at the Sam Houston State University. Following completion of music therapy courses and six months of music therapy internship, students are eligible to take the music therapy board certification exam.

Pre-Equivalency Checklist

Students entering the masters equivalency program are expected to have already completed a bachelor's degree in music, including the courses listed below. If any of these courses have not yet been completed, they can be taken here at the Sam Houston State University. Taking these additional courses, however, may lengthen the amount of time required to finish the program. In certain situations, alternate courses from other universities can substitute for the required courses. Depending on the nature of the class, this decision will be made by the Director of the School of Music, in conjunction with the Director of Graduate Study in Music Therapy. In order to determine exactly whether or not the following requirements have been met, the student should obtain their official transcripts for their previous degree and meet with the graduate music therapy program director.

    Music Requirements:
  • Music Theory I, II & III
  • Musicianship I, II & III
  • Music Literature
  • Conducting
  • Applied Lessons (6 semesters)
  • Performing Ensemble (6 semesters)
  • Piano Competency (4 semesters of Class Piano and/or Passage of SHSU Piano Proficiency Exam)
    Behavioral Science Requirements:
  • Introduction to Psychology

Applicants who do not hold a bachelor's degree in music must pass an audition on their primary instrument as well as an interview with music therapy faculty. For audition information, please refer to the audition material information page.

Students enrolled for the equivalency program must pass the Practicum Entrance Exam before taking MUS 311X, 410X, OR 411X - PRACTICUM IN MUSIC THERAPY. The purpose of the exam is to determine students' musical readiness for music therapy practicum. Failure of the practicum exam will result in a student's not being enrolled any of practicum courses (MUS 311X, 410X, or 411X) and Music Therapy Techniques courses (MUS 366, MUS 495, or MUS 496). Only one more opportunity will be provided for student who failed the practicum exam. If the student fails the second time, he/she will be dismissed from the program.

Equivalency Program in Music Therapy in Conjunction with a Graduate Degree - The first year of the program consists entirely of undergraduate prerequisite courses. Students must demonstrate successful completion of these courses before entering graduate level courses in the second year.

View Study Plan


For more information, contact:

Hayoung A. Lim, Ph.D., MT-BC
Fellow, Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy
Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music Therapy

School of Music
Box 2208
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2208

Phone: (936) 294-3261
Fax: (936) 294-3765
Email: halim@shsu.edu


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