This is a full-time two-year course, validated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Teaching at the QMU campus is normally over two days, with a further day dedicated to practice placement. Students need to allocate a significant amount of time for independent study.
The theoretical focus of the course encompasses psychodynamic, humanistic, developmental and music-centred approaches to music therapy. Some lectures in theoretical studies are shared with students from Art Psychotherapy.
The training is designed to prepare students for work with vulnerable children and adults with a wide range of needs, for example learning disabilities or mental health problems.
After graduation, students will be eligible for registration with HCPC, and will be qualified to apply for work in within organisations such as the NHS, education, charitable bodies, social services, or in the private sector.
MSc (240 credits)
Single Modules: It is not possible to study single modules
Full-time: 2 years
Teaching, learning and assessment:
Teaching includes practical and academic elements with an emphasis on experiential learning and teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and tutorials, to offer a broad student experience. Assessments are both practical and written. The following areas are covered:
¦ Therapeutic musical skills, with an emphasis on improvisation, interaction and application in a therapeutic context
¦ Relevant psychological, developmental, and music therapy theory
¦ Different client groups: knowledge of different areas of need, diagnosis, and work contexts
¦ Observation and critical thinking skills
¦ Professional issues, such as ethics and team communication
Placements include work within a variety of settings and in both levels, one day a week is spent on placement. Students are required to meet costs for travel and to provide recording equipment.
Personal development is fundamental to therapeutic training and it is a course requirement (and requirement by the Health and Care Professions Council) that students also attend regular personal therapy throughout the programme, with a minimum of 40 hours attendance. This work is non-assessed and is a confidential arrangement between therapist and student.
Teaching hours and attendance:
Each module requires you to attend classes at University (over two days) and learn independently. Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on the module.
Links with industry/professional bodies:
Part of our strength comes from our location; being based in Edinburgh means that the course has been developed over time in cooperation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the festival city also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK.
To be considered for admission prospective students should normally have:
- any honours degree or equivalent
- a high standard of practical musicianship and flexibility on at least one instrument (for single-line instrumentalists or singers, proficiency on an harmonic instrument is also required)
- relevant experience with people in the community, in education or in health settings
- effective writing and communication skills that demonstrate command of the English language
Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.5.
Applications can be made at any time but by the end of May. Interviews are held between February and June. The personal statement should include:
- reason(s) why the applicant feels attracted to the profession of music therapy
- specific musical qualifications
- relevant experience with caring professions
Some applicants will be asked to attend for audition and interview. This will usually include two parts: group improvisation with other applicants (using percussion) and individual audition in which the applicant will:
- play a prepared piece on two instruments or two contrasting pieces on one instrument
- improvise on a given theme
- sing a short song of own choice, if voice is not main study
The interview will assess each applicants personal suitability for this profession and their awareness of, and readiness for, the demands that the programme entails. For overseas applicants auditions and interviews may be conducted by Skype.
Criminal records check:
A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.
Home - full-time:
£5870 per year
International - full-time:
£12400 per year
-Santander Scholarship: QMU is pleased to announce that two scholarships for £5,000 each will be available for any international student undertaking this two year MSc. Applications can be made by students who have received an offer of a place of study at the University. The application deadline for 2015 will be the end of May of that year.
- More information about scholarships for international students
Funding Information for International Students:
Visit the International
section of the website.
Visit the Fees
section of the website. -
Graduates of the University who hold a verified QMU undergraduate or postgraduate award and who are admitted to a postgraduate award of QMU will be eligible for a
10% discount on the published fees.
Sources of Funding:
Visit the Funding
section of the website.
Level 1: 30 credits: Practice Placement 1/Interdisciplinary Studies 1/ Therapeutic Skills and Interpersonal Learning/Research Methods
Level 2: 30 credits Practice Placement 2/ Interdisciplinary Studies 2 and Interpersonal Learning
60 credits Professional project.
Music therapists are employed throughout the health, education and community sectors. Registered music therapists are eligible for full membership of the British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT). This course has regularly attracted students from overseas.
Several of our graduates have found employment with: Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland; within the NHS; others have successfully created new job opportunities for themselves.
Carole Clarke, MSc Music Therapy
Before I started studying at QMU, I was working in fundraising for a musical charity, but my working life had also encompassed care work as well as being a professional musician. When I began to investigate what music therapists do, I was delighted to find that there was indeed a job which seemed to demand my eclectic mix of skills. I talked to the course leader initially, who was so helpful with suggestions for exploring it more.
I chose QMU because I live in Edinburgh and needed a place of study which was going to fit with my family life. Biting the bullet, I decided to do the masters course. Along with my supportive group of course peers, I found the music therapy staff hugely encouraging. The library was a dream, and I loved jumping back into academic life. The course lecturers are practising music therapists themselves, and so there was a strong sense of 'real world' knowledge as well as guidance through assignments and research. They were great role models.
What I loved about the course was that it taught such a blend of musical skills as well as clinical and therapeutic theory. The lecturers, visiting lecturers, and placement supervisors made it very much a two-way, interactive process.
It was a huge thrill when I was awarded the Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester Scholarship to present my research paper at the 12th World Congress of Music Therapy in Argentina - a great research experience.
I'm now a self-employed music therapist, based in Edinburgh, and I work in various clinical settings, both health and education-based. My clients range from pre-schoolers with special needs to adults who suffer from dementia. I love the job, it fits round my family life, and I don't think the learning will ever stop. My time at QMU was the starting point for joining a great community of Scottish arts therapists, and the beginning of a commitment to lifelong learning, which I hope to formalise in the future with possible further study.