This course will be of interest to people who have musical ability and who may wish to use this to help others. Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy is an established approach to personal and group therapy which utilises the potential of music as an effective communicative medium. Creating and improvising music with the client, the therapist seeks to draw her/him into active musical involvement as a means of establishing trust and acceptance.
Music therapists work with clients through different musical events, aiming to gain and maintain contact in order to affirm a dynamic working relationship. Both therapist and client are engaged in a series of interactive therapeutic experiences from session to session, with the therapist supporting each stage of the clients creative development.
The music itself is regarded as the main agent of change. While the central methodology will be that developed by Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins, students will have the opportunity to learn from, observe and work alongside music therapists from other training backgrounds. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that all students who follow this course will receive provision leading to a clear theoretical and methodological understanding, and the application of creative musical skills for therapeutic purposes.
MSc (180 credits)
Single Modules: It is not possible to study single modules
Full-time: 2 years
Teaching, learning and assessment:
Teaching will take place in the form of lectures, tutorials, workshops and experiential work. Student-centred learning and independent study is a key feature of this course. You will also attend two placements located in contrasting settings. The main forms of assessment are written assignments, case study presentations and practical performance (placement and QMU-situated).
In Year One, you will be on placement one day per week in a school setting and in Year Two (Semester One) you will spend one day per week on placement in an adult setting. You will be required to meet costs for travel and to provide recording equipment.
It is a requirement of the Health and Care Professions Council that all students undertaking an arts therapy course should receive regular personal therapy. The educational justification for this is that it allows students to learn about therapy by having the opportunity to learn through therapy. Depending upon the availability of different accredited therapists, students will normally have the choice of which form of therapy to attend. This work is non-assessed and represents a confidential arrangement between therapist and student. Each student, however, must attend personal therapy for a period of time between 40 and 60 hours. There is a maximum of 15 students in each year group on this course.
Teaching hours and attendance:
Each module which you study on-campus will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on which module you are studying.
Links with industry/professional bodies:
This course satisfies the requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council and the International Trust for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and allows you to apply to register as a music therapist.
An honours degree in a relevant field of study. You must also: demonstrate a satisfactory level of musical ability, diversity and openness; this should include competence in the playing of a harmonic instrument (e.g. piano, guitar or harp); it is recommended that applicants can perform at a standard of at least Grade 6 of a recognised examination board on a harmonic instrument; display personal characteristics of maturity, responsibility and empathy suitably tailored to working with people who may present a range of needs; and possess writing and communication skills that demonstrate command of the English language. It is recommended that applicants have had prior experience or engagement with people who have some form of special need.
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.
Applicants are expected to attend an interview and audition at QMU. Interviews will take place on set dates, normally between January and June. Students from overseas may submit a DVD to satisfy audition requirements and undertake an interview by Skype.
Criminal records check:
A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.
Home - full-time:
Home - part-time:
International - full-time:
-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.
15 credits: Music Studies 2/ Placement & Supervision 2
30 credits: Music Therapy Studies/ Music Studies 1/ Placement & Supervision 1/ Research Methods
You will also complete a professional project (60 credits).
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 (Nordoff-Robbins)
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.