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MSc Music Therapy

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. Music and psychoanalytic theory form the basis of this training. The course encompasses psychodynamic, humanistic, developmental and music-centred approaches to music therapy.

Lectures in theoretical studies are shared with students from MSc Art Psychotherapy (international).

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.

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
  • Self-development
  • 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.

Programme Structure

Each module requires you to attend classes at University (over two days) and learn independently

The programme consists of the following modules:

Level 1:

30 credits Practice Placement 1

30 credits Interdisciplinary Studies 1

30 credits Therapeutic Skills and Interpersonal Learning

30 credits Research Methods

Level 2:

30 credits Practice Placement 2

30 credits Interdisciplinary Studies 2 and Interpersonal Learning

60 credits Professional project

Timetable Arrangements

The academic year is divided into two semesters: Semester 1 is from September until December and Semester 2 runs from January until May. Level 1 students attend University on a Tuesday and Wednesday and Level 2 students attend classes at University on a Thursday. All students spend one further day/week on practice placement.


As this course fills up throughout the year applicants are advised to apply as soon as they can. Unfortunately, even applications received before the deadline (end of May) cannot be guaranteed a place for the following September.

To be considered for entry to this programme, prospective students should normally have:

  • an honours degree or equivalent, not necessarily in music
  • 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)
  • personal characteristics of maturity, openness, and the ability to reflect on self in relation to others
  • 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.

Interview: Applications can be made at any time but by the end of May to start September. Interviews are held between February and June. The personal statement

should include the following details:

  • 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 be asked to:

  • 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 purpose of the interview is to assess each applicant’s personal suitability for the profession of music therapy and his/her awareness of, and readiness for, the demands that the programme entails.

For overseas applicants interviews may be conducted by Skype, and recordings for auditions uploaded electronically or sent on DVD.

Formal enquiries for application to the programme should be made to:

The Admissions Administrator
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Queen Margaret University Drive
East Lothian
EH21 6UU

Telephone: 0131-474-0000


An online application is available from the course page.

There is not a closing date for applications. Applications can be made at any time but it is recommended that they are submitted by the end of April for the commencement of the academic year starting the following September.

Additional information may also be obtained from:

Dr Philippa Derrington PhD, MA, PG Dip, BA (Hons) Programme Leader
MSc Music Therapy
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Queen Margaret University Drive
East Lothian
EH21 6UU

Telephone: 0131-474-0000

last modified 16/11/15 Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU - Tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000
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