QMU School of Health Sciences Practice-Based Learning Handbook MSc Music Therapy

Welcome to the MSc Music Therapy programme!

This handbook is intended to provide leaners and Practice Educators with information about QMU, student services, and specific programme infromation including practice-based learning and learning resources.

It should be read in conjunction with the University website:

QMU Website 

QMU MSc Music Therapy Web Page

All information regarding induction, SmartCard, timetables and the student portal:QMU Student Portal 

Twitter: @QMUMusicTherapy

The programme at QMU also runs from the Downtown Campus at Metropolitan College in Athens, Greece.
The programmes run collaboratively and offer opportunities where possible for dynamic shared teaching and learning for peers across the cohorts.

MSc Music Therapy

The MSc Music Therapy sits together with Art Psychotherapy, Dramatherapy and Play Therapy as an arts therapies pathway within the Person-Centred Practice Framework, in the School of Health Sciences. In this context, we are continuing to develop a programme that is built on our reputation at QMU as a dynamic hub for teaching, learning and research into music therapy in Scotland and internationally.

The roots of the music therapy profession in the United Kingdom (UK) are strongly influenced by both psychoanalytic thinking and creative musical improvisation and the MSc Music Therapy at QMU continues to combine this eclectic attitude. Within the tradition of the profession, the music therapy programme at QMU draws largely upon psychodynamic theory in exploring and explaining the process of music therapy. When we think about the music making in music therapy and about the music therapy relationship or group, we do so with consideration of conscious and unconscious processes.

The music – what may be felt, sounded and shared - is received as expressive of an inner experience that may have previously been unconscious, inaccessible, or unarticulated.

What happens between the music therapist and the person in therapy or between music therapy group members, is considered as potentially having roots in early experience; as the presenting past that can be worked with as patterns of relating, and ways of being come into consciousness through interactions and within the music making. The reparative possibilities of music therapy can be understood with reference to the conditions that influence development within early years and we seek to provide therapeutic environments that provide the security, holding and containment conducive to the work and play of music therapy.

As a music therapy learner, you will attend psycho-dynamically oriented personal therapy throughout your training and in this weekly space, you will work with your own conscious and unconscious processes towards the ultimate goal of becoming a more sensitive and attuned person. You will attend interpersonal learning groups; a forum for experiencing and exploring what may happen between people, with the use of music making as a means of deepening and enriching the relational experience, again with the end focus on gaining the skills you will need in practice. Supervision groups will be an opportunity for you to work with your supervisor and your peers to explore the music and the interpersonal dynamics within your practice-based learning music therapy sessions, engaging with what may be happening on conscious and unconscious levels. The staff team also individually attend psycho-dynamically informed supervision to think about their practice and our work with you as learners.

In a music therapy relationship, the music therapist is sensitive to power dynamics that arise with different roles. In learning to be with the person, we practise the skills of careful attunement, of developing our awareness of what may be happening at an intersubjective level, of carefully attending to the sounds and music, often working in a way that is primarily non-verbal and always listening to the person and their story. In this way, the music therapy process is a fundamentally person-centred one. The person in music therapy makes use of the space to experience themselves more fully in a context of respect for, and sensitivity towards, personhood wherever they may be in their life journey and at a pace that is right for them. The stance of the music therapist in contemporary practice is very much one of being ‘alongside’ (albeit within clear professional boundaries) rather than one of expert- practitioner. The person in therapy leads the work and is encouraged to discover personal meaning and direction.

Since the programme was revalidated in 2020, this essential person-centredness of music therapy meets the Person-centred Practice Framework, an established framework for practice developed by Professor Brendan McCormack and colleagues in the Division of Nursing and Paramedic Science at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. All aspects of teaching, learning and practice are supported within this framework.

The modular structure that incorporates two core Person-centred Practice Framework modules in addition to the arts therapies specific modules opens up an exciting opportunity for us to engage in shared learning and dialogue with our colleagues beyond the arts therapies, to engage with critical thinking more widely in the area of personhood and person-centred practice, moving between thinking about our work as music therapists and the wider systems and cultures in which we may find ourselves as professionals. We will consider a range of philosophical perspectives on personhood and how these perspectives may relate to our practice context and to healthful cultures and human flourishing within the sectors in which we work. There will be ongoing opportunities to look at ourselves and our work in relation to Person-centred theory and consider how we may lead and facilitate Person-centred practice within our workplace, particularly in relation to our role as music therapists, using music as a vehicle for positive growth and development within a therapeutic environment.

The programme team are very much looking forward to working with you as together we weave the threads of the new Person-Centred Practice Framework modules into the overall learning within the MSc Music Therapy in what promises to be a creative and dynamic phase in the life of the programme.

MSc Music Therapy within the MSc Person-Centred Practice Framework

MSC Music Therapy Programme

The aim of the MSc Music Therapy is to enable learners to develop into person-centred, confident skilled and reflexive practitioners, able to apply the knowledge, values, clinical and research skills needed to work effectively and creatively as a music therapist with people within diverse practice contexts, and to actively contribute to the growing profession. The MSc Music Therapy sits alongside several other pathways in the Person-Centred Practice Framework:

MSc Person-Centred Practice Pathway

  • Generic Pathway
  • Public Health & Wellbeing Pathway
  • Occupational Therapy Pathway
  • Music Therapy Pathway
  • Art Psychotherapy Pathway
  • Palliative Care Pathway
  • District Nursing Pathway
  • Independent & Supplementary Prescribing Pathway
  • Health Visiting Pathway
  • School Nursing Pathway
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing Pathway

The Vision of the Person-Centred Practice Framework

Person-centred practitioners emerging from programmes within this framework are prepared and committed to life-long learning. They seek to understand persons in the context of their life stories, helping them to make decisions and choices that fit their life and benefit their overall sense of health and well-being. Being in the moment, person-centred practitioners are compassionate, authentic, respectful, and celebrate diversity. True to the values of their profession, they have integrated ways of doing and being, demonstrating professional artistry through confident application of their range of knowledge. They are reflexive, thoughtful, able to draw on philosophical ideas, and can engage in critical discussions. As collaborators, they negotiate across boundaries with a balance of courage, creativity, humour and ability to be vulnerable. They are responsive and inspiring leaders, who accept responsibility and create conditions for empowerment of self and others. Self-compassionate, they know how to access and utilise systems of support to enable person-centred practice.

Music Therapy within the Division of Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies

The Divisional team worked together to establish a shared vision: Our vision is to create better lives and flourishing communities for people. We do this by facilitating and developing professional excellence, celebrating our local and international collaborations and learners from near and far.

We anticipate and respond to international and local trends with critical and ethical research, scholarship and practice that travel safely and successfully around the world, contributing to social and personal transformations.

What we do is underpinned by:

  • Celebration of diversity
  • Respect for individual and collective histories
  • Commitment to human rights, social inclusion and justice as everyday practices
  • Commitment to collaboration and collectivism for progressive practice
  • An obligation to create an ecologically sustainable future by facilitating global citizenship
  • Belief in creativity and innovation as fundamental to change
  • Dedication to professional and innovative learning
  • Commitment to promoting health by recognising and engaging with complexity

Music Therapy within the Arts Therapies Pathway

As part of developing person-centred practice within the arts therapies, the following pillars were identified as underpinning our education, research and practice.

Creativity - Commitment to the arts and play as catalyst to change

Relational Working - Being in relation as central within our work

Psychodynamic PerspectivesWork with conscious and unconscious patterns of relating

EcologyContextual responsiveness in reflective practice

Integrityintegrity in our teaching and learning culture

The aims and outcomes of the MSc Person-centred Practice Framework are:

  • to enable practitioners working in a variety of contexts to advance deep and critical understandings of different sources of knowledge including research evidence that contribute to the health and well-being of persons, groups and populations, in ways that are consistent with person-centredness;

  • to create and enable communities of practice through collaborative and inter-professional working from the perspective of life-long learning.

On successful completion of the Masters degree, learners will be able to:

  • develop a critical understanding of the connection between theories, concepts and principles underpinning person-centredness and their application to practice in a variety of contexts
  • critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise different sources of evidence and knowledge contributing to the advancement of safe and effective person-centred practice
  • demonstrate leadership in making an identifiable contribution to change and the development of person-centred cultures providing quality of care for people, families and communities in a variety of practice contexts
  • critically explore value judgments underpinning complex decisions within the current health and social care landscape in conjunction with professional, ethical and legal frameworks underpinning autonomous and collaborative practice
  • influence and enable the transformative processes of personal and professional development through engagement, facilitation and evaluation of person-centred teaching and learning approaches
  • develop responses to complex health and social care challenges experienced by people, families and communities across the lifespan by integrating creative approaches to promoting health and well-being
  • engage and facilitate personal and professional development of self and others through critical thinking, reflective practice and transformative, communicative spaces
  • plan and undertake a significant project of investigation, work-based learning or research contributing to advancing practice.

In addition to the aims of the person-centred practice framework the learning aims of the MSc Music Therapy are to:

  • build the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to develop professional competencies that lead to eligibility for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • develop a critical understanding and synthesis of the: philosophy, key theories, relevant knowledge, skills and practice of music therapy and the influence of context in shaping practice
  • advance their ability to critically research, appraise and articulate the significance of music therapy in promoting the: health and well-being, recovery, rehabilitation, social engagement and participation of individuals, groups and communities
  • develop knowledge, skills and values, which enable them to work effectively, autonomously, collaboratively and in partnership with individuals, groups, communities and other professionals
  • develop and apply the skills of research and enquiry to practice and produce original work which contributes to the profession of music therapy
  • foster skills of autonomous learning, professional reasoning, evidence-based practice, reflexive practice, leadership and entrepreneurship, in preparation for continuing professional development and a commitment to lifelong learning

Upon successful completion of the programme, learners will have met the criteria detailed in the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (2013) and Standards of Education and Training (2017), have experience of clinical practice and be equipped with a range of clinical and research skills, which facilitate the transferability of their knowledge to diverse contexts and settings. Following attributes and skills that are indicated as requirements of SCQF level 11, learners will be able to:

  • practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice in accordance with the legal and ethical boundaries of music therapy
  • apply knowledge, skills and understanding of systems and procedures within different settings, including referral, assessment, record keeping, and report writing; communicate effectively both verbally and in writing about the role, processes and potential outcomes of music therapy
  • apply skills of reflection and engage with supervision as a responsible, sensitive and reflexive practitioner
  • critically review and reflect on work as an autonomous music therapist exercising their own professional judgement and contribute effectively within a multidisciplinary team
  • critically engage with supervision as a responsible, sensitive and reflexive practitioner
  • apply a critical understanding of theory and research to therapeutic practice
  • engage in critical and creative learning about child development and early human relationships and their impact on healthy development and wellbeing across the lifecycle
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of psychodynamic theories that inform the practice of arts psychotherapies
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of group theory and of practical application within the arts therapies in a various contexts
  • understand different socio-cultural perspectives on health and sickness
  • critically analyse the characteristics of different methodological approaches and methods of research; and evaluate the applicability of different research methods within a specific clinical area
  • demonstrate the musical skills required for music therapy practice
  • critically reflect on personal musical development, creative processes within group improvisation and understanding of interpersonal group dynamics
  • demonstrate responsiveness, openness, flexibility, sensitivity, and a capacity for interpersonal and self- awareness within musical interaction
  • demonstrate knowledge of service user groups, understand the role of the music therapist in different contexts
  • develop awareness of collaborative arts-informed and arts-based processes as research practices in music therapy which align with person-centred practice
  • demonstrate ongoing personal learning within your own arts-based processes
  • examine determinants of health and wellbeing and discuss how different perspectives and values inform approaches in the arts therapies
  • critically reflect on the relationship between contexts and practice considering environmental, social, and political influences
  • implement rigorous and systematic inquiry of their own engagement in music and that of others that evidences an understanding of conscious and unconscious processes
  • demonstrate the qualities of a reflexive practitioner considering key psychodynamic concepts in broader contexts including person-centred frameworks and collaborative practice
  • explore and apply relevant intellectual approaches and practical skills, including those acquired in taught components, to the chosen topic
  • develop critically, strategically and in depth a topic or area of interest arising from the work done within taught
  • learning and teaching and positioned in their area of academic or professional interest
  • demonstrate an ability to set the project in its wider context, to sustain argument and to present conclusions which will advance understanding of the subject, field or profession
  • present and be able to defend rationale, approach, review or methodology


Programme structure

The MSc in Music Therapy is taught as an integrated programme. All the modules integrate learning across practical, theoretical, experiential and research based fields. The programme puts emphasis on experiential learning, peer support and self-development so directed and independent study is inherent in all modules. It is a two-year full-time pre-registration programme, where all modules are core. There will be opportunities for the music therapy learners to work with other learners from other AHP programmes and Nursing within QMU, and most closely with learners from other arts therapies programmes.

In Year 1, teaching takes place at University two days per week (Tuesday and Wednesday) with practice-based learning one day each week; in Year 2, teaching takes place on one day each week (Thursday) with practice-based learning two days each week. At University, learners participate in lectures, workshops, seminars, small and large group activities, tutorials and supervision groups. Some modules contain inter-disciplinary and inter-professional working, teaching and delivery.

In order for learners to be fit for purpose and eligible for registration with the HCPC, the programme has been developed in accordance with the relevant benchmarking documents and, in particular, the HCPC Standards of Education and Training (2017), the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists (2013) along with consideration of key healthcare drivers.

Overview of modules

Learners will be given information for each module, including assessment, reading and other resources at the start of each year. Module descriptors are included as appendices to this handbook. The modules are separate but relate to, and inform each other.

Learner-led seminars, peer presentations (with peer and personal self-assessment) interpersonal learning groups and supervision groups encourage learners’ responsibility for themselves and for each other. The juxtaposition of academic and practice education occurring in the same week over the whole programme, facilitates the meaningful experiences of learners. This allows continuous integration with issues from practice-based learning being brought into the classroom and allowing theoretical concepts to be applied. Learners will work in pairs, small groups and larger groups at different points in the curriculum.

Year 1

Attendance: 2 days/ week for classes run by University and 1 day/week for practice-based learning

Year 2

Attendance: 1 day/ week for classes run by University and 2 days/week on practice-based learning

Personal therapy

It is a requirement of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) that all learners undertaking an arts therapy programme attend regular, individual personal therapy. This facilitates invaluable personal and professional growth. Learners are required to undertake personal therapy throughout the programme, beginning in the first Semester, and normally to stay with the same therapist throughout the training. This work is not assessed however learners must provide signed evidence from their therapist showing that they have attended a minimum of 40 hours personal therapy by the end of the course.

Therapists have varying approaches depending on their theoretical framework. The course has a theoretical focus, which is largely psychodynamic so a therapist following this approach is recommended. It may be helpful to bear the following points in mind:

  • Ensure that the therapist is appropriately qualified with at least 5 years’ experience
  • Find a therapist you feel comfortable with and feel you can trust
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy and analytical psychotherapy approaches are most suitable

Confidentiality is a vital aspect of all psychotherapeutic relationships and a necessary prerequisite for establishing conditions of trust and safety. It is important, therefore, that contact between the programme and each learner’s therapist be kept to an absolute minimum. Some contact, however, is obviously necessary in order to ensure learners fulfil this particular requirement of the programme.
All learners will be asked to provide the Programme Leader with the name and address of their therapist as soon as possible after entering therapy. In rare cases, the Programme Leader may contact a therapist if there was due concern for the learner’s wellbeing. At the end of the programme, each learner’s therapist will be requested to complete and return a form confirming that the required amount of personal therapy has been undertaken. These sessions are not funded by the University and costs must be covered by the learner.

For useful links to find a therapist, see Appendix 12.

Interpersonal Learning Group

This experiential group forms a key element in the learner’s development in year 1 and is part of the module Developmental and Relational Perspectives. The group offers the opportunity for learners to explore ways of relating and critically reflecting on the interpersonal experience of participating in a group. Learners will develop deeper awareness of self in relation to others and gain a greater understanding of how this may be expressed and communicated in a group process.

The group usually runs fortnightly and is led by an experienced facilitator. Attendance is a compulsory part of the programme and active participation is encouraged.
If a learner has a concern at any point, they should contact their Personal Academic Tutor or Programme Leader.

Mode of attendance

Attendance is full-time and for two years. In exceptional circumstances learners may take the programme on a part-time basis. This flexibility aims to address specific needs and circumstances of individual learners. The necessary collaboration between tutors and learners, and between learners themselves, means that, as a whole, this programme is not suitable for distance learning.

When individual tutorials are missed without prior warning, it is only under exceptional circumstance that they will be re-arranged.

  • All learners will have their attendance monitored. When on campus, learners are required to swipe their Smartcard into classes to record attendance at teaching events via Electronic Attendance Monitoring (ERA). QMU Student Induction Info
  • The expected level of attendance is 100% to achieve the learning outcomes of an accelerated programme. Learners who have an unacceptable level of absences may be prevented from going on to practice-based learning or continuing on the course and will be referred to the Fitness of Practice process.
  • The Attendance Policy is available at QMU Registration Regulations
  • Learners are responsible for ensuring that their attendance matches the requirements of the placement provider. Placement providers will inform the University if a learner is failing to maintain a good attendance record, which may lead to the leaner being withdrawn from the placement activity and potentially from their programme of study.

Programme management

The Programme Leader undertakes the day-to-day management of the MSc in Music Therapy programme, and chairs the programme committees. The programme leader coordinates programme evaluation, annual monitoring, correspondence with module coordinators, and oversees the programme’s teaching and learning as well as issues as they arise, including supporting staff and learners in difficult circumstances.

Module Coordinators manage the day-to-day running of a module and are the face-to-face contact with the learners. They have an overall responsibility for the organisation of the teaching and learning of the module, assuring that learners have access to online materials and updated module information e.g. assessment. Likewise feedback of assignment comments to learners and module evaluation are undertaken in this role.

Learning, teaching and assessmentCAPS Advocacy website

The learning, teaching and assessment methods for the MSc Music Therapy develop increasingly independent learners. Learners participate in lectures, workshops, seminars, small and large group activities, tutorials and supervision groups. The programme team aims to enable learners to learn from and with others, through supportive peer-assessment and feedback and collaborative working is promoted.

The programme puts emphasis on experiential learning, peer support and self-development. In addition to University and online learning, learners attend practice-based learning. Directed and independent study forms part in all modules in the programme and information about each module is provided at the start of each year.

We continue to use a wide range of learning and teaching formats developed as appropriate to particular modules and levels of the programme which are commensurate with and facilitate the assessment of the HCPC competencies. The competencies, standards and guidance outlined in the following HCPC documents underpin the MSc Music Therapy programme, to ensure that learners are provided with the appropriate learning and teaching opportunities to meet the standards of proficiency for Arts Therapists (2013).


The QMU e-learning environment, the Hub, is used as a teaching platform (virtual learning), and learning resources for all modules. Learners should frequently consult the programme and module areas on the Hub for up to date programme changes and news

Involvement of service users and carers

Service users and carers are an integral part of the programme and are invited to teach in both years. The programme has close links to the team at CAPS Advocacy whose various teams of volunteers regularly give talks.

Journal club

One opportunity for regular learner-led working is journal club. As part of the research-related input of the programme, year 1 and year 2 learners are encouraged to take part in Journal Club meetings. Learners are invited to make a note of the key ideas and questions discussed at the meeting, and these notes are shared on the HUB.

Learner Conference

This runs annually in November, is entirely learner-led and provides a fantastic way for graduates and current learners to collaborate, learn from each other and network.


It is essential that music therapists are reflective practitioners and recognise the importance of their own developing musicianship. Reflection is used as a learning and assessment technique (formative and summative) both within classes from University and practice-based learning. Examples include: self-appraisal, reflective essays, reflective journals and reflective discussions.


The assessment requirements for the programme ensure that each learner is considered fit to practise as a music therapist. In keeping with the descriptors set at SCQF Level 11, it is important that in each area of assessment, learners are able to demonstrate critical understanding.
Assessments within the programme are both written and practical, summative and formative. For summative purposes, assignments will be graded according to specific criteria to each module. The criteria are set out in each module’ assessment.

In general, the assessment pattern for each module reflects the aims and learning outcomes for that module. Information about assessments will be given at the beginning of each module, which will include full assessment specifications, due dates and criteria. A summary of the different assessments are shown in Tables 5 and 6 for Year 1 and 2 respectively.

These will be used in conjunction with the Grade Marking Criteria for Taught Postgraduate Modules, (see Appendix 13).

Assignments which are formatively assessed by staff and/ or fellow learners are equally important and provide opportunities for learners to learn from each other, articulate critical thinking and offer peer support.

All supervision and assessment will comply with University policies. Assessment regulations and related documents can be found at:Examinations and Assessment

MSc Music Therapy Formative and Summative Module Assessments for Year 1


Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment


Developmental and Relational Perspectives*
20 credits

Directed group work and peer group assessment



Therapeutic Practice and Resources
20 credits

Various, including group activities

Practical assessment Reflective essay

December March

Practice-based learning 1 40 Credits

Supervision Mid-placement review

Practice Education Passport

Practice-based learning Report

10-15min presentation followed by viva




Theory and Practice of Person- Centred Health and Wellbeing* 20 credits

A profile of the community you are working with and small group discussion (face to face or online) for peer review

Annotated bibliography (2000 words), a creative poster presentation (500 words) and 5 min filmed presentation


Leading Person-centred Practice for Health and Wellbeing*
20 credits


Online group patchwork activity on the HUB@QMU for discussion relating to specific aspects of leadership and facilitation

An innovation in
practice proposal and
critically reflexive May commentary (3000


 * Shared with MSc Art Psychotherapy learners

Modules highlighted in bold are shared between all pathways in the PCPF

MSc Music Therapy Formative and Summative Module Assessments for Year 2


Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment


Arts Therapies in Context* 20 credits

Directed group work and peer group assessment

Art-based response and reflective writing (1000 words)


Practice-based learning 2 40 Credits

Supervision Mid-placement review

Practice-based learning Report

10-15 min presentation followed by viva



Dissertation* 60 Credits NM371


11, 000 word (or equivalent) dissertation: 5 routes



* Shared with MSc Art Psychotherapy learners

Modules highlighted in bold are shared between all programmes in the PCPF.

Programme regulations

University progression regulations apply. The link to the standard assessment regulations:QMU Registration Regulations

In addition, the following regulations are specific to the programme:

  • MT10.1: To pass a module, a student must obtain at least 50% overall in any component unless otherwise stated.
  • MT10.2: Normally a student must successfully complete one year of the programme before progressing to the next higher level of the programme.
  • MT10.3: A student who fails a practice-based learning module will be permitted one attempt only to retrieve this
  • MT10.4: All students will have their attendance monitored. The expected level of attendance is 100% to achieve the learning outcomes of an accelerated programme. Students who have an unacceptable level of absences may be prevented from going on practice-based learning or continuing on the programme and will be referred to the Fitness to Practise process.
  • MT10.5: Students embarking on a professional course are expected to adopt responsible attitudes for punctual attendance at all classes. Requests for leave of absence for good reason must be made to the Programme Leader. For absence because of illness for up to five days, a University form certifying the cause of absence must be submitted to a member of the programme team. Absence because of illness for more than five days or during assessments must be supported by a medical certificate.
  • MT10.6: All students must have attended at least 40 hours of personal therapy prior to completing the programme. Students must be attending personal therapy by the time they are taking responsibility for music therapy sessions in practice-based learning 1.
  • MT10.7: Students must ensure that the name (or initials thereof) of any service user, member of staff or placement setting is not divulged in written or electronic forms at any time.

    It is essential that any clinical material is stored on the OneDrive is password encrypted. Students should delete all unedited recordings of clinical work following successful completion of their practice-based learning unless they have full consent to keep recordings for future professional use

  • MT10.8: A student who fails to obtain a satisfactory standard in practice-based learning or to complete the required number of hours, will normally be required to complete further practice- based learning before enrolment onto the next year.

  • Students are required to abide by the ethics of the profession as set out by the Health and Care Professions Council: Guide on Conduct and Ethics

Provisions for conferment of awards

In line with the HCPC Standards for Education and Training, the programme has one exit point – MSc Music Therapy – for registration as a music therapist. While there are another two subsidiary exit points (the Postgraduate Diploma in Music and Health and the Postgraduate Certificate of Education) these do not lead to professional registration with the HCPC. The exit routes are highlighted in Table 7.

Table 7: Three exit points throughout the MSc Music Therapy

Award Level Credits Points

Postgraduate Certificate in Person-centred practice (Music and Health)



Postgraduate Diploma in Person-centred practice (Music and Health)

M/11 120

Master of Science in Music Therapy

M/11 240

A learner who has passed all academic and Practice-based learning modules in accordance with the regulations will be awarded the MSc in Music Therapy and be eligible to apply for registration with HCPC. The Board of Examiners, at its discretion, may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc with Distinction to a learner who, at the first attempt, has gained an average mark of at least 70% across all academic modules, and MSc with Merit to a learner who, at the first attempt, gained an average mark of at least 60%.

Equal Opportunities

The Division of Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies is committed to the provision of a policy of equal opportunity in learner selection. All applicants regardless of race, ethnic origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or age can expect equal treatment.

Specific examples of equity, diversity and equality issues can be highlighted through established learner support for teaching and learning, access, identifying learning issues, making reasonable adjustment for disabilities and cultural issues which have been in place for some years. These services are accessible through: Student Services, Effective Learning Service, Personal Academic Tutor System and Programme Leadership.

Music therapy at QMU welcomes applications from disabled individuals and is committed to making all such reasonable adjustments to the programme as is necessary to enable all individuals to successfully complete the programme. Applicants who choose to disclose a disability on their application form, or otherwise make the programme team aware of their disability, will have their application passed to the Team Area Academic Disabled Student Co-ordinator. A meeting with the programme leader and/or admissions tutor, prior to being accepted onto the programme, can be arranged to discuss and/or assess any potential difficulties which may be encountered in the learning process.

An applicant who chooses not to disclose a disability prior to starting the programme is recommended to contact the Academic Disabled Student Co-ordinator as soon as possible in order to agree a personal learning plan. Applicants should note that the Division of Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies will remain the sole arbiter of what constitutes a ‘reasonable adjustment’.

Successful completion of the MSc Music Therapy programme offers eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a music therapist in the UK. Individuals applying to this programme are advised to note that the HCPC makes the final decision on who can, and cannot, register. Therefore all potential applicants who are disabled are advised to contact the HCPC 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning, or RPL, encompasses the process whereby one can identify and claim credit for previous learning on an equivalent programme. However applicants will not normally be able to receive accreditation in lieu of any part of practice-based learning.

Further details about the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning can be found at:QMU Other Forms


Learner Responsibilities

Registration and Matriculation

All learners must matriculate at the times indicated by Registry and before the beginning of each academic year. Registration and matriculation information is accessible via the QMU website.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG)

As learners work with vulnerable groups whilst on practice placement, a criminal record check carried out through Disclosure Scotland is required. It is the responsibility of each learner to supply the information and necessary documentation and to pay for this to be carried out and this must be completed before any learner commences practice-based learning.

Criminal Convictions

Should you have a conviction, the University has a process for screening and risk assessing. If you have concerns contact Admissions or the School Manager.

Change of Personal Details/Circumstances

You must ensure that your contact details are up to date at all times. Personal details can be reviewed and updated via the QMU student portal. Accessible at: QMU Portal If you want to defer your studies please contact the programme leader as soon as possible.


Learners should email their Personal Academic Tutor or the module co-ordinator for any specific learning enquiries, and Philippa Derrington, the Programme Leader Email Address or Music Therapy Email address  for external communication and general enquiries.

Communication with Academic Staff via Email

Email is the most effective way to contact staff. In order that we can understand and respond to your communication appropriately please adhere to the guidance below. You should only use (under normal circumstances) your Queen Margaret University email account for communication with staff.

In emails, please ensure you:

  • provide specific information in the subject (e.g. Personal Circumstances impacting on study)  indicate if the issue is time sensitive
  • include your matriculation number after your signature

There may be a seven day turnaround time at busy periods in the academic year. Tutors have a broad range of commitments and are often engaged in other University related business. Also note that some tutors work for QMU on a part-time basis.

Using social media

The University acknowledges that social media is a positive way to keep in touch and share information. Follow @QMUMusicTherapy on Twitter and join the QMU Music Therapy group on Facebook!

Professional conduct extends to the use of online platforms, so you are expected to behave online with the same degree of respect for fellow learners, lecturers, practice educators and service users. You should be very careful about the information you post online and the following points are offered as guidance:

  • The law around defamation and harassment and confidentiality applies wherever you may be
  • Anything posted online to a social networking site is in the public domain, even with the strictest privacy settings
  • Don’t post information to social networking sites that may lead to the identification of a service user
  • Do make use of appropriate etiquette when posting materials to social networking sites. Act responsibly at all times upholding the reputation of the profession and Queen Margaret University
  • Do observe bullying, harassment and dignity polices when posting on-line (including email and text messaging) with colleagues and peers
  • Never tweet from practice educational settings

The University does not discourage learners from using such services. However, you should be aware the University will take seriously any occasions where these services are used inappropriately. If occasions arise of what might be read to be on-line harassment, or materials deemed to contravene professional conduct these will be dealt with in the same way as other such instances. Ill- judged remarks could potentially mean that you may face disciplinary action from the University and/or Fitness to Practise measures within the School of Health Sciences.

Whilst you are at liberty to tweet or post what you like, please be aware that increasingly members of the public are using the same legal framework originally designed for the ‘traditional’ print media, to take legal action against those who tweet disparaging, ill-conceived or rude/degrading messages. This often is not as straight- forward as it sounds. For example, how a posting is perceived is very often open to interpretation, and what you intended the posting to mean may not be how it is received. Whether you are using social media as a professional or personal tool, the HCPC code of conduct surrounding social media still applies.

Sickness and Absence

Please ensure that you are punctual for all classes and meetings. If you are unable to attend a session, inform your personal academic tutor and cc. Music Therapy Email address  Please also note the extenuating circumstances information in section 5.2.

Withdrawal or Deferral from Studies

Learners should contact their PAT or Programme Leader if they wish to withdraw or defer and should follow this link: QMU thinking of leaving


Supporting learning

University support services

The University provides a range of support services to address learners’ academic and personal support needs. Most of these services can be accessed through the Student Services, which directs learners to the best person to provide them with support. These include:

  • financial advice
  • counselling and well-being support
  • disability service
  • careers advice

Learners with disabilities or additional learning needs are supported by the Subject Area Disability Coordinator who ensures that all reasonable adjustments are put in place to support the learner in relation to teaching, learning and assessment. Individual learning plans are communicated to relevant staff. Meetings are held once per semester to discuss learning plans and make adjustments if necessary. Learning plans will be communicated to mentors in work-based learning in agreement with the learner. The University Disability Services team provides advice and guidance to help develop the individual learning plan, and can also guide learners towards additional resources and assistive technology where required.

Other University support services include:

  • administrative support from the School Office and Registry
  • developing academic skills from the Effective Learning Service
  • English language classes for learners whose first language is not English
  • a range of services including induction week and peer mentoring
  • support provided by the Library Helpdesk and subject liaison librarian
  • welfare and representation from the Students’ Union

Personal academic tutor system

All learners are allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who offers support and academic advice on the module choices, academic work and other support services. Learners are encouraged to meet with their PAT once a semester and an agreed record is maintained of all meetings. Learners may also consult their module co-ordinators on an individual basis for information about specific modules, and/or seek academic from the Programme Leader.

Student Services

Student Services is a professional support department working to ensure that students have the information, advice, guidance and opportunities necessary to a successful experience and achievement whilst studying at QMU. The department works with students to address issues and overcome obstacles that might stand in the way of student progress. Staff in Student Services acknowledge the diversity of students' backgrounds and experiences and have established a range of support services designed to meet students' needs and requirements. Student Services comprises a team of specialists in the areas of careers and student employment, disability advice, counselling and financial advice.

Learners with Disabilities

QMU is committed to meeting the needs of learners with disabilities. All applicants are asked to declare any illness or disability during the application process. If they are offered a place, then they are invited to an appointment with the Disability Advisor as early as possible to discuss their requirements. This information is shared with the Divisional Disability Co-ordinator. They will meet with the learner and discuss their individual learning plan (ILP). The content of the ILP can be shared (with learner consent) with the teaching team to ensure reasonable adjustments can be made. Applicants will not be discriminated against and reasonable adjustment will be made in accordance with the QMU policy and anti-discriminatory laws.

The Effective Learning Service (ELS)

The Effective Learning Service (ELS) is offered to learners, providing guidance and support for all learners who wish to enhance their learning experience or advance their language and writing skills.

The ELS is based in the Learning Resource Centre and is open to all learners from 9.00 to 16.30, Monday to Friday. ELS offers individual appointments, drop-ins, study skills workshops and study guides and leaflets. ELS support is available to all learners and can be contacted via email: Effective Learning Service Email Address During this period of restricted access, please see the website for more information.

The Effective Learning Service (ELS) for international learners provides support for all learners wishing to develop their English language skills. ELS international offers learners individual appointments and also a drop-in service; it has its own study guides and leaflets, a resource which is also available for learners online. While the core activity is the individual tutorial, ELS also provides tailored sessions on aspects of academic writing and other study skills to specific groups of learners.

Other courses offered by the ELS for international learners include in-sessional English course, concentrating on academic writing courses for Master’s level international learners. Pre-sessional courses for incoming international learners designed to prepare learners for university are also offered and for free. Further information outlining ELS is available at:ElS QMU Webpage

Students’ Union (SU)

Student become members of the Students’ Union (SU) once accepted to study at QMU. It is run independently by students and for students, providing a focal point for the representative, welfare, sporting, cultural and recreational needs of QMU students. The SU is there to support QMU students in every aspect of their life, from opportunities to volunteer and play sports through to societies and clubs, answering questions and giving advice through The Help Zone.

Ensuring that the student voice is always represented is the main aim of the SU, and is therefore the main base for QMU's elected student representatives. More information about the Students’ Union can be found at Students’ Union Webpage

Equality and Diversity

The principles of equality and diversity are built into structures and processes of QMU to ensure that they are foundational in any developments that take place.

Additional processes to support equality and diversity are embedded as part of the Annual Monitoring Reports (AMR) submitted each year to QMU Governance and the Head of Division of Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies for review. In addition, learners are represented as part of the Programme Committee which meets once each semester. Learners are encouraged to participate in the annual Queen Margaret University Student Survey (QSS), the QMU internal post graduate survey of learner experience and satisfaction. The institutional structures of the admissions process and learner services in conjunction with the personal support of learners throughout their studies from their PAT and Programme Leader also seek to ensure equality and diversity.

The Music Therapy Room and Resources

Learners can access the fobbed music therapy room (0053) for practice (weekdays 8am-9pm; weekends 9am-5pm) Learners are reminded that food is not permitted and only lidded drinks are allowed.

Learners can borrow instruments from 053 for use on Practice-based learning. When borrowing an instrument, the instrument record sheets must be signed. Learners borrowing instruments take full responsibility for their use and return. Should an instrument be broken or lost, please notify the Programme Leader so that repairs can be made/new instruments bought. Learners’ own instruments are always their responsibility and left at their own risk.

Supporting Well-Being


University study may trigger a range of additional issues that require learners to seek guidance and advice. The learner counsellor is based on Year 1 in the Student Services area and can be contacted on QMU Counselling Service Email Address or QMU Wellbeing Service Learners can also email the Wellbeing Advisor: Wellbeing Advisor Email Address 

Careers, Employability and HCPC Membership

Careers and Employability at QMU can offer help and support throughout learners’ studies and post graduation. All learners are able to access support from Careers and Employability through the JobShop, online vacancy service or through the World of Work (WOW) programme. Support for this can be accessed through: QMU Support for Students Marion Pollock (mpollock@qmu.ac.uk) is the Careers Advisor in Student Services who liaises with the programme team. On qualifying, learners can register with the Health and Care Professions Council: [broken Link ]

Financial Advice

There is a learner financial adviser available to learners. Appointments can be made via Student Services. Further information about funding can be found at: QMU Student Funding  Student Funding Email Address 

Guidelines for Assessments

All assignments are submitted electronically via Turnitin unless otherwise stated. Include your matriculation number (as a header or footer) and page numbers, NOT your name. Use a 2 cm margin on all sides of the page, calibri (font size 12) and double-spacing.

Referencing Guidelines

It is essential that all the sources cited in the essay are listed at the end of the essay or paper. The heading is either References or List of References. Note that a bibliography is a list of works which you have read as background to your writing but to which you are not referring specifically in your text. A bibliography is NOT required in addition to a list of references.

New standardised Harvard or APA referencing must be used for all modules. For more information,See: Harvard Referencing 

‘Cite Them Right Online’, is a comprehensive online interactive guide to referencing: referencing Guide which is accessible with a QMU login.

Extension of Submission Dates

Extensions can only be granted in exceptional circumstances. For guidelines, see:QMU Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances

If you find that you are unable to meet the submission date for an assignment due to illness or other extenuating circumstances you should:

  • Speak to your Personal Academic Tutor and notify the module coordinator in advance of the submission date with evidence of the reasons why you are unable to submit on time
  • Submit documentary evidence (e.g. GP certificate; letter from student counsellor etc.) to support your request for an extension no later than 7 days before the assignment submission deadline.

Please note:

Your extension request must be made and given approval prior to the course work submission deadline. Requests cannot be considered after the submission deadline. If you think you might need an extension make a request as soon as possible. Please try to anticipate any difficulties and have discussion with your Personal Academic Tutor at an early stage.

In the case of illness, you must provide written evidence from an appropriate practitioner eg. GP. Such documentation should be given to your Programme Leader. In other circumstances, you should discuss your case with the module coordinator, Programme Leader or your personal academic tutor. The authority to grant an extension lies with the Programme Leader who will confirm in writing any extension which is granted. Copies of the completed form will be held by you, the Programme Leader and the School Office.

Feedback on Assignments

For all assignments, you receive feedback (normally ready for return to you within 20 working days from the assignment submission deadline) that provides you with an evaluation of your performance together with advice on how your work could be improved. In order to understand your grade, refer to Appendix 2 which outlines post graduate performance attributes.

Precise marks and grades can only be confirmed following the return of moderated scripts from the External Examiner, the meeting of the relevant Board of Examiners and formal ratification by Senate. Your transcript will be emailed to your QMU email account after Senate has ratified the Board of Examiners decisions. They also become available through the Student Portal.

Failed assignments

Once the External Examiner and the Board of Examiners have confirmed a fail grade, you will be informed of the date for re-submission. You are encouraged to make contact with the module co- ordinator and/or your personal academic tutor for support in preparing resubmissions.


Important General Academic Regulations

Penalties of Word Limits and Late Submission

The following regulations relating to assessment are an extract from assessment regulation 20:

20.1 In each piece of written work where a word limit is identified, students are required to include and clearly state the total number of words used. The number of words counted should include all the text, references and quotations used in the text, but should exclude abstracts, supplements to the text, diagrams, appendices, reference lists and bibliographies.

20.2 A piece of written work which exceeds the specified word limit by 10% or more will receive a maximum mark of 40% for undergraduate or 50% for postgraduate programmes.

20.3 Any student who submits work to be assessed after the assessment submission date and time, without the prior agreement of the Programme Leader, or without good or agreed cause, will have marks deducted according to the following criteria:

  • if submitted, as a first attempt, after the deadline but up to and including six days after the deadline) a maximum mark of 40% can be achieved for undergraduate programmes and a maximum mark of 50% for postgraduate programmes
  • if submitted, as a first attempt, seven days or more (including on the 7th day after the submission deadline) a mark of 0% will be awarded

Alternative Assessment Methods for Disabled Learners

Regulation 19 states (19.1.1):

If, through disability, a student is unable to be assessed by the prescribed method for the module, the programme leader may determine alternative assessment methods on the advice of the module co- ordinator. This will be recorded in the student’s individual learning plan (ILP). In determining alternative assessment methods programme leaders will take into account the need to assess the student on equal terms with other students. The Board of Examiners will ratify any such decisions. Variations may include the following:

  • an extension of the normal registration period for completing an award  extra time being allowed for assessments
  • alternative or modified assessments
  • use of scribes in assessments
  • use of viva voce assessment
  • use of appropriate aids (such as word processor, Brailler, tape-recorder, large print scripts).

And (19.1.4): Arrangements for the assessment of disabled students will be made prior to, or at the point of assessment. Further allowance or compensation for disability will not be made in the marking of assessed work.

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

This institution’s degrees and other academic awards are given in recognition of the candidates proposed achievement. Plagiarism is, therefore, together with other forms of academic dishonesty such as impersonation, falsification of data, computer and calculation fraud, examination room cheating and bribery, considered an act of academic fraud and is an offence against University discipline.

Fraudulent practices such as copying, cheating, collusion, plagiarism i.e. the presentation by an individual of another person’s ideas or work (in any medium, published or unpublished) as though they were his or her own, are serious academic offences and will incur appropriate penalties. You are urged to seek advice from the programme leader or other tutors if in any doubt about the foregoing practices. All students are expected to seek clear guidance on the form and manner in which assessments are to be completed.

If a student is found to have cheated or attempted to gain an unfair advantage, the Board of Examiners has authority to deem the student to have failed part or all of the assessment and to determine whether or not the student shall be permitted to be re-assessed.

QMU has a policy to use the Turnitin UK plagiarism detection system, or other equivalent systems, to help students avoid plagiarism and improve their scholarship skills. This service is available to all matriculated students at QMU. Tutors at QMU may submit student work to Turnitin UK or another equivalent system. See [ broken link ] for helpful information and advice on avoiding plagiarism.


At all times you must comply with all University and professional confidentiality guidance. You must observe strict confidentiality when making reference (verbal or written) to any practice/work based information (geographical locations, hospital, community resource titles or groups of people or individual people) in your assignment material. This observance is essential in relation to all University academic work and a note indicating that you have done this should be included at the beginning of your work. Non-compliance with this constitutes a breach of confidentiality and the work will be automatically failed. Whilst at University it should never be possible to identify any service user or source of any information.

Records are the property of the placement provider they must be kept physically and electronically secure at all times. Any written work completed for your placement must be stored as a confidential record. Pseudonyms should always be used (and marked as such) to ensure anonymity. It is expected that you will maintain the boundaries of confidentiality outside your placement both in discussions, presentations and written course work for the University. The identity of service users, staff and the organisation hosting the placement must be protected and permission for the use of case material sought following the policies and guidelines of the placement provider.

Practice Educators will report actual and possible learner breaches of security or confidentiality to the University as a matter of priority.

Programme Assessment Board

At the end of each academic year the Programme Leader presents all marked assignments for scrutiny by the External Examiner. When you receive your assignment feedback forms via the Hub, it is the responsibility of each learner to download and save these for future reference. These feedback forms are only available for a limited amount of time.

Academic Appeals Procedure

Details about the University’s Appeals Procedure can be found at QMU Quality Web Page
Any assistance in pursuing an appeal or advice can be obtained from the Student Union.

Quality Assurance

The programme employs quality assurance mechanisms within the learner's educational experience at both the module level and programme level in a number of ways:

Learner/Staff Representation

Learners are represented via two committee structures: the Student Staff Consultative Committee (SSCC) and the Programme Committee. At the beginning of each programme, the Programme Leader will invite your cohort to choose two representatives. Their responsibility is to convey satisfaction and gather concerns about any element of the programme and to be the voice of your programme at committee meetings. This is an opportunity to work on various skills, communicate/create relationships with staff members, and looks good on your CV!

The SSCC is chaired by one of the learner representatives and meets once per Semester. This forum provides an opportunity for constructive discussion between learners and staff on issues relating to the University, the programme in general terms, of the demands of the programme on learners and of possible developments. Information from this forum is a vital component in supporting positive developments in the future.

The Learner Representatives prepare an agenda of items provided by learners from both years, and send it to all Committee members one week before the meeting. The meeting is chaired by one of the learners and is attended by lecturers on the programme and the learner representatives. A minute of this meeting is also taken by one of the learners.

Terms of Reference:

a)  A Student/Staff Consultative Committee will operate for each programme or scheme for the purpose of ensuring an adequate and effective opportunity for discussion between learners and staff, to facilitate full and wide learner participation.

b)  The function of the Committee is to provide a forum for constructive discussion of the programme or scheme in general terms, of the demands of the programme or scheme on learners and of possible developments.

c)  To consider any matters directly related to the programme or scheme and to report or make recommendations, as felt necessary to the Programme Committee.

d)  The membership of the Committee is to be drawn from staff that teach on the programme and learner representatives. There should be more learners than staff present. The learner membership should cover the main subject areas and activities of the programme. It is appropriate for a learner to collate the agenda, send it to the Programme Leader in advance, convene the Committee and be responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting (which should be emailed to the PL as soon as possible).

The Programme Committee is the major decision-making body and is the forum for policy concerning conduct, review and development of the course. This includes approving the Annual Monitoring Report, considering changes to modules and noting recommendations made by the External Examiner. The Programme Committee meets once each semester and is chaired by the Programme Leader. It is also attended by the Head of the Division of Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies, other tutors on the programme and the learner representatives from each year of the programme.

The Programme Committee is a major decision-making body and is the forum for policy concerning conduct, review and development of the programme and learners on it.

The Programme Committee for the MSc Music Therapy is chaired by the Programme Leader. Its membership includes the academic staff who teach or assess on the programme and learners from each year of the programme. The convenor (chair) may invite any non-member to attend a meeting and participate in the discussions.

The agenda is set by the programme team and minutes are taken by an administrator from the School Office. Meetings are held after the SSCC so that there can be a response to the learners’ business, however new substantive business cannot be brought. Learners do not need to reiterate what has been tabled at the previous SSCC.

Module Evaluation Mechanisms

At the end of each module, every learner is asked to complete a module evaluation form, which gathers information about experiences of the module (see appendices). It is most important that you complete this form and make comments on points to which you wish to draw to our attention. The results from the forms are analysed and circulated to each module coordinator, and the Programme Leader keeps a copy of all responses. The results of the analysis are also available for the External Examiner to scrutinise at the end of the academic year. This information shapes changes to be made in the module for the next cohort of learners through annual programme monitoring mechanisms.

Annual Monitoring

There is an annual programme review meeting, led by the Programme Leader, which will take account of staff and learner feedback via module evaluations, feedback from the SSCC, Programme Committee meetings, or directly to the Programme Leader or staff. This information, along with the External Examiners reports, forms the basis of the QMU Annual Monitoring report. This report, compiled by the programme team, includes a clear action plan for any necessary changes and the person(s) responsible.

External Examination

An External Examiner has been appointed to inspect your work annually in order to maintain national standards in Music Therapy. The current External Examiner (2019-Dec 2022) is Professor Hilary Moss, University of Limerick, Ireland. Prof. Moss inspects and examines your work prior to a Programme Assessment Board where decisions regarding progression and graduation are made. For further information, consult the Programme Document on the Hub or the Quality at QMU website.

Practice-based Learning

In accordance with HCPC requirements learners follow an intensive Induction to Practice-based learning at the beginning of the programme, have the opportunity to engage with individuals and groups and, under supervision, undertake a range of activities commensurate with their learning outcomes and within the limits of their competency. From Semester 2, Year 1 learners begin their own casework and are responsible, with support from their Practice Educator, to plan, implement and evaluate their own sessions. This clinical work is also supervised regularly in small groups run by University tutors.

Year 2 learners begin placement at the start of Semester 1 and continues until the assessment period at the end of Semester 2. Learners undertake their own clinical work, ideally with an individual and a group. This clinical work is supervised regularly in small groups by University tutors and, as in Year 1, liaise frequently with Practice Educators.

Allocation of practice-based learning

Learners will experience two contrasting Practice-based learning settings during their training. The Professional Practice Tutor oversees the management, monitoring and provision of Practice Education. New Practice-based learning settings are continuously explored and on-going Practice

Placements are regularly audited and monitored. The Professional Practice Tutor allocates an appropriate Practice Placement taking into account:

  • The learner’s prior clinical experience/learner profile/location/additional information including personal circumstances
  • The individual learner’s learning needs
  • Practice Placement availability

The general principle for making a Practice Placement allocation is to prepare learners for practice within a broad framework of clinical experience. Upon allocation of a Practice Placement both the learner and the Practice Educator are provided with contact details, and the learner initiates contact with the Practice Educator.

Length of placement

From week 7 of the programme, learners attend one day/ week throughout year 1 (increasing to 2 days/week in year 2) apart from assessment periods. A day is the equivalent of 7 hours and this time will include sessions with service users, liaison, writing clinical notes, supervision notes and reports and attending meetings, including supervision. In addition to time spent on placement, learners are required to review their work (through audio/video recordings where possible) and study to gain further knowledge relevant to the placement.

Religious and cultural observance

A learner’s identity, such as their religious/cultural practices can have a significant impact on teaching, learning and assessment in practice. It is a statutory requirement that the University and placement providers address these through establishing relevant policies and guidance which address diversity and inclusion. These policies include a commitment to:

  • promoting equal opportunity and diversity during employment
  • ensuring all employees are treated fairly and valued equally
  • valuing religious and cultural needs and practices, and meeting these where possible

Learners may have particular religious or cultural needs in terms of requests which may conflict with existing working requirements in the practice setting. Such issues may include:

  • health and safety issues relating to dress code
  • request for flexible working related to religious/belief-related festivals
  • adjustments for prayer time and space

Whilst it may not always be possible to accommodate every learner’s religious or cultural observance, every effort will be made to find a mutually agreeable solution.

  • Normally, learners will be allocated placements according to their learning needs, unless there is some exceptional reason, which would impact adversely on the learner or placement
  • In these exceptional circumstances, negotiation between the learner, the University and placement provider is essential
  • Established policies that apply to employed staff also apply to learners accepted on placement. It is vital that discussion takes place on the religious and cultural needs of the learner and how they will be valued and/or met whilst on placement
  • Agreements between the learner and placement provider may occur prior to or at the outset of any placement as part of the induction process. These should be reviewed and discussed with the learner at the midway point of the placement

Travel expenses

There is no direct financial remuneration available to post graduate learners for the funding of travelling and accommodation costs associated with placements. The University Student Finance Service administers two discretionary funds provided by the Scottish Government. These are the Childcare Fund which is aimed at learners who incur childcare costs whilst studying and the Hardship Fund when learners find themselves facing exceptional financial problems.

The International Fund is provided by the University and learners from outside the United Kingdom should apply to this fund.

Preparing Learners for Practice-based learning

Approaches to assist learners to prepare for placements are blended to allow flexibility of delivery and to accommodate for different learning styles. These include interactive workshops, group work, directed reading and e-learning.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme

Since learners will be doing regulated work with children and protected adults during practice placements, they must apply to register with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG). It is the responsibility of each learner to fill in the detailed application form, provide the necessary documentation and to pay for this to be carried out prior to the first practice-based learning. Learners are sent all the information about they begin the programme. The certificate is retained in the practice education passport for presentation to the Practice Educator during the induction phase of placement. Some placement providers require additional checks before accepting learners on placements and make this known to the University when making placement offers. For further information on the PVG Scheme visit: Disclosure Scotland Website 

Practice Education Passport

The Passport (see appendix 1) is assessed on a pass/fail basis by the Personal Academic Tutors to verify that learners have completed all of the compulsory preparation tasks before they are permitted to go on placement. Learners are taught via workshops, discussion groups, seminars and other independent study. Learners are required to collate documents, certificates and maintain records of having completed mandatory tasks and activities in preparation for progression to placement. It is the learner’s responsibility to present this evidence to the Practice Educator during the induction phase of placement.

Health clearance checks

In 2008, the Scottish Government agreed all new health care workers who have direct contact with patients must undergo a Standard Health Clearance Check before they take up post or in the case of learners in the School of Health Sciences before they are permitted to go on placement (Scottish Government, 2008). The cost is covered by the University. Learners are assessed and screened for Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B and Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR). The University’s policy on Health Clearance Check is reviewed annually.

COVID-19 vaccination status

Following Scottish Government guidance students are recommended to be vaccinated. If not, students are required to justify to QMU why not. If this is for a health reason students will be risk assessed. If this is declined (as a personal choice), QMU will explain that this may affect students’ ability to complete placement and consequently programme. Ultimately it is the individual placement provider's decision on whether or not they take unvaccinated students

Promoting a safe working environment

Learners receive mandatory education and training upon a range of health and safety issues before Practice-based learning begins, including:

  • Basic life support
  • Public Protection
  • Moving and handling
  • Information governance, including understanding consent
  • Selected elements of the SIPCEP Programme

Dress code

Learners are expected to be mindful of personal safety, infection control, and being a representative of the University and professional programme they are undertaking in addition to any placement provider policies and guidelines. They should dress appropriately for the setting, and the activities to be undertaken. Your QMU name badge should be visible at all times. Learners are expected to consider the impact of their presentation.

Codes of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Learners are informed that they remain accountable to the University for their professional conduct throughout each practice placement. They are expected to adhere to the Health and Care Professions Council Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students at all times. As part of the Practice Education Passport learners are expected to also read other HCPC documents (see appendix 1).

Obtaining a person’s consent to music therapy

Gaining a service user’s consent to music therapy is a fundamental aspect of professional practice. Throughout practice-based learning learners are advised to ensure that:

  • people have been fully informed, through interpreter if necessary, and given their permission for sessions to be carried out by a learner
  • people have given their permission before sessions are audio/video recorded
  • ongoing negotiated consent is actively sought
  • where it is necessary, information is shared to safeguard service users
  • people acting on their behalf, including interpreters, will be given the information necessary to enable them to make informed decisions for service users

Guidance for Learners and Practice Educators: Health Issues and Practice-based learning

Music therapy learners have a responsibility under the HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students to limit or stop practice if their performance is affected by their health. Self declaration is dependent upon honesty and insight and disclosure, whilst not a legal obligation, is certainly an ethical and moral obligation.

Learner self declaration of health prior to practice-based learning

Prior to each practice-based learning commencing learners complete a Self Declaration of Fitness to Practise Form confirming there has been no change to their physical or psychological health which could impact upon performance or safety of self or others.

Guiding principles:

  • Any learner experiencing ill health and/or personal issues prior to practice-based learning should make an appointment to meet with their Personal Academic Tutor (PAT
  • The learner and PAT may collaborate to develop a course of action in order that appropriate measures and /or reasonable adjustments are in place for the duration of the placement. This may involve the Programme Leader, Disability Advisor, Student Counsellor and the practice-based learning site as required
  • Following a discussion with the learner, the Programme Leader may recommend the learner consults a medical practitioner in order to obtain a medical assessment on whether the learner is able to commence the placement. A supporting medical certificate must be obtained by the learner and forwarded to the Programme Leader
  • If the learner is unable to (re)commence a placement, it will be deferred and the learner will undertake another placement once they are in sound health, subject to confirmation of fitness to practise by a medical practitioner.

Discontinuation of Practice-based learning

Practice-based learning may be terminated for reasons related to the learner, reasons related to the Practice Educator, reasons related to the setting or a combination of all of these. It is important that all involved in this decision be as objective as possible, are clear about the relevant evidence that they have, follow the relevant procedures, seek advice and record decisions and outcomes.

Guidelines for Learners and Practice Educators: How to address issues related to unprofessional behaviour/suitability

The nature of the work undertaken by learners and the conditions to be met for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council require specific standards of conduct associated with professional status and practice. During practice education, learners remain accountable to the University for their professional conduct.

Health Professions Council Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students

All learners on practice-based learning are assessed on their professional conduct. The assessment of this is based on the Health and Care Professions Council Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students:[broken link ]

Points of guidance for early termination of placement due to unprofessional behaviour/suitability

Stage 1

The Practice Educator should:

  • Discuss with the learner the issues causing concern giving specific verbal feedback and agree actions and time for review;
  • Refer the learner to the appropriate criteria on the assessment report;
  • Document that such a discussion has taken place in the learner’s supervision record;
  • No further action will be taken unless the behaviour continues to be repeated.

Stage 2

If the above does not remove concerns about professional suitability and others’ safety, it is essential that the Practice Educator involves the learner’s Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) in all discussions about the learner’s unprofessional behaviour and documents concerns.

If the incident and/or behaviour is significant but not serious, objectives will be devised in consultation with the learner and the Practice Educator and an action plan and a review date set. Throughout this process the Practice Educator refers to the relevant assessment criteria and documents their observations of the learner’s behaviour/performance. Similarly, any discussion with the learner relating to their behaviour/performance whilst on placement is documented in the supervision record by the Practice Educator.

Stage 3

This stage is for those behaviours that either cannot be, or have not been, resolved through the processes previously outlined.

The issues that have arisen and consequent actions taken are referred to the Programme Leader, if this has not already occurred. The Programme Leader will discuss the situation and review the documented evidence in collaboration with the Head of Division. At this point the University may take action in collaboration with the staff at the placement setting to remove the learner from practice- based learning.

The Practice Educator should complete the practice-based learning assessment report, documenting all issues arising. The completed assessment report should be returned to the University within 5 working days of the learner’s removal from the placement setting. If the allegation cannot be resolved locally, by the Programme Leader and Head of Division and there are concerns regarding professional suitability remaining, further action may be considered including reference to the Queen Margaret University Fitness to Practise Policy.

Practice Education assessment

The Practice-based learning Assessment Report

The Practice-based learning Assessment Report (appendix 3) is the assessment of clinical work at the end of both modules Practice-based learning 1 & Practice-based learning 2. The Practice Educator should complete the relevant part of the report and discuss this with the learner (in the last supervision meeting, if possible). It should then be returned via email to the Personal Academic Tutor, who completes their part and marks the assessment on a pass/fail basis. The report is returned to the learner for their comments and all parties receive a final copy for their records.

Mid-Placement Review

The mid-placement review provides an opportunity for the Practice Educator and Personal Academic Tutor to speak on the phone or meet online and discuss how practice education is going, and for the learner to comment on their learning experience.

If there is a level of concern regarding a learner to the extent that the learner is not meeting the required learning outcomes, this will be highlighted in a meeting with the learner and documented. The review will specify action points to be addressed and a timescale to be followed.

Supervision Notes

While undertaking practice education, learners will keep supervision notes, which are formatively assessed by the Personal Academic Tutor. They should be accurate, comprehensive and reflexive records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines. Names of service users, staff and the institution should always be replaced with pseudonyms.