Postgraduate Taught

MSc Music Therapy

The training on this course is designed to prepare students for work with vulnerable children and adults with a wide range of needs, eg learning disabilities or mental health problems.

You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

Course Overview

The theoretical focus of this course encompasses psychodynamic, humanistic, developmental and music-centred approaches to music therapy. Some lectures in theoretical studies are shared with students from Art Psychotherapy.

Exit Awards

MSc (240 credits)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Teaching includes practical and academic elements with an emphasis on experiential learning and teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and tutorials. 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 context
  • Self-development
  • Observation and critical thinking skills
  • Professional issues, such as ethics and team communication

Placements include work in a variety of settings and are organised by QMU. In Level One, practice placement is with a music therapist, one day per week from October to March. In Level Two, students attend practice placement two days per week in both semesters and work in a more autonomous way. Students are required to meet costs for travel to placement.

Personal development is fundamental to therapeutic training and it is a course requirement (and requirement by the Health and Care Professions Council) that students attend regular personal therapy throughout the course, with a minimum of 40 hours attendance. This work is non-assessed and students are required to cover the cost.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

Each module requires you to attend classes at QMU and to study independently. Attendance requirements at QMU will depend on the module. In Level One students attend QMU on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In Level Two, classes are on a Thursday. Practice placement days are additional.

Links with Industry / Professional Bodies

Part of our strength comes from our location. Being based in Edinburgh means that the course has been developed over time in cooperation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the ‘festival city’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK. The course is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


Level 1

  • Practice Placement 1 (30 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies 1 (30 credits)
  • Therapeutic Skills and Interpersonal Learning (30 credits)
  • Research Methods (30 credits)

Level 2

  • Practice Placement 2
  • Interdisciplinary Studies 2 (30 credits) 
  • Interpersonal Learning (30 credits)
  • Professional project (60 credits)

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (September 2017), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.


On graduation you will be eligible for registration with HCPC, and will be qualified to apply for work in organisations such as the NHS, education, charitable bodies, social services, or in the private sector. Music therapists are employed throughout the health, education and community sectors. Registered music therapists are eligible for full membership of the British Association for Music Therapy. Most of our graduates have found employment within care homes, schools, the NHS, and charities including Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland. Many others have become successful freelance practitioners.

Quick Facts

  • This is the only music therapy training course in Scotland.
  • Exciting collaborative opportunities between this course and MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) course.
  • Practice Educators for all Year One students are music therapists.

Entry Requirements

Students should normally have:

  • any honours degree or equivalent;
  • a high standard of practical musicianship and flexibility on at least one instrument (for single-line instrumentalists or singers, proficiency on an harmonic instrument is also required) and
  • relevant experience with people in the community, education or health settings.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.5.

Interview: You can apply between October to May. Places are offered on a first come, first served basis and applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. Interviews are usually held between January to June. The personal statement should include: reasons why the applicant feels drawn to the profession of music therapy; specific musical skills; and details of relevant experience within caring professions. Some applicants will be asked to attend for audition and interview. This will usually include group improvisation with other applicants and an individual audition in which the applicant will: play prepared pieces; improvise on a given theme; and sing a short song of their own choice, if voice is not main study. The interview will assess each applicant’s personal suitability for this profession, ability to reflect, and readiness for the demands that the course entails. For overseas applicants, auditions and interviews may be conducted by Skype.

Criminal Records Check: A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.

Application Deadline

31  May 

The closing date is the 31 May 2018 and while we will be open to take applications until that date, we are operating a waiting list.

More Information and Contacts

Admissions or Philippa Derrington on tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2018/19 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).


Course Overview

At QMU and on practice placement
Full-time: 2 years
Start Date
September 2018
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies


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