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MSc Music Therapy

Course Description

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. The training 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.

Teaching, Learning 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 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 course, with a minimum of 40 hours attendance. This work is non-assessed and is a confidential arrangement between therapist and student.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module requires you to attend classes at QMU (over two days) and learn independently. Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on the module. There will be a further day dedicated to practice placement. Students need to allocate a significant amount of time for independent study.

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 co operation 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: 30 credits: Practice Placement 1/Interdisciplinary Studies 1/ Therapeutic Skills and Interpersonal Learning/ Research Methods
Level 2: 30 credits Practice Placement 2/ Interdisciplinary Studies 2 and Interpersonal Learning

60 credits Professional project.


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. Several of our graduates have found employment with: Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland; within the NHS; others have successfully created new job opportunities for themselves.

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.

Visit the MSc Music Therapy page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Carole Clarke

Before I started studying at QMU, I was working in fundraising for a musical charity, but my working life had also encompassed care work as well as being a professional musician. When I began to investigate what music therapists do, I was delighted to find that there was indeed a job which seemed to demand my eclectic mix of skills! I talked to the Course Director initially, who was so helpful with suggestions for exploring it more.

I chose QMU because I live in Edinburgh and needed a place of study which was going to fit with my family life. Biting the bullet, I decided to do the Masters course full-time. Along with my supportive group of course peers, I found the Music Therapy staff hugely encouraging. The library was a dream, and I loved jumping back into academic life. The Course lecturers are practising music therapists themselves, and so there was a strong sense of 'real world' knowledge as well as guidance through assignments and research. Great role models!

What I loved about the course was that it taught such a blend of musical skills as well as clinical and therapeutic theory. The lecturers, visiting lecturers, and placement supervisors made it very much a two-way, interactive process.

It was a huge thrill when I was awarded the Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester Scholarship to present my research paper at the 12th World Congress of Music Therapy in Argentina a great research experience!

I'm now a self-employed music therapist, based in Edinburgh, and I work in various clinical settings, both health and education-based. My clients range from pre-schoolers with special needs to adults who suffer from dementia. I love the job, it fits round my family, and I don't think the learning will ever stop my time at QMU was the starting point for joining a great community of Scottish arts therapists, and the beginning of a commitment to lifelong learning, which I hope to formalise in the future with possible further study.


Entry Requirements

Various. Please see QMU website for full details.

Last Updated

13 September 2016

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