MA Music Therapy

Our MA Music Therapy course is the only blended learning course running in the UK. It is designed to be accessible and broaden access to the Music Therapy profession. We want to support you to develop into the Music Therapist that is the right fit for you and your clients.

This innovative, blended MA Music Therapy is accessible to musicians from a range of backgrounds who wish to pursue this career path alongside portfolio careers, performance commitments or caring responsibilities. We empower students to recognise the approaches which resonate with them and is meaningful in the context of their lives and experiences.

The MA Music Therapy is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years September Newport City C
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years September Newport City C

Year One: MA Music Therapy

The first year of study introduces students to models of engaging with wellbeing through music, before moving into an exploration of a range of models of music therapy and fundamental aspects of therapeutic process. Clinical improvisation skills are developed before engaging in a dedicated module to develop professional skills towards the placement experiences.

  • Health Promotion Through Music - During this module, students will learn about preventative approaches to exploring wellbeing through music. They will design, deliver and evaluate and arts in health project in their local community.
  • The Therapeutic Relationship in Music Therapy - This module introduces a range of models of music therapy and fundamental aspects of therapeutic process. Students will develop their clinical improvisation skills in applied and active learning.
  • Developing Professional Practice in Music Therapy - Students will develop the professional skills required for music therapy placements, including engagement with professional standards, risk assessment and safeguarding. They will shadow a music therapist for a minimum of 2 days, reflecting on these visits.


Year Two: MA Music Therapy

The second year of study involves a twenty week placement which is embedded in the Professional Practice in Music Therapy 1 module, supported by the problem-based learning approaches included in the Clinical Reasoning Skills module. Students engage in the Contemporary Music Therapy Skills module to enhance their repertoire of musical techniques and methods to work with clients in music therapy practice.

  • Contemporary Music Therapy Skills - This module builds on students’ clinical improvisation skills and introduces contemporary methods utilised in the profession, such as receptive music therapy, songwriting, use of technology and more. 
  • Clinical Reasoning Skills - This module enables students to develop skills they will need to respond to clinical cases they are engaging with on placement. Students will work collaboratively and inter-professionally to expand their knowledge and understanding.  
  • Professional Practice in Music Therapy 1 - Students will engage in a twenty week placement where they develop their own clinical practice while engaging in clinical supervision and reflective practice. This is an opportunity to apply the learning from the course and develop students’ therapeutic identity. 

Year Three: MA Music Therapy

The third year involves a second, twenty week placement in a contrasting context with increased complexity. Students will also develop research skills of relevance and of interest to their evolving therapeutic identity. The year concludes with students engaging in advanced music therapy skills and consider how to develop employability skills post-qualifying.

  • Developing Research Skills in Music Therapy - Students will develop research skills of relevance and interest to their practice through the construction of a detailed research proposal and ethics application.  
  • Professional Practice in Music Therapy 2 - Students will engage in a second twenty-week placement of increasing complexity where they develop their own clinical practice while engaging in clinical supervision and reflective practice. 
  • Advanced Music Therapy Skills and Employability - This module will offer perspectives on advanced practice in music therapy to further develop their clinical skills. They will receive a Level 3 safeguarding training to further ensure readiness for work and will use challenge-based learning principles to enhance their employability.   

Please note it is a course requirement that you attend personal therapy with an experienced therapist for a minimum of 10 hour-long sessions in each year of study.



The MA Music Therapy course is delivered as a blended learning curriculum. This means that you will be on campus approximately every fortnight for a day packed full of practical activities and discussions. Material will is provided online in a range of formats, and you will need to engage with in advance of the on-campus days.


Assessments are varied in type, with some offering a student choice of assignment so that you can choose the one best suited to your preferred submission style. We have some written essays, presentations, practical musical assessments and portfolios of evidence of your learning.


The MA Music Therapy is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


Work placements take place in each academic year of study.

In Year 1, as well as an art in  health project, there will be contextual visits to music therapists so that students understand how  music therapy works in various settings. 

In Years 2 and 3 students will deliver supervised music therapy work to a range of client groups.

Placements are quality assured by our placement department to  ensure relevant policies are in place and the placement can provide what is needed for our students. 


We have two dedicated, dual-purpose music therapy spaces at USW Newport Campus, where students have access to a wide range of instruments including multiple pianos, guitars, tune and untuned percussion.

Some of the whole group teaching happens in nearby teaching spaces, and practical, role play or break out activities are often held in the dedicated music therapy spaces.

Students have access to the physical library on campus as well as all of its digital resources.

The course works closely with USW Study Skills to induct students into this service, which the course thoroughly recommends that students engage with during their studies.


All core teaching staff are HCPC registered Music Therapists: 

  • Dr Liz Coombes (Course Leader) specialises in challenge based learning and professional practice. 
  • Dr Beth Pickard (Senior Lecturer) is an expert in disability studies and anti-oppressive practice. 

We also have a range of guest speakers and lecturers to ensure our students are able to benefit from a wide range of experiences from the UK and beyond. 

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

The demands of the Music Therapy course and the Music Therapy profession require you to demonstrate a suitable level of life experience and maturity.

You will usually require an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of study, an equivalent professional qualification, or extensive experience in a related field, plus evidence of substantial experience of musical practice, including exposure to and skill in utilising a variety of styles of music. We have a widening of access agenda that means we can map experiences against entry requirements if you do not have an undergraduate degree – we welcome conversations about this entry pathway.

Applicants must be able to perform on their main instrument or voice to a high standard. You need not have completed any formal examinations on your instrument(s). The reading of musical notation is not a requirement on this training. We value lived experience, musicality and diverse musical experiences on this training, recognising that there will be many musicians from eclectic backgrounds who will bring richness and insight to the profession and workforce.

You will need to upload 2 references with your application, one of which should be academic, if possible, with the other relating to your musical experiences. The reference must be on letter headed paper or the referee can send it directly from a professional/work email address to [email protected]

You will also need to upload film of you performing with your application. We would like to see a current musical snapshot of you. Youtube films, audio recordings, filmed performances of any kind will be welcomed. It is important that we can clearly hear your part if it is a group/band performance.  You should demonstrate that you have at least one main instrument and at least one other on which you are competent. Ideally, we would like to see some evidence of skill on an accompanying instrument such as guitar or other similar stringed instrument, and keyboard/piano, if one of these is not your main instrument. Use of voice is also important in music therapy, so please feel welcome to share any examples of using your voice musically. This need not be formal or classical singing.

Through your application and at interview, we will be looking for significant practical experience (voluntary or paid) in a relevant setting, or with clients or service users, to demonstrate that you are receptive to working with a range of client groups. This could include personal or professional experiences and may or may not include working musically. Please be prepared to discuss examples at interview of your experiences of connecting with others.

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)

If your first language is not English then we require IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component. 

Interview dates for 2024 entry

19th March

22nd April

14th May

18th June

15th July

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Part-time UK:  £1715 per 20 credits

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Professional Body Student Fees (Recommended) £55
Our professional body (British Association for Music Therapy) offers a student rate which enables you to access this valuable professional network and associated opportunities.
Personal Therapy * £20 - £50
Cost is per session for a minimum of 10 sessions per academic year. The total cost of this will be in the region of £200-£500 per year.
DBS * £55.42
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
We strongly recommend you sign up for this service, especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to pursue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note you must register with the update service within 30 days of your enhanced DBS certificate being issued.
Professional Indemnity Insurance * £45 - £75
Students must ensure that they have professional indemnity insurance in place for the duration of their studies.
Placement Travel *
Cost will be dependent on location of placement and travel options
Camera or device to record sessions *
You will need access to a camera or device to record your work on placement. This can be loaned, rented or bought and some settings may have equipment you can borrow/use.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.


USW Postgraduate 20% Alumni Discount 2023/24

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales* graduates starting a taught/online*** MA,MSc, LLM,MBA or DBA course from September 2023 (this includes students starting a course in January/February 2024). T's and Cs apply. Click here for more details and eligibility criteria: USW Postgraduate Alumni Discount 2023/24

Apply directly to the University for the Music Therapy MA course.

Admissions statement 

Once graduated from this course students are eligible to apply to the HCPC for registration as a music therapist. This opens a range of possible careers.  We have very high levels of graduate employment from our course, with USW alumni working in schools, NHS, charities, project-based work for local authorities as well setting up their own businesses.  

There are opportunities all over the UK music therapy work, so whether you want to stay local to where you currently live or venture into a different part of the UK, the world is your oyster. 

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.

Students progress into a wide range of roles and career trajectories following their studies at USW. Recent graduates have progressed to PhD study, to set up their own businesses, to local, national and international music therapy posts, to work for charities or organisations or to create roles within other organisations. Some students conduct music therapy related practice within other roles such as school-based counselling services, mental health practitioners, wellbeing practitioners. Some combine arts in health practice, music therapy and performance in a successful portfolio career.