MA Music Therapy

Do you want to become a music therapist? The part-time MA Music Therapy course provides students with a unique opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered music therapist.

This highly experiential course provides students with training comprising of theoretical, clinical and musical experiences. Using an integrative approach that draws from contemporary music therapy work, you will be supported to develop your own therapeutic persona during the three years of the course. 

Clinical placements are at the heart of your music therapy training. Additionally, you will explore group processes and relate them to clinical practice, as well as working alongside students from other courses to boost your learning experience. 

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

In your first year of the Music Therapy training, you will be provided with a strong grounding in human development and observational skills. Understanding how we develop relationships with others and how music therapy links to these experiences will support you in your clinical work. 50% of placement experience in this year is observational, enabling you to link these skills to music therapy work before undertaking a short piece of clinical work yourself. You will benefit from the use of the bespoke facilities on campus to support your learning and further develop your therapeutic music skills. Experiential groups, supervision groups and other course components such as talks and discussions will provide an insight into the principles, practices and application of Music Therapy.

  • Theory and Practice of Music Therapy
    This module contains seminars and workshops with experiential and participatory content relating to theories and concepts relevant to Music Therapy practice. Experiential groups and supervision will also form part of the teaching. You will also study the diverse needs and abilities of different client groups. You will undertake a placement of 15 weeks for one day a week that starts in January of the teaching year. The placement will be in a USW approved setting
  • Music Therapy Skills 1
    This module covers the development of music therapy specific skills; role play, skill-sharing and peer learning as well as repertoire development. We celebrate and value the diversity of skills our students bring to the course and utilise these in our teaching.

Year Two: MA Music Therapy

In the second year of your training, you will begin to explore evidence-based Music Therapy practice and therapeutic approaches to meet the needs of diverse populations, client groups and settings. You will further develop your specialist Music Therapy skills and continue to learn through placement, experiential groups, supervision groups, workshops, lectures, and participatory teaching.

  • Therapeutic Approaches and Evidence-Based Practice
    This module incorporates lectures, seminars and workshops pertaining to specialist Music Therapy practice. There will be group supervision and other experiential groups as well as an introduction to research methods. You will also undertake a placement for one day a week for 20 weeks in a University-approved clinical setting.
  • Music Therapy Skills 2
    This module incorporates analysing clinical music therapy material and the development of further specialist music therapy skills. There is a strong focus on personal musical and professional development.

Year Three: MA Music Therapy

In the third and final year of your studies, you will continue to learn and increasingly facilitate peer learning through group supervision, experiential groups and practice-based research. You will undertake the preparation of a research proposal with associated ethics approval and give a short presentation to your peers and tutors with a Q&A. A presentation of your clinical work forms the final assessment for this training.

  • Music Therapy Research and Practice
    This module incorporates the teaching of research methods and application of these methods in practice, group supervision and experiential groups. A unique feature of this course is a live research project undertaken by the year group and their tutors collaboratively. This enables you to learn through doing with your peers and tutors, with the opportunity to disseminate the research results, thereby leaving the training with a publication under your belt. There are seminars and lectures with a focus on specialist Music Therapy practice and research plus a one-day a week for 20 weeks placement in a University-approved clinical setting. 

Please note it is a course requirement that you attend personal therapy with an experienced therapist for a minimum of 15 hour-long sessions in Years 1 and 2, and 20 hour-long sessions in Year 3.




The Music Therapy Masters is taught through classroom teaching both face-to-face and online, clinical placement and directed and independent study.

Year One: The equivalent of one day per week participation. From the beginning of the second semester, there will also be one-day weekly attendance at placement. There is a minimum of 15 weeks to be completed on placement.

Year Two: The equivalent of one day per week participation, and one day a week at placement. The placement is for a minimum of 20 weeks, starting in September.

Year Three: One day a week at placement for 20 weeks and participation both online and in-person for the equivalent of one day a week.


There is a mixture of practical and written assignments with no written exams.

Summative assessment will take the form of course assignments, presentations, and projects. These assessments will make use of case studies, workplace investigations, experiential learning in university and literature searches.  The outputs to be assessed will include written reports, verbal presentations, essays and portfolios of evidence/work.

As well as the assessments outlined below, the formative assessment includes reports from your placement and USW group supervisor. 

Theory and Practice of Music Therapy
The assessment for this module consists of two written assignments and a portfolio of reflective work and placement paperwork.

Music Therapy Skills 1
The assessments for this module consist of  one  practical assessment and one written assignment

Therapeutic Approaches and Evidence-Based Practice
The assessments will consist of two written assignments as well as a portfolio. You will also work in small groups to create an academic poster exploring the service user experience.

Music Therapy Skills 2
The assessment for this module will consist of a personal development learning contract revised and updated throughout the year.

Music Therapy Research and Practice
There are is one written assessment and 2 presentations on research and clinical work as well as a portfolio of placement paperwork. 

All course staff will be involved in ensuring your work throughout the course demonstrates your learning and progression towards meeting the HCPC Standards of Proficiency by the end of the training. 


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


Our trainee music therapists have the opportunity to experience a number of placement settings and organisations whilst on the course. Innovative ways of working in music therapy are also explored together with the concept of what ‘therapy space’ may look like in practice.

The music therapy rooms that are used on-campus are also live clinical spaces where our USW clinic runs its sessions. This enables students to consider how the therapeutic space may need to be adjusted and re-set for specific client groups.  The organisation of resources, safety and boundaries, room furniture and ambience are important aspects of music therapy work. These dual-purpose spaces enable the students to gain key transferable skills in being able to set up therapeutic spaces in most environments. This may include work in schools, hospices, care homes, outreach mental health services, arts in health and wellbeing settings,and specialist non-statutory therapeutic services.

Placements include a range of organisations and settings such as:

1.NHS settings in a variety of contexts such as mental health, learning disabilities, brain injury and other specialist areas.

2.Educational settings such as primary and secondary schools colleges and special schools.

3. Work with charities in hospice settings, trauma recovery services, and social enterprises.

4. Care homes.

and many others too numerous to list here.

We welcome your suggestions as to where you might like to undertake a placement, especially if you have made relationships with settings near your home base.


Students on our HCPC-approved Music Therapy course have access to two music therapy teaching rooms that are dual purpose as they also serve as clinical spaces. There are also a variety of IT facilities and specific learning spaces where students may be taught with peers from other courses. We also used Blended Learning where students will meet virtually for seminars and discussion groups.


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 equivalent to that of, for example, Grade 8 ABRSM. 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 be interested in this training and 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. 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 2023

26th April

23rd May

19th June


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 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Part-time UK:  £1630 per 20 credits

August 2024 - July 2025 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) £75
Years 1 - 3
Personal Therapy * £20 - £50
Cost is per session for a minimum of 15 sessions per academic year. Years 1-3. The total cost of this will be in the region of £300 - £750 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
Whilst optional at present, 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
Years 1, 2 & 3
Other: Placement Travel *
Years 1,2 and 3 . Cost dependent on placement


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 

The music therapy training is for those who wish to qualify as an Allied Health Professional, registered with the HCPC and therefore entitled to use the job protected title Music Therapist. Graduates are able to practise as music therapists in a variety of settings. They can work in the NHS or arts-based settings, charities or other Third Sector bases. Our alumni work in colleges for students with learning disabilities, mainstream and special schools, statutory and Third Sector bodies or set up their own business as a music therapist.

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.