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) qualified music therapist.

This highly experiential course, with a psychodynamic underpinning to its theoretical basis, provides students with training comprising of theoretical, clinical and musical experiences. It also investigates attachment theory, ensuring you develop your own therapeutic persona throughout the three years of the course. 

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

2020/21 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

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 that will inform the rest of your studies. An infant/child observation will equip you with practical experience to link theory with practice. 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 talks and discussions will provide an insight into the principles, practices and application of Music Therapy.

  • Theory and Practice of Music Therapy
    This module covers infant or child observation; seminars and workshops with highly experiential and participatory content relating to study of theories and concepts relevant to Music Therapy practice and the arts therapies in general; the study of a range of client groups; verbal experiential groups and group supervision.

  • Music Therapy Skills 1
    This module covers the development of music therapy specific skills; role play and repertoire development.

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 and client groups and settings. You will further develop your specialist Music Therapy skills and continue to learn through experiential group, supervision groups, workshops, lectures, show cases 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; verbal experiential groups and 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 modules incorporates an micronanalysis of clinical music therapy and the development of further specialist music therapy skills.

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. Support is provided through tutorials, peer discussion and presentations.

  • Music Therapy Research and Practice
    This module incorporates research methods and a final project; croup supervision and modality specific experiential groups; 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 are personal therapy for the duration of the music therapy course. 



The Music Therapy Masters is taught through classroom teaching, presentations, clinical placement, professional development, research proposal, and self-directed and independent study.

Year One: One day per week at university, a Monday; in the second semester (January or possibly early December), this will change to one day at university and one day at placement. There are 15 weeks of one-day-a-week placement.

Year Two: One day at university, a Tuesday, and one day at placement. The placement is for 20 weeks.

Year Three: One day at placement for 20 weeks and one day on campus, a Wednesday


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

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

Formative assessment will be collated from placement providers via placement report and student self-assessment, course staff and group leaders in form of group supervision report, accumulative feedback from classroom and peer feedback.

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

Music Therapy Skills 1
The assessments for this module consist of a practical assessment and a short written reflection on your musical development.

Therapeutic Approaches and Evidence Based Practice
The assessments will consist of a Case study and assignment on institutional dynamics as well as a portfolio. You will also work in small groups to create an academic poster interrogating the service user experience.

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

Music Therapy Research and Practice
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. You will also give a presentation on your clinical work at the end of the academic year.


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 and non-traditional ways of working in music therapy are also explored together with the concept of what ‘therapy space’ may look like in practice.

A key feature of our Music Therapy course is training in music therapy art rooms where client therapy work is undertaken at other times during the week. This enables our students to consider the room with service users in mind at all times.

Organisation of resources, safety and boundaries, room furniture and ambience are important to explore and it enables the students to gain key transferable skills in being able to set up therapeutic spaces in most environments. This may include non-traditional work in outreach mental health services, arts in health and wellbeing settings, museums and galleries as well as traditional therapy spaces which are ward based (acute mental health settings), in community and/or specialist non-statutory therapeutic services.

Placements include a range of organisations and settings such as:

NHS (PMHT, CMHT, specialist services – forensics secure and medium secure wards, eating disorders services, CAMHS – all levels, perinatal mental health services, learning disabilities, palliative care, physical and chronic conditions and arts in health and wellbeing programmes within the NHS); education (primary, secondary, specialist, further education, YOT); social services, youth offending agencies, specialist agencies (trauma recovery centres, sexual assault referral centres, private forensic settings, substance misuse and recovery services); charity (palliative care and hospice care, AiHWB, social enterprises and arts based organisations in rural areas) etc.


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 the art and music therapy students are jointly taught.


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

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 experience of a variety of styles of music is required. Applicants must be able to perform on their main instrument or voice to a standard equivalent to Grade 8. One reference* uploaded with the application.

An ability to use music symbolically and expressively and to improvise, relate, and communicate through the art form should be present with individuals and groups. Significant practical experience (voluntary or paid) in a relevant setting, or with clients or service users, to demonstrate that you are able to work with a range of client groups.

A reference uploaded with your application. The reference must be on letter headed paper or the referee can send it directly from a professional/work email address to

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 2021

The interview will consist of a group audition, followed by an individual interview at which you will be expected to perform on your main instrument and second instrument. No accompanist is provided, so you will need to arrange your own if you require one. There will be an opportunity to improvise during the interview with a staff team member.

Dates to be confirmed.


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 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £1490 per 20 credits

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Professional body student fees * £75
Years 1 - 3
Therapy £20 - £50
Cost is per session for a minimum of 20 sessions per academic year. Years 1-3
DBS * £53.20
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.
Other: Professional Indemnity Insurance £45 - £75
Years 1, 2 & 3
Other: Placement Travel
Years 1,2 and 3 . Cost dependent on placement
Other: Infant Observation
Year 1. Cost dependent on location
Other: Encrypted memory stick for clinical work £12 - £20
Years 1, 2 & 3



Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.


USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount 

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales graduates studying a postgraduate course from September 2021 (this includes students starting their course in January/ February 2022). T's and C's apply.

Click here for more information about the USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount


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.