Earn your BM in Music Therapy
Undergraduate students enroll as freshmen or transfer students and complete School of Music requirements for a Bachelor of Music degree while concurrently fulfilling professional certification requirements for music therapy.
Undergraduate students must be admitted to the School of Music, including an audition, as well as the university. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences general education requirements emphasize social, behavioral, and natural sciences, which are important in allied health professions such as music therapy.
Requirements and program planning
Undergraduate students interested in a career in music therapy work toward a Bachelor of Music degree within the School of Music.
Coursework includes music courses such as theory, history, lessons, and ensembles, as well as courses in psychology, anatomy, research, and general education. Fundamental courses in music theory, lessons on a major instrument, and general education courses make up the majority of classes in the freshman and sophomore year. Students are encouraged to also take Orientation to Music Therapy (MUS:1687) in the freshman year as an introduction to the profession. Students must receive a grade of "C+" or higher in this class in order to qualify for subsequent music therapy courses.
Once accepted into the program, students take Music Foundations in Therapy I and II their sophomore year. In these courses, students work on developing their musicianship, including how to play guitar and other social instruments.
Most core courses in music therapy are taken in the junior and senior years. Over a period of two years, students gradually move from observation of music therapy sessions to direct, supervised clinical experiences with clients in a variety of treatment settings. After academic coursework has been fulfilled, students complete a six-month internship at one of several hundred approved clinical sites off campus.
Information for transfer students
Students who transfer to Iowa from other schools can usually apply portions of completed coursework toward their undergraduate degree at Iowa.
First, the Office of Admissions determines which courses are transferable to the University of Iowa. Then, transcripts are analyzed to determine applicability to the music therapy program. For example, music therapy students must take a course in abnormal psychology. If abnormal psychology has been taken at another school, and subsequently has been accepted by the Office of the Registrar, those credits will apply toward graduation.
Preparing for the major
In addition to taking college preparatory courses in high school, students interested in music therapy can benefit from volunteer or part-time work in nursing homes, developmental centers, hospitals, summer camps, or any programs that provide experience in working with people, and particularly people with disabilities.
A Supportive Community
Students in the music therapy program receive:
Individualized attention and support from music therapy faculty
Consistent clinical supervision from board certified music therapists
Community engagement opportunities with a variety of practicum and internship sites
Extensive networking experiences with music therapy alumni
Available grant and scholarship funding for music therapy internships
You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.
The MyUI Schedule displays registered courses for a particular session and is available to enrolled students. The list view includes course instructors, time and location, and features to drop courses or change sections.
“I chose Iowa because I knew it was a strong program, but it was cemented when I met Dr. Adamek and Dr. Gfeller. They are such caring individuals and truly have their students' best interests in mind. They get to know you personally, and quickly become your strongest advocate. They are well-versed in the music therapy world, and have a great way of teaching their knowledge in an engaging way.”
"The undergraduate degree program prepares you with a set of clinical therapeutic skills that surpass most other schools, including graduate degree programs."
“I chose Iowa because the professors have a sincere interest in their students and the future of the profession. Both Dr. Adamek and Dr. Gfeller are highly respected in the field of music therapy and provide unique perspectives in their specialized areas and beyond. The support, encouragement, and high expectations of their students creates a program that is unparalleled.”
"Here were my top two reasons: A great education that prepares you for the real world and professors that truly want you to succeed."