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.

Course Offerings

Course offerings for performance track

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

Music Therapy blonde woman professor wearing a bright red sweater and holding a guitar, talking with a female student also holding a guitar

Program overview

The music therapy faculty at Iowa are internationally renowned for their areas of expertise. We genuinely care about our students and their success. We regularly collaborate with medical, psychiatric, educational, and community sites to advance research, teaching, and clinical practice--and we bring that cutting-edge knowledge into the classroom. At Iowa, students benefit from the most up-to-date information, research, and skills available in the field. 

A female music therapist sitting with a guitar on the floor of a classroom, surrounded by small children

Your successful career

The Iowa Music Therapy program boasts a 100% placement and success rate for internships, and 100% pass rate for the national board certification exam. Our graduates obtain full-time employment as music therapists in a variety of settings across the nation. 

We support the strengths of students, and challenge them to learn, grow, and discover their potential. Our students are lifelong learners, skilled clinicians, and leaders in the profession.  

Create your academic path

You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.

Current course list

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.

Music therapy alumni

Karen Reshetar


“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.”

Erin Frank

"The undergraduate degree program prepares you with a set of clinical therapeutic skills that surpass most other schools, including graduate degree programs."

Virginia Driscoll


“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.”

Gwen Liebold

"Here were my top two reasons: A great education that prepares you for the real world and professors that truly want you to succeed."


Portrait of Abbey Dvorak

Abbey Dvorak

Music Therapy
Associate Professor
Music Therapy Area Head

Music therapy faculty

Portrait of Abbey Dvorak

Abbey Dvorak

Music Therapy
Associate Professor
Music Therapy Area Head
Portrait of Hae Sun Kim

Hae Sun Kim

Music Therapy
Assistant Professor
Portrait of Kirsten Nelson

Kirsten Nelson

Music Therapy

Practice and perform

Need to book a music room, request an accompanist, check out audition information, rent a locker, or use a recording studio? Visit the Music Callboard for all scheduling and policy information.