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Music Therapy Equivalency Program

The equivalency program in Music Therapy is designed for those persons who already hold an undergraduate degree (most typically in music performance or music education), but who wish to complete requirements for professional certification as a music therapist. Rather than completing a second bachelor's degree, the student completes courses beyond the bachelor's degree that are required for professional training.

In the equivalency program, students complete the additional coursework required beyond their bachelor's degree for professional certification by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Students who have an undergraduate degree in music often enroll under the classification of special student. For most students with an undergraduate degree in music, the equivalency program requires 3 semesters of on-campus study (may be part-time enrollment for the third semester, depending on analysis of the transcripts), followed by a 6-month required internship off campus. Some students who have a B.A. (rather than B.M.) and who require additional music credits sometimes enter as a transfer student, and they take at least a semester longer to complete the equivalency program. Students with undergraduate degrees in areas other than music must complete basic coursework in music (i.e., music theory, lessons on a major instrument, music history, composition, etc.) in addition to the core music therapy program. Following coursework at Iowa, the student must successfully complete a six-month internship at an approved clinical site. Transcripts of coursework from the student's undergraduate program along with the equivalency program at Iowa are submitted toward professional certification following completion of the internship.

Because this is a professional certification-only option, those students enrolled under the classification of special student do not officially fit the categories of undergraduate or graduate students. Consequently, students will not qualify for some university-sponsored financial aid, which is expressly for graduate or undergraduate students. However, they may qualify for some School of Music scholarships or loans offered through private lending institutions.

This program can be completed in conjunction with work toward a Master of Arts in Music Education. For example, students enrolled in the graduate program in music education can apply several of the music therapy core courses toward the Master of Arts in music education. In such cases, the student should contact the head of the area of graduate study to determine admissions policies and program requirements.

Equivalency Program course checklist


Liberal Arts requirements emphasize social, behavioral, and natural sciences, which are important in allied health professions such as music therapy. Undergraduate students must be admitted to the School of Music as well as the University of Iowa.  For information about School of Music admissions, music scholarships, and auditions, contact the Academic Office of the School of Music at or 319-335-1603.

For information about the equivalency Music Therapy program, please contact:

Abbey Dvorak