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Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy

UI music therapy student works with seniors.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. 

For admission information, please visit Undergraduate Admission. Undergraduate students must be admitted to the School of Music as well as the university. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' general education requirements emphasize social, behavioral, and natural sciences, which are important in allied health professions such as music therapy.

Degree Requirements

Undergraduate students interested in a career in music therapy work toward a Bachelor of Music degree within the School of Music. During the first two years of education, coursework is very similar to that of music education and music performance students. 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. However, students are encouraged to 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 other music therapy courses.

The majority of 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.

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.

Financial Aid

Students interested in financial aid should explore options available through the School of Music and the University. In addition to scholarships and loans, some students take advantage of the University's work-study program. Many students in music therapy have gained professional experience as well as financial support by working part time for local health care and social service agencies.


“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.”
—Karen Reshetar, MT-BC

“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.”
—Virginia Driscoll, MA, MT-BC

"I chose the University of Iowa because of the small professor-student class ratio and the individual focused attention to help me develop my strengths and interests. The professors are highly reputable in the areas of research, teaching and supervision in this field and I will certainly benefit from their guidance throughout my years in Iowa. Before coming here, one of my mentors in the field of music therapy told me, 'Go to Iowa, it will be a life-changing experience for you!' Here I am, and that statement couldn't have been more true.”
—Xueli Tan, MA, MT-BC    

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

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

For more information about the undergraduate Music Therapy program, please contact:

Dr. Abbey Dvorak
Director of Music Therapy Program


Music Therapy Faculty