The Department of Music at SUNY New Paltz offers a master’s degree in Music Therapy. Music Therapy applicants pursue a program of study leading to candidacy for licensure as a creative arts therapist (LCAT) through the New York State Education Department Office of the Professions. Following completion of the 48-credit degree in Music Therapy, students must pass a professional licensing examination and complete 1500 clock hours of supervised clinical experience in order to qualify for Licensure as a Creative Arts Therapist in New York State.

Apply to a SUNY New Paltz graduate programAdmission Requirements and Procedures

  • Baccalaureate degree in music with 60 credits or more in music;
  • Passing grade on placement audition for guitar and piano accompaniment;
  • Passing grade on placement audition in vocal performance;
  • Passing grade on placement audition in sight reading for guitar, piano, and voice;
  • Artistry on major instrument demonstrated at live audition at SUNY New Paltz.
  • 15 credits of undergraduate work including:
    • Introduction to Music Therapy (3),
    • Music Therapy Methods and Materials (3),
    • Psychology of Music (3),
    • Music Therapy Practicum (3),
    • and a statistics course (3).

You Must Submit

  • A completed graduate school application
  • One official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work providing evidence of a baccalaureate degree in music (60 crs. in music) from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale
  • A typed statement that describes your educational aspirations, experiences in working with persons with health impairments or handicapping conditions, and how the training in the master’s program in music therapy will help you achieve your personal and professional goals. The response should be 300-400 words in length. The Music faculty will examine the writing sample with respect to content, clarity and organization of ideas, grammar and style.
  • Three letters of professional recommendation written on professional letterhead. All letters must:
    1. be dated and current;
    2. address how long the writer has known you and in what capacity;
    3. address your suitability for graduate work in music therapy, referring to your academic abilities, ability to work with clients, others and your professional commitment;
    4. be written by individuals who have a professional relationship with you. It is mandated that at least one letter of recommendation is written by a professor who has direct knowledge of your academic abilities.
  • Evidence of Music Therapy Board Certification (if applicable)

You Must Complete

  • An audition on your major instrument
  • Placement examinations on voice, piano accompaniment and guitar accompaniment
  • Placement examination on sight reading

Deadlines for application to the Music Therapy master’s program can be obtained by contacting the Music Department at (845) 257-2700 or by visiting the Music Department’s website at:

Music Therapy Coursework (31 Credits)
MUS540Foundations of Music Therapy 3
MUS542Music in Counseling 3
MUS543Music Therapy for Older Adults3
MUS544Medical Music Therapy Assessment and Treatment 3
MUS545Music Therapy in Special Education 3
MUS742Music Therapy Research and Program Evaluation 3
MUS743Fieldwork 12
MUS744Fieldwork 22
MUS745Music Therapy Internship I 3
MUS746Music Therapy Internship II 3
MUS748Thesis Seminar 1
MUS749Thesis 2
Music Coursework (11 Credits)
MUS541Repertoire in Therapy3
MUS546Improvisation for Therapy 3
MUS547Advanced Guitar for Therapists and Educators 3
MUS548Music Therapy Ensemble 2
Counselor Education (6 Credits)
COU575Human Growth and Development3
Total Credits48

Program Requirements

Complete the prescribed course work and other requirements within five years after matriculation. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, with no more than two grades below B-.


You will be informed of your academic advisor and his/her office hours when you are accepted into the Music Therapy program. You should make an appointment immediately with your advisor to develop a comprehensive plan of study.

The comprehensive plan of study developed by you and your academic advisor officially outlines your degree requirements and eligibility for licensure as a creative arts therapist. Any changes in this plan of study will require prior approval from your academic advisor. Your academic advisor is available to assist you throughout your study and will serve as your guide during the program. It is important to maintain continuous communication with your academic advisor in order to facilitate your progress in the program.

Transfer Credit

With the approval of your academic advisor and the Assistant Vice President of the Graduate & Extended Learning Office, students can transfer up to 9 graduate credits. However, credits cannot be transferred after the Plan of Study is approved.

Please note: Courses taken prior to acceptance into the Music Therapy program may not be fully credited on your plan of study, even if taken at SUNY New Paltz.

Registering for Courses

Be sure to pre-register for your courses as outlined in the Plan of Study. You must meet with your advisor to discuss course work each semester. Pre-registration for the spring semester occurs in November and pre-registration for the summer and fall semesters occurs in April.

Change of Name and/or Address

Please notify the Music Department Office and the Records and Registration Office immediately if your name changes and/or if your address, telephone and/or email address changes.

Sample Program

The Music Therapy program consists of 48 credit hours for students with baccalaureate degrees in Music Therapy or the MT-BC. Students with other degrees in music must complete 15 credits of undergraduate work in Music Therapy and meet competencies in sight reading, voice, and piano and guitar accompaniment.

Course Work

Course work in music therapy is designed to offer sequential learning experiences that will develop clinical competencies for work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. You should take these courses in the sequence suggested by your academic advisor.