Program Overview

Program Coordinator Kathleen Murphy, (845) 257-2708,
Program ID 285
Credits 48
Program Length MS can be completed in 2 years if enrolled full-time, but students must complete degree within 7 years
Modality In-person
Full-time/Part-time Full-time
Transfer Credits 9
Capstone Internship
Licensure/Certification NYS Creative Arts Therapist Licensure

Program Description

The Master of Science degree in Music Therapy comprises 48-credits and provides students with a baccalaureate degree in music the opportunity to study music therapy at an advanced level. In this program, students acquire musical, clinical, and research skills essential for professional practice. The program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), the New York State Department of Education, and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. 

Students who enter the program with an undergraduate degree in music therapy, complete the required 48 credit curriculum and a minimum of 500 hours advanced internship, 30-hour advanced practicum, students are eligible to apply for licensure as a Creative Arts Therapist in the State of New York. Students who do not enter the program with a bachelor's degree will be required to complete extra coursework, 180 hours of supervised fieldwork, and an additional 520 hours of internship.

Apply to a SUNY New Paltz graduate programAdmission Requirements

  1. One official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work providing evidence of a baccalaureate degree in music* (60 credits in music) from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0, which includes the following courses: music therapy, methods and materials, psychology of music, practicum and a statistics course.
    * Interested non-music majors should contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Kathy Murphy, before applying. Students without a degree in music, music therapy, or related discipline and a music minor may be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis, but they should expect to take additional coursework.
  2. Admissions essay in response to the following prompts:
    • Describe what has influenced your decision to study music therapy. Consider the impact of your life experiences and challenges and how you handled them.
    • Describe your relationship to music.
  3. Contact information for three references
  4. A video (or link to a video) demonstrating their musical skills. 
    The video should contain the following examples:
    • Two musical compositions demonstrating musical skill. These can be on any instrument of the applicants choosing. They can be vocal or instrumental.
  5. Interview & music skills assessment with music therapy faculty.
    ​During the music skills assessment applicants will be asked to:
    • Demonstrate the ability to sing and accompany themselves on piano (2 songs)
    • Demonstrate the ability to sing and accompany themselves on guitar (2 songs)
    • Demonstrate musical skill by performing 2 songs of the applicants choosing
  6. Music Theory Placement Test (sent to applicants after their interview)
  7. Evidence of Music Therapy Board Certification (if applicable)
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
Foundations and Theory (12 Credits)
MUS540Music Therapy Foundations3
MUS754Music Therapy Across the Lifespan3
COU575Human Growth and Development3
Clinical Skills (16 Credits)
MUS756Music Therapy Groupwork3
MUS544Medical Music Therapy Assessment and Treatment 3
MUS743Fieldwork 12
MUS744Fieldwork 22
MUS745Music Therapy Internship I 3
MUS746Music Therapy Internship II 3
Research (6 Credits)
MUS742Music Therapy Research3
MUS748Thesis Seminar 1
MUS749Thesis (Taken twice)2
Clinical Musicianship (12 Credits)
MUS541Recreative Methods in Music Therapy3
MUS546Advanced Clinical Improvisation3
MUS550Advanced Receptive Music Therapy Methods3
MUS547Advanced Guitar for Therapists and Educators 3
Personal Development and Professional Role (2 Credits)
MUS750Cultural Humility in Music Therapy2
Total Credits48

Graduate Checklist

  • Apply for graduation via under “Graduation” tab according to the schedule in the academic calendar.   

  • Resolve any pending admission conditions (outlined in your acceptance letter) and/or missing documents if applicable. 

  • Review your progress report via to ensure that you have completed all program requirements.  

  • Remember that only two grades below a B- may be applied to your plan of study 

  • Contact your advisor if you need to amend your plan or process transfer credit. 

  • Ensure that you are in good academic standing with a GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.0 or higher. 

  • Pass your capstone or culminating assessment. 

  • Complete your degree within the specified time limit outlined in the Program Overview. 

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 Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate, Professional & Interdisciplinary Studies, 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.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Build a foundation of musicianship based on performing, composing, interpreting, and improvising.  

  • Engage in a diverse range of multi-ethnic musical styles through study and participation that gives students a broad understanding of cultural, historical, political, and health-wellness contexts. 

  • Work effectively as a contributing member of a small team and larger group.

  • Cultivate organizational and team-building skills to create and serve future communities.

  • Synthesize foundational skills and knowledge to empower creative risk-taking in developing artistic career paths.