Music Therapy is the application of music for rehabilitation of brain function and development and maintenance of mental and physical health. The qualified music therapist creates therapeutic music exercises to facilitate functional non-musical outcomes, training and retraining abilities in cognition, speech and language, motor control, academic performance, emotional growth, and social skills. There is strong scientific evidence that music is a powerful tool in therapy, engaging and changing the brain, and promoting behavioral learning and change.
Colorado State University has a long tradition in clinical education, research, and scholarship in music therapy. With an outstanding music program and an academic focus on evidence-based practice, graduates from Colorado State learn necessary tools to be an integral member of a treatment team or pursue a career in private practice. Students also have the opportunity to be involved in research at the Center for Biomedical Research in Music, an international leader in music and neuroscience research.
In addition to the clinical core, music therapy majors take a wide variety of courses in music theory, music history, music performance, and coursework emphasizing the research aspects of music therapy. In addition, the program requires courses in psychology, neuroscience, and medical terminology. A total of 120 credits are required for the degree. Successful completion of all curricular requirements, plus a six month clinical internship, qualifies a graduate to sit for the National Board Certification Examination.
All degree programs are approved by the American Music Therapy Association.
This degree prepares the student for a career using music for restoration, maintenance, or improvement in mental and/or physical health. Music therapists generally work with other health care professionals to create interdisciplinary programs for improving their clients’ well-being. The music therapy curriculum includes a strong emphasis in music, the neurosciences, and psychology. Colorado State University is the only university in the central Rocky Mountain region providing undergraduate or graduate education in music therapy. The Center for Biomedical Research in Music, the research arm of the program, has been designated by the Colorado State Legislature as a “Program of Excellence”, and is a world-recognized affiliated center for music and brain research.
Develop Your Clinical Skills
You will develop your skills as a music therapist, with focus on evidence-based music therapy techniques that promote changes in cognitive, sensorimotor, speech and language, and psychosocial functioning. This degree develops your use of music therapy techniques to:
- Rehabilitate individuals with neurologic disease and disorders
- Maintain functioning with older adults
- Improve the communication, academic performance, and social skills of children with disabilities
- Promote cognition and enhance memory
- Facilitate motor development in children with disabilities
- Improve treatment outcomes
- Plan A – 30 credits are required.
- Plan B – 32 credits are required.
- A minimum of 24 credits must be earned at Colorado State
- University (up to six transfer credits accepted).
- Up to nine credits may be taken before formal admission to
the degree program. The degree is available with a thesis
- (Plan A) or a non-thesis (Plan B) option in which the student completes a final project and written exam.
The Master’s degree program in music therapy at Colorado State University is intended to provide Board Certified music therapists with advanced training in clinical skills and research. Our curriculum specializes in evidence-based practice and neuroscience of music therapy. Specifically, the study of music therapy at Colorado State University is to prepare music therapists for advanced clinical work in music therapy, to supervise music therapy clinics, and to teach music therapy.
Two master's curriculum tracks are offered: the first is a thesis program of 30 credit hours designed to provide students with the opportunity to complete a substantial research project at the Center for Biomedical Research in Music, or in the Fort Collins community. The second track is a 32-hour program that requires, in lieu of a thesis, additional course work in music therapy. Either program prepares the student to pursue doctoral study. Our academic curricula are approved by both the American Music Therapy Association and the National Association of Schools of Music.
Applicants are expected to be Board-Certified Music Therapists (or eligible to sit for the exam) and demonstrate excellent musicianship and interpersonal skills.
The program is designed for the person who has earned an undergraduate degree in a music field and desires to study music therapy at the graduate level. Students in this program take the necessary undergraduate prerequisite coursework to fulfill requirements for entry-level practice concurrently with graduate coursework in advanced clinical practice and research. After completion of all course work, a six month clinical internship, and an advanced clinical placement, the student is eligible to sit for the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) exam.
The CSU Music Therapy Equivalency plus Master's Degree program is only offered on campus in Fort Collins, Colo. Our program is focused on the evidenced-based practice in music therapy, including courses in science, psychology, counseling, and music therapy. Students have opportunities to join a research team or complete a research project in the Center for Biomedical Research in Music.
- Bachelor degree in music (i.e., performance, bachelor of music education).
- Application and audition informtion (PDF)
Colorado State University is committed to providing you flexible, convenient, and high quality degrees and courses online and at a distance. Advance your career as a music therapist while maintaining your current work placement. Through your course of study, you will learn how to use music as a form of therapy to address the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
Learn to work with people who have neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, developmental disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
As this degree is delivered mostly online, earn your music therapy degree at your own pace and still maintain full-time employment. The program requires only one on-campus session, typically during the second year of the program. These weekends, from Thursday to Sunday, include training that is not possible to receive online.
Your interaction with the faculty and fellow students depends on the specific course. Online courses do provide you with online office hours and email contact. Collaborate on projects and exchange ideas with fellow classmates through email and discussion board postings.
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The Center for Biomedical Research in Music (CBRM) was established at Colorado State University as an interdisciplinary research and service center for teaching, learning and community therapy outreach in 1994. It is sanctioned by the university as a unit in the interdisciplinary CIOSU (Centers, Institutes, and other Units) division.
Research at CBRM has pioneered internationally many aspects of the clinical neuroscience of music. Breakthrough discoveries did establish the physiological basis and clinical applications of rhythmic auditory-motor connections in motor rehabilitation for persons with stroke, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, and other movement disorders. These findings are now clinically applied all over the world.
CBRM faculty are connected at CSU through academic appointments and collaborative research projects to the Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Neuroscience Program, the PhD program in Occupational and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Center of Aging, and the Departments of Psychology, Health and Exercise Science, and Occupational Therapy. Multiple research collaborations exist between CBRM and Research Centers in the U.S. and abroad.