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Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling

Program

The Master of Arts in Music Therapy & Counseling is a 90 quarter-credit program that integrates advanced music therapy and general counseling coursework with hands-on clinical experience and research opportunities, preparing graduates for a variety of career paths in the music therapy profession.    Faculty include dedicated, knowledgeable music therapists as well as other creative arts therapists, clinical psychologists and counseling educators, offering a curriculum focused on in-depth study of foundational and innovative music therapy and mental health theories and approaches. The program is designed to be completed in two years (7 quarters) of full-time study. Classes held during the regular academic year (Fall, Winter and Spring quarters) are taught in-person at our Center City Philadelphia campus, while coursework in the Summer term can be completed remotely.

Founded in 1975, the MA in Music Therapy & Counseling is one of the few music therapy  academic programs in the country housed on a health sciences campus. This setting provides a unique perspective on the merging  of arts and health sciences, with an emphasis on culturally responsive interprofessional education.  Students have opportunities for clinical experience, research and more at several University- related facilities, including Hahnemann University Hospital, Parkway Health & Wellness, the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

Our program is designed both for students who have a Bachelor’s degree in another field, and are seeking the required education and clinical experience to become a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC), as well as current Bachelor’s-level music therapists who wish to pursue advanced study in music therapy and counseling. All courses are taught at the graduate level; we do not offer an equivalency program.

The Music Therapy and Counseling Curriculum is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for the examination of the Certification Board for Music Therapists, to earn the MT-BC credential. Our program also meets the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) education requirements. Please note that licensure requirements vary from state to state, and may change at any time. Therefore, if you are considering counseling licensure in the future, you are strongly advised to review educational requirements for any state(s) in which you may seek counseling licensure. It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand the requirements for any type of future licensure.

What you'll learn

  • Integration of music therapy methodologies with mental health counseling and medical sciences theories and approaches.
  • Daily interaction with music, art and dance/movement therapists, psychologists, neuroscientists, physicians and other health professionals as teachers and supervisors.
  • Clinical applications of  instrumental and vocal improvisation, composition,  re-creative and imagery methods within music psychotherapy and counseling, medical music therapy and developmentally-focused treatment models.
  • Multiple supervised adult and child clinical placement opportunities in a variety of settings, including medical and psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facilities, schools, continuing care facilities, community health centers, correctional facilities and more.
  • Basic understanding of art and dance/movement therapies and their relationship to music therapy.
  • Interaction with students and educators representing all the health sciences.
  • A culminating project (traditional research thesis or capstone project) focused on a student’s chosen area of interest, and guided by a multidisciplinary advisement committee.
  • Student presentation of research at local, regional, and national conferences.

What makes the Drexel Music Therapy and Counseling program unique?

  • Housed in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, on the University’s health sciences campus.
  • Mental health counseling component of curriculum, which covers topics such as Human Psychological Development, Clinical Diagnosis, Group Dynamics, Theories of Psychotherapy, and Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling and Psychotherapy, and prepares students for professional counseling licensure in Pennsylvania.
  • A strong emphasis on multicultural perspectives and social justice.
  • The opportunity to study alongside art therapy and dance/movement therapy students, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement and collaboration.
  • Students complete coursework and clinical experiences simultaneously, allowing for synthesis of theoretical and practical knowledge throughout the program.

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

Background checks:

As a student of the College of Nursing and Health Professions you will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, child and elder abuse checks, drug test, immunizations, physical exams, health history, and/or other types of screening before being permitted to begin clinical training.

You will not need to submit documentation of these requirements as part of your application to the master’s program. Failure to fully satisfy these requirements as directed upon enrollment may prevent assignment to a clinical site for training.  A background check that reflects a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor may affect your ability to be placed in certain facilities, and later, to become board certified and licensed.

Deadline:

We accept and review applications on a rolling basis through May 1st for entry the following Fall. We encourage you to apply as early as possible, as the incoming class often reaches capacity before May 1st.

Degree:
Baccalaureate degree and demonstrate musical competencies in performance, music theory, and music history. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or above on all previous coursework.

Standardized Tests:
N/A

Transcripts:

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions

Prerequisites:
Volunteer or paid experience in a helping relationship preferred.

References:
Three letters of recommendation required. Letters should address academic and musical background. At least one letter should be from a music instructor. Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted electronically through your online application.

Personal Statement/ Essay:
A 300-750 word essay that focuses on the role of music in your development and family, and how your life path led you to music therapy.

Interview/Portfolio:

Audition: At the audition, applicants will:

  1. Prepare two works from different musical periods or in different music styles that demonstrate moderate to advanced level of proficiency on principal instrument/voice.
  2. Sing a traditional, folk, or popular song while accompanying self on piano.
  3. Sing a traditional, folk, or popular song while accompanying self on guitar.
  4. Be prepared to play basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in several keys on piano and guitar in several keys. 
  5. Play the melody of a given well-known song and provide the harmonic progression.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of music theory related to transposition, constructing chords.

International and long-distance candidates may submit a recorded audition on DVD or online  in lieu of items 1-4 above. International and long distance candidates should request instructions about all these requirements with their admission materials and are advised to begin the admission process early.

Interview: An in-depth in-person interview with the faculty of the graduate music therapy program, consisting of a review of personal, academic, interpersonal and creative aptitudes. Applicants will also be asked to demonstrate knowledge of one or more of the following topics: basic periods of Western music; jazz history; World music. For international and long-distance applicants, a phone interview or video chat may be substituted for the in-person interview.

CV/Resume:
Required.  Include relevant education, work and service/volunteer experience.

Clinical/Work/Volunteer Experience:
A social service work or volunteer history and cross cultural experience is highly valued.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying to a graduate program must have their transcripts evaluated by the approved agency: World Education Services (WES), 212.966.6311, Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087, Web site: www.wes.org/.
  • TOEFL: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). An official score report must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service. For more information visit the Web site: www.ets.org, then click on TOEFL.
  • I-20/DS-2019 and Supporting Financial Documents (international students only): Please print, complete, and submit the I-20/DS-2019 Application Form (PDF). 

International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
P.O. Box 8629
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629
215.222.8454, ext. 603

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
3600 Market St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
215.349.8767

World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
212.966.631

Tuition and Fee Rates
Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

Application Link (if outside organization):
N/A


Curriculum

Research

The program contains at least two research components. First-year students complete a research proposal related to the influence of music upon behavior. Second-year students are required to conduct original research in the form of a master’s thesis with the guidance of their director and a thesis committee. Once completed, a copy of the thesis becomes a permanent holding of the Drexel University library. First and second-year research projects are presented in a variety of research forums including the Drexel University’s Research, Scholarship, Innovation and Creativity Day, the Music Therapy Research Colloquium, and may be submitted to regional and national music therapy conferences.


Accreditation

The Music Therapy and Counseling program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association.

http://www.musictherapy.org/ 

Clinical Practice

Students complete more than 1,200 hours of graduate clinical practicum and internship experiences under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist. Placements include pediatric and adult psychiatric and general hospitals, recovery and wellness programs, therapeutic day care, preschool intervention programs, rehabilitation settings, long-term care facilities, forensic settings, schools, and community music therapy programs.

Students begin their clinical experience as soon as they enter the program. The clinical education is enhanced by 3 to 3.5 hours of individual and group supervision per week.

First-year students gain practical and theoretical knowledge regarding a range of clinical populations across two placements assigned by the Director of Field Education.  During practicum experiences supervised by on-site board-certified music therapists, students are guided through observation, assisting and co-leading of music therapy sessions in preparation for the second-year internship.

Clinical internship lasts the entire second year and offers an opportunity for students to mature and develop advanced skills with one or, in some cases, two populations. The internship is chosen by the student with assistance from the Director of Field Education and approved by the Music Therapy Program Director.  The practicum and internship fulfill the clinical training requirements of the American Music Therapy Association. 

Katy Hutchings, MA ‘15 - Music Therapist

Hometown: Piedmont, CA

Undergraduate: BA, Music (Minor in Educational Studies), Haverford College; MM, Voice Performance, Temple University

Current Employment:  Music Therapist at Young Children's Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

How did the MTC program help you discover and gain experience in your areas of interest? 
I loved that I had clinical experience throughout my two years at Drexel. While other programs make you wait to start clinical work, Drexel allowed me to dive right in and immediately start enhancing my education by seeing and participating in actual music therapy in the real world. As someone who was new to music therapy, this was incredibly valuable. Integrating clinical work and course work deepened my understanding of music therapy. I especially appreciated being able to find and choose my own internship my second year, allowing me to focus on working with children with developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other neurological diagnoses. 

How did your musical identity transform while you were in the Music Therapy program?
Coming from a career of being a professional singer and voice teacher, it was quite a shock to redefine myself as music therapist. I was a complete beginner at guitar and it was very humbling!  I also had never improvised and was not as confident in my improvisational skills. By the end of the program, I grew to love playing the guitar and improvising. 
What aspects of the curriculum were valuable in addressing issues of diversity, multicultural awareness, and social justice?
From our first day, we were introduced to instruments and musical styles from all over the world and different cultures. Musically, we explored a large variety of styles in a safe, nonjudgmental environment and our own personal music histories were valued as well. In our core curriculum courses, I appreciate the focus on diversity and multicultural awareness especially in terms of our role as therapists in such a diverse city like Philadelphia. 

What guidance would you give students who are considering Drexel’s MA in Music Therapy & Counseling? 
Drexel's program is intense but in two years you will feel confident in your skills as a clinician, counselor, and musician. All of my classmates were able to find full time work almost immediately and that speaks to how prepared we all were entering the job market. As an older student returning to school to start a new career, I felt very respected and supported by the faculty and my peers. Another benefit of Drexel's program is the opportunity to take classes with Art Therapy and Dance Movement Therapy students, allowing me to gain a broader perspective of Creative Arts Therapies. I now have a greater sense of how the arts can be used in therapy and I also have a large network of peers from all three modalities. 

Michael Mahoney MA’10 – Alum, Practicum/Internship Supervisor

Hometown: Brockport, NY

Undergraduate major and institution: Philosophy (with Business Studies minor) at SUNY Geneseo

Current Employment: Music Therapist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Why did you choose Drexel’s Music Therapy & Counseling program? I appreciated that Drexel would not require me to earn an undergraduate music degree, as I didn’t have a particular interest in becoming an expert on a specific instrument. Instead, I was able to use my own past experiences (playing in bands with friends, music technology) to develop my model to my own strengths.

What guidance would you give students who are considering Drexel’s MA in Music Therapy & Counseling?
Gain musical experiences, either by learning formal music theory, or on the side of playing music by playing music in performing groups before you begin. 

How did this program prepare you for a career as a music therapist? Through classwork and on-site experiences, I learned everything I needed to know to stand at the starting line of my own music therapy professional practice. I received huge amounts of support from respected experts in the field, and learned to initiate an ongoing learning process that continues to enrich my work today.

What has your professional experience been like? Extremely rewarding and marked by good fortune! I accepted a job at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shortly after graduation, and I am now nearing my six-year anniversary. Every day I support patients and their families in playing out their thoughts, feelings and values through musical experiences during life-changing illnesses and hospitalizations. I think a lot about how to support everyone I meet from infant patients to their great-grandparents in the developmental challenges they face. This great honor is also a great responsibility, which I take very seriously.

What aspects of the curriculum were valuable in addressing issues of diversity, multicultural awareness, and social justice?
Our class content helped me understand how my (white, male, hetero cis-gendered) perspectives and values are not necessarily "the norm" for everyone, but rather just a single reference point out of so many across the city and the world.  It showed me how community or other non-Western approaches can be more beneficial for the struggling person, than anything that fits my ideas of what's normal.

News & Events

 

02/16/17

On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
 
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
 
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
 
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17

 

02/13/17

Al Rundio, PhD, DNP, RN, APRN, CARN-AP, NEA-BC, FNAP, FIAAN, FAAN, associate dean for nursing and CNE, became the editor for the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice.
 
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, Deborah Rutter, director of the Kennedy Center, and renowned soprano, Renée Fleming, serving as an artistic ambassador for the Kennedy Center, sponsored an historic research workshop, “Music and the Brain: Research Across the Lifespan,” on January 26-27, 2017. CNHP’s Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department, one of only eight music therapists included, served as a panelist and moderator discussing “Music and Music Therapy: Chronic Pain, Anxiety, and Depression.”
 
Chair of the nutrition sciences program Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM and vice chair and director of doctorate physical therapy program Kevin Gard, PT, DPT, OCS ‘92 were interviewed about staying healthy during the winter months for Philly.com.
 
Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, a clinical professor in the health services administration department drafted an opinion piece in PennLive about the banning of e-cigarettes.
 
Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, professor and assistant dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, doctoral nursing department, participated at the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and American Academy of Nursing. The topic of the January 11 panel discussion, moderated by CNHP’s Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP, was “Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care: A Critical Conversation.”  Waite addressed using practices and positive outcomes of nurse-led health centers to enhance curricula and reconfigure clinical experiences for nursing programs. She also spoke to how these centers might partner with acute care settings to integrate efforts and focus even more acutely on social determinants of health.  Judging by the questions Donnelly prepared for the panel, a big focus was on evolving primary care delivery and how the nursing profession might contribute to the next ten years, what that looks like for the job market, for improving care experiences and reducing per capita costs.
 
Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN, an assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, was quoted in a Jan. 25 Bon Appetite story about how to adjust your diet so you can live longer. 

01/24/17

Leon F. Vinci, DHA, CNHP adjunct faculty in Health Sciences Administration, was selected as national Technical Adviser for Climate Change with theNational Environmental Health Association (NEHA) for 2016 - 2017. 

NEHA is an international organization with over 5,000 members with the mission “To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all.” NEHA is recognized as having achieved an established standard of excellence known as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential.

As the Climate Change technical advisor, Vinci will review and provide guidance to the NEHA Annual Educational Conference concerning presentations and research in the field of Climate Change and its intersection with human health.



CNHP second-year DPT students won the 2016-17 VCU-Marquette Challenge’s November “Challenge of the Month!” The VCU-Marquette Challenge is a national competition between physical therapy schools to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy for PT research. For this year's Marquette Challenge, CNHP DPT students created a variety of prints from stamps that were carved into linoleum blocks. Images were related to movement and PT as well as their hometown cities. Their prize is a Whole Foods gift card to share.



The John and Jinnie Chapel ACHIEVE Center and Dragon Lounge opened on January 18 as the culmination of several years of work by CNHP professor Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN ‘06. This space is a “hang-out” for student-athletes where they can take advantage of the fueling station. The station extends access to nourishment before and after practice and gives athletes an opportunity to meet and interact with the Dragon’s sports dietitian (and alumna), Andrea Grasso Irvine, MS, RD, LDN ‘13 and Drexel nutrition sciences interns. 



Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, professor and assistant dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, doctoral nursing department, participated at the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and American Academy of Nursing. The topic of the January 11 panel discussion, moderated by CNHP’s Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP was “Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care: A Critical Conversation.” 

Waite addressed using practices and positive outcomes of nurse-led health centers to enhance curricula and reconfigure clinical experiences for nursing programs. She also spoke to how these centers might partner with acute care settings to integrate efforts and focus even more acutely on social determinants of health.

Judging by the questions Donnelly prepared for the panel, a big focus was on evolving primary care delivery and how the nursing profession might contribute to the next ten years, what that looks like for the job market, for improving care experiences and reducing per capita costs.

 

Maggie O'Neil, PhD, PT, MPH, ’99, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Paul Diefenbach, PhD, associate professor, Digital Media Department, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, were invited to present at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Special Needs Consortium on January 17, 2016.

A common theme for the event was the use of technology in working with children with special needs and their families. O’Neil and Diefenbach presented and PSNC participants tried their customized games to promote active recreation, health, fitness and fun children with special needs.


A study which CNHP Creative Arts Therapies faculty Girija Kaimal, EdD, MCAT ‘01 conducted about the effects of creativity in reducing cortisol was cited in Reader’s Digest Canada. Kaimal was also featured in HERe adding her expertise about using art therapy to help stave off employee burnout. 


Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, an associate professor in doctoral nursing and nutrition sciences was featured on Fox29 News about a new treatment for chronic wounds.


Paul Nolan, MCAT, MT-BC, LPC , ’82, adjunct faculty and former director of the music therapy program, was featured on Newsworks about making resolutions for the New Year that actually work.


Chair of the nutrition sciences program Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM and vice chair and director of doctorate physical therapy program Kevin Gard ‘92 were interviewed about staying healthy during the winter months for Philly.com.


Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, clinical professor of health services administration drafted an opinion piece in PennLive about the banning of e-cigarettes.


Nancy Gerber, PhD, MCAT ’77, associate clinical professor and the director of the doctoral creative art therapies program, was interviewed by Philly.com about coloring being a respite from the crazy, fast-paced lives we lead.

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