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Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling


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.


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.


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.

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:


  • 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

Volunteer or paid experience in a helping relationship preferred.

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.


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.

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:
  • 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:, 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

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

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

Application Link (if outside organization):



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.


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

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. 

News & Events



Noor Jemy (BS, Health Services Administration ’16), president of the Philadelphia Muslim Students Association Council, was quoted in an article urging Muslim students to travel in groups or call campus security for escorts if they fear harassment and attacks, in light of the recent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes. 

Victoria Scotti, PhD (PhD, Creative Arts ‘16) and Dr. Patricia Leavy wrote and illustrated a new book, Low Fat Love Stories, that combines interview data, images, and fiction to create a literary work based on scholarly research. 

John D. Sauder (BSN ‘88) was promoted to president of Mennonite Home Communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
Jeffery Evans (Physician Assistant ‘00) is the host of the new show Everest Air on the Travel Channel, which will feature the work of the first dedicated search-and-rescue team on Mount Everest. 


Alumna Victoria Scotti, PhD ’16 can now add “book author” to her resume.  Low-Fat Love Stories, a collection of first person narratives describing women’s dissatisfying relationships with a romantic partner or relative or their body image was co-authored by Scotti and Patricia Leavy.  The stories and visual portraits were based on interview research with women that started as a practicum at Drexel.  
To view a short description of the book, or to order a copy, click here


Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, associate professor of Nursing, Doctoral Nursing, and Nutrition Science, and Paulina Sockow, DrPH, associate professor, Department of Health Systems and Science Research, participated in a panel discussion for the Farnese Symposium, “Aging in Place: What is the Future?”
Karen Diaz, Sarah Pelletier, Jennifer Romania, and Rachael Rock participated in the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants Conference Challenge Bowl and earned 3rd place. 
Susan Aldridge, PhD, senior vice president of Drexel University and president of Drexel University Online, wrote an article called “Putting Technology to Work for Transfer Students,” which is featured on The EvoLLLution.  
Bronwen Gale (Art Therapy & Counseling, ’16) was recently selected as the recipient of the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association’s Master’s Thesis Research Award for her thesis, “Artistic Inquiry with Loved Ones of Those Exhibiting Hoarding Behaviors.” Gale was recognized for her research during the DVATA’s 2016 Conference on October 1 at the Franklin Institute.  A number of Art Therapy & Counseling faculty and alumni also presented at the conference, including Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor; Donna Kaiser, PhD, former director of Art Therapy & Counseling; Denise Wolf, adjunct professor; Yasmine Awais, assistant clinical professor, and alumni Jessica Drass ‘12, Michelle Dean ‘96, Bethany Stiltner ‘10, Caroline Peterson ‘00, and Laura York ‘10. 
Sherry Goodill, PhD,  HU '80, chair of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, delivered the Marion Chace Foundation keynote address, “Movement, Metaphor, and Money,” at the 51st Annual American Dance Therapy Association Conference.
Ellen Schelly Hill, Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program director, received the President’s Award, which recognizes American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) Board of Directors members for their service and contributions to ADTA and the dance/movement therapy field. 
Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling faculty member Dawn Morningstar (Eastern Region Member-At-Large) and adjunct faculty Anne Margrethe Melsom (Chair, Committee on Approval) were installed on the American Dance Therapy Association Board of Directors. 
More News & Events