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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 can be completed in a minimum of two years (seven quarters) of full-time study, although some students may take longer to complete all program requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of 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 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:
The application completion deadline for Fall 2020 admission is August 1, 2021. Please note that applicants are reviewed on a rolling basis. All application materials must be submitted by August 1 to be considered for Fall 2021 admission.

Degree:
Bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited institution, and a minimum overall 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 to Drexel University, Application Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, or submitted through a secure electronic delivery service to enroll@drexel.edu. 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. At least one recommendation should refer to your musicianship and/or musical skills. To electronically request recommendations, you must list your recommenders and their contact information on your application. You may request recommendations with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application.

We advise that you follow up with your recommenders to ensure they received your recommendation request — they may need to check their junk mail folder. Additionally, it is your responsibility to confirm that your recommenders will submit letters by your application deadline and follow up with recommenders who have not completed their recommendations.

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: Applicants must demonstrate musical competencies in performance, music theory, and music history through an audition and interview. At the audition, applicants will:
1.Present 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 3 traditional, folk, or popular songs while accompanying self on piano.
3.Sing 3 traditional, folk, or popular songs while accompanying self on guitar.
4.Play basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I; I-vi-ii-VI) in several keys on piano and guitar.
5.Demonstrate aural skills by playing the melody of a given well-known song and providing the harmonic progression.
6.Demonstrate sight-reading skills on piano.
7.Demonstrate knowledge of music theory related to transposition, constructing chords.
8.Demonstrate knowledge of one or more of the following topics: basic periods of Western music; jazz history; World music.

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) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) An official score report must be sent directly to Drexel University Application Processing. The minimum TOEFL score is 90 and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5. 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): After confirming attendance to Drexel, students will receive an email from ISSS with instructions for applying for their I-20/DS-2019 and submitting supporting financial documents.

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

The MA in Music Therapy & Counseling is a 90-quarter credit program. The program can be completed in a minimum of two years (seven quarters) of full-time study, although some students may take longer to complete all requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of study. The majority of classes are taught in-person on Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions campus in Center City, Philadelphia with select classes offered online.

The coursework consists of both Music Therapy-specific and general mental health counseling coursework. Music Therapy-specific topics include:

  • Music Therapy theories and methods for child, adolescent, adult and older adult populations
  • Clinical musicianship and improvisation skills
  • Social and cultural foundations in music therapy
  • Technological applications
  • Imagery methods
  • Group dynamics in music therapy
  • Theories of music psychotherapy

Mental health counseling coursework covers theories and skills in:

  • Human psychological development
  • Psychopathology and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Social and cultural foundations in counseling
  • Behavioral research
  • Group dynamics in counseling
  • Theories of counseling and psychotherapy
  • Career counseling
  • Clinical appraisal and diagnosis
  • Professional ethics
  • Foundations of Creative Art Therapies

Clinical experience is integrated with classroom learning, with students participating in two practicums and one internship throughout the course of the program. For more information on the clinical education component of the Music Therapy program, click on the "Clinical Practices" tab above.

A Culminating Project rounds out the curriculum. Second-or third-year students conduct a Culminating Project that integrates practice with theory and/or research. Under the guidance of their Culminating Project advisor, students design a project that explores aspects of both their respective Creative Arts Therapies discipline and counseling. Examples of Culminating Projects include development of a method, a community engagement project, research thesis or artistic project. Culminating Projects may be connected to a student's internship, but it is not a requirement. At the end of each academic year, students present their Culminating Projects to peers, faculty, friends and family at their respective program's Colloquium. Students are also encouraged to submit projects to regional and national conferences when applicable.

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

DMT Alumna Accepts Fulbright Grant to Germany

08/13/21

KerryLyn Kercher, DMT, headshotKerrylyn Kercher, DMT ’21, has accepted a merit-based Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The grant allows Kercher to spend 8-10 months engaged in research and academic studies related to Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) at two facilities in Germany.

At the Creative Arts Therapies Research Institute, she helps to develop projects alongside current graduate students. “While I already hold a master's degree in this field from Drexel, I know that growing and expanding my knowledge and understanding regarding such body-based practices will remain a priority for the rest of my career, and this is only the beginning. I hope that being a part of current research and educational approaches within the international community will help to solidify my personal theoretical approach and spark further interest in creative arts therapy research.”

One particular focus will be a tri-cyclic arts project investigating the topic of trauma as it relates to bodily experiences. This is closely related to Kercher’s current research, under the leadership of Minjung Shim, PhD, assistant research professor and principle investigator, regarding non-medicinal ways to approach treatment for chronic lower back pain. “The Research Institute in Alfter, Germany, where I will be for some of my time, is at the forefront of research related to the creative arts therapies, aiding in the expansion of studies conducted that look into the specific therapeutic factors of DMT. Since it’s a relatively new psychotherapeutic approach, at least in the United States, any and all research happening can be considered imperative in solidifying DMT as an evidence-based approach in the mental health field,” Kercher explained.

At the SRH University of Heidelberg, she will observe how American and German dance/movement therapy studies differ and utilize culturally different perceptions of the work. She will audit classes such as neurology and quantitative research methods, movement observation and analysis, clinical psychology and body therapy applications.

In addition, Kercher will offer community movement classes. “These classes will be for movers and non-movers alike, bridging my love for teaching dance and my passion for helping others,” she said. “I believe that these classes, led by the community and their wants/needs, are the true cultural exchange I am hoping for. The arts have such a way of connecting people to one another and I look forward to using my new therapeutic lens in the process.”

Kercher is very appreciative to the CAT department, specifically Christina Devereaux, PhD, associate clinical professor and program director for Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, for helping to create the initial connections with the university in Germany. Additionally, Sherry Goodill, PhD, chair of the CAT department, will be teaching a select number of classes on specific DMT topics at the university where she will be situated for her time abroad. “It has occurred to me through this process how small the creative arts therapies community really is and I feel grateful to be a part of it!” she said.

She noted she is very thankful to the fellowships office, specifically Kelly Weissberger, and her Fulbright advisory team at Drexel, Abioseh Porter, Kristy Kelly and Benjamin Barnett, all of whom played a role in providing support and feedback regarding her Fulbright application. “I fully believe their support allowed me this wonderful opportunity, and for that I am forever grateful. Receiving this award is an absolute privilege. This grant provides me an opportunity to experience a new culture and all that encompasses it through the lens of research and study.”

11th Street Dance Movement Therapy: A Patient's Story

06/17/21

Graphic for the Dance Movement Therapy Service at Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th St. Family Health Services“You can be at any place in your life, it can work for everyone,” says Ruth Briggs, a patient at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services. As a former ballet dancer, Ruth is quick to say that you do not need to have any background in dance to pursue and realize the benefits of dance and movement therapy.

After meeting another patient who was receiving care at 11th Street, Ruth decided that she would move forward to see someone to address trauma from her past. From the moment she met Lindsay Edwards MA, BC-DMT, LPC, “I knew she was someone I could trust,” says Ruth. “Lindsay really believed in me, and she allowed me to move forward at my own pace. I felt like it was a partnership, rather than sitting there watching someone pass judgment. I never felt judged.”

After several months of work together, Ruth had several breakthroughs and was able to see there was real progress being made. “It wasn’t about beauty in the movement – it was about reclaiming my strength.” Feeling that she had the ability to move with freedom, Ruth valued the flexibility and individuality in the approach Lindsay took. “She gave me wings,” Ruth shares.

This experience inspired Ruth to move all her care to 11th Street. “It’s my primary health center – a safe space for everyone, regardless of circumstances. Coming into 11th street is so welcoming, from the pharmacist, to physical therapy, to primary and dental care, to the very kind security staff, the paraprofessional and administrative staff, and my fellow patients, everyone goes above and beyond.”

Drexel Academic Tower Updates

06/17/21

June 2021

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction

May 2021

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

March 2021

Six cement trucks lined up to pour the concrete floors.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Click images to magnify


January 2021

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction


December 2020

When the announcement about a new home for the College of Nursing and Health Professions was made in May 2019, no one could have imagined that construction would be delayed by a global pandemic. It was expected that groundbreaking would be in spring 2020 with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022. Beginning in late July, it is still the hope to maintain the same timeline.

Google Earth screenshot of the location of the Drexel Academic Tower

With CNHP being the first occupants of the new facility, some of the College of Medicine’s administrative functions, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and its first- and second-year medical program will join the College in phases. President Fry, in a message to the University in late 2019, said “at the new academic building, many of Drexel’s health-related programs will be under one roof, enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary education in a facility that affords health sciences students, faculty and professional staff the best possible environment for continued development and growth.”


 

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