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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.

Deadline:

Applications are reviewed in the two cycles based on the following dates:

  • Early Deadline: February 15, 2022
  • Regular Deadline: April 1, 2022

Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. All application materials must be submitted by April 1, 2022 to be considered for Fall 2022 admission. We encourage you to submit completed applications by the early deadline for interview and scholarship consideration. We may review applications after April 1, 2022 if space permits.

Admission Requirements

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, P.O. 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 the 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:
Instrumental and vocal music experience is needed. All instrumental backgrounds are welcomed and will be considered for admissions. Applicants can have backgrounds in varied styles and genres with working knowledge in applied musical concepts. Volunteer or paid experience in a helping relationship is preferred.

References:
Three letters of recommendation are required. At least one recommendation should refer to your musicianship or musical skills. Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted electronically through your online application.

Personal Statement/Essay:
Submit a 500-1250 word essay that focuses on your relationship with music, what led you to pursue a career path in music therapy and additional information that informs your application to this program. Essays may be submitted with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after your online application is complete.

Audition/Interview: Invited applicants will be asked to participate in a 45-minute audition/interview with faculty members of the graduate music therapy program. The audition/interview will explore applicants' personal, academic, interpersonal and creative attributes and review musical knowledge and skills. Applicants are asked to prepare the following for review:
1. Two pieces from different musical styles or genres that demonstrate proficiency on applicants' primary instrument(s).
2. Two popular, folk or original songs, sung while accompanying yourself on piano.
3. Two popular, folk or original songs, sung while accompanying yourself on guitar.
4. Demonstration of musical knowledge and skills. This includes playing chord progressions (I-IV-V-I; I-vi-ii-VI) in varied keys on piano and guitar, providing chordal accompaniment and transposition of familiar songs and improvisation on instruments of choice.

Invited applicants who cannot participate in an in-person interview may submit recorded material demonstrating items 1-3 above. A virtual interview will be scheduled to review additional criteria for program admissions.

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

Work and Volunteer Experience:
Social service work or volunteer history 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


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.

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.

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

Transgender Day of Remembrance

11/19/21

Drexel University Transgender flag at half mast. Courtesy of DrexelNOWOn November 20th we observe Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the memory of transgender individuals whose lives were taken in acts of violence.

This day originated in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate, to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the past 20+ years, this day has become one to honor and commemorate all the transgender individuals who lost their lives to violence.

While there has been an increase in awareness and in legislation that help prosecute those who participate in these violent acts, there is still work to be done as people continue to be victimized for just being who they are. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2021 there have been at least 45 transgender or non-gender conforming individuals who have died by violence. Each case differs, however data shows that fatalities impact transgender women of color, in particular Black women. These crimes occur throughout the country and world. Closer to home, the city of Philadelphia recently described these types of crimes as an epidemic of violence against transgender citizens.

The Human Rights Campaign report, “Dismantling a Culture of Violence,” explains how a culture of violence exists because of stigma, denial of opportunity, and other increased risk factors and leads to an unsafe environment and violent culture. This report also provides us with ways to promote inclusivity and create safety for transgender and non-gender confirming people. It is important that we do not forget these individuals, and that we continue to work towards justice and equality.

At the College of Nursing and Health Professions, we aim to make our communities more inclusive and continue to raise awareness of the issues transgender and non-gender confirming individuals face, especially in healthcare, each day. On November 19th Drexel will honor our non-binary and transgender communities by raising Drexel Transgender flags on all three campuses. This day will be used to mourn the loss of life. It will also demonstrate our commitment and the fight towards a better existence for all members of these communities. In addition, all are encouraged to visit Paul Peck Alumni Center at 9:00 a.m. for remarks, words of wisdom, and to reflect on readings highlighting victims of anti-transgender violence in the past year.

Written by Kathryn (Katie) Farrell, MSN, RN, assistant clinical professor, Graduate Nursing, and member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Drexel Health Sciences Building Updates

11/09/21

October 2021

Construction on our future home is moving along! The building perimeter is almost complete and should be “zippered up” by the end of November.

Core and shell work (elevators, toilet rooms and stairs) are really taking shape. The HVAC work is in place, metal stud installation is up to the 12th floor and drywall work is underway on the lower floors. Visible spaces and rooms are replacing the big empty floors. Interior photos to come soon.

Click to enlarge photos.

photo from ground looking up at new health sciences building mid-construction

distance photo from end of sidewalk of new health sciences building with cranes on roof


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.”


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Co-Investigators From CNHP and School of Public Health receive $14.4M NIH Award for Health Disparities Research

10/14/21

Deans Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, and Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, are the co-principal investigators on the recently awarded $14.4 million FIRST grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Diez Roux, the Dana and David Dornsife dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health, and Gitlin, College of Nursing and Health Professions' dean, a distinguished university professor and executive director of the AgeWell Collaboratory shared that Drexel is one of six institutions nationwide receiving funding as part of the inaugural “Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation” (FIRST)
cohort, and the sole recipient in Pennsylvania.

The NIH's FIRST grant will allow Drexel to hire, retain and support 12 diverse, early career researchers whose focus is on health disparities research on aging, chronic disease and/or environmental determinants. Diez Roux and Gitlin's initiative will create a collaborative structure involving University leaders, academic units and faculty to catalyze sustainable institutional change that supports scientific and inclusive excellence in the conduct of health disparities research.

The grant involves three cores co-led by Drexel faculty who are nationally recognized in their areas of expertise. The administrative core is co-led by Diez Roux and Gitlin while the faculty development core is co-led by Leslie Ain McClure, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, associate dean for Faculty Affairs and professor in Dornsife School of Public Health, and Stephanie Brooks, PhD, senior associate dean of Health Professions and Faculty Affairs and clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions' Department of Counseling and Family Therapy. Lastly, the evaluation core is co-led by Maria Schultheis, PhD, vice provost of Research and professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant dean for Special Research Initiatives and interim chair and associate professor in the Creative Arts Therapies department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The full news story appears in DrexelNOW.

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