Master of Music Therapy

Course M04-AA (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009.

Year and Campus: 2009
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate


Associate Professor Denise Grocke, Head of Music Therapy


Faculty of Music

Phone: +61 3 8344 5256

Fax: +61 3 8344 5346

Online enquiry:

Course Overview: The Master of Music Therapy (MMusThrp) provides a course of study for those people who have completed tertiary qualifications in music, music education or an equivalent field, in order for them to make a career change into the field of music therapy. The course provides a thorough study of the theory and practice of music therapy.

On satisfactory completion of the MMusThrp, graduates will be eligible for Registration as Music Therapists (RMT) with the Australian Music Therapy Association (Inc.).

The Master of Music Therapy is 2 years full-time. Part-time study may be undertaken with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.

This course is not available externally or via distance education.


On completion of the Master of Music Therapy, students should:

  • Be able to understand and identify, use and evaluate concepts and principles of music therapy and the various theories that underpin the practice of music therapy;
  • Have acquired the skills in musicianship and the advanced knowledge of music styles and idioms, including improvisation, which will enable them to direct creative music activities for clients within the music therapy context;
  • Have acquired skills in the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of music therapy programs in a diverse range of clinical/special education settings;
  • Understand relevant clinical conditions and the application of music as a treatment/special education modality;
  • Be able to carry out independent research and analysis into music therapy and to think creatively about issues arising in their practice;
  • Appreciate the ethical responsibilities of music therapists in health and special education facilities and to the individuals within those facilities;
  • Be committed to enhancing the well being of clients.
Subject Options:

The full-time course structure is as follows:

YEAR 1 - Semester One
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

Total points for Semester One = 50.0

YEAR 1 - Semester Two

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Total points for Semester Two = 50.0

YEAR 2 - Semester One

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Total points for Semester One = 50.0

YEAR 2 - Semester Two

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2

Total points for Semester Two = 50.0

Total points for Course = 200.0

Entry Requirements: To be accepted into the Master of Music Therapy course, applicants must have:
  • A Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Music Education degree (or equivalent), of at least three years duration, OR
  • A Bachelor degree in an allied field (e.g. teaching, occupational therapy, nursing etc.) plus a high standard of achievement in music performance (equivalent to 8th grade A.M.E.B), music history (equivalent to at least one-year study at tertiary level), and in music theory (equivalent to at least 5th grade A.M.E.B.).
  • All applicants must have successfully completed at least two Psychology units at tertiary level.
  • It is strongly recommended that applicants have some experience of working with people with special needs and have observed music therapy in practice. This experience will enhance the applicant's presentation at interview.

Application Procedure

Application forms and Reference forms are available via the Faculty of Music website:

There is no quota but numbers are limited by the availability of clinical training sites. Approximately six to eight places are offered each year. Certified transcripts of previous study must be attached to the application form together with an explanation of the results codes and returned to the Degree Programs Office by the last working day of October of the year preceding entry.

Applications must also include: an audition tape/CD; an example of academic writing; and 3 written references (details below).

Audition Tape/CD

An audition tape/CD will be required for all applicants. The purpose of an audition CD is to enable assessment of the applicant's music performance ability and the level of musicianship.

  • The audition tape/CD must comprise three pieces of contrasting styles. These may be a combination of classical pieces, jazz, improvisatory work etc. or a range of classical pieces representative of different periods: e.g. Baroque, Classical, Romantic or Contemporary.

In addition, evidence of vocal skill must be provided by singing three songs (composed song, popular song or folk song) accompanied by the applicant on guitar (including first position chords; bar chords; bass runs; various accompanying styles such as strumming and picking techniques, and tonal improvisation techniques).

  • The audition tape/CD must carry a label with the statement 'I certify that this is a bona fide tape/CD of my performance' with the name of the applicant, and duly signed. In the case of any doubt as to the authenticity of the audition tape/CD, the Faculty of Music reserves the right to audition applicants further before final admission to the course.

Three references are required on the appropriate reference form: one character reference, one academic reference, and one from a person who can attest to the applicant's musical ability. These forms should be completed by persons who have known the applicant for at least one year.

Example of Academic Writing Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in academic writing, by submitting three thousand words that demonstrate an ability to review and critique literature and use a consistent referencing style. You are welcome to submit a piece of writing from previous study or this may be a literature review of music therapy with a specified client group. You may be required to discuss this writing in the audition. Interview

An interview will be required for all applicants as part of the selection procedure. At the interview the applicant will be asked to play one piece from the three presented on the audition CD and to sing one of three songs with their own accompaniment. Instrumentalists must provide their own accompanists. Applicants should bring their own guitar, tuned, in order to sing one of the songs. Applicants will be asked to discuss their interest in the study of music therapy and any relevant experience. Interviews will usually be held in mid-November.

Police Checks

Changes have been made to the procedures under which many of the external organisations host clinical placements and students are required to have obtained a police check as to their suitability to undertake such placements. Students are required to undergo, at their own expense and arrangement, a police check prior to the commencement of their course.

Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.
Graduate Attributes: University of Melbourne postgraduate coursework degrees seek to develop graduates who demonstrate a capacity for contemporary professional practice and/or specialist knowledge and theory. Postgraduate coursework degrees have multiple purposes. They are designed to provide students with the opportunity for advanced knowledge and understanding in a specialist area; to enhance professional knowledge and skills; and to engage with new and emerging fields of study.
Generic Skills:

The University expects its postgraduate coursework graduates to have the following qualities and skills:

  • An advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • An ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline
  • Advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline;
  • Well-developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area, characterised by flexibility of approach;
  • Advanced competencies in areas of professional expertise and/or scholarship;
  • A capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in oral and written presentations;
  • An advanced understanding of the international context and sensitivities of the specialist area;
  • An appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research;
  • A capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work;
  • A profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship;
  • An appreciation of the ways in which advanced knowledge equips the student to offer leadership in the specialist area;
  • The capacity to value and participate in projects which require team-work;
  • An understanding of the significance and value of their knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry);
  • A capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society; and
  • Where appropriate, advanced working skills in the application of computer systems and software and a receptiveness to the opportunities offered by new technologies.

Download PDF version.