Music Therapy Undergraduate Program Handbook

Download the handbook (.docx)

Please contact Rita Riley in the School of Music Student Services Office, Room 450 Murphy Hall, or at if you have any questions.

A printed copy of this document may be requested from the Student Services Office.

Effective October 2021

This program leads to the bachelor’s degree and eligibility to take the examination given by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). The music therapy curriculum at the University of Kansas affords skill development in a broad spectrum of areas to prepare entry-level music therapists. Professionals who pass the CBMT exam are granted the credential, Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). This program typically requires eight semesters of full-time work on campus plus six months of full-time internship in an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved setting.

This handbook has been prepared to help Music Therapy majors plan a program of study that will lead to a broad, well-integrated professional and liberal education. It is designed to supplement the information in the KU Academic Catalog. In order to be eligible for a degree the student must satisfy requirements at three levels; the general requirements of the University, the requirements of the School of Music, and the requirements of the music therapy program. The curriculum meets the constraints of various certifying and accrediting agencies, including the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

Music therapy majors enroll in the School of Music. They are eligible to take credit/no credit courses under the regulations published in the catalog and schedule of classes.

Admission to the music therapy program requires a successful audition as well as all the other requirements for admission to the University of Kansas. A successful audition qualifies the student for private study in the major performance medium.

Degree requirement check sheets, listing the course and other requirements for the degree, are available on Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff and in the Student Services Office, 450 Murphy Hall. Students should follow the requirements listed on the degree requirement check sheet that is in force at the time they enter the program.

Table of Contents

Advising System

Each undergraduate is assigned a faculty advisor. Each student consults with the advisor to plan enrollment for subsequent semesters. The advisor is available to help, to suggest ways to avoid course conflicts, to recommend courses particularly beneficial for various emphases, and to offer career guidance. The responsibility for taking appropriate courses and for meeting other requirements rests upon the student. Lack of knowledge of any requirement does not free the student from meeting that requirement. All students should sign up for a graduation check with the School of Music Student Services Office, 450 Murphy one year prior to their graduation date.

Professional Organizations

The Music Therapy Student Association (MTSA) provides opportunities for students to further their professional education and perform services for others. MTSA holds regular meetings during the year and sponsors a variety of activities. Student members often attend and participate in AMTA regional and national conferences. Student membership in the AMTA professional organization includes subscriptions to the official journals of that organization. Information concerning activities and memberships will be announced in classes and/or via email.

The Music Therapy Professional Sequence

Requirements for the Music Therapy Professional Sequence are located on the Application for Music Therapy Professional Sequence UG Admission, available on Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff and in the Student Services Office, 450 Murphy Hall.

Music Performance Proficiency Requirements

Process Concerning the "Major Applied Medium" for MEMT Majors

Each student must complete an applied audition for admission to the School of Music as an MEMT major. Following a successful audition students enroll for private instruction in that applied medium under the appropriate course number, usually 121.

The typical audition is approximately 10 minutes in length, during which the student will perform scales, studies, solo literature, and other materials that may be specified by the appropriate applied music area. The evaluation committee will include two or more members of the music faculty from the appropriate area. Detailed information on the audition is available on the School of Music website.

The evaluation will result in either an acceptance or a denial status for the student in that major applied performance medium and academic program. The student will receive written notice of the audition status.

Major Performance Medium

Each student must become proficient in a major performance medium. The student’s performance skill must be sufficient to justify self-respect and the respect of others, both musicians and non-musicians.

In order to assure that each student has reached satisfactory competence in his or her major medium, successful completion of each progressive semester of study in studio lessons including the 422 level is required. The 422 level of studio lessons requires a senior half-recital in the major performance medium.

Music Therapy majors must successfully complete a minimum of 7 semesters of the major performance medium at 2 hours credit per semester, culminating in completion of XXXX 422.

Applied Music Studio Assignments

All students must audition before any studio assignments are considered. Following a successful audition, students are assigned to applied studios according to availability of space (teaching load).

In the case of multiple studios such as piano and voice, students may request a specific assignment, and a request for a specific instructor will be honored whenever possible.

In order to remain enrolled in studio instruction, all undergraduate students who enroll in any level of studio instruction (including non-major levels) in band and orchestral instruments must audition for and perform as assigned in a major instrumental ensemble* each semester in which they are enrolled. For music majors, one ensemble taken for credit each semester is required for graduation. Exceptions to this policy are allowed on a case-by-case basis and only by the ensemble conductor in consultation with the faculty member in the studio area, or the faculty advisor in music therapy as appropriate.

*Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble I. University Orchestra and University Band are acceptable if students are placed in the ensemble by audition.

Keyboard/Piano Functional Skills

Functional skills in music are essential to success in music therapy. Such skills include accompanying, improvising, reading chord charts and sight-reading. Students must complete these skills early in the curriculum, as they are needed for class, clinical practicum, performance/conducting sequences, and subsequent professional studies.

Music Therapy students must have keyboard skills sufficient to be successful in PIAN 288 or 310. All keyboard skills courses should be completed during the first four semesters of enrollment on campus.

Students without prior keyboard experience will take the group piano sequence consisting of PIAN 144, 148, 284, 288. Students whose major performance medium is piano or organ will take PIAN 310.

Information on the Keyboard Skills Placement Examination is available on the Entrance Exams page.

Ensemble Credit

The music therapy major requires students participate in seven semesters of ensemble. At least five of these semesters must include participation in major auditioned ensembles. The major auditioned ensembles include University Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble I, University Singers, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. University Orchestra and University Band are acceptable if students are placed in the ensemble by audition.

Most students take more than the minimum requirement in ensemble. Students audition and are placed in ensembles from those most appropriate to their major performance medium; instrumentalists usually take part in band and/or orchestra, while singers usually take part in a variety of vocal ensembles during their academic careers. Many small ensembles, including Collegium Musicum and Jazz, are available for credit.

Clinical Practicum Work Prior to Clinical Internship

After admittance to the professional sequence, music therapy majors participate in four semesters of clinical practicum in the field. Practica assignments may be within the on-campus music therapy clinic or may be in the field in Lawrence or surrounding communities. The student music therapist will have experience with individuals, small, and large groups and with a variety of populations spanning children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.

Music Therapy Clinical Musicianship Assessment Process

As part of the clinical practicum sequence, students will participate in a series of music therapy clinical musicianship assessments. The intent of these assessments is for the student music therapist to demonstrate skills in singing, accompanying, and essential leadership qualities. The Clinic Supervision Team (CST) will evaluate student music therapist’s progress as a review panel. Detailed information is available in the Music Therapy Clinical Musicianship Assessment Process document on Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff.

Music Therapy Internship

Students should complete the Application of Evaluation for Music Therapy Internship Eligibility one year in advance of their completion of coursework. During the last year of coursework, music therapy students apply for internship at an approved facility. A list of approved internship institutions is located on the American Music Therapy Association website. Once accepted, the facility may require an internship contract sometimes known as an affiliation agreement between the university and the facility. The student must forward this document to the Music Therapy Academic Director to be approved by the University General Counsel and signed by the Dean of the School of Music. The student should turn in the Music Therapy Internship Information Sheet to Alex Schneider once they have been accepted and prior to leaving for their internship.

Following completion of coursework, music therapy students enroll in Clinical Internship. The bachelor's degree is awarded after successful completion of the internship. Completion of the internship and the academic work qualifies the individual to apply to take the examination given by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Professionals who pass this examination are granted the credential, Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). The internship is usually for a six-month period and should be completed within 2 years after the end of coursework. The internship carries academic credit of at least two semester hours.

The clinical internship is, from a professional standpoint, the culmination of the undergraduate program in music therapy. It is an integrative supervised series of professional activities and responsibilities. Many advanced demonstrations of knowledge, training, and skill are necessary prior to commencement of interning.

Arranging institutional positions for therapy interns is not easy, and “last minute” changes and withdrawals compound the difficulties. It is important to the student, the division, and the cooperating institution that a definite commitment is made well before the internship is to begin.

Because of the need for professional preparation and proper institutional placement, the following policies are applicable to all undergraduate therapy majors. The faculty will not recommend admission to the clinical internship portion of the program for any student who has less than a 3.00 cumulative grade point average. To be recommended for admission to the clinical internship semester, the student must receive a “C” or higher in MEMT 115, 117 or 120, 119, 246, 338, 150, 196, 250, 251, 296, 455, 463, 464, 586, 587, and all MEMT 396 clinical experience classes.

Prerequisites that must be completed prior to the clinical internship are as follows:

  1. All coursework
  2. All functional skills requirements

Music therapy majors must complete the necessary internship application procedures, and provide evidence that all internship prerequisites have been or are being completed, at least 4 ½ months and preferably 1 year prior to the time at which they plan to begin the internship. If 5 MTP UG Handbook, July 2018 evidence of completion or near completion is lacking, the application for internship will not be approved, and the student will have to delay the internship period.

Once a student has been assigned to an internship position, he or she is required to complete the experience in the assigned time period. In the event that a student should withdraw once an assignment has been made, MEMT faculty approval is required before he or she can submit an application for another assignment.

MEMT requires all music therapy students to achieve an S for a satisfactory grade in MEMT 596 Clinical Internship.

Safety and Crime on Campus

The annual security report about KU safety policies, crime statistics, and campus resources is available on the KU Public Safety website. For more information about the Clery Act you visit U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security.

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities.  Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX,, Room 1082, Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas medical center campuses).