Best Music Therapy Degrees

by TBS Staff

Updated October 6, 2022

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Become a Professional in Music Therapy

Writer Corinne Heline nailed it when she wrote that "The magic of "musical medicine" will come into its own. The application of such healing potencies will not be limited just to man's body and mind. It will be an agency for building and healing his soul as well."

Indeed, "musical medicine" has come into its own in the professional field of music therapy. The Arizona State University declares best the focus of music therapy, defining it as a health care and special education profession where engagement in active and receptive music making within the context of a therapeutic relationship helps a client achieve non-musical, therapeutic goals.

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Simply stated, music therapists use music to help others heal. By implementing a variety of instruments, songs, and styles, music therapists assist vast and different populations of patients to achieve their own non-musical, therapeutic goals. Whether in private practice, schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals—even correctional centers—music therapy and healing take place.

The field finds itself fitting into several industries, the perfect intersection of health care, special education, psychology, and performing arts. That intersection necessitates rigorous training and extensive education, both requisites for attaining the MT-BC (music therapist, board certified) credential. According to the Certification Board for Music Therapists, this credential exists "to identify music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to practice at the current level of the profession. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism by interested agencies, groups, and individuals."

The Best Online Bachelor's in Music Therapy Programs

#1 Best Music Therapy Degrees

University of Georgia

  • Athens, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

With its main campus in Athens, University of Georgia facilitates in-person and online learning across 129 bachelor's programs. The bachelor's in music therapy program provides a robust education. Learners gain the skills needed to succeed in a music therapy career. Graduates can apply their learnings in a career or a graduate program.

Degree candidates can access institutional supports throughout the duration of the program. The financial aid office can assist students in connecting with funding opportunities and determine eligibility. Typically, eligible students receive $10,577 in financial aid.

University of Georgia at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 45%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $9,790

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $28,830

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $45,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,790
Out-of-state
$28,830
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
38,920
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Arizona State University-Tempe

  • Tempe, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Arizona State University-Tempe offers 97 bachelor's programs in both face-to-face and online formats. The school's bachelor's in music therapy program introduces students to foundational skills and knowledge while also building general skills such as communication and critical thinking. Graduates can pursue a music therapy career or further their educational pursuits.

Degree candidates benefit from institutional support throughout their studies. The financial aid office can assist students in connecting with funding opportunities and determine eligibility. The average enrollee receives $12,100 in financial aid, with 96% of all learners benefiting from aid.

Arizona State University-Tempe at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 86%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $10,710

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $28,800

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $42,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$28,800
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
53,286
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Appalachian State University

  • Boone, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

With its main campus in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University facilitates in-person and online learning across 81 bachelor's programs. The school's bachelor of music in music therapy introduces students to foundational skills and knowledge while also building general skills such as communication and critical thinking. Bachelor's graduates can also pivot to a master's program.

Career services and academic advising are just two of the numerous institutional resources centering student success. Learners can meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss funding opportunities, available scholarships, and determine eligibility. The college reports that enrollees receive $8,612 in financial aid, on average.

Appalachian State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 77%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,242

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $19,049

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $34,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,242
Out-of-state
$19,049
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
19,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Immaculata University

  • Immaculata, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students looking for flexible study in dual modalities can choose from one of Immaculata University's 48 bachelor's programs. One option includes a bachelor's in music therapy. The program prepares students for the demands of a music therapy career or for graduate studies.

Degree candidates can access institutional resources centering geared towards student success. Dedicated financial aid counselors can help learners understand their available education funding options, including scholarships, grants, and student loans.

Immaculata University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 81%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $26,500

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $26,500

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $51,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,500
Out-of-state
$26,500
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
2,479
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Western Michigan University, a leader in hybrid education, offers 163 bachelor's programs, three of which are available online. The school's bachelor of music in music therapy stands out as a competitive option for students looking to succeed in the music therapy field. The program prepares enrollees for their postgraduate path, whether that be a music therapy-specific career or graduate studies.

Degree-seekers can benefit from institutional resources throughout their studies. Eligible students can explore financial aid such as scholarships, fellowships, and grants. Typically, 82% of all enrollees receive some form of aid, with the average financial aid package totaling $8,448.

Western Michigan University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 80%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $12,094

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $15,118

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $35,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,094
Out-of-state
$15,118
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
21,470
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Music Therapy Degrees

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a Minneapolis-based public college, boasts in-person and online study across 135 bachelor's programs. Of these online programs, the bachelor of music in music therapy stands out as a wise option for students seeking flexible, industry-relevant study. The program prepares students for their postgraduate path, whether that be a music therapy-specific career or graduate studies.

The college supports enrollees through institutional resources, including career services and academic advising. The college provides numerous funding opportunities to eligible students, including scholarships and fellowships. The average degree-seeker receives a financial aid award package of $9,544.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 57%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $13,318

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $31,616

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $46,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,318
Out-of-state
$31,616
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
57%
Students Enrolled
51,327
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Utah State University

  • Logan, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Logan-based Utah State University offers 106 bachelor's degrees across in-person and online learning modalities. The online bachelor's in music therapy connects students with industry-relevant knowledge and skillsets needed to succeed in the music therapy field. Graduates can pursue a music therapy career or move into a graduate program.

Degree candidates can benefit from institutional resources throughout their studies. The financial aid office can assist students in connecting with funding opportunities and determine eligibility. The average undergraduate receives $5,857 in financial aid.

Utah State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 91%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,549

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $21,087

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $37,400

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,549
Out-of-state
$21,087
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
27,810
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#8 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Eastern Michigan University

  • Ypsilanti, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan University provides in-person and remote learning opportunities across 143 bachelor's programs. The bachelor's in music therapy is one of the college's many robust programs, equipping students with industry-relevant knowledge. Students can apply their knowledge and skillset to graduate-level studies in music therapy.

Degree-seekers benefit from institutional support throughout their studies. Learners can meet with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities and determine eligibility. The average financial aid award available through the school is $8,183.

Eastern Michigan University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 74%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $13,658

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $13,658

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $35,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,658
Out-of-state
$13,658
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
17,784
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Music Therapy Degrees

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in hybrid education, University of Miami supports in-person and online study across 115 bachelor's programs. Learners seeking flexible study relevant to the music therapy field can benefit from the school's bachelor of music in music therapy. Bachelor's graduates can pursue a music therapy-specific career or graduate studies.

The college provides comprehensive support for new students, including financial aid advising. Prospective applicants can meet with financial aid counselors to determine eligibility for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.

University of Miami at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 27%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $50,400

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $50,400

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $54,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,400
Out-of-state
$50,400
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
27%
Students Enrolled
17,811
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Nazareth College

  • Rochester, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Located in Rochester, New York, Nazareth College supports both in-person and remote study opportunities across 67 bachelor's programs. The bachelor of music in music therapy is one of the college's many robust programs, equipping students with industry-relevant knowledge. The program prepares enrollees for the demands of a music therapy field or for graduate studies in the field.

Degree candidates can receive guidance throughout their studies through career services, academic advising, and other resources. Prospective applicants can connect with financial aid counselors to explore funding opportunities, determine eligibility, and apply for student loans.

Nazareth College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 64%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $33,836

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $33,836

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $39,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$33,836
Out-of-state
$33,836
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
2,979
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#11 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Converse College

  • Spartanburg, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Converse College supports both in-person and remote study opportunities across 49 bachelor's programs. The bachelor of music in music therapy is an impressive online program, equipping enrollees with industry-relevant knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a music therapy career. Bachelor's degree-holders can pursue an industry-relevant career or go on to study at the graduate level.

Learners can access institutional support throughout the duration of the program. Students seeking to defray degree costs can meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss funding opportunities and determine eligibility.

Converse College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 89%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $18,890

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $18,890

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $26,900

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,890
Out-of-state
$18,890
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
1,455
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12 Best Music Therapy Degrees

University of Kansas

  • Lawrence, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Kansas, located in Lawrence, provides 98 bachelor's programs in dual modalities. The school's bachelor of music in music therapy introduces students to foundational skills and knowledge while also building general skills such as communication and critical thinking. The degree prepares students for the demands of a music therapy-related career or for graduate studies.

The college provides comprehensive support for new students, including financial aid advising. Degree candidates seeking to defray the costs of their degree can meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss funding opportunities and determine eligibility. The average undergraduate receives $6,834 in financial aid.

University of Kansas at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 93%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $10,092

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $26,960

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $45,100

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,092
Out-of-state
$26,960
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
27,552
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Molloy College

  • Rockville Centre, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in hybrid education, Molloy College supports in-person and online study across 40 bachelor's programs. The bachelor of science in music therapy is one of the college's many robust programs, equipping students with industry-relevant knowledge. Graduates can pivot to a master's program or pursue a career in the music therapy field.

Degree-seekers benefit from institutional support throughout their studies. Depending on eligibility, students can benefit from financial aid funding.

Molloy College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 78%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $31,330

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $31,330

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $55,400

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,330
Out-of-state
$31,330
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
5,113
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#14 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Purdue University Fort Wayne

  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners seeking flexible study can choose from in-person or online bachelor's programs at Purdue University Fort Wayne. The school's bachelor of science in music therapy stands out as a competitive option for students looking to succeed in the music therapy field. Bachelor's graduates can pursue a music therapy-specific career or graduate studies.

The college connects students with institutional resources throughout their studies. Enrollees receive $6,665 in financial aid, on average.

Purdue University Fort Wayne at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 81%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,470

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $19,503

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $33,100

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,470
Out-of-state
$19,503
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
10,208
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Best Music Therapy Degrees

Wartburg College

  • Waverly, IA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Wartburg College leads in hybrid education, supporting 46 bachelor's degrees. The bachelor's in music therapy program equips enrollees with industry-relevant knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a music therapy career. The knowledge and skills gained from these studies can benefit students in a music therapy career or in further educational pursuits.

The institution connects students with success-oriented resources, such as career services and academic advising, throughout their studies. Prospective applicants can meet with financial aid counselors to determine eligibility for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.

Wartburg College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 75%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $41,830

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $41,830

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $40,700

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,830
Out-of-state
$41,830
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
1,505
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Music Therapy Programs Ranking Guidelines

There are scores of undergraduate music therapy programs across the country, and many of them have had their curriculum approved by the American Music Therapy Association. Still, we wanted to find the best programs available. What is it that makes a program go from "meeting expectations" to "exceeding expectations?".

How To Become a Music Therapist

In order to become a music therapist, students first need to have a degree in music therapy or some sort of equivalency degree or certification. (This article will focus explicitly on the pursuit of a traditional undergraduate, bachelor"s degree and the best schools for that pursuit.)

Most preparation programs provide a combination of academic and clinical preparation. It is common for many universities to advertise that their program takes "four years, plus a six-month internship." Thus, students embarking on this path should realize that this isn"t a standard four-year degree. Following the successful completion of undergraduate coursework and clinical training, candidates are then eligible to sit for the national board exam and receive the MT-BC status.

Characteristics of Solid Music Therapy Programs

Curriculum

Strong curriculum—AMTA approved should be a given, and all the schools on the list below have AMTA-approved curriculum.

Types of degrees

It should be noted that each college or university has its own path towards different degrees in music therapy. It seems that the most common degree is the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Music Therapy, but you"ll also find a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Therapy, a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) in Music Therapy, and even the B.M.T. degree (Bachelor of Music Therapy).

Rigorous admissions requirements

It takes the right kind of person to become a music therapist. You can"t only be a skilled musician; you must also have compassion as well as keen observation skills. Likewise, you can"t only be a talented therapist; you need to be able to lead songs and perform music. With that in mind, we favored programs that required more than the standard music school audition for admission into the music department or music therapy program.

Highly-trained faculty

The more MT-BC on staff, the stronger the program. The MT-BC credential is one that requires recertification, so having faculty members keep their certification current suggests that those faculty members are staying current in the field.

Proximity to training facilities

It is critical for music therapy students to have access to clinical opportunities. The closer, the better, whether the opportunity affords itself through an on-campus clinic, a hospital within walking distance from the university, or a school near the campus community.

Bonus material

Is the school affordable? Well, that answer varies from family to family, but any school becomes more affordable when it offers scholarships, so we"ve noted which programs provide scholarship opportunities.

Programs and offerings

Another item that falls under this category includes unique programs and offerings. Does the school have any study abroad opportunities to music therapy students, any special programming that distinguishes these from other music majors? We also considered the added benefits of these programs when compiling the list.

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