Music Therapy Program


The Music Therapy program at SUNY New Paltz offers students with a baccalaureate degree in Music the opportunity to study Music Therapy at the advanced level, acquiring musical, clinical, and research skills essential to professional practice.

Master of Science in Music Therapy

The Music Therapy Program at SUNY New Paltz is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) to offer the Master of Science (MS) in Music Therapy degree. The program is approved by the National Association of Schools of Music, the national accrediting body for schools of music.

Upon completion of the 48-credit curriculum and the required minimum 1,200 hours of supervised clinical training, students are eligible to sit for the Certification Board Examination in Music Therapy.

Admission to the Program

Requirements and Procedures

  1. Baccalaureate degree in Music with a minimum of 54 credits in the major
  2. Passing grade on placement audition for guitar and piano accompaniment competencies
  3. Passing grade on placement audition in vocal performance
  4. Passing grade on placement audition in sight singing
  5. Artistry on a major instrument demonstrated at an in-person (live) audition at SUNY New Paltz. (International applicants may submit a video recording on DVD as a preliminary audition submission.)

Required Application Components

  • A completed graduate school application

  • An official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work providing evidence of a baccalaureate degree in Music from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale

  • A typed personal statement that describes the applicant's educational aspirations, experiences in working with persons with special needs, and a description 300 to 400 words in length of the applicant's personal and professional goals. This statement will be assessed as a writing sample with respect to content clarity, grammar, style, and organization of ideas.

  • Three letters of professional recommendation written on professional letterhead. All letters should:

    1. be dated and current

    2. address how long the writer has known the applicant and in what capacity

    3. address the applicant's suitability for graduate work in Music Therapy, referring to academic abilities, ability to work with clients and others, and professional commitment

    4. be written by individuals who have a professional relationship with the applicant. At least one letter of recommendation should be written by an academic who has direct knowledge of the applicant's abilities.

Deadlines for application to the Music Therapy master's program can be obtained by contacting the Music Department at: 845-257-2700, or by visiting the Music Department's Web site at:

Graduate applicants are required to perform two contrasting selections on their major instrument. Additionally applicants should prepare five songs to sing while accompanying themselves on the guitar and five songs to sing while accompanying themselves on the piano. These songs should be memorized and applicants should be prepared to discuss possible clinical applications for their use. Placement exams in Sight Singing/Ear Training and Theory will be components of the audition as well.

The following is a form to be completed for listing the ten songs. Please print and provide it to the auditors on the day of the audition.

Piano and Guitar Song Listing


Program Requirements

  • Completion of all prescribed course work and other requirements within five years of matriculation.
  • Maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 or higher, with no more than two grades below B-.

The Music Therapy program is built around 48 credit hours of course work for students with baccalaureate degrees in Music Therapy or the MT-BC (The Certification Board for Music Therapists). Students with other degrees in Music must complete 16 credits of undergraduate work in Music Therapy, including

  • Introduction to Music Therapy (3)

  • Music Therapy Methods and Materials (3)

  • Psychology of Music (3)

  • Music Therapy Practicum (3)

  • Psychological Statistics (4)


Successful applicants to the Music Therapy program will be assigned an academic advisor. Newly admitted students should make an appointment with their assigned advisor to develop a Plan of Study as soon as possible. The comprehensive Plan of Study, developed by the student and their advisor, officially outlines the expected schedule of completion of the degree requirements and course work leading to eligibility for licensure as a Creative Arts Therapist in New York State. Any changes in this Plan of Study will require prior approval from the academic advisor.

Transfer Credit

With the approval of the academic advisor and the dean of the Graduate School, students may transfer up to 9 graduate credits from other institutions or from courses taken at New Paltz prior to matriculation. Credits cannot be transferred after the Plan of Study is approved, except with permission of the academic advisor.



Students must meet with their advisor each semester to discuss course work and register for courses as outlined in their individual Plan of Study. Pre-registration for the spring semester occurs in November, and pre-registration for the summer and fall semesters occurs in April.

Change of Name and/or Address

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Music Department office and the Records and Registration office with legal name, address, telephone, and/or email address changes.


Music Therapy Major Plan (PDF)