Music Therapy

The University of Kentucky School of Music houses Kentucky’s first and only graduate program in music therapy. Students who have an undergraduate degree in music therapy may pursue the 30-credit hour Master of Music in Music Therapy degree, which includes a thesis or clinical project. A combined equivalency/master degree program is available for students without an undergraduate degree in music therapy. Advanced clinical training opportunities are available at UK HealthCare and in the Lexington community.

For more information on applying to the University of Kentucky music therapy program, read below about admission to the music therapy program.

Contact Dr. Olivia Yinger for more information.

Admission to the Program

Students applying for admission in the fall semester must complete all application materials no later than March 15th.

General Admission

In order to apply for admission to the University of Kentucky Master of Music in Music Therapy program, students must first apply to the University of Kentucky Graduate Admission Office and then apply to the School of Music. See the Admissions & Auditions page for important information on how to apply. Note that applications to the graduate school must include:

  • Official copies of all undergraduate transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (for international students)
  • Résumé
  • Personal objective essay
  • Three letters of recommendation

Music Therapy Program Admission

In addition to the requirements for general admission, students applying to the music therapy program must contact the Director of Music Therapy in order to complete the following:

  • An interview with the Director of Music Therapy. (Please bring a copy of your unofficial transcripts to your interview.)
  • Entrance exams, covering music theory, music history, and music therapy. (See the School of Music’s Auditions & Admissions page as well as the Graduate Dates & Resources page. Be sure to read the specific requirements for music therapy entrance exams carefully.) 

Master of Music in Music Therapy

The master of music in music therapy degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including a thesis or clinical project. Students in the MM music therapy program work with their music therapy faculty advisor to design an individualized program of studies. Students are able to select electives that best fit their desired area of specialized practice. The following outlines the requirements for the MM in music therapy.


  • MUS 633—Graduate Clinical Placement (1-3 credits) * Required

Other courses may include:

  • MUS 630: Medical Music Therapy (3 credits)
  • MUS 631: Music in Counseling (3 credits)
  • MUS 664: Music for Special Learners (3 credits)
  • MUS 706: Music Learning and Behavior (3 credits)
  • MUS 730: Independent Work in Music Therapy (1-3 credits)
  • MUS 732: Seminar- Topics in Music Therapy (3 credits)
  • MUS 770: Psychology of Music (3 credits)


  • MUS 600: Research I (3 credits) * Required
  • Thesis and Thesis Defense (6 credits) * Required


Combined Equivalency/Masters Degree

Earning board-certification in music therapy (denoted by the credential MT-BC) is required prior to completing master’s coursework in music therapy at UK. In order to become board-certified, students must have completed appropriate coursework in music foundations, clinical foundations, and music therapy, either during undergraduate studies or as part of a post-baccalaureate music therapy equivalency program.

A student who is not a board-certified music therapist but who studied music during their undergraduate training (either as a music major or, in some cases, as a music minor) may apply to the combined equivalency/master degree program at UK. The combined equivalency/master degree program at UK enables a student to complete all entry-level music therapy coursework not met at the undergraduate level in order to become a board-certified music therapist, before completing the master’s degree requirements. 

The following list shows areas in which students must demonstrate competency in order to become eligible for board-certification and subsequent completion of master’s level coursework. Music foundations and clinical foundations courses may be completed during undergraduate coursework or as part of the equivalency training. Students in the equivalency program at UK must take all music therapy core courses at UK.


  • Music theory (aural and written)
  • Music history
  • Conducting
  • Improvisation, movement, and percussion courses (Example: Orff Schulwerk)
  • Arranging
  • Applied lessons on primary instrument
  • Ensemble participation
  • Proficiency in guitar, piano and voice


  • Intro to psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Other behavioral science courses


Equivalency students must complete all of the music therapy core courses at UK. Includes 1,200 hours of pre-internship and internship clinical training.

  • Music therapy principles and foundations
  • Music therapy applications
  • Psychology of music
  • Music learning and behavior
  • Music therapy clinical internship (6 to 9 month full time internship)

A music therapy faculty advisor will work with each student in the combined equivalency/master degree program to create an individualized program of studies based on the entry-level coursework that the student needs to take. Courses taken to satisfy equivalency requirements do not count toward the 30 credit hour master of music in music therapy degree.

Clinical Opportunities

During music therapy treatment, a board certified music therapist uses music-based techniques to address individualized non-musical goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapy is used to:

  • Promote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Express feelings
  • Enhance memory and cognition
  • Improve communication
  • Improve coping skills
  • Promote physical rehabilitation

Music therapy students at UK have opportunities to conduct pre-internship and advanced clinical work with music therapists at UK HealthCare and in the Lexington community, including the following settings:

  • Medical treatment units (pediatric and adult)
  • Behavioral health treatment units
  • A public school system
  • An early childhood center
  • Elder care facilities
  • Music wellness programs, including mUsiKcare

Preparing for a Music Therapy Degree

Music therapy training begins at the undergraduate level with required coursework in the following three areas: music therapy, behavioral sciences, and core music courses. Many students however, often come to music therapy at the graduate level by participating in equivalency master’s programs. An equivalency master’s program allows individuals to make up any missed prerequisites not taken at the undergraduate level before completing the master’s coursework in music therapy.

In order to prepare for an equivalency master’s program, there are certain courses that you can take during your undergraduate training or prior to entering the program. The following information provides a list of suggested course areas based on the competencies required for music therapy. Please note that info provided is by area and not by courses title. Individual titles may vary from institution to institution, so it is vital to keep documentation (syllabi, course catalog info, etc.) in order to demonstrate that the competencies have been covered.

Music Therapy Courses—Music therapy coursework would be covered at UK; as a result, substitutions are accepted on an individual basis only after consultation with the director. Commonly allowed substitutions include Psychology of Music and Music Learning and Behavior.

Behavioral Sciences—Acceptable course areas would include but are not limited to:

  • Intro to Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Aging
  • Anatomy and Physiology (required)
  • Special Learners
  • Counseling Techniques

Music Core—Acceptable course areas would include but are not limited to:

  • Music Theory (aural and written)
  • Music History
  • Conducting
  • Percussion
  • Improvisation/Movement Courses (Example: Orff)
  • Arranging
  • Primary Instrument Performance/Lessons
  • Ensemble Participation
  • Guitar, Piano and Voice (Proficiency is required in all three of these areas.)

Music Therapy Faculty

Office N/A
Assistant Professor
Music Therapy
319 Rose Lane, office #202
Visiting Assistant Professor
Music Therapy
Office N/A

Email N/A

Director of Music Therapy
Associate Professor
319 Rose Lane, Office 203