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Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University of Wellington logo

Master of Music Therapy

This course is available

Online, On-Campus

Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Feb 2024


Victoria University of Wellington


Use your passion for music to help improve people's lives. Join the only programme in New Zealand that trains graduates to become professional music therapists.

A career in music therapy

Learn how to use music to support the development and wellbeing of people with complex emotional, intellectual, physical or social needs.

You'll get a comprehensive grounding in music therapy. Study the theory and put it into practice in a clinical or social community setting. Then take what you've learned from your practical experience and apply that to your research project.

Studying at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), you'll learn from dedicated staff with many years' experience as music therapists.

If you have a mature and compassionate attitude, curiosity and a knack for critical thinking, and a passion for practical, creative music-making then this programme is for you.

Community placement

You'll learn from valuable community placements in settings such as special schools, inclusive mainstream schools, pediatric units of hospitals and adolescent mental health services. You might also be hosted in elder care facilities, hospices and community units for adults with neurological disorders and mental health challenges.

These valuable placements are also a chance to build the professional networks that will help advance your career.

What you'll study

In Trimester One you'll do courses covering the principles and methods used in music therapy. In Trimester Two you'll do courses on the exploration of music from cultures other than your own, and learn how this applies to your practice, along with courses on approaches to music therapy research and a workplace practicum.

For Part 2, you'll do a range of music therapy casework, followed by a supervised practice-based research project linking to what you observe and experience on your placement. For the Master of Music Therapy by research, your study may be practice-based or more theoretical, depending on your interests and research questions. Both options are full-year courses.

Most students do the Master of Music Therapy by coursework and research, which is in two parts. In Part 1 you'll do coursework and in Part 2 you'll do casework and research.

If you're already a music therapist with an appropriate postgraduate qualification you can go straight to Part 2—the Master of Music Therapy by research.


The Master of Music Therapy by coursework and research can be completed in two years of full-time study or in three to five years part time.

The Master of Music Therapy by research can be completed in one year full time or in two to three years part time.


You might join past graduates and work as a registered music therapist in special schools and autistic units, early intervention centres, hospices, rest homes and community mental health services.

Music therapy is still a new profession in New Zealand, but it is growing. Although not many full-time positions are available, you should be able to work full-time by creating a portfolio of contracts with different services and centres.

Entry criteria

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet:

A Bachelor's degree relevant to Music Therapy

To pass an audition

To have completed courses worth 30 points in Psychology or another approved social science discipline

To be accepted by the Director of the New Zealand School of Music as capable of proceeding with the proposed course of study

Proof of English proficiency

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet one of the following:

IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0

TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing

Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 58 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50)

EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5

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