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Music Therapy M.M. (Online with In-Person Summer Session)

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Degree Overview Open Accordion

CSU's online music therapy degree helps you connect with others, learn about important research developments in the field, and apply music in a more systematic way, to reenergize and enhance your practice as a music therapist.

Earn your master's in music therapy online

Advance your career as a music therapist with CSU's nationally recognized online music therapy degree. Through your course of study, you will advance your practice using music therapy to address the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. In this program, you will:

  • Expand your background in neuroscience, music, and research.
  • Learn to advance your work with individuals with neurological disease/disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and mental health needs.
  • Integrate evidence-based practice in different settings including private practice, schools, medical centers, and hospice care.
  • Earn your master’s online at your own pace while maintaining your employment. The program includes a one-time long weekend on campus (4 days in Fort Collins, Colorado in one summer session).

A neurological approach to music therapy

Develop your skills as a music therapist by focusing on neurological techniques that promote changes in cognitive, sensorimotor, speech and language, and psychosocial functioning. Develop your use of music therapy techniques to:

  • Rehabilitate individuals with neurologic disease and disorders.
  • Maintain functioning with older adults.
  • Improve the communication, academic performance, and social skills of children with disabilities.
  • Promote cognition and enhance memory.
  • Facilitate motor development in children with disabilities.
  • Improve treatment outcomes.

CSU's faculty incorporate their innovative research and clinical work into online courses, ensuring your experience is practical and up-to-date. You will learn the leading industry practices from faculty specializing in areas that include:

  • Neuroscience research applied to music therapy
  • The use of technology in clinical settings
  • Music therapy percussion pedagogy
  • Cognitive and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorders

Learn more on the Applied Podcast

In this episode, we talk with two faculty members in CSU’s Music Therapy department: Dr. Blythe LaGasse and Dr. Jess Rushing. We learn about the healing power of music, why music therapy works, and how it fits into a holistic healthcare system.

Curriculum Open Accordion


  • Plan A – 30 credits are required.
  • Plan B – 32 credits are required.
  • A minimum of 24 credits must be earned at Colorado State University (up to six transfer credits accepted).
  • Up to nine credits may be taken before formal admission to the degree program.
  • The degree is available with a thesis (Plan A) or a non-thesis (Plan B) option in which the student completes a final project and written exam.


With this graduate degree, you will take a wide variety of courses in music therapy and related areas. This program includes 15 credits of required music therapy courses. The program also includes 15 (Plan A) – 17 (Plan B) credits of electives, allowing students to choose coursework that will best fit their professional and educational needs. Required courses are delivered online and all music therapy courses are designed for the working music therapy professional.

Required Courses

Select one of the following (3 cr.):

Elective Courses (6 cr.)

Select six credits of music electives, with options including:

9 (Plan A) or 11 (Plan B) credits of non-music electives selected from areas including Biomedical Sciences, Education Research Methods, Psychology, and more. You work with your advisor to customize the plan based on your interests and learning needs.

The Learning Experience

This graduate degree is delivered online, with one four-day, on-campus visit in Fort Collins, CO, typically during one summer session.

This program gives you the flexibility to complete the same degree offered on campus, but from the comfort of your own home, and at your own pace. The typical program for a full-time music therapist includes two classes per semester, with degree completion possible in five to six semesters (including a minimum of one summer semester).

Your level of interaction with the faculty and fellow students depends on the specific course. Many courses involve active communication with other professional music therapists on discussion boards, group chats, and/or group projects. Online course instructors will provide you with online office hours and email contact.

Course Descriptions Open Accordion
MU 543 – Advanced Research Methods in Music Therapy

This course is designed to help music therapy professionals gain a better understanding of research in order to critically read and participate in research. Students will learn the components of designing, conducting, and disseminating a research project. Emphasis will be placed on quantitative research methodology and applicable statistical testing. Students will learn how to use methodologies that are commonly applied in the clinical setting with small and large populations. Students will have the opportunity to conduct their own research project, resulting in a research article and research poster presentation.

MU 545 – Composition for Music Therapy Practitioners

Students have the opportunity to explore their own composition and improvisation skills as they relate to facilitating music therapy sessions. They explore topics in music theory, composition, and improvisation, and incorporate those concepts into compositions and improvisations. Music recording technology is also explored in this course.

MU 647 – Historic Foundations of Music Therapy

In this course, students have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the history of music therapy. Beginning in the 1700s and ending in present-day music therapy practice, students are exposed to early pioneers, learn about the original scientific studies in music therapy, and encounter some very interesting individuals and ideas along the way.

MU 648 – Neuroscience/Music Foundations in Therapy

This course is designed to provide students with the historical and scientific foundations of neuroscience in music therapy (including foundations in neurologic music therapy). Concepts covered will include the biological foundations of music, current developments in the neurosciences of music, biomedical research in music, and current scientific evidence for clinical practice.

MU 649 – Advanced Practice in Music Therapy

This course is designed to provide the working music therapist with experience in advanced practice. Students will discuss topics in clinical practice including the incorporation of current neuroscience research and evidence-based protocols. Students will receive hands-on instruction during one long weekend at CSU. This course will provide students with a unique opportunity to further their knowledge of clinical techniques while receiving advanced instruction from the CSU faculty. During the four-day on-campus component, students work together to solve clinical problems, work through different techniques and protocols, and further their understanding of advanced music therapy practice.

MU 686 – Music Therapy Practicum

This course is designed to further the working music therapist's clinical skills. The student will practice music therapy techniques while working in their selected population. Students will record current clinical work and will submit video for review by the CSU faculty, receiving written feedback and suggestions for further development of their clinical practice.

Hear from Our Students Open Accordion

Get a glimpse of students' experiences, discover how online education benefits them, and hear what they say about CSU's faculty and courses.

Tina Haynes

See how the program has allowed Tina to participate in the program while living and working in Tennessee, and how it has improved her practice as a music therapist at a veterans' hospital.

Faculty Open Accordion
Blythe LaGasse

Blythe LaGasse, Ph.D., MT-BC

Dr. Blythe LaGasse is coordinator and associate professor of music therapy at Colorado State University. She is director of the online program in music therapy. She has been a music therapist specializing in working with children with autism spectrum disorder for over sixteen years and is an active clinician.

Dr. LaGasse was a faculty trainer for the Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) Academy for eight years. She holds a certificate of proficiency in DIR/Floortime from the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning. Dr. LaGasse has publications in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, and Music and Medicine. She was the 2016 recipient of the American Music Therapy Association Arthur Flagler Fultz Research grant award and in 2016 she and co-investigator Dr. Erik Johnson were awarded the GRAMMY Foundation grant award.

Dr. LaGasse was the 2015 recipient of the American Music Therapy Association Research Award. She was the 2016-2017 recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award. She was the Fall 2017 recipient of the CSU Online Innovative Educator Award.

Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight, Ph.D., MT-BC

Dr. Andrew Knight holds a bachelor's degree in percussion performance, with a jazz emphasis, from UW-La Crosse, a music therapy equivalency and master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in educational foundations and research from the University of North Dakota (UND).

Dr. Knight has research interests in substance use disorders in adults and early childhood social/emotional developmental issues. He directs the Parkinson's Disease vocal exercise group in collaboration with the Parkinson's Support Group in Larimer County and is a Music Together Within Therapy™ provider. His research has been published in the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives, among other journals, and serves as Associate Editor for Book Reviews for JMT. He is the 2017-2019 president of the Midwestern Region (MWR) of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), on the AMTA Assembly of Delegates, and has won the MWR and AMTA Service Awards. Along with Dr. Blythe LaGasse and Dr. Alicia Clair, he is a co-editor of the 2018 Introduction to Music Therapy textbook published by AMTA.

Lindsey Wilhelm

Lindsey Wilhelm, Ph.D., MT-BC

Lindsey Wilhelm holds degrees in music therapy from Colorado State University (BM) and the University of Iowa (MA, Ph.D.) and is a Fellow in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). A board-certified music therapist since 2007, Dr. Wilhelm has worked with both children and adults in a variety of community, educational, rehabilitative, and medical settings. Her current research areas and interests include music therapy applications for aging adults with hearing loss; students' self-care practices; and music therapy applications for family caregivers.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson, M.M., MT-BC

Sarah Johnson received her M.M. degree in Music Therapy from Colorado State University (1989). She currently resides in Warsaw, Poland, where she is an online clinical supervisor for the online music therapy program. Since graduate teaching assistant days at CSU, she has taught, substituted for colleagues, and/or guest lectured for a variety of courses in the Music Therapy Department.

In addition to her work at CSU, Johnson was a neurologic music therapist for the in-patient rehabilitation and out-patient children's therapy services of Poudre Valley Hospital, for more than 20 years. The American Music Therapy Association recently awarded Johnson the "Professional Practice Award" which recognizes "a significant contribution to the profession by utilizing special skills and/or knowledge in therapeutic practice, clinical supervision, education and/or administration."

Why Choose CSU? Open Accordion

As a student in CSU's online music therapy master's program, you receive the same education, learn from the same faculty, and earn the same regionally accredited degree as students on campus. Additionally, you can expect:

  • Education that Helps You Help Others: Make a difference in the lives of people of all ages by developing your skills as a music therapist to assist in the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
  • A Well-Balanced Educational Experience: Explore music therapy research and music methodology in core classes emphasizing evidence-based practice and the neuroscience of music therapy. Further specialize your skill-set by selecting elective coursework in subjects such as counseling, human development, and psychology.
  • A Neuroscience Approach: CSU is a leader among universities in neuroscience research applied to music therapy. Through this specialized lens, learn how to affect change in an individual's psychosocial functioning, speech and language development, cognition, sensorimotor skills, and more.
  • A Connection to Medical Professionals: Knowledge and understanding of neuroscience terminology will better prepare you to communicate with medical professionals to further the reach of how music can impact the health and well-being of patients.
  • Instruction from Expert Faculty: Learn from faculty with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of music therapy with specializations in areas such as the use of technology in clinical settings, music therapy percussion pedagogy, cognitive and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorders, and more.
  • An On-Campus Summer Experience: Participate in a unique, one-time, summer residency in Fort Collins, CO. This required experience gives you the opportunity to network with your instructors and fellow peers face-to-face, while allowing for hands-on practice of newly learned techniques.
  • Integration of Research and Practice: Be at the forefront of industry practices by learning from a core faculty of active researchers who incorporate their innovative research and clinical work into online music therapy courses. Engage in and integrate research findings in your own work to maintain an evidence-based practice.
  • An Applied Learning Experience: Implement techniques and methodologies learned in the online classroom to your own workplace. During your clinical practicum course and regular lecture-lab pairings, you'll send in video clips of work with clients, receive valuable feedback from faculty, and then incorporate that feedback into your clinic.
  • A Focus on Musicianship: Faculty exhibit a strong emphasis on musicianship and have a multiplicity of instrument specializations and expertise. Through modules on improvisation, song writing, and exchange of video/audio recordings with faculty — explore ways to improve your musicianship to better help others in your music therapy career.

Learn more about CSU's rankings and accolades.

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Students may be admitted for the fall and spring semester. Summer admission is not available.

Fall semester July 1
Spring semester November 1

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1 Review Minimum Admission Requirements

The music therapy (M.M.) degree requires applicants to have the following:

  • Bachelor's degree in music therapy from a regionally accredited institution, or a bachelor's degree and completion of a music therapy equivalency program. No exceptions allowed.
  • Board certification in music therapy (or international equivalent).
  • GRE test scores are not required for this program.

Note that meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program. Admission to Colorado State University graduate programs is based on a number of factors, including prior academic and professional experience and the personal statement.

2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

  • All prior transcripts (sent directly to CSU)
  • Current résumé
  • A statement of purpose and career goals for graduate study at Colorado State University (limit 3 pages)
  • Contact information for two individuals submitting letters of references (Name, address, and email for all individuals who will submit letters on your behalf). There is no required format for the letters of reference.
  • Video Audition: Please face the camera, state your name, tell why you are interested in pursuing a Master’s degree in music therapy, and why you are interested in Colorado State University (2 minutes maximum). Demonstrate piano skills by playing a piece on the piano at your skill level. Functional Musical Skills: You will need to accompany yourself singing while playing piano or guitar on a total of four songs from different genres not limited to American Folk, popular music, country music, world music, etc... Piano is required for at least two songs. You may also include the guitar for two songs (not required; all four songs may be played on piano).
  • Note: Scores from the general exam of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are not required for students seeking admission to this Music program.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application form and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Music M.M. – Distance" when choosing the program of study.

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Please Note: Students may be unconditionally admitted and registered in their first semester of courses with an unofficial transcript. Official transcripts must be submitted, prior to or during your first semester, before you can register for your second semester of graduate work. Failure to meet this condition will result in your dismissal from the Graduate School.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.


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Prospective Student Support Coach
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Program Details

Online with in-person summer session at Fort Collins campus
Plan A – 30 credits
Plan B – 32 credits
$662 per credit
Same in-state tuition for all.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships Tuition/fees are just part of the cost to attend CSU. Learn more about the full Cost of Attendance
Degree Awarded
Master of Music in Music; transcript reflects the music therapy specialization
Time Frame
Can be completed in 2 years
Admission Reqs.
  • Bachelor's in Music Therapy or a bachelor's as well as a completion of a music therapy equivalency program
  • Board certification in music therapy

Application Dates

Fall semester
July 1
Spring semester
November 1

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