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Educational Purpose
Eligibility for Admissions

Application Requirements

Deadline for Receiving Applications
Financial Aid & Assistantship
Entrance Examinations
Advisement & Registration

Required Coursework

Preliminary Examination

Dissertation Committee and Proposal
Course Descriptions
Intensive Retreats & Online Learning
Program Coordinator




The doctoral program at Temple University is a true PhD in music therapy. Rather than having music therapy as a minor or elective track within another field, or as merely the main topic for the dissertation, the program has music therapy as the major area of study with its own core curriculum of advanced music therapy courses, supported by studies in research, music, and related health disciplines. The program has undergone extensive reviews and has already been granted plan approval by the National Association of Schools of Music. It is the first of its kind in the USA .


Educational Purpose of the PhD Program

The aim of the PhD is to prepare skilled and experienced clinicians to become competent scholars who will make significant contributions to research and theory in the field. More specific objectives are:

  • To prepare individuals to conduct research and develop theory, with opportunities to study both quantitative and qualitative research paradigms.
  • To provide opportunities for the further development of clinical expertise in two advanced areas of practice: Music Medicine and Music Psychotherapy.
  • To provide opportunities for gaining expertise in an area of specialization within the above two areas of practice (e.g., a particular client population, methodology, or research paradigm).
  • To provide opportunities to develop expertise and skill in college-teaching and clinical supervision.

eligibility for Admissions

To apply, individuals must meet all doctoral admission requirements of the University (See Graduate Bulletin). In addition, applicants must:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree in any music-related area or its equivalent;
  • Hold professional certification in music therapy;
  • Have at least five years of full-time clinical experience as a professional music therapist (or its equivalent);
  • Have earned a master's degree in music therapy or related area or satisfactorily completed 18 graduate credits in music therapy, including the following courses at Temple , or similar courses from another accredited graduate music therapy program:
    • 8601 Qualitative Research in Music Therapy (2 sh). .
    • 8602 Quantitative Research in Music Therapy (2 sh).
    • 8603 Music Psychotherapy (2).
    • 8618 Music in Medicine (2).
    • 8619 Music Therapy Education and Supervision (2 sh).
    • 8621 Music Therapy Ethics (2 sh).
    • 9995 Independent Project in Music Therapy (2 semesters @ 3 sh each).

application requirements

    • Formal Application and required fees.

    • A minimum score of 600 on the PBT, and 79 on the IBT TOEFL examination (only for students who have English as a second language).
    • Two letters of reference.
    • One scholarly paper on music therapy in English (published or unpublished).
    • Audition. The applicant must present the following: two major works in a major performance medium; two standard or popular songs, sung with own piano accompaniment; two standard or popular songs sung with own guitar accompaniment. In addition, the applicant will be asked to sight-sing and sight-harmonize tunes from a fake book, using both piano and guitar for accompaniment, and to sight-read simple piano pieces.
    • Personal interview with the music therapy faculty.
    • At the time of the audition and interview, applicants will take a one-hour writing proficiency examination. The exam requires the applicant to write an essay on a topic selected from the list provided.

    deadline for receiving applications

Applications for the PhD in Music Therapy are considered only once per year---during the spring semester; and students are admitted to these programs only once per year---in the fall semester. All application materials must be received, and all auditions and interviews must be completed by February 1st to be considered for admission in September. Applicants for financial aid must have a live audition and personal interview.

Financial Aid & Doctoral Assistantship

A limited number of assistantships are available to qualified applicants who plan to enroll on a full-time basis and reside in the Philadelphia area. Students must apply for the assistantship, complete all admission requirements (including audition and interview), and submit all supporting materials by February 1st . All assistantships are awarded for a two-semester period beginning in the September, and are renewable for a maximum of two additional semesters. The assistantships are awarded on the basis of academic background, work experience, musicianship, and potential for the field. Applications for the assistantship are included in the admission packet. All applicants are also encouraged to apply for University Scholarships, assistantships, and federal loans. Loan recipients must carry at least five credit hours per semester. In addition, Temple has an easy payment plan (TEPP) which enables students to pay tuition and fees in monthly installments. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office.


During the first semester of study, all music therapy doctoral students will take written entrance examinations to cover each of the following core areas of the MMT and PhD programs:

  • Research in Music Therapy (Quantitative and Qualitative Paradigms)
  • Theoretical Foundations of Music Therapy
  • Music Medicine
  • Music Psychotherapy
  • Music Therapy Ethics


Faculty may waive any of the examinations for students who, in the previous five years, have taken these graduate courses at Temple (or equivalent courses elsewhere), and earned a grade of B or better. In addition, students may opt to waive any portion of the text and take the appropriate course(s) at Temple instead.

The exams are based on existing course and comprehensive exams for the MMT program at Temple . The exams will be graded by at least three MT faculty, using a five-point rating scale. A passing grade for each question is an average rating of 3.0. If students fail any of the questions, a remediation plan will be developed by the MT faculty, taking into consideration the student's responses on the test, his/her circumstances, and place of residence. Some students may take courses in the MMT program, others may be asked to do assigned readings, others may take a re-test after study.



Temple 's music therapy programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).


The Coordinator of the PhD program serves as the academic advisor for all incoming doctoral students. Upon satisfactory completion of 30 credits and the preliminary examination, the student selects a major advisor who guides the dissertation proposal and serves as chair of the dissertation committee.

All students enrolled in the program are expected to consult with the Coordinator of the PhD program during the advisement period prior to registration. Registration may be done over the telephone or online at OWLnet, Temple 's online service. This, however, does not apply to new students, who must register through the Assistant Dean's Office (Mr. David Brown, dpbrown@temple.edu). All students must register prior to the deadlines in order to avoid the late fee. Refer to course schedule for details. Upon admission to the program, students will receive further instructions on registration.


The prerequisite courses are as follows:

·    8601 Qualitative Research in Music Therapy (2 sh).
·    8602 Quantitative Research in Music Therapy (2 sh).
·    8603 Music Psychotherapy (2).
·   8618 Music in Medicine (2).
·    8619 Music Therapy Education and Supervision (2 sh).
·   8621 Music Therapy Ethics (2 sh).
·   9995 Independent Project in Music Therapy (2 semesters @ 3 sh each).

A total of 63 credits (including dissertation) is required beyond the 18 graduate pre-requisite credits, for a total of 81 beyond the bachelor's degree. Individuals who already hold a master's degree from another university may receive advanced standing for up to 30 credits; those with an MMT from Temple may receive a maximum or 36 credits. Advanced standing will be determined on an individual basis by the Coordinator of the PhD program, based on course topics and student competence. Required doctoral coursework will be distributed as follows:


Music Therapy (Required & Elective Cores)
Supportive Courses in Music
Supportive Courses outside of Music


REQUIREd coursework


Music Therapy: Required Core (12 credits):
Students must take the following:

  • 8623 Research in Music Psychotherapy (3 sh)

  • 8624 Research in Music Medicine (3 sh)
  • 9611 Theory Development in Music Therapy (3 sh)

  • 9641 Music Therapy Doctoral Seminar (3 sh)

Music Therapy: Elective Core (12 credits).

  • 9660 Advanced Topics in Music Psychotherapy (1-4)

  • 9670 Advanced Topics in Music Medicine (1-4)

  • 8625 Apprenticeship in Music Therapy Education (1 sh)

  • 8626 Models of Clinical Supervision in Music Therapy (3 sh)

Music Electives:
Students must take 9 graduate credits in Music, Music Studies, or Music Education.

Electives Outside of Music:
Students must take 9 credits outside of the Boyer College in courses which relate to the student's clinical or research interests (e.g., in the creative arts, medicine, communication, psychology, health, special education).

Students must take 12 credits in Research which include at least 6 in Statistics. The remaining 6 may be elective in either quantitative or qualitative paradigms.

Dissertation Credits:
Students must take a minimum of 9 credits in dissertation, including one semester devoted to development of the proposal, and a minimum of two semesters of supervised dissertation research. A maximum of 9 credits in dissertation may be applied towards the degree.

Other Music Therapy Requirements:

  • Grades: No grade below "B-" may be applied toward the degree. All grades of "Incomplete" must be removed before the preliminary examinations may be taken.

  • Students are encouraged to experience music therapy as a client for a period of at least one year during PhD studies. When undertaken, these experiences must be arranged and implemented independently, without faculty involvement, and not in conjunction with any course at Temple .

  • Doctoral assistants must take Music Therapy Education/Supervision 8625 throughout their entire first year of teaching (2 semesters @ 1 sh each).

  • Upon completion of at least 30 credits toward the degree and prior to registering for dissertation proposal, student take a preliminary examination covering clinical practice, research, theory, education, and supervision in music therapy. See next section for details.

  • Students must satisfactorily complete and defend a dissertation prior to granting of the degree. See below.


Upon completion of at least 30 credits towards the degree and prior to registering for Pre-dissertation research (9998), students must submit a preliminary examination. The examination consists of seven projects that originate in and are completed as part of required coursework (e.g., doctoral core courses, MT apprenticeships). The required projects are:

  • One research study (quantitative, qualitative, historical, or theoretical)
  • One course or degree proposal
  • One CMTE course for presentation at a conference
  • Two or three book reviews, at least one to submitted for publication
  • One paper, project, or grant proposal on choice of topic (e.g., supervision, education, ethics, licensing/certification, accreditation/approval).
  • One clinical paper or project
  • One self-awareness paper or project

Detailed guidelines for each project are provided upon entering the program. Depending on the size and scope of any project undertaken by the student, the doctoral coordinator may reduce the number of required projects.

At least three full-time music therapy faculty serve as the examining committee. The examiners grade the written component independently, assigning a grade to each question using the rating scale: 5=excellent answer; 4= good; 3= acceptable, 2=less than acceptable, and 1=unacceptable answer. In order for a question to be judged "passed" the total score achieved for that question must be a "9" or above. The oral component will give the examiners an opportunity for follow up on all the projects submitted, and particularly those that were rated below "9." Upon completion of the oral component, the examining committee will determine whether the student passed or failed; if any portion of the examination is failed, the committee will specify in writing: whether permission will be granted to re-do the examination; which parts of the examination must be redone; and the conditions under which the student will be permitted to do so. Students will be given only one opportunity to re-take the examination or any portion thereof.



Upon passing the written and oral preliminary examinations, the student petitions the Director of Graduate Studies in Music to assign a dissertation committee of three members, including the advisor and two additional graduate faculty members. The student then registers for "Dissertation Proposal" (9998), and develops a dissertation proposal in consultation with the advisor. (See the Graduate Bulletin for regulations regarding this course and the dissertation proposal). The dissertation proposal must be approved by the student's dissertation committee. Its format should comply with the Graduate School requirements for the final finished document. One copy of the approved proposal, signed by the advisor and the committee members, must be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Music for placement in the student's permanent file, within 30 days of its approval. The student achieves candidacy status upon satisfactory completion of the preliminary examination and approval of a dissertation proposal.



8623 Research in Music Psychotherapy (3 credits). A critical examination of foundational and efficacy research on the use of music in psychotherapy, with special emphasis on the qualitative literature.

8623 Research in Music Medicine (3 credits). A critical examination of foundational and efficacy research on the use of music in medicine, with special emphasis on the quantitative literature.

8625 Apprenticeship in Music Therapy Education (1 credits). Faculty provide doctoral students with close supervision as they assist in the teaching and supervision of undergraduate music therapy students. Supervision will include review of lesson plans, live observations, and weekly group seminars. All teaching assistants must take this course for at least two semesters.

8626 Models of Clinical Supervision in Music Therapy (3 credits). An in-depth examination of various models of music therapy supervision appropriate for undergraduate education and professional practice, including psychodynamic, humanistic, and behavioral models. Emphasis will be given to the use of music and various music therapy techniques as a form of supervision.

9611 Theory Development in Music Therapy (3 credits). An examination of the nature of theory and the theorizing process in music therapy, with emphasis on comparing existing theories according to type, topic, objective and methodology. Students will be asked to develop their own mini-theory based on practice and/or research.

9642, 9643 Music Therapy Research Apprenticeship (1-3 credits). Graduate students assist faculty in any or all phases of research: designing and conducting a study, writing up the results, and submitting the study for publication. Open to graduate students only, by permission of the instructor.

9641 Music Therapy Doctoral Seminar (1-3 credits). An integration of theory, research and practice around each student's interest or specialization area.

9660 Advanced Topics in Music Psychotherapy (1-4). An in-depth examination of practice, research and/or theory in areas of specialization in music psychotherapy. Topics include:

  • Guided Imagery and Music I (3)
  • Guided Imagery and Music II (3)
  • Analytical Music Therapy I (3)
  • Analytical Music Therapy II (3)
  • Electives

9670 Advanced Topics in Music Medicine (1-4). An in-depth examination of practice, research, and/or theory in areas of specialization in music medicine.
Topics include:

  • Music Therapy in Cancer Care (3): An in-depth examination of research and practice in music therapy with cancer patients, with an emphasis on biopsychosocial models.
  • Music Therapy for Terminal Illness: Advanced training in the use of music therapy in stages of the dying process. Physiological, psychological, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients are considered within the context of music therapy process.
  • Music Therapy and Pain Management (3) An in-depth examination of specific improvisational, recreative, receptive and compositional methods used to treat chronic, acute and procedural pain in children and adults.
  • Music Therapy for Hospitalized Children. An in-depth examination of research and practice in music therapy with hospitalized children who have a variety of medical problems.

9998. Music Therapy Dissertation Proposal (3 credits). Upon passing the preliminary examination, doctoral students work with their major advisor to develop a dissertation proposal that is acceptable to the dissertation committee.

9999. Music Therapy Doctoral Dissertation. Upon acceptance of the proposal, students work with their major advisor and in consultation with their committee to complete their dissertation research. An oral defense is required upon completion of the dissertation.

Intensive Learning Retreats & Online Learning

Courses in the PhD program are offered through various combinations of intensive learning retreats and online instruction via the "Blackboard" program. The amount of time spent in class versus online varies according to the content and objectives of each course. Some courses require the full 12-13 hours per credit in class time, while others require less in-class time with more instructional time online. Depending on which courses a student takes, he or she may attend one or two retreats per semester. Each retreat lasts from 8-10 days, but students only attend those days on which your classes meet. The learning retreats are held at either Temple University Center City Campus (TUCC) or Presser Hall Room 327 on the main campus. Click here for maps and directions.

Once registered, students will receive more information regarding classroom location, time and dates, accommodations for the intensive retreats, and instructions on accessing blackboard online learning program.

Program Coordinator

Dr. Cheryl Dileo is the Coordinator of the PhD program. Her email is cdileo@temple.edu and her telephone number is 215-204-8542. Contact her if you have any questions regarding the doctoral curriculum, requirements, advisement, and registration. To see her curriculum vitae go to Faculty Information Page.



Department of Music Education and Therapy