MA Music Therapy FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
About the MA in Music Therapy


Thank you for your interest in the MA in Music Therapy. Please find below answers to frequently asked questions that have arisen over the years since the course commenced.

NB: To ensure your application is considered, please remember to make a copy of the application that you submit to the Graduate Admissions Office and send the copy to or Dr. Hillary Moss, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick. Very occasionally applications to the Graduate Admissions Office go astray and a copy to the Course Director ensures that you can definitely be considered. If you have not received a receipt from the admissions office then you must contact them to ensure your application has been received.

What is the closing date for applications?

The application deadline is March 30, 2016.  The course is now closed. Applications for the 2016/2017 intake will open in September 2016 (Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until the class is full).  Auditions will be conducted at appointed times from March 28th throughout April in 2017.

Occasionally printed materials have an incorrect date so please contact the Course Director for clarification if you are confused in any way about this.

I do not have a primary degree in music or psychology, can I still apply?

Anyone can apply for the course however, if you do not have a degree in music or psychology you will need to demonstrate relevant degree level qualifications (and these would be reviewed on a case by case basis) as well as exceptional activity in music including performing publicly and/or community music activities such as group leadership in music.  Life experience, critical thinking, empathy and self awareness are important areas that are evaluated during application review process.  We encourage you to be thorough with the original application. Have you highlighted relevant experience? Have you indicated why you want to do the course such as an interest in working with those who are vulnerable or marginalized? Have you included information about the instruments you play and your musical experience? Please note that you only compete for a placement in the year your application is made so it is not possible to give equivalence to people based on past reference points of successful applications.

I have not received formal qualifications in music, can I still apply?

If you have an excellent music knowledge base including the ability to read and write music, play by ear as well as sight read and are sought out by people in your community to play music then you are well prepared for the musical requirements of the programme.

I have a very busy life, is there a way to do the course part-time?

The course is full-time for two years and 100% attendance is required. It is difficult to complete the course unless you are free to undertake it on a Monday to Friday basis. Students are encouraged to find money to fund the two years without needing to work part-time while studying full-time. While classes are usually only two to three days per week there is a large amount of work to be undertaken including preparation for placement, practicing every day, researching for, and writing assignments.

I do not have the funds to do the course, is there a scholarship for which I can apply?

There are currently no specific music therapy scholarships. You are advised to examine the scholarships page on the Irish World Academy web page and to investigate scholarships available to people in your country or county if you are in Ireland (most local students have success with VEC scholarships but please note there is no information available about this through the Irish World Academy and requests for this information will not be replied to; you must contact your local County office). Students from Northern Ireland may apply to the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust directly for funding support

I would like to specialise in work with a particular population (such as hospice patients or children with autism) during the course, how do I organise that?

You cannot specialise in any particular work population or context during the course. The course has the responsibility to provide music therapy education to the standard of entry level to the profession. Specialist qualifications can be gained later either through professional experience or through further study. You are assigned placements each semester and you must do the placements you are assigned.

I would like to live in Dublin/Cork/Belfast while I am doing the course. Is it possible to guarantee that I have my placements in that city?

We are constrained by the resources in the community and therefore cannot facilitate specific location requests. It is best for students to be flexible and be prepared to commute to their fieldwork sites which can be anywhere on the island of Ireland.

What type of things can I do to do well at the audition/interview/assessment?

On receipt of the application, candidates are short-listed according to relevant experience and qualifications and if you are not short-listed for audition you will be advised soon after the closing date. The audition/interview/assessment comprises three sections.

  1. Audition – you must prepare two pieces/songs to the best standard on your first instrument. You must also prepare a song to sing and accompany yourself, one on guitar and one on piano. Songs can be rock/folk/pop/religious song or any other type of song. You will also be asked to improvise a short piece of music on piano. Sucessful applicants usually show musical abilities at a high level including demonstrating musical flexibility and engagement. Please note, no accompanist is provided for the audition. If you wish to bring an accompanist you can do so but you will need to cover any costs this incurs.
  2. Interview – you will be interviewed on your previous relevant experience to this field of work. Can you provide examples of your experience of working with people who have additional needs? How did this work have an effect on you? Did you change any of your ideas about people with disabilities/diagnoses by the work you did? Applicants who do well here show that they care about the well-being of others and have had work or volunteer experience with those who have additional needs in the community.
  3. Psychological assessment – a psychotherapist will also assess your capacity for future therapy work. You will be asked about your own life experience and background. Your maturity and ability to consider situations from a range of perspectives will be evaluated.

Do I really have to bring a song accompanied on both piano and guitar? I only play piano/guitar.


I live overseas, how can I audition for the course?

If you live in the UK you will be expected to attend the interview/audition at the Irish World Academy. If you live in another country it is possible to audition via Skype interview and audition. In the case that a psychotherapist is not on the interview panel, candidates applying from countries outside of Ireland (except for the UK) may be required to have an additional interview with a psychotherapist. You have the choice of using a qualified psychotherapy practitioner in your own country (at your own cost) or using a reccommended psychotherapist as identified by the programme (by Skype).

I am not available at the dates I have been advised for the audition, can I do the audition at a different time?

Audition dates are scheduled for specific times. You will be advised of these well head of time by the Postgraduate Admissions Office and encouraged to make yourself available at that time.

What are the personal development requirements of the programme?

Students are required to attend a minimum of 30 psychotherapy sessions over the duration of the programme. These costs are borne by the student. This is to develop the student’s understanding of the therapeutic process as well as to develop self-awareness and insight which is crucial to effective therapeutic practice.

I definitely know I want to be a music therapist but I don’t really know what it is or how music therapists work

Some of the ways you can find out more:

  • Read about music therapy at , and
  • Check with the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists whether there are any seminars or open days coming up –
  • Check on the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance web site for any music therapy seminars and make sure you are on the postal list for the Course Director who will send you information about any future seminars –
  • Check the online events brochure on the Irish World Academy website for upcoming seminars and events.
  • Find out where the music therapy conferences are in your region.

Does this qualification allow me to work in other countries?

Most countries have their own regulations which are required to practice as a music therapist. The qualification provided through the University of Limerick allows graduates to join the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists as full members. Graduates have gone on to successfully register with the Health Professions Council in the UK; which is the only way a music therapist can be employed in the UK including Northern Ireland. Other graduates have been successful attaining recognition in Canada and Australia for the purposes of being eligible to practice there.

Can you tell me the timetable for the course so I can organise my part-time work commitments for next year?

The timetable for all university students is advised in the first week of semester. Please be assured that faculty will advise you of your timetable as soon as this is finalised in the univeristy system. Full attendance is expected at all classes. We do understand that life events and health issues can arise. In such cases the student may be asked to provide a medical certificate. Occasionally unexpected seminars or guest lectures are scheduled outside of the regular class times. These will be advised to students well in advance.

I have further questions, what should I do?

Any additional questions about the programme should be directed to Dr. Hilary Moss, Course Director, MA in Music Therapy,

Information about accommodation options can be found at

Information about tuition fees, scholarships please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office


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