Music Therapy Concentration

Director: Carmen E. Osburn, MA, MT-BC

The Music Therapy program at Mississippi University for Women was established in 2002 as the first program at a public university in Mississippi to educate music therapists. The mission of the The W's Music Therapy Program is to provide holistic and clinically-based music therapy education with an emphasis on individual student exploration and growth. A variety of active classroom experiences and music therapy clinical practica in both the campus and local communities are utilized to meet the needs of the diverse student population.

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association) Music Therapists use music in a therapeutic setting to restore, improve, or maintain mental and physical health. Music Therapists use music interventions to accomplish non-musical goals, so clients need not have any special musical training.

What Training does a Music Therapist Need?

Music Therapists must have the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) to maintain a clinical practice. This credential means that the music therapist completed an approved bachelor's level degree program in music therapy. A major component of the degree is the completion of at least 1200 clinical training hours, including a clinical internship of at least 900 hours at the conclusion of the university coursework. Upon graduation students are eligible to sit for the National Board Certification Exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT)

University curricula in music therapy includes courses in music theory, music history, music therapy, psychology and general studies. In addition, students must be proficient in their primary instrument, guitar, voice and piano.

Where Can I Find a Music Therapist?

Music Therapists work with many different age groups of people who have varying levels of physical and mental health needs. Among the workplaces where music therapists are employed are:

Medical Hospitals
Psychiatric Treatment Centers
Developmental Centers
Pre-School/Head Start
Private Practice
Public and Private School Settings
Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers
Community Music Schools
Counseling Centers
Music Therapy Agencies
Community Service Agencies


In addition, opportunities continue to arise for music therapists with advanced clinical experience and degrees to serve as facility administrators or university instructors. In the United States, music therapy is one of the most quickly growing professions.

The Music Therapy Program at The W

This program combines the excellent education and resources offered by the University and a dedication to the value of a liberal arts education to provide an exciting and challenging training program in music therapy. Students experience an intimate learning environment and a strong emphasis in applied learning.

The 124-credit hour curriculum combines a diverse General Studies core with intensive work in music (including Theory, History, Conducting and Performance), Music Therapy, and Psychology, leading to a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Therapy.

Students in The W's Music Therapy Program receive at least six semesters of supervised clinical practicum with various clients at facilities on campus and throughout the Golden Triangle Area. Students are supervised by a Board-Certified Music Therapist, and engage in music therapy assessment, treatment planning, and documentation along with the actual provision of the music therapy services.

Students begin their music therapy core curriculum, in addition to conducting several observations and volunteer music therapy experiences, as a first-year Freshman or Transfer Student. This allows the students to become immediately involved in their chosen major, and refine many skills needed to become a music therapist.

To prepare students for internship, board certification and the demands of professional music therapy clinical practice, students are required to pass voice, guitar and piano proficiency exams before they may take their senior level music therapy courses and practicum. These exams focus on musical competency skills necessary to music therapy clinical practice with a variety of clients.

The W Music Therapy Clinical Practicum Sites

Students complete their practicum courses in a variety of settings, some of which have included:

  • Child and Parent Development Center, The W, Columbus, MS
  • Home Place Nursing and Retirement Center
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital - Golden Triangle, Palliative Care and Transitional Unit, Columbus, MS
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital - Golden Triangle, Willowbrook Behavioral Health Care, Columbus, MS
  • Lowndes County School District, Columbus, MS
  • Windsor Place Nursing Home, Columbus, MS
  • The Arrington Assisted Living, Columbus, MS
  • Vineyard Court Nursing Center, Columbus, MS
  • Recovery House, Columbus, MS


For more information about the Music Therapy program at The W

Please contact:
Carmen E. Osburn, MA, MT-BC
Professor, Director of Music Therapy
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Carmen E. Osburn, MA, MT-BC, Professor of Music and Director of Music Therapy at The W received her undergraduate degree in music therapy from Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN and her graduate degree in Creative Arts in Therapy from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Board-certified since 1994, she has provided music therapy services for children and adolescents in school settings and for those with medical, emotional and behavioral problems, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. Her work with adult clients includes geriatric home health services, medical, emotional, psychiatric problems, and drug and alcohol addiction. Before coming to The W in 2005 she was on the faculty at the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, where she taught music therapy clinical techniques, and supervised students in clinical fieldwork and practica. She also created the first AMTA National Roster Music Therapy Internship in Kentucky at an adult and adolescent psychiatric facility. A frequent presenter at Music Therapy conferences, she represents the Southeastern Region of AMTA (SER-AMTA) on the AMTA Academic Program Approval Committee, and on the AMTA Assembly of Delegates. She serves on the Executive Board of SER-AMTA as 2nd Vice President, editor of the newsletter Quodlibet.


General Education Curriculum

(39-40 Semester Hours)

See General Education Curriculum Requirements


Concentration Courses:

(for course descriptions, see the Undergraduate Bulletin)

MUS 101 - Theory I
MUS 102 - Theory II
MUS 103 - Theory Lab I
MUS 104 - Theory Lab II
MUS 105 - Introduction to Music Literature
MUS 121 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 122 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 123 - Class Piano
MUS 126 - Class Guitar
MUS 151 - Introduction to Music Therapy I: Foundations
MUS 152 - Introduction To Music Therapy II: Populations
MUS 201 - Theory III
MUS 202 - Theory IV
MUS 203 - Theory Lab III
MUS 204 - Theory Lab IV
MUS 221 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 222 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 251 - Clinical Skills I
MUS 252 - Clinical Skills II
MUS 255 - Psychology of Music
MUS 256 - Music Therapy Research Methods
MUS 301 - History Of Music
MUS 302 - History Of Music
MUS 303 - Music Therapy Professional Skills
MUS 305 - Form and Analysis
MUS 309 - Improvisation Techniques I
MUS 310 - Improvisation Techniques II
MUS 315 - Conducting
MUS 321 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 322 - Major Piano, Voice, Brass, Composition
MUS 351 - Music Therapy with Children
MUS 352 - Music Therapy with Adults
MUS 353 - Clinical Practicum I
MUS 354 - Clinical Practicum II
MUS 451 - Music Therapy Principles
MUS 452 - Music Therapy Practices
MUS 453 - Clinical Practicum III
MUS 454 - Clinical Practicum IV
MUS 460 - Music Therapy Internship


Select Music Ensemble: (4 Semester Hours)

MUS 106 - Jazz Ensemble
MUS 108 - Instrumental Ensemble
MUS 110 - University Chorus
MUS 112 - New Horizon
MUS 114 - Chorale
MUS 115 - Chamber Singers
MUS 116 - Male Ensemble

Secondary Music Sequence: (4 Semester Hours)

Piano majors will take four hours of Secondary Voice or Instrument; all other Music majors take the Group Keyboard Skills sequence.

MUS 107 - Group Keyboard Skills I
MUS 109 - Group Keyboard Skills II
MUS 207 - Group Keyboard Skills III
MUS 209 - Group Keyboard Skills IV


MUS 127 - Secondary Piano, Voice (4 semester hours)


Other required courses include:

PSY 101 - General Psychology
PSY 206 - Human Growth and Development
PSY 304 - Abnormal Psychology
PHL 307 - Medical Ethics
BSB 101 - General Biology I
BSB 101L - General Biology I Laboratory
BSB 102 - General Biology II
BSB 102L - General Biology II Laboratory


General Electives: (6 Semester Hours)

In addition to the requirements of the major, and the General Education Curriculum requirements, an additional 6 semester hours of coursework is required to meet the requirments of a Bachelor of Music degree. Suggested course: MUS 242 - Computers in Music

Total Hours Required for a BM in Music Therapy: 124 Semester Hours


Optional courses:

MUS 253 - Music Therapy Observation *
MUS 455 - Advanced Clinical Practicum **



*Optional and repeatable for a maximum of four (4) credits

**Optional and repeatable for a maximum of six (6) credits

Music Majors with a Concentration in Music Therapy are required to take 12 credits of major applied lessons, 4 credits of Group Keyboard Skills sequence (a piano major will substitute 4 hours of voice or instrument for 4 hours of the Group Keyboard Skills sequence), 2 credits of Class Guitar, and 2 credits of Class Piano. Music Therapy students who can perform at a level above that of either Class Guitar and/or Class Piano may request a waiver of that class(es). In these cases Music Therapy students must still use the credits required for Class Piano and/or Class Guitar for secondary lesson credits. Music Therapy students must have a minimum of four hours of ensemble credit before they can enroll in MUS 460 - Music Therapy Internship.

Students must achieve a grade of C or higher in all Music and Music Therapy classes in order to be eligible for Music Therapy Internship and sit for the board certification exam. Students who fail to achieve a C in a class must register for an independent study in that course during the following semester or retake it in the semester it is next offered. In addition, students will be unable to take the next sequential Music Therapy course. Students will be given only one opportunity to retake any Music Therapy course. If the student is unable to achieve a C grade or higher at that point, the student will be dismissed from the Music Therapy program.

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