Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Music Education with Music Therapy Emphasis

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered in Music Education with Music Therapy Emphasis. The Ph.D. is a research degree requiring 60 credit hours beyond the Masters Degree, or 90 credit hours beyond the Bachelors Degree. This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in music therapy-related research, college teaching positions in music therapy, or administrative positions.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered in Music Education with Music Therapy Emphasis. The Ph.D. is a research degree requiring 60 credit hours beyond the Masters Degree, or 90 credit hours beyond the Bachelors Degree. This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in music therapy-related research, college teaching positions in music therapy, or administrative positions.

Enrollment into this specialized program is limited. Acceptance is based on academic record, Graduate Record Examination scores, TOEFL scores (as appropriate), personal suitability, professional recommendations, and demonstrated clinical competency.

Prior to entering candidacy, students in this program must complete required coursework, a doctoral research project, and a series of qualifying papers demonstrating application of fundamental and specialized knowledge relating to music therapy practice, education, or research. To finalize the qualifying process, students must also successfully pass an oral examination. Once students have been accepted to candidacy, they can propose the dissertation. These requirements are uniquely designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to hold future professional positions as leaders, educators, and researchers in the field of music therapy.

A distinct feature of this doctoral degree program is the allotment of 12 credit hours to courses in “Supporting Area Studies.” Students may devote these credit hours to courses that will enhance their clinical skills, research competencies, or musical abilities. These doctoral level courses may be completed within the Frost School of Music, as well as many other divisions of the University, including psychology, neuroscience, or educational and psychological studies.

Doctoral students work closely with music therapy faculty for the duration of this rigorous program; thus they gain experience in all aspects of music therapy clinical practice, education, and research. The music therapy faculty are experienced researchers and distinguished educators known internationally for their research and service to the profession. Additionally, students further their musical skills by studying with faculty who perform, compose, and conduct regularly in national and international venues. Finally, doctoral students have the opportunity to conduct research at multiple hospitals and agencies in the greater Miami area, including the world-famous Miller School of Medicine.

The courses that make up the curriculum for the doctoral program are divided into four areas:

Major Area: 27 credit hours

This component of the curriculum places a large emphasis on research skill, since one of the main goals of the doctoral program is to prepare students for a career involving independent research. Courses are taught by Music Education and Music Therapy faculty members who are well-established and widely-published experts in music research. The courses required here are typically taken only by doctoral students, which provide the opportunity for upper-level graduate students from various programs to work together and learn from each other, as well as the course instructor. Some of these courses include:

  • MED 763 Research Methods in Music
  • MED 795 Doctoral Research Project
  • MED 830 Dissertation

The dissertation research can be conducted at any number of educational and health care facilities in the Miami area, including the world-famous Miller School of Medicine, and at such facilities and clinics as Holtz Children’s Hospital, the Mailman Center for Child Development, Jackson Behavioral Hospital, Sylvester Cancer Center, and Ryder Trauma Center.

Studies in Music: 9 credit hours

Advance and comprehensive musicianship is expected of all students at the doctoral level. Skills and competencies addressed here may pertain to music performing, theory and composition, musicology, or conducting. Students can choose from over 50 different performing ensembles that range from traditional symphonic, to jazz, to electronic, to salsa. Please consult this website for additional information on performing ensembles.

Faculty members in all areas of the Frost School are recognized as experts in their disciplines and are well-known known for their extensive and award-winning compositions, recordings, and performances. 

NOTE: Students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education with Music Therapy emphasis program who wish to take courses in music theory, are required to take the music theory entrance exam, Parts I and II. This exam helps to determine which courses are most appropriate for the student’s ability level and career aspirations. Students can take this exam at any point during their doctoral career.

Music Therapy Emphasis: 19 credit hours

This portion of the degree curriculum is based on the clinical and research paradigm known as Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). This model utilizes scientific evidence regarding the influence of music on human brain and behavior function to treat neurological, developmental, and medical needs. All three members in the Frost School of Music are NMT-trained and have conducted research following the NMT model.

In the first year of the program, students complete two sequential graduate seminars that help to establish a strong scientific basis for NMT practice and generate ideas for independent research.  The first seminar, MED 729 Advanced Music Therapy Practice I, focuses on research examining music, cognition, and affect. In the second seminar, MED 730 Advanced Music Therapy Practice II, students explore research regarding music, speech and language, and sensorimotor functioning. Students must read and discuss research literature, and apply findings to clinical situations.

Additional credit hours in this component of the degree (i.e., 12 hours) are devoted to the student’s Specialty Area. Courses are carefully selected via extensive collaboration between the student and music therapy faculty. Students use these 12 credit hours to establish a proficiency in a certain area of research and/or clinical practice. Many times, courses are taken in other areas of the university, such as psychology, neuroscience, or education.

As part of the music therapy emphasis, students also have the opportunity to explore issues relevant to future careers in teaching music therapy and supervising music therapy students in clinical settings.

Ph.D. Research Tools 12 credits hours

Additional courses in research methods and statistics are typically taken through the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, in the School of Education.

Graduate teaching assistantships are available to highly qualified candidates. These prestigious awards provide tuition coverage (full or partial) as well as a monthly stipend. Recipients gain valuable professional experience by assisting with teaching, clinical supervision, research, and program administration.

The curriculum for the Doctor of Philosophy degree meets the standards set forth by the National Association for Schools of Music, the American Music Therapy Association, and the University of Miami.

For more information on this degree program, please contact:

Teresa Lesiuk, Ph.D., MT-BC

Program Director, Music Therapy

Music Therapy Ph.D. Packet