On a high note: Music therapy is back

On a high note: Music therapy is back

UND will open enrollment for the discontinued bachelor’s degree program

On a high note: Music therapy is back
The Hughes Fine Arts Center on the UND campus is home to the UND Department of Music. In August, UND will open student applications for the reinstatement of the music therapy bachelor’s program, for which classes will begin in the fall of 2025. UND file photo.

The University of North Dakota is pushing back “play” on its suspended bachelor’s degree program in music therapy and will open student applications this August to begin classes in fall 2025.

Brad Rundquistthe dean of College of Arts and Sciencessaid new admissions to the program — first launched at UND in 1999 — were halted in March 2016 as part of university-wide budget cuts and other financial adjustments.

“Admissions were discontinued and we held the program in our systems so we could reevaluate it at a future date,” Rundquist said. “And now, fortunately, we are in a position to accept students again.”

Brad Rundquist

Nearly 50 students enrolled in the program during the break and were able to complete their degrees, Rundquist added.

The University’s overall enrollment growth in recent years, a more stable college budget and strong demand for music therapists across the region have combined to make the time right to restart the program, leaders say.

“We are excited to be able to prepare students for this career that serves the people of their communities,” said Scott Sandberg, chairman of the Department of Music at UND. “Music therapy benefits individuals in all dimensions of society.

“Therapists work with people of all ages regarding mental health, developmental and physical disabilities, age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, as well as addiction, chronic pain and more.”

Music therapists provide vital services in hospitals and medical clinics, schools and day care centers, correctional facilities and through a number of other important agencies and programs, Sandberg added.

Answering a call to serve

During the Department of Music’s recent reaccreditation process, the National Association of Schools of Music encouraged UND to consider resuming admissions in Music Therapy. Further, the program aligns with the University’s new UND LEADS Strategic Plan and the Grand Challenges of Human Health and Rural Health and Communities.

“We believe our program can improve North Dakota’s behavioral health workforce,” Rundquist said. “And we are already starting to work on collaborations and partnerships that will benefit our students and the region.”

Sandberg said students who complete their undergraduate course in Music Therapy are eligible to take the national certification exam. With their board-certified credentials, they are ready to enter the workforce.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is described as a unique intersection of artistic expression and healing that allows practitioners to harness the transformative power of music to improve the well-being of others. The field not only provides a creative outlet for individuals who are passionate about music, but also equips them with the skills to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Students learn to use music as a therapeutic tool to address various physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides a well-rounded education that prepares students to work in a variety of healthcare and educational settings.

As they plan for fall 2025 admissions, the Department of Music will review and strengthen the curriculum and focus on student and faculty recruitment and marketing.

>> Readers who are interested can learn more about Music therapy program in the link.

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