Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Washington Adventist University Gains Approvals To Offer New Bachelor of Music Therapy Degree

Story by Donna Bigler

Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Takoma Park, Md., has been approved to implement a new Bachelor of Music Therapy degree program. WAU is the first institution in the State of Maryland and currently the only Seventh-day Adventist institution in North America to offer this degree.

“We are thrilled beyond measure to be gaining this important new program on our campus, as it prepares students to use music as a vehicle for service and outreach,” says Cheryl Kisunzu, WAU provost. “It is a wonderful addition to this university which has, for more than a century, functioned as a gateway to service for those who seek to help others.”

The new four-year program will be offered within the WAU Department of Music, and will prepare students for careers where they use music to treat children and adults who have various psychiatric disorders, cognitive and developmental disabilities, speech and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and neurological impairments. Music therapists find careers in general and psychiatric hospitals, day care facilities, nursing homes, substance abuse programs, forensic facilities, hospice programs, schools, as well as in private practice.

“Music Therapy is a growing field that has seen miraculous results in a variety of settings,” says Daniel Lau, WAU Music Department chair. “It is so gratifying to be able to offer this degree at WAU.”

The new program will build student competencies in musical, clinical, and music therapy foundations and principles; and it culminates with an internship at a site approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) or one affiliated with Washington Adventist University.

Program graduates will be eligible to take the music therapy national examination, administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Those who pass the exam will be granted the “Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC)” credential, which confers on them the ability to practice as a music therapist within the CBMT scope of practice in the United States.             

The music therapy degree program is approved by The National Association of Schools of Music, and is recommended for implementation by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).

Washington Adventist University is part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, which serves approximately 1,100 students of all faiths. Along with the new Music Therapy (BMT) degree, the Department of Music also offers bachelor’s degrees in Music (BA), Music Performance (BM), and Music Education (BM).

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