Press Releases

University of North Dakota’s official press release archive.

UND to resume Music Therapy program

UND to open enrollment for paused bachelor’s degree program

Hughes Fine Arts Center
The Hughes Fine Arts Center on the UND campus is the home of the UND Department of Music. In August, UND will open student applications for the return of its Music Therapy bachelor’s degree program, for which classes will start in fall 2025. UND archival photo.

The University of North Dakota is pushing “play” on its paused bachelor’s degree program in Music Therapy and will open student applications this August for the start of classes in fall 2025.

Brad Rundquist, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said 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 paused, and we maintained the program in our systems so that we could reevaluate it at a future date,” Rundquist said. “And now, happily, we are in a position to admit students again.”

Nearly 50 students were enrolled in the program at the time of the pause, and they were able to complete their degree, Rundquist added.

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

“We are thrilled to be able to prepare students for this career that serves the people of their communities,” said Scott Sandberg, chair of UND’s Department of Music. “Music therapy benefits individuals across all dimensions of society.

“Therapists work with people of all ages in relation to 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 medical hospitals and 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 to Music Therapy. Further, the program aligns with the University’s new UND LEADS strategic plan and its Human Health and Rural Health & Communities Grand Challenges.

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

Sandberg said students who complete their undergraduate coursework in Music Therapy become 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 it 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 diverse health care and educational settings.

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

>> If you’re interested, you can learn more about the Music Therapy program at the link.