About us

Welcome to Eastern Michigan University and to the Music Therapy Program.  You are part of a proud tradition of music therapy education. We are glad that you are here and want to assure you that we, your faculty, will do our best to guide you toward becoming an exemplary board certified music therapist. This is our commitment to you, to our discipline and profession.


Eastern Michigan University Music Therapy interns are accepted at some of the nation’s most prestigious internships. Our program is known for its academic rigor, thus our interns are prized for their knowledge, comfort in clinical settings, clinical music skills and professional skills and dispositions.


Music Therapy is a growing field with new research and literature published at a rapid rate.  You are entering a path to a profession that truly integrates art, science and personal growth motivated by altruistic ethics.  It is not an easy path…but it is very rewarding.




The music therapy program was founded in 1977.  The Music Department determined a need for this professional degree and the department set out to find it’s first faculty.


Five years later, in 1982 the department hired Mr. Michael G. McGuire, MM, MT-BC as the sole music therapy faculty member.  Professor McGuire developed the program over nearly 30 years to become one of the finest in the nation.  In 1999, Ms. Roberta Justice, MM, MT-BC was hired on a part-time basis to share in the teaching load and to provide clinical supervision.  Ten years later, the music faculty determined a need to develop graduate education in music therapy and conducted a national search for an individual to lead the program in a new direction. Dr. Theresa Merrill, PhD, MT-BC was hired as a second Full Time Tenure Track faculty member to work with Professor McGuire to help guide the program through its next steps.


In summer of 2012, Professor McGuire died suddenly after a short illness and the program transitioned to Dr. Merrill’s leadership.  In 2014, Professor Debra Gombert MA, MT-BC joined as a second full-time faculty member became the programs first Clinical Coordinator. With the capable help of our strong part- time lecturer faculty: Prof. Justice, Dr. Jody Stark, Prof. Sara DiCiesare, and Prof. Kristin Maya Story our program continues to be strong and held in high regard. 


In 2007, the EMU Music Therapy Center opened as a dedicated center for teaching and learning for the music therapy program and a clinical setting for the practice of music therapy through the commitment of Mr. Michael G. McGuire along with countless donors from among the alumni and community supporters. In addition to providing dedicated classroom space, the music therapy center (MTC) provides supervised music therapy services (by student therapists) to individuals with differing abilities and stated needs.


Since 2012, the program has grown 300%. In 2014, the program was capped at 90 students and a plan of limited enrollment and selective admissions was adopted. In 2016, the largest ever class of interns began their Clinical Training. Program attrition is low due to high student engagement and commitment, excellent faculty mentoring, mindful and consistent advising from year one forward (a new policy), strong learning cohorts and support and flexible and accessible pedagogical practices.


 Theresa Merrill 

Director's Notes 


Music Therapy combines art, science and therapeutic process in service to individuals, groups and communities.