WVU will be one of the first universities in the nation with a music and health undergraduate program. (WVU Photo)

WVU announces music and health degree

Students who have a passion for music but also want a career in healthcare can now study both disciplines with a new degree program at West Virginia University. WVU will be one of the first universities in the nation with a music and health undergraduate program.

The Bachelor of Science in Music and Health is unique in that it provides students with an opportunity to be a music major while pursuing one of six tracks in the health sciences. Music and Health majors can select a medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dentistry or physician assistant track within the program.

According to WVU’s School of Music Director Michael Ibrahim, the need for the program is significant, as many prospective students have a great interest in furthering their music skills, but also want a career in healthcare.

“Typically for students in these healthcare majors, the next step is graduate or professional school, so this degree will help them get there, while receiving a music education, in the more typical four-year time frame, alleviating the stress of added years of undergraduate education,” Ibrahim said. “We also recognize the importance of the arts in our society, and to our individual citizens. We wanted to make it accessible for our students to pursue both of these important aspects of education.”

In addition to taking private lessons, performing in ensembles and taking core music courses, students will also take all of the science electives appropriate to the long-term goal of working in their selected health profession.

“We know that music is a powerful and moving tool that can help improve health and wellbeing, and studies have shown that the brain releases dopamine, a chemical that has a positive effect on mood, when people hear music they like,” Dr. Clay Marsh, WVU Health Sciences vice president and executive dean, said. “We are excited to be able to offer unique programs that allow our future healthcare providers to achieve their academic goals on a speedier path and to be able to offer personalized care to their patients.”

For additional information on the program and enrollment in the College of Creative Arts, contact James Froemel, program coordinator for undergraduate admissions, at 304-293-4339 or jfroemel@mail.wvu.edu.

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