Art Therapy Graduate Programs with Course Information

Art therapists help their clients heal emotionally and mentally through artwork. The entry-level education requirement for an art therapist is a master's degree. Schools vary in the breadth of subject matter and credentialing options.

How to Choose a Graduate Program in Art Therapy

Many four-year colleges and universities offer graduate degree programs in art therapy.

Things to consider:

  • Find a program accredited and approved by the American Art Therapy Association.
  • Look for a broad curriculum that prepares students to facilitate artistic production with clients and helps them understand produced art.
  • Many schools require practicums, though some may better fit student interests.
  • Some schools may have teaching or research assistantships, fellowships or other funding options.

Graduate Programs in Art Therapy Overviews

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Includes research methodology and a project or thesis, along with a practicum. Students must hold at least a bachelor's degree for admittance, along with prerequisite psychology coursework, unless the program is a joint B.A./M.A. program. The strongest candidates have bachelor's degrees in art or psychology. Students with a master's degree in a related field can pursue 1-year programs to fulfill the requirements to become a registered art therapist. Courses include:

  • Psychological assessment
  • Psychopathology
  • History of art therapy
  • Counseling skills

Doctoral Programs in Art Therapy

Doctoral programs in art therapy are not as common as master's degree programs, and require students to have a master's degree in art therapy before admittance. Additionally, candidates must have experience as an art therapist. Both professional and research doctoral programs in art therapy take 2-3 years to complete.

Professional doctoral programs teach:

  • Advanced therapeutic techniques
  • Teaching skills
  • Administration and leadership skills

Research doctoral programs focus more on preparing students to conduct original research and teach at the collegiate level. Common requirements are a comprehensive exam, a dissertation or special culminating project and a practicum, depending on the school.

10 Schools for Art Therapy Graduate Programs

College/University Institution Type
Adler University 4-year, Private
Seton Hill University 4-year, Private
Marywood University 4-year, Private
Edinboro University 4-year, Public
Antioch University 4-year, Private
Southwestern College 4-year, Private
Emporia State University 4-year, Public
Temple University 4-year, Public
Columbia College Chicago 4-year, Private
Colorado State University 4-year, Public

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