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Art Therapy Graduate School Information: How to Choose a School

Art therapy students learn to utilize psychoanalysis and artistic creativity as a therapeutic means to evaluate and rehabilitate patients. Graduate programs in art therapy are available as a Master of Arts in Art Therapy or a Master of Professional Studies in Art Therapy.

Master's degree programs in art therapy are available at 4-year colleges and universities as 2-year programs that are completed after obtaining a 4-year undergraduate degree; in some cases, a doctoral program is available. Some programs emphasize the artistic abilities of the therapist, while others focus on the psychoanalytical opportunities presented by observation of a patient's creative nature.

Schools with Art Therapy Programs

Here's a list of schools with relevant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4-year, Private Master's, doctorate $31,239
Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas 4-year, Public Master's In-state tuition: $5,640 Out-of-state tuition: $17,554
Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In-state tuition: $9,684 Out-of-state tuition: $24,116
George Washington University Washington, District of Columbia 4-year, Private Master's $27,810
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 4-year, Private Master's $45,810

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in art therapy should consider the following:

  • Students should look for schools that explore and teach artistic studio practices in combination with clinical and therapeutic practices.
  • Some programs require more psychology prerequisites while some require more art prerequisites, so students should apply their undergraduate studies to the appropriate program focus.
  • Though rare, some schools offer 5-year programs that combine both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • Some programs require weekly clinical practicums, while others require over 800 hours of supervised internship experiences throughout the life of the program.

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

A master's degree program in art therapy typically includes a senior project, consisting of a thesis and one or more substantial research-based essays, as well as a supervised internship. Students investigate creative approaches to the therapeutic process through art materials. An art therapy curriculum combines instruction in the visual arts and psychotherapy, including the diagnostic treatment of all age demographics.

When selecting a school for graduate art therapy, students should make sure the program blends studio and therapeutic study, and find out what the admission/practicum requirements are. Students in these programs learn how to use art to treat patients in need of rehabilitation.

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