25 Best Master’s Degrees in Art Therapy, Ranked by Affordability

By: Molly MacGilbert

September 2019

Individuals with a passion for art and an interest in psychology can channel these interests into helping people heal. Best Counseling Degrees' 25 Best Master's Degrees in Art Therapy, Ranked by Affordability, can prepare graduates to understand and apply the therapeutic value of artistic expression. The list prioritizes financial value, allowing students to gain invaluable art therapy education and experience at a reasonable cost.

Admittance to these programs usually requires an educational background in foundational psychology and studio art. Art therapy programs typically require at least 12 psychology credits in areas including abnormal, developmental, and general psychology. They also typically require a minimum of 18 credits of studio art in two-dimensional and three-dimensional areas such as ceramics, drawing, painting, and sculpture. 

The programs listed fuse science-based research in areas such as neuroscience and psychopathology with arts-based therapeutic practice. Their curricula cover important issues in counseling, including diagnostics, ethics, and multicultural perspectives. Students can also expect to explore various mediums and forms of media as tools for aiding clients in the areas of behavior, cognition, and psychomotor skills.

Students can expect to learn in environments from art studios to clinical settings with clients. A key aspect of any art therapy program is direct client contact through fieldwork, internships, and practicum experiences. The programs listed also serve as the first step toward art therapy credentials. They meet educational requirements for credentials, including art therapist registration, board certification, or state or national licensure.

Art therapy counseling integrates the therapeutic benefits of making art with ethical and culturally sensitive counseling skills. Art therapy counselors help people work through illness and challenges in living, mental health issues and psychiatric disorders, and trauma. They help clients gain insights into, and create change in, their personal experience of life.

Due to the sensitive nature of the work, art therapy counselors should have strong interpersonal communication skills with a wide range of clients and populations. Many professional art therapy settings require criminal background checks, drug tests, and immunizations to ensure client safety. A master's degree is the minimum requirement to work as an art therapist. Art therapists must also be licensed in their state of practice. 

According to the American Art Therapy Association, professional art therapists have a typical annual salary of between $30,000 and $80,000. Many art therapists earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year.

Art therapists work with individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.Art therapy may be applied in a variety of clinical and community settings. Therapists may work with adolescents, adults, children, or seniors. These clients may have addictions and substance abuse issues, mental or physical illnesses or disabilities, or neurological disorders or cognitive challenges. 

Art therapists may work in settings such as: day treatment centers, hospice and geriatric facilities, hospitals, institutions for the blind and deaf, mental health centers, outpatient programs for domestic abuse victims, pediatric units, private practices, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or wellness centers. They may work in businesses, community agencies, prisons, schools, or social service agencies. 

Methodology

Best Counseling Degrees is proud to provide counseling students with top-ranking resources and information so they can make informed decisions about their future. While several micro-factors are affecting every school's overall score, primary grading factors are accreditation, affordability, mid-career earning potential, how competitive admissions are for incoming students, student feedback, and school reputation. Each ranking utilizes information provided public sources such as:

  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP)
  • National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator
  • United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook

 

#25 LIU Post

Brookville, NY

Master of Arts in Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling

LIU Post offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling. Qualified applicants will have at least prerequisite 12 psychology credits and 18 studio art credits. Applicants must also submit a creative portfolio. The MA curriculum consists primarily of courses within the university's Clinical Art Therapy program and some from the Department of Counseling and Development. It includes foundational art studio seminars as well as courses focused on the therapeutic value of art for children and adults with disabilities. It also includes a research thesis requirement.

Students can expect to visit museums and galleries on Long Island and in New York City and to complete internship placements in the New York metropolitan area and beyond. The program also includes an annual social action project, with students working with underprivileged communities in international settings such as Nicaragua, Russia, and South Korea. Graduates can qualify to apply for state art therapy licensure and national licensure in counseling. 

Courses Include:

  • Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture for the Art Therapist – Studio
  • Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Ethics
  • History and Philosophy of Art Therapy and Counseling
  • Multicultural Issues in Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling
  • Therapeutic Systems in Family Art Therapy and Counseling

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $28,824
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#24 Hofstra University

Hempstead, NY

Master of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy Counseling

Hofstra University offers a Master of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy Counseling on its Long Island campus. Applicants must have 12 semester hours in psychology, including abnormal and developmental, and 18 semesters of 2D and 3D studio art. The curriculum covers areas such as aging and development, career counseling, diversity, ethics, and experiential learning. It includes discussions, field practicum experiences, internships, and lectures. Elective offerings include courses in expressive therapies such as dance, drama, music, and poetry, and related disciplines such as special education, counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

Students also have the opportunity to engage in a study abroad experience in Ireland and participate in sponsored events with the New York Art Therapy Association. Students may also choose to join The Creative Arts Therapy Club at Hofstra, a student organization that hosts community art shows and professional guest speakers. Full-time students can finish the degree in two to three years, and part-time students may follow their individualized study plan. Graduates of the program are eligible for New York state art therapy licensure. 

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy Counseling Throughout Adult Development and Aging
  • Child and Adolescent Development in Art Therapy Counseling
  • Creativity in Creative Arts Therapy Counseling
  • Ethical Considerations and Clinical Practice in Creative Arts Therapy Counseling
  • Group Art Therapy Counseling

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $23,256
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#23 Nazareth College

Rochester, NY

Master of Science in Creative Arts Therapy, Art Therapy specialization

Nazareth College provides a Master of Science in Creative Arts Therapy with a specialization in Art Therapy. Applicants must have already completed 12 credit hours in psychology and 18 credit hours in studio art. MA students complete a Creative Arts Therapy core curriculum covering key principles of creativity and therapy. Students in the Art Therapy specialization then move on to specialized courses. Through elective courses, students can gain exposure to areas such as special group therapy, music, photography, and a variety of art mediums from ceramics to jewelry to printmaking.

Students complete a minimum of 700 hours of internship, including a minimum of 350 hours in direct client contact. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience at the university's on-site art therapy clinic. Students are also offered opportunities to study abroad through a one-week intensive course in Sweden. Students can complete the degree in as few as two years on a full-time basis, or at a slower, part-time pace. The program qualifies graduates for the New York state creative arts therapy licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Child Abuse Workshop
  • Contemporary Issues in Art Therapy
  • Human Development and Assessment Across the Creative Arts Therapies
  • Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Creative Arts Therapy
  • Methods and Materials in Art Therapy

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $21,720
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#22 Eastern Virginia Medical School

Norfolk, VA

Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling

Eastern Virginia Medical School offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. The curriculum covers creativity and counseling within a variety of mediums, settings, and communities. The degree program focuses on collaborative and experiential learning through clinical work and internships. Internships involve imagery assessments and art therapy with individuals, groups and/or families for nine hours per week.

Students can expect to attend team meetings and professional conferences. Each student is required to complete a placement in a mental health facility and work on group supervision counseling each year. Elective offerings allow students to explore art therapy for specific settings and populations, such as in schools, medical contexts, or addiction treatment centers. The curriculum culminates in a capstone project. The degree program is designed to be completed in two years.

Courses Include:

  • Basic Counseling & Art Psychotherapy Skills
  • Cultural Competency
  • Creativity, Symbolism & Metaphor
  • Group Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Psychopathology

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $20,368 in-state; $24,251 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 63.5

#21 Prescott College

Prescott, AZ

Master of Science in Counseling, certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy

Prescott College offers a Master of Science in Counseling with a postgraduate certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy. The degree program is delivered primarily online, in a limited-residency format. The Counseling degree includes theoretical coursework, practicum and internship experiences, and the culminating Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam. Students can pursue an emphasis in Addictions Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; Social Justice in Counseling; or Somatic Counseling.

Students are encouraged to pursue their 30-credit Expressive Art Therapy certificate concurrently with the MS degree. The certificate is also delivered in a primarily online, limited-residency format. Certificate coursework includes a supervised counseling practicum, attendance at colloquia and two Summer Institutes, and a capstone thesis paper. The MS degree requires 60 credits of study, while the certificate requires 30 credits, for a total of 90 credits. The MS program aims to prepare graduates to become licensed mental health counselors or licensed professional counselors. The certificate prepares students to become registered expressive art therapists. 

Courses Include:

  • Applications of Expressive Art Therapy
  • History and Theory of Expressive Art Therapy
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Materials and Techniques of Practice in Expressive Art Therapy
  • Social Justice in Counseling

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $20,280
  • Credits Required: 60 for MS degree, 30 for certificate

 

#20 California Institute of Integral Studies

Pasadena, CA

Master of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy, concentration in Counseling Psychology

The California Institute of Integral Studies offers a Master of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy with a concentration in Counseling Psychology. The degree program is designed to prepare students to work with individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. S

tudents may enroll in a residential or low-residency program. The residential program involves campus-based classes and experiential learning in San Francisco, with some online learning. The low-residency option involves online classes, webinars, and video conferences, and allows students to apply what they learn in their communities. Both programs feature action-based learning, personalized learning goals, and ongoing self-assessment.

At the beginning of each semester, all students attend a week-long, arts-based residential seminar. Students complete two years of coursework, followed by a yearlong practicum. The degree program can be completed in three years. The curriculum is designed to make the California state requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or a Marriage and Family Therapist. 

Courses Include:

  • Collaborative and Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy
  • Expressive Arts Therapy Integrative Seminar
  • History and Foundations of EXA Therapy
  • Professional Ethics and Law
  • Psychotherapy Theories and Practices

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $19,728
  • Credits Required: 60

#19 Ursuline College

Pepper Pike, OH

Master of Arts in Counseling and Art Therapy

Ursuline College offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Art Therapy. The degree program prepares entry-level art therapists to apply artistic understanding to cognitive and behavioral therapy. Students learn to help clients use visual and verbal expressions for therapeutic purposes. The program offers a wide range of internship placements. Courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate students' work obligations. Electives are offered in workshop formats featuring presentations from recognized lecturers and experts.

The degree program also offers students opportunities to participate in service learning experiences internationally. Recent students in the program have traveled to Ecuador, Hungary, Nepal, Peru, and Zimbabwe. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be prepared for professional counselor licensure. The program also meets the educational requirements for national art therapy registration and board certification. 

Courses Include:

  • Cultural and Social Diversity
  • Creativity and Visual Thinking
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Techniques and Use of Media
  • Treatment of Trauma and Addiction

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $19,692
  • Credits Required: 65
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs

 

#18 Albertus Magnus College

New Haven, CT

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling

Albertus Magnus College offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling. Applicants must have at least 15 psychology credits and 18 studio art credits. The degree program integrates artistic understanding, psychological theory, and scientific research. It is designed to prepare graduates to work in clinical settings as individual or group therapists. In addition to the coursework, the program requires a minimum of 725 hours of clinical experience. It also includes research courses, internship experiences, and a thesis seminar to guide students in the program's culminating requirement, the master's thesis.

The program offers opportunities to work with faculty on art therapy service outreach within the community. Students may also have opportunities to attend professional conferences and study internationally. The degree program is designed to be completed in three semesters. The program meets the educational requirements for Connecticut state licensure as a professional counselor. The college's MAATC students have earned art therapy awards such as the Rawley Silver Research Award for Excellence and the Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research through the American Art Therapy Association.

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy and the Family
  • Art Therapy in Substance Abuse
  • Group Art Therapy
  • Hospice, Grief, Loss, and Transition
  • Personality Structure

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $19,648
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

 

#17 Lesley University

Cambridge, MA

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Expressive Arts Therapy

Lesley University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a focus on Expressive Arts Therapy. The degree program can be completed in a traditional on-campus format or a low-residency format. It is designed to train graduates to become licensed mental health counselors and to work as an expressive arts therapist with individuals, groups, and communities. Students can expect to explore expressive art forms such as dance, drama, music, writing, and visual arts.

The program requires 1,150 hours of clinical field experience, including applied skills coursework and supervised internships. Full-time students can follow a two- or three-year plan toward their degree. Students in the low-residency program take six to nine credits per semester for nine semesters, including summers, and complete the program in three years. Graduates of the program are prepared to become licensed Massachusetts mental health counselors and registered expressive arts therapists.

Courses Include:

  • Examining Power, Privilege, and Oppression in Clinical Practice
  • Expressive Arts Therapy Studio
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Standards and Ethics in Clinical Practice
  • Theory and Practice of Group Work: Expressive Arts Therapy

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $17,550
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#16 Caldwell University

Caldwell, NJ

Master of Arts in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy

Caldwell University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy. Applicants must have 15 psychology credits, including experimental psychology, human development, psychological statistics, psychopathology, and general psychology or personality theory. Each student must also have 18 studio art credits, including drawing, painting, and 3D work.

The interdisciplinary degree program is designed to prepare graduates to become clinical mental health counselors and art therapists. It integrates art therapy and clinical mental health counseling. In addition to coursework, students must complete at least 800 practica and internship experiences and pass a written and oral comprehensive case study exam. Additional coursework includes research papers, personal projects, and assessment administration. The degree program fulfills the educational requirements for New Jersey professional counselor licensure and art therapy licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Career Counseling
  • Diagnosis & Treatment of Psychopathy
  • History & Development of Art Therapy
  • Sexual Issues in Counseling
  • Spirituality in Counseling & Art Therapy

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $17,550
  • Credits Required: 63
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program

 

#15 Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry, NY

Master of Science in Art Therapy/Counseling

In 2019, Mercy College absorbed the College of New Rochelle and its programs, including its Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. The degree program is designed to train students to apply art therapy in clinical settings. The curriculum fuses studio art and depth-oriented psychological theory in areas such as ego psychology, object relations, and psychoanalysis. It is structured in a fixed course sequence, followed by semesters that focus on practicum and internship experiences.

Students customize their program through three art therapy electives and two studio art electives. They also have the choice of field-based sites for experiential learning. Students may also choose a specialization area such as Art Therapy with Children and Art Therapy with Adolescents. The degree program also offers advanced certificates in Phototherapy and Art Therapy and Thanatology. Full-time students may complete their degree in two years, including summers, and part-time students can complete theirs in three years. The program is approved to qualify graduates for New York state licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Dream Seminar
  • Interviewing & Counseling
  • Psychology of Art Materials
  • Therapeutic Art in Special Education
  • Workshop in Imagery Transformation

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $17,406
  • Credits Required: 60

#14 Notre Dame De Namur University

Belmont, CA

Master of Arts in Art Therapy; Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Through its Art Therapy Psychology Department, Notre Dame De Namur University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Both degree programs prepare graduates to become Registered Art Therapists and to sit for the Licensed Professional Clinical License. The MA core curriculum covers such areas as counseling, ethics, psychological assessment, and working with children and groups. It also includes two practicum experiences and two seminars.

The program has a research component that involves a research course, a research project, and the culminating master's thesis. The Marriage and Family Therapy licensure requires an internship, 3,000 supervised clinical hours and two licensure exams. The Art Therapy licensure requires 1,000 hours of client contact in art therapy and the successful completion of the Art Therapy Registration and Board Certification Exam. The department also offers a doctoral degree in Art Therapy for those who wish to pursue even more advanced study in the field.

Courses Include:

  • Art as a Way of Knowing: International Ancient Sites and Living Art
  • Child Abuse
  • Communication and Counseling Skills
  • Eldercare in the 21st Century
  • Human Sexuality

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $16,128
  • Credits Required: 63

 

#13 Cedar Crest College

Allentown, PA

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Cedar Crest College offers a studio-based Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program. The degree program is particularly designed for students who wish to explore an art studio concentration such as Drawing, Painting, Papermaking, Printmaking and Book Arts, or Sculpture. Students will have access to a woodshop, models, kilns, and specialized studios. The program offers flexible scheduling, with courses offered in the daytime, in the evenings, and on weekends, as well as in accelerated seven-week, online, and hybrid formats.

The curriculum incorporates art history, ethical and multicultural perspectives, gender and sexuality, and psychological assessment. It also includes 900 hours of internship experience. Students can expect to participate as Art Mentors at the Boys & Girls Club and in senior living communities. The program curriculum culminates in an art therapy project that involves artistic inquiry, a case study, and a literature review. The degree program prepares graduates for Pennsylvania professional counselor licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy in the Treatment of Addictions
  • Cultural Perspectives in Art Therapy
  • Family Art Therapy
  • Investigations in the Treatment of Trauma
  • The Studio as a Therapeutic Environment

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $13,860
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#12 Seton Hill University

Greensburg, PA

Master of Arts in Art Therapy, specialization in Counseling

Seton Hill University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy with a specialization in Counseling. The degree program trains students in art, clinical mental health care, and community support. Along with critical thinking and clinical skills, the program emphasizes self-exploration and personal growth. The program curriculum includes cultural competence and ethics in its approach to art therapy. It also includes courses in family systems theory taught by marriage and family therapists. Students can expect to visit campus two nights a week for five semesters before entering their year of internship.

The curriculum culminates in an internship project and accompanying oral presentation. Students can also expect to make art in the studios of Seton Hill's award-winning Arts Center. The university's Mobile Learning Program provides all full-time students with MacBook Air laptops. Full-time students can complete the program in seven semesters, and part-time students typically complete it in nine to 11 semesters. The program meets the educational requirements for national art therapist board certification and Pennsylvania professional counselor licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy with Children
  • Counseling: History and Practice
  • Couples and Family Systems
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Multicultural Therapy

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $13,212
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#11 Mount Mary University

Milwaukee, WI

Master of Science in Art Therapy, concentration in Counseling

Mount Mary University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy with a concentration in Counseling. The degree program integrates art inquiry, counseling theories, and clinical practice. The curriculum covers art therapy in relation to individual and group art therapy, mind-body-spirit interactions, neuroscience, social action, and the treatment of trauma. It includes 800 to 1,000 hours of practicum experience in a variety of community, clinical, and educational settings.

Practicum internship experiences are accompanied by practicum group supervision courses, in which students present cases and provide peer support. Students culminate their studies in a research project, which may take the form of an art exhibition, a social action project, or a thesis and performance art piece. All culminating projects must be accompanied by a contextual essay. The degree program is designed to be completed in a minimum of three years of full-time study. Graduates of the program are prepared for state licensure eligibility. 

Courses Include:

  • Addictions
  • Group & Institutional Dynamics
  • Human Growth & Development
  • Techniques of Practice in Helping Relationships
  • Trauma Counseling

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $12,960
  • Credits Required: 60

#10 Ottawa University (Phoenix campus)

Phoenix, AZ

Master of Arts in Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapy concentration

Ottawa University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy. Though the university is based in Ottawa, KS, the Expressive Arts Therapy concentration is only available at its adult campus location in Phoenix, AZ. The program takes an arts-based, interdisciplinary approach to counseling and psychotherapy. The core curriculum focuses on counseling, and concentrated electives explore the therapeutic benefits of art, dance, music, photography, poetry and writing, and beyond.

The program includes a seven-term experiential learning component, in which the student provides supervised behavioral health services in a community agency. Students will also attend a weekly, on-campus practicum seminar. Students must also successfully complete a comprehensive exam. The program meets the educational requirements for Arizona associate counselor licensure and the educational requirements for Wisconsin professional counselor-in-training licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Clinical Issues in Expressive Arts
  • Introduction to Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Related Disorders
  • Life Planning and Career Development
  • Social/Cultural Concerns in Counseling
  • Theory & Techniques in Marriage and Family Counseling

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $10,620
  • Credits Required: 51

#9 Southwestern College

Santa Fe, NM

Master of Arts in Art Therapy/Counseling

Southwestern College & New Earth Institute offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling. The degree program integrates a spiritual approach to professional art therapy. Students can expect to engage in art-making, self-reflection, clinical training, a portfolio review, and therapeutic work with clients. Students will also engage in a faculty-guided practicum experience in the college's Tierra Nueva Counseling Center. MA students are also required to complete 40 face-to-face therapy hours with a licensed mental health professional.

The program does not require a thesis but instead culminates in an experiential capstone project. Projects should complement or reflect upon students' internship experiences. They can involve artwork, client projects, and social action events. The degree program can be completed in two and a half years on a full-time schedule, or at a slower, part-time pace. The program prepares graduates to sit for licensure in both Art Therapy and Counseling. 

Courses Include:

  • Addiction Assessment and Treatment in Art Therapy/Counseling
  • Group Dynamics
  • Multicultural Perspectives in Art Therapy/Counseling with Diverse Populations
  • Psychology of Altruism: Fundamentals of Helping Relationships
  • Psychology of Consciousness: Paradigm Shifts and Change Agents

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $10,620
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#8 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN

Master of Arts in Art Therapy, emphasis in Counseling

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy with an emphasis in Counseling. The degree program is delivered primarily online, which makes it an ideal choice for students who cannot relocate or attend traditional on-campus courses. Students join their cohort groups for three residencies per year, in which they engage in cooperative, face-to-face art therapy experiences.

Residencies are held at the beginning of each semester, and they typically span four to six days. They include group art workshops, interaction with faculty, and professional seminars. The remainder of course material is delivered in an interactive online environment. Students can expect to participate in three supervised clinical experiences, including practicum and internship experiences, for a total of 700 clinical hours. Students can typically complete clinical placements with registered art therapists in their own communities. The degree program is designed to be completed in three years. 

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy and Drawing Assessments
  • Contextual Dimensions in Clinical Mental Health Treatment
  • Ethics and Practice in Helping Professions
  • Evaluation and Critical Thinking in Art Therapy
  • Gender and Sexuality

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $10,490
  • Credits Required: 54
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

 

#7 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Master of Science in Art Therapy

Florida State University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy. The degree program includes theoretical art therapy coursework that can be applied through three hands-on practicum experiences in clinical and community settings. The program's overarching theme is the value of power of art in affecting social justice and societal change. It is designed to prepare graduates to become entry-level art therapists in aid of behavior, cognition, and psychomotor skills.

Each student must complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised clinical internship or practicum, including 400 hours of direct contact with clients. The curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam and a master's thesis or supervised research project. The degree program is designed to be completed in two years, including summer sessions. In order to qualify for Florida Mental Health Counselor Licensure, students must complete additional courses in Chemical Dependency and Human Sexuality. Students may also qualify for Florida postgraduate teaching certification in Art Education by completing additional education hours and student teaching.

Courses Include:

  • Human Development in Art Therapy
  • Interpreting & Using Symbols
  • Program Development
  • Studio Art & Self-Care Concepts
  • Therapeutic Use of Art Materials

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $9,684 in-state; $24,116 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 64
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Programs

 

#6 Marywood University

Scranton, PA

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Marywood University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy through its Art Department. The degree program examines the intersections of theory and practice in art therapy and psychology. The curriculum covers artistic growth, clinical skills, and multicultural awareness. It is designed to prepare entry-level art therapists in the realms of behavior, cognition, and psychomotor skills. The program's special features include exploration of Sandtray, a form of therapy in which clients to depict their experiences through miniature figures and sand.

Students can also expect to attend the department's annual Art Therapy Symposiums. At these symposiums, undergraduate and graduate students, professional art therapists, and community members gather to listen to influential presenters in the field and engage in experiential activities. Students also have opportunities to join the Marywood University Art Therapy Association and to participate in community volunteering projects. Designed to train mental health professionals, the degree program prepares graduates for art therapy registration and board certification.

Courses Include:

  • Child Psychopathology
  • Developmental Dynamics in Art Therapy
  • Experiential Arts Workshop
  • Psychology of Art
  • Trauma and Resiliency

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $9,300
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#5 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro, PA

Master of Arts in Counseling, Art Therapy pathway

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with an Art Therapy pathway. Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer. The degree program can be completed entirely online or in a blended format of online and on-campus courses. It integrates art therapy education, clinical and community service, counseling, and research. The core curriculum focuses on topics in counseling, such as group dynamics and multicultural perspectives. Students also complete a series of specialized art therapy courses.

Each student must complete a 12-credit internship experience, which requires 600 hours of on-site experience. Internship requirements must typically be met within a 15-week semester timeline, which equates to 40 hours on the internship site per week. Alternatively, approved students may divide the internship requirement in half over two semesters. Students culminate their studies through a comprehensive exam and a culminating research project or master's thesis. The program meets the educational requirements for national art therapist registration and Pennsylvania state professional counselor licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Current Trends in Art Therapy
  • Diagnosis and Assessment
  • History and Theory of Art Therapy
  • International Art Therapy
  • Research in Education

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $9,000 in-state; $13,500 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 63
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs)

 

#4 Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy. The degree program combines clinical, art-based practice and science-based research and evidence. Students can expect to gain on-site internship and practicum experience in settings from pediatric hospitals to prisons. The first practicum experience is offered in the first semester of the program. Internship experiences take place in the subsequent spring and fall semesters, with an advanced internship in the final semester. Each practicum and internship is accompanied by a group supervision course for peer support.

The curriculum culminates in a Professional Issues capstone. Recent students in the program have conducted research in such areas as grief, neuroscience, and sexual violence. The degree program spans two academic years of full-time study, including a summer session. Graduates of the program are prepared to earn the nationally registered art therapist credential. Graduates are also prepared to sit for art therapist board certification and Indiana mental health counselor licensure.

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy with Children and Adolescents
  • Art Therapy with Families and Adults
  • Cultural and Social Diversity in Counseling and Art
  • Strategies for Educational Inquiry
  • Studio Art for Art Therapists

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,448 in-state; $23,208
  • Credits Required: 60

 

#3 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Edwardsville, IL

Master of Arts in Art Therapy Counseling

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy Counseling. The degree program combines classroom instruction, hands-on practicum experience, and research. It aims to prepare entry-level art therapists to aid in the behavioral, cognitive, and psychomotor domains. Coursework is offered through traditional daytime courses.

Based in the university's Department of Art and Design, the program emphasizes making art. It maintains small class sizes, accepting only 10 students each fall. In addition to required coursework in art therapy for various populations, students must also complete courses in psychopathology and studio art, as well as fieldwork and practicum experiences. Students can choose from electives in psychology, social work, studio art, or related fields.

Students can expect opportunities for graduate assistantships and practicum experiences in rural, suburban, and urban settings. Students can also expect to learn from visiting professional art therapists and from nationally recognized speakers at spring conferences. The degree program can be completed in three years of full-time study. It prepares graduates to become registered art therapists and Illinois licensed professional clinical counselors.

Courses Include:

  • Assessment of Individuals and Families
  • Counseling Techniques in Art Therapy
  • Developmental Theory and Art Therapy
  • Professional Ethics and Legal Issues
  • Substance Abuse Services

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $6,652 in-state; $11,282 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 58

 

#2 Emporia State University

Emporia, KS

Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling

Emporia State University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling. It is recommended that applicants have prior experience working with special populations through volunteer or work experience. The degree program is offered through the university's Department of Counselor Education. Students must complete a total of 750 hours of internship, including 350 hours of direct client contact.

Students culminate their studies through either a master's thesis or project. Those who follow the thesis project must take a statistics course. Non-thesis students take three additional elective credit hours. The degree program is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time study. Part-time students can complete the program at a slower pace. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a dual curriculum, which leads to both the Art Therapy Counseling degree and an MS in Clinical Counseling. The dual degree program requires an additional, comprehensive exam in Clinical Counseling.

Courses Include:

  • Art Media and Material Use in Art Therapy
  • Developmental and Treatment Models in Art Therapy
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders
  • Relationship and Family Counseling
  • Research Design and Writing

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $6,084 in-state; $18,924 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 54

 

#1 Georgia College & State University

Milledgeville, GA

Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Georgia College & State University is home to Best Counseling Degrees‘ top most affordable master's degree program in Art Therapy. The university's Master of Arts in Art Therapy is offered in collaboration between the Departments of Art and Music Therapy. Students are required to gain a minimum of 900 hours of clinical experience through at least three fieldwork placements. Through these placements, students can expect to gain experience working with adolescents, adults and seniors, and children.

Through internship experiences, students can expect to gain experience in such settings as correctional facilities, day treatment centers, inpatient psychiatric facilities, and schools. Students must undergo two pre-professional progress reviews throughout the program, including self-assessment and faculty evaluation. Students must also successfully complete a written, comprehensive exam. The curriculum culminates in the completion of a thesis or final clinical project. The degree program prepares graduates to be eligible for board certification and art therapist registration. 

Courses Include:

  • Art Therapy & Counseling with Children
  • Materials and Techniques 2D
  • Psychopathology & Diagnosis
  • Symbolism & Metaphor in Art Therapy
  • Trauma and Art Therapy

 

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $5,184 in-state; $18,486
  • Credits Required: 61