Art Therapy Courses and Degrees

Art therapists are required to earn a master's degree in the field, and some type of licensure or certification is usually necessary to practice, depending on the state. Courses are based in both the art and psychology disciplines. Continue reading for examples of coursework and more information on this career. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Art therapy courses and degrees are typically offered at the graduate degree level. Students can choose from a Master of Science in Art Therapy or a Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Arts Therapies for a more intensive program of study.

Degree Master's; doctoral degree programs also available
Training May learn artwork analysis, counseling, psychopathology, family systems and relationships; supervised clinical practice required
Prerequisites Coursework in specified fields; portfolio may be required

What Type of Degree Do I Need?

A master's degree is the entry-level requirement to work as an art therapist. Programs teach you to combine therapeutic techniques with art theory while exploring composition and basic art techniques. The curriculum might cover topics like psychopathology, family systems and relationships, artwork analysis and mindfulness practices. In addition to your coursework, you may be required to complete a project thesis to graduate. Here are some additional course topics for master's degrees in art therapy:

  • Pictorial analysis
  • Art therapy with children
  • Family art therapy
  • Research in art therapy
  • Diverse populations

How Can I Prepare for My Master's Degree?

Prerequisites include a combination of studio art and psychology courses. Studying child psychology or developmental psychology gives you a foundation for graduate studies. Your school may also require an art portfolio for admissions, so taking undergraduate courses in drawing, painting and other visual arts subjects can benefit you. Furthermore, you can find pre-professional art therapy bachelor's degree programs that prepare you for master's studies.

What Doctoral Programs are Available?

Students can also pursue a doctoral program in art therapy. Prerequisites for a program in expressive therapies might include a master's degree from an accredited institution, certification in a relevant topic and three- to-five years of field experience. A dissertation might also be required for degree completion. Here are some of the course topics you might study:

  • Didactic methods in expressive therapies
  • Research methods in a field of specialization
  • Professional practice
  • Artistic learning

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Abilene Christian University

    Abilene Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Abilene Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • College of Health Care Professions

    College of Health Care Professions responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at College of Health Care Professions:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth
  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Southwest

    University of the Southwest responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Southwest:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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