Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a mental health and wellness profession that centers on participation in art making as a primary function of holistic assessment, mediation, and renewal. Art Therapy provides the ability to review life events, and examine relationships to resolve conflicts, heal trauma, and create new life narratives and growth.

The program will train art therapists who will apply their knowledge, human relationship skills, and passion for art to mobilize the creative process inherent in each person to promote change, growth, and well-being in individuals, families, and communities.

Highlights:

  • 60 credits
  • 2 years to complete
  • Online with residencies
  • 8 and 16-week courses

Upon completion of the program you will earn a Master of Arts in Art Therapy.

Immediately following the program, you will be eligible to apply for a provisional art therapy registration (ATR-P). Following post-graduate training hours and post-graduate examinations, you will be eligible for the art therapy registration (ATR-BC). This degree specifically provides graduates with expertise in working in art therapy with a variety of clients across a variety of settings and conditions. This training also provides excellent preparation for clinical, administrative, and leadership work within social and human rights agencies.


Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy (MAT) is a 60-credit program of study. Included in the program are 700 hours of clinical practicum and internship working across a variety of settings with a range of populations. During practicum and internship course, students will receive weekly supervision from an approved on-site supervisor, and attend supervision groups with a qualified art therapy supervisor.

The program is oriented around excellence in art therapy in such a way as to infuse an authentic art therapist identity. We hold art psychotherapy, art as therapy, and art in therapy as complementary and intertwined and provide a cohesive and fundamental learning environment where art therapy practices can be mastered.

Structure

The program uses a cohort model and requires a minimum of two years for completion. The coursework is rigorous and the two-year option will require focus and tenacity. The program is flexible and will allow for courses to be taken at a slower pace. The courses have been intentionally developed for virtual online delivery to allow for flexibility in teaching and learning and scheduling at field placement sites. Several courses involve art-making and will offer in-person options in the Stream art building. Each year, the Art of Art Therapy: Techniques of Practice will bring both cohorts together for a program with a guest art therapist/mental health counselor in a weekend intensive experience of learning about a specialty area of practice, discussion and art-making.

Features

The Edgewood College Master’s in Art Therapy program holds cultivation of the practice of artist-making as central to the art therapist identity. The art therapy master’s program will be taught in The Stream – arts center at Edgewood College – home to state-of-the-art studios in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and graphic design, a professional gallery, student and community gallery, and theater. With art gallery and theater openings and receptions, artist talks, panels, and visiting artists, art therapy students will become part of a thriving art community.

The art therapy program has dedicated studio classroom- learning lab space designed for teaching and hosting workshops with community program participants. Art therapy master’s degree students will be able to take a graduate art studio course elective as part of their degree, and will have access to the art studios if they choose to audit other studio courses. 

Program Details

New Student Orientation

New student orientation will occur during the Fall residency that occurs mid-August each year.

Transfer Credits

You may submit up to 15 semester credit hours of graduate credit for consideration to transfer to Edgewood College for applications to a degree program. Approval of the respective department is required. To be considered for application to a degree program, a course must have been taken within the past five years. For more information about transfer credits, please contact your admissions counselor.

Residency Requirements

The graduate art therapy program will host two residencies each year. The first (August) will precede fall courses and the second (June) will follow spring courses. Residencies are scheduled Thursday evenings through Sunday afternoon. Both residencies are highly recommended. Students are required to attend at least one residency per year.

Background Check

All Graduate Art Therapy Students must comply with the State of Wisconsin requirement for a Criminal Record Background Check. Students must have had this check successfully completed by the end of the first semester to be allowed to continue in the program.

Credit Load

Full-time students in the Graduate Art Therapy Program may carry up to 15 credits per semester. Some of the courses are taught in 8-week sessions, and some are taught in 16-week formats. Students may not be active in more than three courses at any time unless a waiver has been granted by the student’s advisor.

Students may work with advisors to establish a longer trajectory. The program must be completed within seven years of start date.

Clinical Placements

Within the Graduate Art Therapy Program, three clinical placements are required. Practicum is the first clinical experience where students spend at least 100 hours on-site with a registered art therapist and counselor. A minimum of 50 hours must be in direct contact with clients. Practicum sites and supervisors are contracted and approved by the Clinical Coordinator.

Two Internships are required for completion of the graduate art therapy program. Each internship requires 300 hours of which 150 direct client contact is required. Clinical sites and supervisors are contracted and approved by the Clinical Coordinator.

Admission Requirements

  1. Provide evidence of baccalaureate or more advanced degree from a United States regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for regular admission status. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
  2. Request the official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions to be sent directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies.
  3. Pre-requisite courses include:
    1. 18 credits in studio arts in both two and three-dimensional media. (12 credits must be completed before admittance; up to 6 credits can be completed during the first year of study) Preferred courses:
      1. Drawing
      2. Painting
      3. Sculpture
      4. Ceramics
      5. Photography
      6. Digital Arts
    2. 12 credits in psychology or closely related fields. (6 credits must be completed before admittance; up to 6 credits can be completed during the first year of study.) Required courses:
      1. General or introduction to psychology
      2. Developmental Psychology through the Lifespan
      3. Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology
      4. Any other psychologically related course: Social, educational, neurological …
  1. Complete and submit graduate application.
  2. The names and email addresses of three professional references will be listed on the Graduate Art Therapy Application. One of these references must be an educator, one of these references must be familiar with work or volunteer history, and the third can be from any character reference who is not immediate family.
  3. A 300 – 500-word essay in APA style indicating motivations and professional goals for pursuing a graduate degree in art therapy. The written statement should include:
    1. Interests and motivations for wanting to become and art therapist
    2. Ability to succeed in graduate school
    3. What life, education, and/or work experiences have prepared you in providing basic human service.
  4. Professional Resume
  5. Documentation of 100 hours of work or volunteer hours in a human service venue.
  6. Art Portfolio demonstrating both two and three-dimensional works. A video presentation explaining engagement with the media is preferred.
  7. An interview is required for admittance. The interview can take place at anytime during the application process. Interviews can be in person and include a tour of campus (preferred); or virtually.

Student Advising

The primary responsibility of assuring the proper sequencing of courses and for accurate and timely registration shall be the duty of the student. Verification of degree requirement completion shall be the duty of the Registrar’s Office.

Program, academic and career advising shall be the responsibility of the Art Therapy Program Director, the Clinical Coordinator, and the faculty of the graduate program. Each student will be assigned an identified faculty advisor for the duration of study. It shall also be the responsibility of all faculty in the Art Therapy program to monitor and assess student mastery of course material in developing clinical competency, emotional stability and maturity. It is the obligation of each faculty member to meet with a student as early as possible in a course semester if the faculty member has a concern about the student’s mastery of coursework or overall aptitude or emotional readiness to be a clinical therapist.

Due to the important consideration that needs to be given to the potential clients with whom students will be working in the clinical experience, each student will be evaluated for personal and professional competence and for suitability for clinical placement by the Art program faculty in the semester before clinical placements. This should be a natural outgrowth of the close contact and communication that has occurred with each faculty member as the student professes through the semesters.

Admission into the Art Therapy program does not imply a right to admission into the clinical experience. If the student has not demonstrated master of course and clinical skills, or if the student’s emotional stability and maturity create a concern about ability to work with clients effectively and professionally, the student will be denied admission to the clinical experience.

Even after the student is admitted to the clinical placement, the on-site supervisors, in communication with the Program Director, may determine the student does not have sufficient entry-level mastery or stability to work in the agency. In such cases, students would be withdrawn from the clinical experience. The Program Director would then advise the student on the necessary steps for reinstatement into the clinical portion of the program. Remedial coursework, training experience or personal therapy are among options the Program Director might suggest. All remedial options are the student’s responsibility to initiate and verify to the satisfaction of the Program Director and any expenses incurred are the obligation of the student. Failure to be admitted to and compete the clinical experience necessarily precludes completion of the degree.

Accreditation

The program was developed to meet the external accreditation requirements for master’s in art therapy programs sponsored by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and developed through the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE). After three years and at least one graduating class (2025), Edgewood College will be eligible to apply to ACATE for accreditation.
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