Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs

TCS Best Masters Degrees

A Master of Art Therapy degree program is designed for individuals passionate about helping others through the medium of art and creative expression. Graduates become effective therapists who use various creative tools to help patients understand their emotional conflicts and explore their feelings. They use the creative process of making art to help manage addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem, and thus help them regain normal life functions. The underlying goal of art therapy is to combine psychotherapeutic counseling techniques to foster self-awareness, promote personal development, and build coping skills.

A master’s degree in art therapy prepares them for entry-level practice in Art Therapy. Graduates work in various settings like rehabilitation centers, clinics and hospitals, nursing homes, schools, daycare centers, and correctional facilities. The master’s degree curriculum includes supervised art therapy clinical internships and supervised practicum, both of which include hands-on learning opportunities. 

Art therapy can benefit diverse client populations, including patients with severe behavioral problems and addictions, individuals trying to cope with trauma, combat or abuse, people with serious medical health conditions, injuries or disabilities, to people dealing with acute stress, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

A Master of Art Therapy degree typically takes two years to complete. However., some schools offer a flexible option for working students who may opt for the extended format and complete it in three years. Others may opt for the accelerated format and complete their degree within two years, including the thesis project, comprehensive exam, and supervised clinical practicum. These art therapy master’s programs prepare graduates to work with various age groups and therapeutic modalities. 

A master’s degree in art therapy curricula usually includes the history of art therapy, assessment procedures, art therapy techniques, characteristics of disabilities and illness, psychology, human development, and psychiatric terminology. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to become registered, licensed, and board-certified. Art therapists must also have a strong understanding of visual art, but their patients need not be art experts. They use a variety of art forms to guide a client through the creative process of healing.

In this ranking, we have researched and reviewed the schools that offer accredited and recognized Master of Art Therapy degree programs. We zeroed down to the top 20 schools that provide high-quality programs known to provide foundational training for successful art therapy careers. We have considered the program offerings, school rankings, program and school accreditation, faculty profiles, student support, affordability of the programs, aids, and internship opportunities for ranking purposes. The programs are ranked based on their affordability.

Methodology:

Tuition 

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points 
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points 
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 2 points 
  • Net Price Below $25,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio 

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point 
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points 
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points 

Return on Investment (ROI) 

  • Top 500: 1 point 
  • Top 300: 2 points 
  • Top 150: 3 points

Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, writing/technology support, etc.)— 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point (anything that would mark a program as unique. Special qualities that make a program “stand out from the crowd”)

#20 New York University 

New York, NY

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + New York University Steinhardt

MA in Art Therapy

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Points: 7

The New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy. It integrates psychotherapy and visual arts for clinical assessment and treatment. Graduates become competent entry-level art therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. Coursework includes: 

  • Art for Art Therapists; Theory and Practice of Art Therapy 
  • Cultural Diversity in Art Therapy; Ethical Issues in Art Therapy 
  • Art Therapy with Children; Internship in Art Therapy 
  • Adaptive Techniques in Art Therapy 

The program blends scholarly research and evidence-based clinical practice to help people achieve emotional wellbeing. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $1,867

#19 School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

Chicago, IL

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + School of the Art Institute of Chicago

MA in Mental Health Counseling-Art Therapy 

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Points: 8

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling. It helps students explore the relationship between life experiences and artmaking. The department integrates learning in studio art, art therapy, and counseling with hands-on clinical experience. Coursework includes: 

  • Research in Art Therapy; Art Therapy Fieldwork
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Art Therapy
  • Cultural Dimensions in Art Therapy  
  • Creative Process as Art Therapy        
  • Explorations in Community-Based Art Practices       
  • Introduction to Art Therapy; Ritual and Art Making in Healing        

The program prepares graduates for a career helping people gain or recover intellectual and emotional clarity, equilibrium, and power through artistic expression.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: NASAD; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $1798

#18 School of Visual Arts 

New York, NY

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + School of Visual Arts

MPS Art Therapy

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Points: 8

The School of Visual Arts offers a Master of Professional Studies degree in Art Therapy. The interdisciplinary program integrates academic theory and clinical application with the experiential components of art therapy practice. Coursework includes: 

  • Theoretical Foundations of Art Therapy; Child Art Development
  • Adolescent Art Development; Methods and Materials in Art Therapy
  • Adult Art Development; Art Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Cultural and Social Issues in Art Therapy; Family Art Therapy
  • Community Access Through the Arts

Students learn to adapt the creative process to the specific therapeutic needs of individuals and groups. They take into consideration how socio-political and cultural issues impact treatment. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: MPS Department
  • Format: On-campus/Part-time
  • Accreditation: AATA; National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • Tuition per semester: $25,200

#17 Adler University 

Chicago, IL

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Adler University

MA in Mental Health Counseling-Art Therapy 

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Points: 9

Adler University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling: Art Therapy program. Students gain the knowledge and skills to help people through art and create real change in their lives. The innovative program allows graduates to be eligible to apply for several licensures and credentials. Coursework includes: 

  • Basic Skills for Psychotherapy and the Use of Art Therapy
  • Research Methods in Art Therapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Use of Art Therapy in Group Psychotherapy and Psychopathology
  • Life Span Development in Art Therapy, Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Studio Art in Therapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy

Students become socially responsible counselors who use the creative process to improve individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

Fast facts:

  • 64 credits
  • Format: On-campus/Online
  • Accreditation: AATA; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $1,342

#16 Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

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Art Therapy and Counseling MA

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Points: 9

Drexel University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling. It provides students with extensive exposure to current psychological, developmental, psychotherapy, and art therapy theory and practice. They are equipped with the skills and knowledge to apply art therapy theory in various treatment situations. Coursework includes:

  • Group dynamics in art therapy
  • Studio art for art therapists
  • Media, materials and processes
  • Social and cultural foundations in art therapy
  • Symbolism, creativity and metaphor in art therapy
  • Professional identity for art therapists

Students learn to combine art therapy theory and practice with psychotherapeutic techniques. The program is designed to meet the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) educational requirements. 

Fast facts:

  • 90-quarter-credits 
  • Offered through: College of Nursing and Health Professions 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: AATA; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $1,342

#15 Springfield College 

Springfield, MA

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Springfield College

Art Therapy/Counseling MS

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Points: 9

Springfield College offers a MASTER OF SCIENCE in Art Therapy/Counseling. It provides clinical training and practice, studio art, and a completed research project. The final art exhibit is related to a student’s clinical experience. Coursework includes:

  • Art Therapy/Counseling with Children and Adolescents
  • Art Therapy and Psychological Assessment Techniques
  • Ethical Issues in Art Therapy / Counseling 
  • Family Therapy in Counseling/Art Therapy 
  • Art Therapy/Counseling and Substance Use Disorders 
  • Group Counseling Techniques and Group Art Therapy 
  • Multicultural Issues in Art Therapy / Counseling 
  • Counseling and Art Therapy: Theory and Practice 

The program trains students through a course of study that blends theory, technique, and practice. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $1,105 

#14 Eastern Virginia Medical School

Norfolk, VA

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Art Therapy & Counseling, MS

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Points: 10

Eastern Virginia Medical School offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. Students engage with the elements of art therapy practice and the research that leads to improved care. Coursework includes: 

  • Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy; Introduction of the History & Theory of Art Therapy 
  • Advanced Counseling & Art Psychotherapy Skills; Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy
  • Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Children; Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adolescents 
  •  Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adults; Trauma-Informed Art Psychotherapy & Counseling 

The program focuses on collaborative and experiential learning. Students become culturally responsive and creative artist-therapists.

Fast facts:

  • 61.5 credits
  • Offered through: School of Health Professions 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition per year: $29,547

#13 Lesley University 

Cambridge, MA

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Lesley University

MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy

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Points: 10

Lesley University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy. It trains students for careers in mental health counseling and art therapy. They learn to address the changing needs of human beings across the lifespan as they begin to understand how science underlies human behavior. Coursework includes: 

  • Theories in Art Therapy; Group Counseling: Art Therapy
  • Art Therapy Assessment; Art Therapy Studio
  • Principles and Practices of Expressive Arts Therapy
  • Orientation to Expressive Therapies; Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
  • Examining Power Privilege & Oppression in Clinical Practice

Students learn to infuse the science of counseling with creativity and compassion to help others. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Format: On-campus/Hybrid ( low residency) 
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $900

#12 Mount Mary University

Milwaukee, WI 

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Art Therapy MS

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Points: 11

Mount Mary University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy. It is designed to integrate artistic inquiry with art therapy and counseling theories and techniques. The program provides a rigorous curriculum and a supportive learning environment that helps students to become effective artist-therapists. Coursework includes: 

  • Theories of Counsel. & Art Therapy; Psychopathology
  • Techniques of Practice in Helping Relationships
  • Family Systems; Clinical Treatment & Evaluation
  • Issues in Clinical Mental Health; Trauma Counseling

The program provides in-depth experiential learning opportunities grounded in the arts and the creative process’s healing power. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Natural and Health Sciences and Education
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: AATA; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $870

#11 Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, CA

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MA in Art Therapy

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Points: 11

Notre Dame de Namur University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy. Graduates work with a diverse group of individuals across the lifespan. They practice in various settings, including schools, mental health organizations, inpatient and outpatient programs, hospitals, community centers, nursing homes, and more. Coursework includes: 

  • History and Foundations of Art Therapy 1
  • Art Therapy Techniques: Group Experience
  • Art Therapy Techniques: Special 1 Populations 
  • Art Therapy Techniques: Integrating 1 Creative Arts 
  • Metaphors in Psychopathology: Children 
  • Metaphors in Psychopathology: 1 Adolescents 
  • Metaphors in Psychopathology: Adults 

The Art Therapy Psychology Department attracts talent globally and from across the nation. Almost 30% of students come from outside the state of California. 

Fast facts:

  • 63 units
  • Offered through: School of Education and Psychology 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $850

#10 Seton Hill University

Greensburg, PA 

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Seton Hill University

M.A. in Art Therapy-Counseling 

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Points: 11

Seton Hill University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy with a Specialization in Counseling Program. The program is both clinical and art-based, leading to reflective, transformative, and collaborative learning. Coursework includes: 

  • Art Therapy: Theory & Practice; Art Therapy with Children
  • Art Therapy with Groups; Art Therapy Studio
  • Trauma Theory & Practice (Art Therapy); Art Therapy with Adults
  •  Issues in AT Practice (Art Therapy); Multicultural Therapy (Art Therapy) 
  • Couples and Family Systems (Art Therapy) 

Students get balanced training in clinical mental health care, community supports and art-based ways of helping people. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Visual & Performing Arts
  • Format: On-campus/Evenings
  • Accreditation: AATA; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $811

#9 Emporia State University

Emporia, KS

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Emporia State University

Art Therapy Counseling MS

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Points: 12

Emporia State University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling. It combines clinical practice, theory, research skills, fine arts training to train students to become effective art therapists. The low student-to-faculty ratio ensures that each student gets quality individual attention and training to meet the increasingly diverse student body’s needs. Coursework includes: 

  • Art Media & Materials Use in Art Therapy; Art Therapy Foundations
  • Art Therapy Group Dynamics & Special Populations
  •  Developmental Treatment Models in Art Therapy 
  • Art Therapy Advanced Assessment & Techniques in Relationships & Families 
  • Introduction to Art Therapy Research 

Students use art media, images and the creative art process to help people lead better lives. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counselor Education
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $21,931

#8 Notre Dame of Maryland University

Baltimore, MD

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Notre Dame of Maryland University

Art Therapy MA

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Points: 12

Notre Dame of Maryland University offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy.  The program blends advanced courses blending counseling and therapeutic techniques to help graduates become professional art therapists. Coursework includes: 

  • Hist & Theory of Art; Art Therapy/Counseling
  • Psychopath: Art & Dx; Process: Art & Counseling
  • Art Psychotx & Trauma; Marital & Family Art
  • Art for Social Justice; Human Development
  • Child & Adolescent

Students learn to use the theory and methodology of art therapy as a unique psychotherapeutic practice, along with mixed media studio practices, ceramics, and photography.

Fast facts:

  • 64 credits
  • Offered through: School of Arts, Sciences & Business
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $675

#7 University of Indianapolis 

Indianapolis, IN

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + University of Indianapolis

MA in Mental Health Counseling-Art Therapy 

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Points: 13

The University of Indianapolis offers a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling – Art Therapy concentration. It trains students to use the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Coursework includes: 

  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics AT
  • History, Theory, Practice AT; Advanced Group Work for AT  
  • Neuropsychology & Bio Bases of Behavior
  • Contextual Dimensions & Foundations of MHC        
  • Child, Adolescent, and Family AT; Art-based Assessment in Counseling
  • Cultural Diversity and Art Therapy; Theory-Based AT Interventions

The program is designed to allow students to pursue licensure as a mental health counselor and register as art therapists.

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: College of Applied Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: On-campus/Evenings
  • Accreditation: MPCAC; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $650

#6 Ottawa University

Ottawa, KS

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Ottawa University

MA in Counseling-Expressive Arts Therapy  

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Points: 13

Ottawa University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling: Expressive Arts Therapy Concentration degree. Students develop clinical skills with therapeutic art to efficiently and effectively work with various populations and age ranges. The interdisciplinary, arts-based approach to counseling and psychotherapy is a great way to help people gain emotional wellbeing. Concentrations options include: 

  • Christian Counseling
  • Expressive Arts Therapy
  • Gerocounseling
  • Treatment of Trauma, Abuse and Deprivation

The program blends counseling foundation coursework with art applications and approaches. Students learn the principles and techniques for clinical practice of expressive art therapy in residential, outpatient, and private practice settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60-63 credits
  • Offered through: School of Arts and Sciences 
  • Format: On-campus/Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $635

#5 Southwestern College & New Earth Institute

Santa Fe, NM

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Southwestern College & New Earth Institute

MA in Art Therapy/Counseling

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Points: 13

Southwestern College & New Earth Institute offers a Master’s program in Art Therapy/Counseling. It emphasizes the visual arts as a therapeutic approach in clinical, community, educational, and rehabilitation settings. Coursework includes: 

  • History of Art Therapy: Founders & Foundations     
  • Hermeneutics of Depth Psychology; Art Therapy Techniques
  • Studio Art; Theories of Art Therapy
  • Assessment & Appraisal in Art Therapy/Counseling 
  • Professional Ethics in Art Therapy/Counseling
  • Addiction Assessment and Treatment in Art Therapy/Counseling   
  • Theory and Practice of Family Art Therapy/Counseling

Students engage in self-reflective creativity through artistic processes and engaging in solid clinical training throughout the entire program.

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Format: On-campus/Online
  • Accreditation: AATA; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per quarter unit: $590

#4 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

St Mary-Of-The-Woods, IN 

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

MA in Art Therapy

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Points: 14

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy with an Emphasis in Counseling. The program blends counseling with spirituality and creativity to help make a difference in people’s lives. The coursework includes: 

  • History and Theory of Art Therapy/Counseling; Evaluation and Critical Thinking in Art Therapy
  • Art Therapy and Drawing Assessments; Social and Cultural Issues in Art Therapy and Counseling
  • Foundations of Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling; Art Therapy and Counseling through Lifespan Development
  • Group Dynamics in Art Therapy and Counseling

The program prepares students to become responsible and ethical art therapists engaged in holistic healing.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Graduate Studies
  • Format: On-campus/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $496

#3 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Florida State University

MS in Art Therapy

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Points: 14

Florida State University offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy. It prepares students for entry-level careers as art therapists in the cognitive, psychomotor, and behavior learning domains. The program integrates diverse theories with research-informed practices.  Students learn to apply the power of the visual arts and therapeutic relationships to promote wellness. Coursework includes:

  • Intro to Counseling for Art Therapists; Human Development in Art Therapy
  • Theories of Art Therapy; Art Therapy & Group Counseling
  • Neuroscience and Art Therapy; Therapeutic Use of Art Materials
  • Career Development and Art Therapy; Interpreting and Using Symbols in Art Therapy

The program emphasizes theoretical foundations of art therapy techniques and applications and thorough practicum experiences working within community and clinical settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Fine Arts
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition per credit: $479.32

#2 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Edwardsville, IL

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Art Therapy Counseling MA

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Points: 15

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy Counseling. It provides experiential learning to foster creative practices in the application of art therapy counseling. The program combines classroom instruction, practicum experience, and research. Coursework includes: 

  • Counseling Techniques in Art Therapy; Art Therapy with Groups
  • Advanced Art Therapy Counseling: Diagnosis and Techniques with Children and Adolescents
  • Advanced Art Therapy Counseling: Diagnosis and Techniques with Adults
  • Family Art Therapy; Developmental Theory and Art Therapy
  • Multicultural Issues in Art Therapy; Research Methodology in Art Therapy
  • Counseling Theory and Art Therapy

Graduates become competent, entry-level art therapists in the cognitive, psychomotor and behavior learning domains.

Fast facts:

  • 60 semester hours
  • Offered through: Department of Art and Design
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per 3 credits: $1,019

#1 Georgia College & State University 

Milledgeville, GA

Top 20 Master of Art Therapy Degree Programs + Georgia College & State University 

Art Therapy M.A.

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Points: 16

Georgia College offers a Master of Arts in Art Therapy. The innovative program provides comprehensive art therapy education to aspiring clinicians, therapists, and teachers. Students get the transformative skills and knowledge to work in a variety of settings. Coursework includes: 

  • Hist & Theory of Art Therapy; Art Therapy & Couns Practicum
  • Cultural and Social Diversity; Art Therapy & Couns w/Children
  • Art Therapy & Coun Adolescents; Art Therapy & Coun Adults
  • Symbolism & Metaphor in AT

Electives include:

  • Spec: Trauma and Art Therapy          
  • Family Couns & Art Therapy

The coursework and clinical experience help develop art therapy clinicians who are involved in diverse communities. 

Fast facts:

  • 60-63 credits
  • Offered through: College of Health Sciences 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: AATA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $294

Sources

U.S. News & World Report 
Niche.com