MA Art Therapy

About the course


 MA Art Therapy

  • The MA Art Therapy is approved by The Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is situated in the postgraduate area of The School of Creative Arts. The programme places a strong emphasis on developing the student’s artistic identity in tandem with their understanding of the skills and knowledge required for safe therapeutic practice
  • Contemporary visual art practices that link to psychodynamic processes are taught across the curriculum. Students learn how research is a cross-discipline mode of enquiry while developing knowledge of how theory underpins and informs art therapy practice with a range of vulnerable people
  • Students attend placements throughout the course and develop themselves professionally through supervision, reflection and by articulating their practice in writing, research and presentations.
  • The programme guides students toward achieving employment in health care, education and/or voluntary organisations. Focusing on the public sector these range from adult and child mental health, palliative care, learning disability, prisons, main stream and special schools etc.
  • Take a look at our MA Art Therapy leaflet.

Why choose this course?

MA Art Therapy places particular emphasis on the relationship art therapy has with other art forms such as fine art, ceramics, design, film and digital image making, on a theoretical and practical level. Experiential learning is regarded as a key experience with time and space given to the continuing development of the student's artistic identity.

The aim of the MA Art Therapy course is to train art therapists for employment in the public sector. This includes theoretical and practical knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to a range of client groups and settings. You are offered a broad theoretical foundation in the key principles of psychodynamic and humanistic psychotherapy in relation to current art therapy theory and research. The programme area also offers a range of pre and post qualification opportunities such an Arts Therapy Foundation programme, Introductory and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses and research opportunities up to PhD.

The MA Art Therapy course has links with the Faculty for Health and Human Sciences and European universities and organisations e.g ECArTE. The University is within easy reach of London by rail, road and air.

The core staff team have an excellent reputation in terms of teaching quality and research in their fields. The programme also employs other professionals such as psychotherapists and arts therapies who continue to conduct clinical practice with a range of client groups.

You have access to a state of the art Learning Resources Centre which contains a wealth of material on related disciplines, maintained by specialist staff who provide support and advice when need. Personal Therapy for the duration of the training is a requirement of all students.

Professional Accreditations

MA Art Therapy


The qualification leads to an award that is recognised for professional registration purposes by the Health Professions Council (HPC) and The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).

Career opportunities vary from work in the NHS, social services, the voluntary sector and increasingly in main stream education. Art Therapists frequently work on a sessional basis or part time in a range of settings. Students receive workshops on how to market themselves post-qualification.

Teaching methods

The learning experience offers clinical, theoretical and artistic opportunities and is comprised of the following areas of study:

Theory and Research

  • Lectures and seminars focus on psychodynamic principles and the theoretical framework for understanding the context in which art therapy is currently practiced and researched. Tutorial support is offered.

Experiential Groups

  • Workshops and training groups explore group processes and different approaches to art therapy practice.
  • Studio practice is a pivotal experience on this programme. Students can access the facilities within the Faculty.

Clinical Placement and Supervision

  • 120 days of clinical placement. Supervision is a key component and is provided within the University and on the placement. The programme has a view that a range of clinical experience is necessary in order to maximise the student's employment prospects.


Level 7

Core Modules

  • Art Therapy Practice Part 2 - 60 Credits
  • Art Therapy Practice 1 - 60 Credits
  • Discourse and Reflection: Art Therapy - 30 Credits
  • Experiential Training 1 - 15 Credits
  • Experiential Training 2 - 15 Credits
  • Experiential Training 3 - 30 Credits
  • Creative Economies - 15 Credits
  • Research and Enquiry - 15 Credits


  • Research and Enquiry (Online) - 15 Credits
  • Creative Economies (Online) - 15 Credits

Fees & funding

Fees 2018

UK/EU Students

Full time
  • £6500 for the 2018/2019 academic year

Part time
  • £820 per 15 credits for the 2018/2019 academic year

International Students

Full time
  • £8985 for the 2018/2019 academic year

Part time
  • £1120 per 15 credits for the 2018/2019 academic year

*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

Entry requirements...

  • Mature students are accepted. Maturity and life experience is regarded as essential.
  • Honours degree in Art and Design. This means any art and design discipline; Fine Art, Textiles, Ceramics, Film etc.
  • Prior to registration approx 1,000 min hours relevant work experience in mental health, special education or other related field. Paid or voluntary work is acceptable and both needs to be consistent over a period of time.
  • UK/EU candidates when invited to interview will present; an art portfolio that shows evidence of their ongoing art practice and identity as an artist, a short written assignment and two acceptable references.
  • If you currently do not meet the above entry criteria, you may want to consider our Arts Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation.

Special Entry:

Non-graduates or those with an alternative degree to Art and Design may apply. These candidates are expected to have considerable prior relevant work experience and meet the above portfolio requirements at interview.

The programme welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

Additional Information for International Students Only:

To allow us to assess your application from overseas we also require the following documents at point of application:

  • A completed work experience form, outlining all relevant work experience with vulnerable people, including dates, hours and role that meets the required criteria. MA Art Therapy - Relevant Work Experience form.doc
  • Art Portfolio: Submit a web link to your current art practice. The portfolio must demonstrate both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. This can include painting and drawing, sculpture and ceramics, film and digital photography etc. You need to show that you have engaged with art making as a means of feeling and expression for yourself and that you have developed an understanding of different media.
  • A 500 word essay titled 'What is Art therapy?' referenced with relevant UK literature on Art Therapy. Use the Harvard referencing system and also please include a bibliography.
  • A concise personal statement (250 word max) that explains your reasons for applying to this programme at the University of Hertfordshire. This should demonstrate psychological thinking about yourself, your art making and towards others.
  • References: please submit 2 current references, one from an employer and one from a tutor or academic.

After your initial application has been assessed we will contact you to arrange a telephone or skype interview if you are not based in the UK.

If English is not your first language you will need a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.

If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English courses can help you to achieve this level.

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201920/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201920/05/2020Apply online (Part Time)