MA Art Therapy

Why choose Herts?

    Industry accreditation and reputation: The art therapy programme at Herts is internationally recognised and has been at the forefront of the profession for 50 years. This course is approved by The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This means, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration with HCPC when you graduate.

    Work-Related Learning: You’ll benefit from 96 days of supervised placement learning. We work in partnership with a variety of providers in settings ranging from residential services to special needs schools. This practice-based learning will be the key to your success, giving you real-life experience, and knowledge of mental health services.

    Expert staff: Our teaching team are highly motivated art therapy educators with a wealth of contemporary practice experience. We welcome visiting lecturers with bespoke clinical and research expertise from a range of client groups. Together, we are a friendly approachable team, delivering inspirational teaching.

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Funding available*

Alumni Stories

Nina Tara

Meet Nina who won the 2020 flare ignite award for Lifestyle Business of the Year. Nina is an art psychotherapist and works with vulnerable adults and children.

Current job roleArt Psychotherapist
Year of graduation2019
Course of studyMA Art Therapy
Nina Tara

University life and experience

Nina, a talented designer and illustrator, decided to change careers and retrain after being impacted by mental health issues, triggered by losing her mum. As a first step she joined the Arts Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation programme before progressing onto the MA in Art Therapy. Nina’s work now incorporates her knowledge of art, learned theory and placement experience. She says, ‘I really enjoyed the experience of learning in a cohort and the holistic approach to the teaching. It was wonderful to have access to the creative studios and to be able to develop my art making practice as both an artist and as a therapist’.

In her final year, Nina set up a business called Courageous Art Therapy. Working with primary schools, she supports children impacted by developmental issues and trauma by helping them to explore their feelings through art therapy. Since the COVID-19 pandemic she has adapted her work to provide online sessions to adults and children to continue to meet the demands for mental health support.

A promising future, a new business and a flare ignite award

In 2020, Nina entered her business, Courageous Art Therapy, into our flare ignite competition. This is the University’s highly competitive annual business competition that gives budding Herts students and alumni, entrepreneurial support and training to bring their business ideas to life. Nina won Lifestyle Business of the Year, an award which recognises businesses where the focus is on gradual growth and sustaining a way of life for the owner. Nina says, ‘Winning this award has brought me a step closer to my vision of bringing affordable mental health care to underfunded communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more people being impacted by complex mental health issues making my business even more essential. I aspire to create a portable art studio to enable me to reach more school pupils and larger communities’.

Nina is in the process of becoming a Community Interest Company. She is also a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) and Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN). Nina’s advice to fellow students and alumni is, ‘Don't be worried about making mistakes as that is where your greatest learning is. A tutor once told me, nothing is lost, not even the mistakes. All my experiences have been great learning curves’.

Watch Nina's video testimonial

Find out more about art psychotherapy and how our careers team supported Nina's business idea.

About the course

Join a vocational course, comprising of campus and placement-based learning. We’ll teach you through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, to bring together theory and practice. We offer a stimulating learning environment, teaching through role play, visual art practice, peer participation and experiential group work.

You’ll complete 96 days of supervised placement learning to give you valuable experience in practicing art therapy in real-life settings. This experience will help guide you to become a mindful, relational and ethical art therapist.

Every step of the way, we’ll encourage you to be an active learner. To be creative. Art making lies at the heart of this course, so you’ll have lots of opportunities to develop strong practical skills. Plus, you’ll reflect on how to use your own art making as therapy practice.

Outside of the course, we’ll require you to explore your own therapeutic journey. To engage with personal therapy to gain self-awareness and to see the approaches used to facilitate honesty of expression. 

The course is offered on a full-time (2 years) and part-time (4 years) basis. With students on each pathway studying together. Both pathways are equally weighted in terms of practice-based and campus-based learning.

We welcome creative and psychologically minded students from a wide range of cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds.

Why choose this course?

  • You want to study art therapy in a School of Creative Arts, to benefit from a creative, collaborative and energising environment
  • You want to immerse yourself in making art, using the resources of the School of Creative Arts alongside our dedicated art therapy spaces
  • You want to be taught by motivated and talented staff who care about your successes and your future clients
  • You want to immerse yourself in sector relevant and inspiring course content
  • You’re looking for the opportunity to explore art therapy with all client groups and settings, to see which path best suits you
  • Upon graduation, you want to become eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. 

What will I study?

You’ll master core skills to deliver art therapy to clients of all ages, in all settings. We’ll teach you theories of creativity and the arts from a neuroscientific, psychological and evolutionary perspective. You’ll gain an understanding of the issues of culture, race, gender, sexuality, class and disability. You’ll use this knowledge to create equality of opportunity in your practice. Together we’ll explore intersectionality and privilege. We’ll teach you strong clinical reasoning, evaluation and decision-making skills. You’ll learn the ethical, legal and organisational context to therapeutic practice, becoming confident to manage risk. You’ll discover how to tailor interventions to help service users with complex needs. You’ll become a confident researcher, developing evidence-based practice, as you employ the arts to improve wellbeing. We’ll assess you through a mix of written, oral and visual assignments.

Through clinical placements in a range of acute and community mental health services, you’ll observe how to maintain safe and helpful relationships with service users. You’ll learn the skills needed for effective multi-disciplinary teamwork. You’ll become an excellent communicator, using verbal and non-verbal techniques with clients. During your placements, your fitness to practice will be nurtured, developed and assessed.

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Core Art Therapy Skills 30 Credits Compulsory
    Key Concepts in Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Intersectionality in Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Visual Culture and Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Clinical Reasoning in Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Specialised Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Professional Skills in Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Research-aware Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
  • Key staff

    Andrew Marshall-Tierney
    Programme Leader

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA Art Therapy Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Art Therapy Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    n/a

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    Find out about how we support our students

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