MA Art Therapy

Why choose Herts?

  • Industry Accreditation: Approved by The Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • Work-Related Learning: You will have a supervised placement for 120days providing you with experience and employment in healthcare, education and/or voluntary organisations.
  • Strong Industry Connections: You will benefit from our excellent links with the NHS, public and private sector, and organisations such as ECArTE to provide you with entrepreneurial skills to help you start your own services.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

About the course

The MA Art Therapy is approved by The Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is situated in the vibrant School of Creative Arts. The programme offers opportunities for students to develop their artistic identities in tandem with receiving a through training in the skills and knowledge required for safe therapeutic practice.

Students attend placements throughout the course and develop their professional skills through clinical supervision, reflective practice groups and by articulating their practice in writing, research and multi-media presentations. Focusing on the public sector, placements range from adult and child mental health, rehabilitation, palliative care, learning disabilities, forensic settings and schools.

The programme guides students toward achieving employment in health care, education and/or voluntary organisations.

The programme can be studied in two modes - full-time for 2 years or part-time for 3 years. A clear indication of the mode chosen should be stated on application forms.

Why choose this course?

The aim of the MA Art Therapy 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, neuropsychology and other evidence based practice in relation to current art therapy theory and research. The programme area also offers a range of pre and post qualification opportunities such as the University Certificate Arts Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation, Introductory and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses and research opportunities up to PhD.

The MA Art Therapy at UH places particular emphasis on the relationship art therapy has with broader visual art culture. Experiential learning is key to the training, with time and space given to the continuing development of the students’ creative practices.

The MA Art Therapy course has links with the Faculties of Public Health, Health and Human Sciences and European organisations such as ECArTE. The University is within easy reach of London by rail and road.

The core staff team have an excellent reputation in terms of teaching quality and practice and research in their fields. The programme also employs a range of professionals with clinical and research expertise 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 needed. 

What will I study?

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, current practice and research. They provide the theoretical framework for understanding the context in which art therapy is currently practiced and researched. Excellent tutorial support is offered.

Experiential Groups

A range of workshops and groups explore group processes and develop the student’s understanding of effective, creative and safe practice.

Studio practice is a key aspect of the programme. Students can access a number of facilities within the School such as ceramics and photography studios as well as the dedicated art therapy spaces.

Clinical Placement and Supervision

Students undertake 120 days of clinical placement on the course. Supervision is a key component of this. Clinical supervision is provided on the placement whilst reflective practice groups are held by experienced clinical supervisors at the university. The programme holds the view that a range of clinical experience is necessary whilst studying in order to maximise the student's employment prospects.​

Introductory Reading List

Download the complete Introductory Reading List here. 

Short Courses 

Our Short Course Team offer art therapy courses, including an introductory course alongside a Continued Professional Development (CPD) course. You can find out more about these courses by clicking the links below:

Introductory one and two-day courses

Introduction to Art Therapy - Expression and Meaning Online Course

Introduction to Art Therapy - Looking and Making Course

Introduction to Art Therapy - Imagining Islands

Art Therapy CPD course

Creative Arts Therapy CPD: Innovative practise, research and supervision

Art Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation course:

We offer a University Certificate: Arts Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation course which typically runs on Mondays 18:00-20:00 from September to May.

University Certificate: Art Therapies and Wellbeing Foundation course

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Discourse and Reflection: Art Therapy 30 Credits Compulsory
    Creative Economies 15 Credits Compulsory
    Research and Enquiry 15 Credits Compulsory
    Developing Art Therapy 3 15 Credits Compulsory
    Introduction to Art Therapy 60 Credits Compulsory
    Developing Art Therapy 1 15 Credits Compulsory
    Developing Art Therapy 2 30 Credits Compulsory
    Consolidating Art Therapy 60 Credits Compulsory
    Research and Enquiry (Online) 15 Credits Optional
    Creative Economies (Online) 15 Credits Optional
  • Key staff

    Programme Leader Andrew Marshall-Tierney

    Find out more about Programme Leader Andrew Marshall-Tierney

    Further course information

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

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year


    Applications open to international and EU students


    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

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.

    Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.