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Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

The Department of Creative Arts Therapies provides students with the most comprehensive and the highest-quality education in their respective creative arts therapy discipline.

Through an integrated blend of classroom, experiential and practical learning in the field, students learn side-by-side with future colleagues in the other creative arts therapy specialties.

Program courses are taught by faculty that are national leaders in their respective fields. Students take advantage of Philadelphia’s lively arts community, which nourishes the artist, dancer and musician within and enables you to continue practicing your art form while pursuing graduate study.

The Department and Diversity

As a community of learners, Drexel’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies is committed to cultivating a diverse and dynamic student population. We are interested in, and enriched by, diversity, including but not limited to: culture, race, ethnicity, gender identification and expression, socio-economic class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, learning styles, and political perspectives. We value these identities, shaped by experience, which support empathetic understanding and enlivened critical thinking in and outside of the classroom and in field placements.

Here in this community, we are aware of our past and present shortcomings and deficiencies. We understand that our programs, like the society in which we live, have too long habitually failed to provide just and plentiful opportunities and resources to all people, a perpetual misstep that has resulted in recurrent exclusion for some and disproportionate inclusion for others. We strive for an expansion of diversity. We recognize, embrace and proclaim that it is only by welcoming all people that we may reach our full, and true, potential as an educational community.


The Department of Creative Arts Therapies offers three Master of Arts degrees: Art Therapy and Counseling, Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling, and Music Therapy and Counseling. The 90 quarter-credit curricula can be completed in two years on a full-time basis. We encourage full-time enrollment, yet part-time study can be arranged.

We also offer a PhD in Creative Arts Therapies, an innovative and unique research degree for art therapists, dance/movement therapists, and music therapists who are interested in focusing their careers on scholarly pursuits and academic leadership in their specific discipline.

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling
Engage in art therapy at a prestigious health center aligned to a school of fine arts.

Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy Counseling
Integrate dance and movement into a whole-body approach to mental health.

Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling
Study in the only music therapy program housed within an academic health center.

PhD in Creative Arts Therapies
Earn your PhD in a culture of creativity, innovation, initiative, and support.

Post-Master's Certificate in Art Therapy

Post-Master's Certificate in Dance/Movement Therapy

Post-Master's Certificate in Music Therapy

Creative Arts Therapies Faculty

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News & Events



Although it was only formally developed in 2013, the Mixed Methods International Research Association (MMIRA) was in the making for almost 10 years.  Influential professionals in mixed methods research had been attending various international conferences when they decided to create their own international association.  MMIRA now hosts one international conference every other year and regional conferences on the opposing years.

This year’s regional conference will take place on June 19, hosted by Drexel’s own Nancy Gerber, PhD, Director of the PhD Program, and Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor, both in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies. 

Gerber has been involved with the organization both as a member of the Interim Board of Directors and as Chair of the Program Committee for the first International Conference in Boston in 2014.  She and Bradt were inspired by the Boston conference to host a regional conference at Drexel and to bring the conversation on mixed methods to the Drexel community. 

“People who attend the conference can expect to learn more about mixed methods research and be able to expand their knowledge surrounding the topic and start a dialogue surrounding the topic” Gerber said. They can expect to learn more from professionals and be able to network with members of the association. The conference can create research opportunities for attendees and provide them with chances to learn and discuss information about mixed methods research.

John Creswell, PhD, the President of MMIRA, will be the keynote speaker.  Creswell is one of the most productive authors, teachers, and researchers in mixed methods.  His presentation will reflect on the historic evolution of mixed methods research, which will provide information about the development of research ideas. There will also be presentations given by other mixed methods professionals who are currently conducting research in mixed methods. The presenters’ speeches will address the mission of the conference and provide a high quality program.

The conference is open to anyone who is interested in learning about mixed methods research. It will offer a diverse, comprehensive and informative program, which is supported by a welcoming and creative community. “One thing that has always struck me about mixed methods researchers and the conference is that the community is open to new ideas and has a commitment to mentoring those who want to learn more about mixed methods.” Gerber said.

Those interested in attending can register online at  


Girija Kaimal, EdD, an assistant professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, has been awarded the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) Research Award. The award is given each year to members of the AATA in support of excellence in research and to encourage professional art therapists to conduct research in their fields. To qualify for the award, researchers must be a member of the association and the research must be in progress or completed.

Girija KaimalThe research award is the largest cash award given by the AATA. To apply, one must submit an application, a 10 page proposal and supporting documents indicating IRB approval, measures used and any findings from the study. After a blind review of all the applications submitted, each is given a score, and the application with the highest score wins the award.   

Kaimal hopes to use these funds to continue her research on health outcomes of visual expressions, a study previously funded by a Career Development Award from the Drexel University Office of Faculty Development and Equity. Kaimal explained that her main tasks for the study were to examine the experience of, and changes in affect (positive and negative affect), self-efficacy and stress levels (as measured by cortisol) as a result of approximately 40-45 minutes of art making. The study was conducted in the art therapy studio spaces in Parkway Health and Wellness. “Overall the study was a pleasure to do,” Kaimal said. She hopes to continue her research and explained that the most challenging aspect of the study was making sure the saliva samples were stored at the required temperature and transported in time to the lab for analysis.

Kaimal would like to extend special thanks to each of the research participants; Kendra Ray, her graduate research assistant who helped with all aspects of the study within the last year; Juan Muniz, PhD, an assistant research professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, who performed the lab analyses of salivary cortisol, Stella Volpe, PhD, a professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences, who supported the study with access to services from the nutrition lab.  Also of note are Sherry Goodill, PhD, a clinical professor and Chair of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies; Sue Smith, PT, PhD, Associate Dean for Research; and Janet Fleetwood, PhD, a professor in the School of Public Health for their help and support at various stages of the study. 

“We are excited for the support Drexel provides to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research” Kaimal said. She anticipates publishing the results of her study soon, and hopes to build awareness to creative self-expression as a non-pharmacological approach to health and wellbeing.


Keya Middleton (Creative Arts Therapy, MS, ’15) has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious Fulbright US Student Program for study and research or teaching English abroad in 2015-16.  Middleton attained her B.A. in Criminology and a minor in Dance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She later joined the research team at Temple University’s Center of Obesity Research and Education (CORE), working on the Get Health Philly initiative and the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Central PA’s Academic and Community-Based Participatory Research partnership. Keya is now a 2nd year Masters student attaining her degree in Dance/ Movement Therapy and Counseling. Her faculty mentor is Ellen Schelly Hill, MMT, BC-DMT, LPC. Keya hopes to teach English in Taiwan, while contributing diverse innovation to classrooms through creativity.

Florina Apolinar Claudio (Couple and Family Therapy, Doctoral Candidate) has been selected to receive a Family Process grant in support of her Dissertation about “Perceived Impact of Person-of-the-Therapist Training (POTT) Model on Drexel University Master of Family Therapy Postgraduates' Clinical Work: A Grounded Theory Study.”

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