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Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling


The Art Therapy and Counseling graduate program equips students with the skills and knowledge to apply the theory of art therapy in various treatment situations. Working with specified treatment objectives, students learn to combine art therapy theory and practice with psychodynamic and psychotherapeutic technique. They can work with individuals and/or groups using the theoretical and clinical education they have received. This integrated approach provides a comprehensive foundation for sound clinical work with many different clinical and culturally diverse populations.

This distinctive program was founded in 1967 at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital; it was the first continually operating program in the world to offer graduate-level art therapy education. Committed to progress within the field of art therapy and counseling, the program provides students with extensive exposure to current psychological, developmental, psychotherapy, and art therapy theory and practice.

The Art Therapy and Counseling program's 90-quarter-credit curriculum is designed to meet the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) educational requirements. Be advised, however, that licensure requirements vary widely from state to state, and may change at any time. Therefore, if you are or will be interested in counseling licensure in the future, you are strongly advised to access and check the requirements for any state(s) in which you plan to work and practice. It is the students' responsibility to know and understand the requirements for any type of future licensure.

What you'll learn

Through a dynamic and multi-dimensional learning process, students of the Art Therapy and Counseling program develop a clear understanding of the significant role that imagination and empathy for the patient plays in art therapy. The students also learn about themselves and the role that their cognitive and emotional reactions play in the relationship between themselves, as art therapists, and the patient/client.

The Art Therapy curriculum is a synthesis of multiple dynamic and interactive educational components including theory, practice/clinical, intersubjective experience, clinical supervision, and research. Together, these interactive components provide a foundation for the development of an understanding of the complex interaction that occurs in the art therapy process between the therapist, the patient/client, and the art process. 

Key program components include:

  • Advanced education in the theoretical and clinical foundations of art psychotherapy;
  • Supervised adult, adolescent, and child clinical placements in psychiatric, medical, forensic and educational facilities throughout the local geographic area;
  • Emphasis upon the study of emergent art making within the context of the therapeutic relationship;
  • Integration with students of other creative arts therapies while helping each student develop a strong identity as an art therapist;
  • Master’s thesis research or capstone project guided by a chosen multidisciplinary committee;
  • Experiential art making processes integrated with theoretical, clinical and self-exploratory learning.

What makes the Drexel Art Therapy and Counseling program unique?

  • This groundbreaking program was the first of its kind.
  • Students combine art theory with real-life clinical fieldwork.
You are part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to various practice environments, the arts studio and educational facilities.


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

Background checks:

As a student of the College of Nursing and Health Professions you will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, child and elder abuse checks, drug test, immunizations, physical exams, health history, and/or other types of screening before being permitted to begin clinical training.

You will not need to submit documentation of these requirements as part of your application to the master’s program. Failure to fully satisfy these requirements as directed upon enrollment may prevent assignment to a clinical site for training.  A background check that reflects a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor may affect your ability to be placed in certain facilities, and later, to become board certified and licensed.


Priority deadline: completed applications due December 15. Regular deadline: completed applications due January 15.

Bachelors of Science or Bachelors of Arts from program fully accredited institution and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or above on all previous coursework.

Standardized Tests:


  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions

18 credits in studio art courses demonstrating range of media; 12 credits in psychology, including mandatory courses in developmental psychology and abnormal psychology. Behavioral research methods course recommended.

Three letters of recommendation required. At least two recommendations should be from current or former academic instructors. Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted electronically through your online application.

    Personal Statement/ Essay:
     A 300-750 word typed essay. Considered an autobiography, this essay is intended to serve as a writing sample while telling us more about you.

    Art portfolio:
    Submit a portfolio of 10-15 works of art that demonstrates facility with a range of media and personal understanding of creative process. Must include image descriptions documenting title, media, dimensions and year. Submit through

    Interview: Select applicants will be invited to attend a required, in-person, group interview. International applicants will be contacted individually to arrange for a video or telephone interview. Due to the number of applications received, we are not able to schedule an interview with every applicant.

    Required. Include relevant education, work and service/volunteer experience.

    Additional Requirements for International Applicants

    • Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying to a graduate program must have their transcripts evaluated by the approved agency: World Education Services (WES), 212.966.6311, Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087, Web site:
    • TOEFL: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). An official score report must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service. For more information visit the Web site:, then click on TOEFL.
    • I-20/DS-2019 and Supporting Financial Documents (international students only): Please print, complete, and submit the I-20/DS-2019 Application Form (PDF). 

    International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
    P.O. Box 8629
    Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629
    215.222.8454, ext. 603

    Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
    3600 Market St., Suite 400
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651

    World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
    Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087
    New York, NY 10274-5087

    Tuition and Fee Rates
    Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

    Application Link (if outside organization):



    Students complete a master’s thesis as part of the requirements for graduation. The thesis project stresses the development of research skills and an understanding of the current literature in art therapy. Students may choose to conduct either a research thesis or a capstone thesis. Each student selects a topic with guidance from his or her thesis advisor beginning in the summer following completion of first year courses. The thesis is an independent study project and the time to complete it is variable. Graduating students present their completed thesis to the professional art therapy community, peers, family and friends at the annual spring research colloquium held at the end of their second academic year.


    AATA: Approved by the American Art Therapy Association.

    Clinical Practices

    The students learn how to apply the theory of art therapy in various treatment situations. Working with specified treatment objectives, students learn to combine art therapy theory and practice with psychodynamic and psychotherapeutic technique. They can work with individuals, groups or families using the theoretical and clinical education they have received. This integrated approach provides a comprehensive foundation of sound clinical work in different treatment settings and with different clinical populations.

    The Art Therapy program offers 1200 clinical art therapy educational hours. The number of clinical practicum and internship hours offered by the program meets the educational standards of the American Art Therapy Association and exceed the hours required in most art therapy graduate programs. Students begin their clinical experience as soon as they enter the program. The clinical education parallels the classroom education and is enhanced by 3 to 3.5 hours of individual and group supervision per week. As part of the clinical and supervisory experience, students receive a visual/verbal log in which to record their clinical experiences in words and artwork. They use these logs in their supervision in order to better articulate and understand the complex dimensions of the art therapy process.

    First-year students have three clinical practicum experiences, one in each quarter. The first quarter clinical practicum is accompanied by an intensive course on Professional Orientation and Ethics I. The first practicum experience is one in which the art of clinical art therapy observation is taught through practical experience, role modeling, and art therapy supervision. The second practicum emphasizes a gradual increase in active participation in art therapy sessions while integrating their learned observational skills. This occurs with the guidance of the on-site art therapy supervisor. The degree of involvement in the art therapy process increases concomitant to the student’s skill development which is discussed in various clinical supervision venues, and evaluated through the clinical evaluation process. The third quarter is a continuation of practicing art therapy under the guidance of an art therapist wherein observation skills and art therapy skills begin to mature. In order to provide a range of clinical art therapy experience, the student spends the first two quarters at one clinical site and the third quarter at a different clinical site. Consequently, the student experiences two different treatment settings, two different human service provider systems with different organizational dynamics, and two different clinical populations. One practicum is with children or adolescents, and one is with adults or adults in geriatric settings. These clinical practicum experiences are assigned by the Clinical Coordinator, and require that an art therapist be on site with the student during the first year. The on-site art therapist serves as a role model for the first-year student to observe.

    The second-year internship offers an opportunity for students to mature and specialize as clinical interns. With the guidance of the Clinical Coordinator and the clinical guidelines and requirements students can choose their own clinical site which need not have an art therapist on site. This internship lasts the entire academic year and gives the student the experience of being part of a treatment team. Often when students choose an internship site where there is not a pre-existing art therapy service, they receive first hand experience of developing this service, with administrative and clinical supervision. The result of this experience often is the creation of job. A large percentage of the students are offered jobs at the conclusion of their internship in sites where they have created the service. Students receive off-site supervision by a registered art therapist as well as two group small supervisions on campus.

    News & Events



    Noor Jemy (BS, Health Services Administration ’16), president of the Philadelphia Muslim Students Association Council, was quoted in an article urging Muslim students to travel in groups or call campus security for escorts if they fear harassment and attacks, in light of the recent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes. 

    Victoria Scotti, PhD (PhD, Creative Arts ‘16) and Dr. Patricia Leavy wrote and illustrated a new book, Low Fat Love Stories, that combines interview data, images, and fiction to create a literary work based on scholarly research. 

    John D. Sauder (BSN ‘88) was promoted to president of Mennonite Home Communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
    Jeffery Evans (Physician Assistant ‘00) is the host of the new show Everest Air on the Travel Channel, which will feature the work of the first dedicated search-and-rescue team on Mount Everest. 


    Alumna Victoria Scotti, PhD ’16 can now add “book author” to her resume.  Low-Fat Love Stories, a collection of first person narratives describing women’s dissatisfying relationships with a romantic partner or relative or their body image was co-authored by Scotti and Patricia Leavy.  The stories and visual portraits were based on interview research with women that started as a practicum at Drexel.  
    To view a short description of the book, or to order a copy, click here


    Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, associate professor of Nursing, Doctoral Nursing, and Nutrition Science, and Paulina Sockow, DrPH, associate professor, Department of Health Systems and Science Research, participated in a panel discussion for the Farnese Symposium, “Aging in Place: What is the Future?”
    Karen Diaz, Sarah Pelletier, Jennifer Romania, and Rachael Rock participated in the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants Conference Challenge Bowl and earned 3rd place. 
    Susan Aldridge, PhD, senior vice president of Drexel University and president of Drexel University Online, wrote an article called “Putting Technology to Work for Transfer Students,” which is featured on The EvoLLLution.  
    Bronwen Gale (Art Therapy & Counseling, ’16) was recently selected as the recipient of the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association’s Master’s Thesis Research Award for her thesis, “Artistic Inquiry with Loved Ones of Those Exhibiting Hoarding Behaviors.” Gale was recognized for her research during the DVATA’s 2016 Conference on October 1 at the Franklin Institute.  A number of Art Therapy & Counseling faculty and alumni also presented at the conference, including Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor; Donna Kaiser, PhD, former director of Art Therapy & Counseling; Denise Wolf, adjunct professor; Yasmine Awais, assistant clinical professor, and alumni Jessica Drass ‘12, Michelle Dean ‘96, Bethany Stiltner ‘10, Caroline Peterson ‘00, and Laura York ‘10. 
    Sherry Goodill, PhD,  HU '80, chair of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, delivered the Marion Chace Foundation keynote address, “Movement, Metaphor, and Money,” at the 51st Annual American Dance Therapy Association Conference.
    Ellen Schelly Hill, Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program director, received the President’s Award, which recognizes American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) Board of Directors members for their service and contributions to ADTA and the dance/movement therapy field. 
    Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling faculty member Dawn Morningstar (Eastern Region Member-At-Large) and adjunct faculty Anne Margrethe Melsom (Chair, Committee on Approval) were installed on the American Dance Therapy Association Board of Directors. 
    More News & Events