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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;
  • Multiple supervised clinical placement opportunities with a range of populations in a variety of settings, such as medical and psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facilities, schools, continuing care facilities, community health centers, correctional facilities and more;
  • 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. 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



    Revisiting our mission — To impact health and wellness through basic and translational scholarly works created by interprofessional teams investigating complex healthcare issues — we see that the service these men and women have given to Drexel, to the College of Nursing and Health Professions and to our students directly contributed to achieving that goal daily. 
    We thank these individuals for sharing their talent, intellect and energy toward changing the way we delivery healthcare — with compassion and precision and with the expertise of all our faculty and staff behind it.
    52 Years of Service
    Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor, Chinatown Clinic and Dornsife Center Wellness HUB
    41 Years of Service
    David Flood, PhD, BA
    Professor, Health Services Administration
    40 Years of Service
    R. Peter Meyer, PhD, BS
    Associate Professor, Health Sciences
    39 Years of Service
    Alan Haroian, PhD, BA
    Associate Professor, Health Sciences

    36 Years of Service
    Michael C. Kennedy, PhD, MS, BA
    Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Health Professions

    32 Years of Service
    Geraldine Buck, DrPH, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
    Associate Teaching Professor and Director, Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's Program Physician Assistant
    29 Years of Service
    Rita O'Donnell
    Program Coordinator, Health Sciences
    Gloria Turchi
    Administrative Assistant, Dean's Office
    Ronald Comer, DSW, MA, BA
    Associate Professor and Associate Director, Behavioral Health Counseling
    Janet Stern
    Academic Assistant Director, Physician Assistant
    24 Years of Service
    Ellen Schelly Hill, MMT, BC-DMT, NCC, LPC
    Associate Clinical Professor and Director, Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, Creative Arts Therapies

    26 Years of Service
    Margo Orlin, PT, PhD
    Associate Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences
    21 Years of Service
    Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP
    Professor and Dean Emerita
    Priscilla Killian, MSN, RN, CPNP
    Assistant Clinical Professor
    Patricia Gerrity, PhD, RN, FAAN
    Professor and Associate Dean for Community Programs
    Founder and Director, Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University
    20 Years of Service
    Elizabeth Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
    Associate Professor and Department Chair of Doctoral Nursing Program
    Patricia Rubertone, PT, MSW, EdD
    Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Experiential Learning, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

    17 Years of Service
    Diane Lewis
    Administrative Coordinator, Physician Assistant

    13 Years of Service
    Cheryl Portwood, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CNE
    Assistant Clinical Professor, Division of Graduate Nursing Advanced Role MSN Department
    Susan Smith, PT, PhD
    Interim Dean
    12 Years of Service
    Robin Young
    CICSP Clinical Lab Coordinator

    11 Years of Service
    Michelle Sahl, PhD, Med, MBA, MBE
    Associate Teaching Professor, Health Services Administration

    10 Years of Service
    Joseph Rubertone, PhD, MPT
    Associate Clinical Professor, Health Sciences and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences


    Dr. Dana Kemery has been selected to receive a Medallion Award at Rowan University in honor of her dissertation work. She will receive this honor at a special ceremony that is part of Rowan's upcoming graduation.
    During the Nurse Anesthesia Program Class of 2017’s graduation program on May 4th, Joseph Rubertone, PhD, MPT, Associate Clinical Professor in Health Sciences and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Departments was awarded the “Didactic Instructor of the Decade” by the graduating students.
    The Physician Assistant Class of 2016 earned a 100% pass rate for first-time takers on the Physician Assistant Certification Examination.
    Nihad Almasri, a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences alumna was featured in the 40 Under 40 group this year. She is a BSN graduate and now working as a human rights advocate for the United Nations.
    Nancy Gerber, PhD, Natalie Carlton and CAT PhD students traveled to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Urbana, IL at the University of Illinois. Two of our first year PhD students, art therapist Jessica Drass and music therapist Ming Yuan Low, participated in all aspects of the conference and presented with Gerber and Carlton on a panel entitled "Translation in Arts Based Research: A Creative Arts Therapies Perspective."  The presentation was well received with lively conversation.  This annual international conference attracts scholars from 40 countries and delivers presentations on a variety of approaches to qualitative research including arts-based research, mixed methods research, ethnography and autoethnography, grounded theory and more. The conference is committed to a theme of social justice and political action using research to contribute to diminishing cultural disparities, oppression and prejudices. 
    A CNHP clinical professor was among the recipients of a Provost Award for Outstanding Scholarly Productivity. Denise Wolf, MA, ATR-BC, LPC received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at this year’s Provost's Awards for Teaching, Scholarship and Professional Service.
    Sponsored Research
    Girijia Kaimal, EdD is the recipient if a 2017 Faculty Summer Research Award for a project titled Assessing the Feasibility of Virtual Reality-Based Art Therapy (VR-BAT). The proposed project is a mixed methods pilot research study that will examine the feasibility of virtual reality-based art therapy (VR-BAT) sessions by collecting qualitative and quantitative outcomes data on a range of tools including Tiltbrush (a digital painting tool used to create three-dimensional images in virtual reality (VR)).  Virtual reality therapies have been used in the past for reducing phobias and delusions but the applicability for creative arts therapies has not yet been examined. Art therapy is a mental health profession that offers patients/ clients non-verbal forms of self-expression as a means to learn about self and function more effectively in the world (  This would be the first study of its kind to examine the effectiveness of these creative virtual digital tools to enhance psychological health and well-being through creativity, interactivity, and problem solving in an immersive environment. The funds are to try feasibility of virtual reality technology for art therapy. The research team includes the research project team includes Natalie Carlton, PhD, Abby Dougherty , PhD and Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD.
    Jerome Dugan, PhD and Layla Booshehri, PhD have been awarded an R03 grant from the National Institutes of Health for their project entitled Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority Households Through Improved Financial Decision Making: Evidence from Negative Income Transfers Generated by the Affordable Care Act. 
    The investigators will examine the impact of recent health regulation on the economic security of households and the financial strategies households can utilize to reduce health disparities. Drs. Dugan and Booshehri are the co-PIs of the Health Economics Analytics Laboratory (HEAL), where they apply computational and data-driven techniques to address policy failures in the health and welfare systems.
    Publication and Presentations
    Work by Janell Mensinger, PhD have been accepted for publication and/or presentation. It includes:
    Paper presentation titled Changing physical activity: The cost of weight stigma at the 5th Annual International Weight Stigma Conference, Prague, Czech Republic. (Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (June, 2017)).
    Senior Health Science student Margaret Calamari was selected to presenting the research she and Mensinger are working on together at the 1st annual Week of Undergraduate Excellence (May 1-5, 2017). The title of the presentation: Exploring Mediating Mechanisms Relating Weight Status to Healthcare Avoidance
    Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (2017). Internalized weight stigma mediates and moderates physical activity outcomes during a healthy living program for women with high BMI. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 30, 64-72. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.01.010
    Hill C. R., Feltz, D. L., & Samendinger, S. (2017). The relationship between barrier self-efficacy and physical activity in adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. San Diego, USA.
    Finley, M, Goodstadt, N, Soler, D, Somerville, K, Friedman, Z, Ebaugh, D. Reliability and validity of active and passive pectoralis minor muscle length measures. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy (2017,)
    Michael Bruneau Jr, PhD accepted an invitation to be an invited speaker for an “Exercise and Fitness in Obesity” symposium at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Harrisburg, PA on November 3rd and 4th. He also accepted an invitation from the editor to write an editorial commentary entitled "Traditional vs. Nontraditional Risk Factor Assessment in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case for Laser Doppler flowmetry?" that was published ahead of print for the May edition of the Journal of Hypertension.
    Samendinger, S., Forlenza, S. T., Winn, B., Max, E.J., Kerr, N.L., Pfeiffer, K. A., & Feltz, D. L. (in review; Psychology of Sport & Exercise) Introductory Dialogue and Köhler Group Dynamics in Software-Generated Workout Partners.
    The dissertation of Stephen Samendinger, PhD was nominated and an award application package was submitted this month for the J. Richard Hackman Award for the Dissertation that Most Significantly Advances the Study of Groups. The award sponsor organization is INGroup (Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research). The award recipient will be selected in May and is then recognized at the INGRoup conference this summer, and on the INGRoup website, receives a commemorative plaque, and receives complementary registration and an invitation to present their dissertation in a feature session at the 2018 INGRoup conference.


    Kimberly Conkol, MSN `15, became vice president of Care Coordination and Utilization Management at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, according to a LinkedIn update.
    Sandy, MCAT `04, and Stephen Sheller, University trustee, will be honored at the National Liberty Museum in October 2017 with the Heroes of Liberty Award.
    Denise Wolf, MA `99, received a 2016-2017 Provost’s Award for Teaching, Scholarship, and Professional Service at Drexel University.
    Jonathan B. Venarchick, DPT `12, won the Extreme Kayak Battle, a two-day fishing tournament in the Bahamas. 
    Noor Afroza Jemy, BS `16, will participate in a Drexel-sponsored discussion on "Confronting Religious Intolerance and Islamophobia," along with activist and Howard University professor, Altaf Husain, PhD.
    Joanne McGovern, MSN `15, has been named chief nursing officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Center. 

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