For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling

Program

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. The program, at a minimum, aims to prepare competent entry-level Art Therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. 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.

COMPLIANCE

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.

Deadline:

  • Final deadline: December 6, 2021

Degree:
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or above on all previous coursework.

Standardized Tests:
N/A

Transcripts:

  • 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 to Drexel University, Applications Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, or submitted through a secure electronic transcript delivery service to enroll@drexel.edu. 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

Prerequisites:
18 credits of studio art coursework that can include a variety of 2D and 3D mediums, and 12 credits of psychology coursework, including one 3 credit course in developmental psychology, and one 3 credit course reviewing psychological disorders.

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required. To electronically request recommendations, you must list your recommenders and their contact information on your application. You may request recommendations with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application.

We advise that you follow up with your recommenders to ensure they received your recommendation request — they may need to check their junk mail folder. Additionally, it is your responsibility to confirm that your recommenders will submit letters by your application deadline and follow up with recommenders who have not completed their recommendations.


    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.

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

    Interview/Portfolio:

    • Art portfolio: Submit a portfolio of 10–15 works of art that demonstrate facility with a range of media and personal understanding of the creative process. An image list (title, media, and dimensions) must accompany the portfolio. Portfolios must be uploaded through SlideRoom.
    • Interview: Select candidates will be invited to participate in an on-campus interview. International applicants will be invited to participate in a video conference interview.

    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: www.wes.org/.
    • TOEFL/IELTS: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System test. An official score report must be sent directly to Drexel University Application Processing. The minimum TOEFL score is 90, and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5. For more information visit the Web site: www.ets.org, then click on TOEFL.
    • I-20/DS-2019 and Supporting Financial Documents (international students only): After confirming attendance to Drexel, students will receive an email from ISSS with instructions for applying for their I-20/DS-2019 and submitting supporting financial documents.

    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
    215.349.8767

    World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
    Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087
    New York, NY 10274-5087
    212.966.6311

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

    Application Link (if outside organization):
    N/A

    Curriculum

    The MA in Art Therapy & Counseling is a 90-quarter credit program. The minimum completion time for the program is two years (seven quarters) on a full-time plan of study, although some students may take longer to complete all program requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of study. The majority of classes are taught in-person on Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions campus in Center City Philadelphia, with select classes offered online.

    The coursework consists of both Art Therapy-specific and general mental health counseling coursework. Art Therapy-specific topics include:

    • Assessment and treatment planning for children, adolescents, adults, older adults and families
    • Group dynamics in art therapy
    • Neuroscience and trauma approaches
    • Studio art for art therapists
    • Media, materials and processes
    • Social and cultural foundations in art therapy
    • Symbolism, creativity and metaphor in art therapy
    • Professional identity for art therapists

    Mental health counseling coursework covers theories and skills in:

    • Human psychological development
    • Psychopathology and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    • Social and cultural foundations in counseling
    • Behavioral research
    • Group dynamics in counseling
    • Theories of counseling and psychotherapy
    • Career counseling
    • Clinical appraisal and diagnosis
    • Professional ethics
    • Foundations of Creative Art Therapies

    Clinical experience is integrated with classroom learning, with students participating in two practicums and one internship throughout the course of the program. For more information on the clinical education component of the Art Therapy program, click on the "Clinical Practices" tab above.

    A Culminating Project rounds out the curriculum. Second-or third-year students conduct a Culminating Project that integrates practice with theory and/or research. Under the guidance of their Culminating Project advisor, students design a project that explores aspects of both their respective Creative Arts Therapies discipline and counseling. Examples of Culminating Projects include development of a method, a community engagement project, research thesis or artistic project. Culminating Projects may be connected to a student's internship, but it is not a requirement. At the end of each academic year, students present their Culminating Projects to peers, faculty, friends and family at their respective program's Colloquium. Students are also encouraged to submit projects to regional and national conferences when applicable.

    Accreditation

    AATA: Approved by the American Art Therapy Association.www.arttherapy.org/

    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

    Co-Investigators From CNHP and School of Public Health receive $14.4M NIH Award for Health Disparities Research

    10/14/21

    Deans Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, and Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, are the co-principal investigators on the recently awarded $14.4 million FIRST grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Diez Roux, the Dana and David Dornsife dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health, and Gitlin, College of Nursing and Health Professions' dean, a distinguished university professor and executive director of the AgeWell Collaboratory shared that Drexel is one of six institutions nationwide receiving funding as part of the inaugural “Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation” (FIRST)
    cohort, and the sole recipient in Pennsylvania.

    The NIH's FIRST grant will allow Drexel to hire, retain and support 12 diverse, early career researchers whose focus is on health disparities research on aging, chronic disease and/or environmental determinants. Diez Roux and Gitlin's initiative will create a collaborative structure involving University leaders, academic units and faculty to catalyze sustainable institutional change that supports scientific and inclusive excellence in the conduct of health disparities research.

    The grant involves three cores co-led by Drexel faculty who are nationally recognized in their areas of expertise. The administrative core is co-led by Diez Roux and Gitlin while the faculty development core is co-led by Leslie Ain McClure, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, associate dean for Faculty Affairs and professor in Dornsife School of Public Health, and Stephanie Brooks, PhD, senior associate dean of Health Professions and Faculty Affairs and clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions' Department of Counseling and Family Therapy. Lastly, the evaluation core is co-led by Maria Schultheis, PhD, vice provost of Research and professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant dean for Special Research Initiatives and interim chair and associate professor in the Creative Arts Therapies department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

    The full news story appears in DrexelNOW.

    DMT Alumna Accepts Fulbright Grant to Germany

    08/13/21

    KerryLyn Kercher, DMT, headshotKerrylyn Kercher, DMT ’21, has accepted a merit-based Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The grant allows Kercher to spend 8-10 months engaged in research and academic studies related to Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) at two facilities in Germany.

    At the Creative Arts Therapies Research Institute, she helps to develop projects alongside current graduate students. “While I already hold a master's degree in this field from Drexel, I know that growing and expanding my knowledge and understanding regarding such body-based practices will remain a priority for the rest of my career, and this is only the beginning. I hope that being a part of current research and educational approaches within the international community will help to solidify my personal theoretical approach and spark further interest in creative arts therapy research.”

    One particular focus will be a tri-cyclic arts project investigating the topic of trauma as it relates to bodily experiences. This is closely related to Kercher’s current research, under the leadership of Minjung Shim, PhD, assistant research professor and principle investigator, regarding non-medicinal ways to approach treatment for chronic lower back pain. “The Research Institute in Alfter, Germany, where I will be for some of my time, is at the forefront of research related to the creative arts therapies, aiding in the expansion of studies conducted that look into the specific therapeutic factors of DMT. Since it’s a relatively new psychotherapeutic approach, at least in the United States, any and all research happening can be considered imperative in solidifying DMT as an evidence-based approach in the mental health field,” Kercher explained.

    At the SRH University of Heidelberg, she will observe how American and German dance/movement therapy studies differ and utilize culturally different perceptions of the work. She will audit classes such as neurology and quantitative research methods, movement observation and analysis, clinical psychology and body therapy applications.

    In addition, Kercher will offer community movement classes. “These classes will be for movers and non-movers alike, bridging my love for teaching dance and my passion for helping others,” she said. “I believe that these classes, led by the community and their wants/needs, are the true cultural exchange I am hoping for. The arts have such a way of connecting people to one another and I look forward to using my new therapeutic lens in the process.”

    Kercher is very appreciative to the CAT department, specifically Christina Devereaux, PhD, associate clinical professor and program director for Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, for helping to create the initial connections with the university in Germany. Additionally, Sherry Goodill, PhD, chair of the CAT department, will be teaching a select number of classes on specific DMT topics at the university where she will be situated for her time abroad. “It has occurred to me through this process how small the creative arts therapies community really is and I feel grateful to be a part of it!” she said.

    She noted she is very thankful to the fellowships office, specifically Kelly Weissberger, and her Fulbright advisory team at Drexel, Abioseh Porter, Kristy Kelly and Benjamin Barnett, all of whom played a role in providing support and feedback regarding her Fulbright application. “I fully believe their support allowed me this wonderful opportunity, and for that I am forever grateful. Receiving this award is an absolute privilege. This grant provides me an opportunity to experience a new culture and all that encompasses it through the lens of research and study.”

    11th Street Dance Movement Therapy: A Patient's Story

    06/17/21

    Graphic for the Dance Movement Therapy Service at Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th St. Family Health Services“You can be at any place in your life, it can work for everyone,” says Ruth Briggs, a patient at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services. As a former ballet dancer, Ruth is quick to say that you do not need to have any background in dance to pursue and realize the benefits of dance and movement therapy.

    After meeting another patient who was receiving care at 11th Street, Ruth decided that she would move forward to see someone to address trauma from her past. From the moment she met Lindsay Edwards MA, BC-DMT, LPC, “I knew she was someone I could trust,” says Ruth. “Lindsay really believed in me, and she allowed me to move forward at my own pace. I felt like it was a partnership, rather than sitting there watching someone pass judgment. I never felt judged.”

    After several months of work together, Ruth had several breakthroughs and was able to see there was real progress being made. “It wasn’t about beauty in the movement – it was about reclaiming my strength.” Feeling that she had the ability to move with freedom, Ruth valued the flexibility and individuality in the approach Lindsay took. “She gave me wings,” Ruth shares.

    This experience inspired Ruth to move all her care to 11th Street. “It’s my primary health center – a safe space for everyone, regardless of circumstances. Coming into 11th street is so welcoming, from the pharmacist, to physical therapy, to primary and dental care, to the very kind security staff, the paraprofessional and administrative staff, and my fellow patients, everyone goes above and beyond.”

    More News & Events