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Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling


Established in 1974, the Master of Arts program in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling educates students for creative, responsive and effective therapy practice. This unique program addresses both the art and science of dance/movement therapy. The graduate work develops students' personal, creative, cognitive and movement resources so they can effectively engage in therapeutic movement relationships that facilitate access to these resources in their clients.

Dance/movement therapy is defined as the psychotherapeutic use of movement in a process that furthers the emotional, cognitive, social and physical integration of the individual. The profession is positioned to meet an increasing interest in mind-body approaches to mental and physical health that have emerged in health profession circles and in the general public.

Upon graduation, students go on to work in a variety of settings, such as schools, early intervention programs, community mental health, inpatient psychiatric, medical, social service and wellness settings.

The Dance/Movement 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 student's responsibility to know and understand the requirements for any type of future licensure.

What you'll learn

The Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling program integrates dance and movement into a whole-person approach to mental health.

Key program components include:

  • Collaborative education in a small dance/movement therapy student cohort.
  • An educational environment vitalized by faculty member involvement in clinical practice, scholarship, and professional service.
  • Supervised dance/movement therapy clinical education experiences in three different settings, with various patient populations, beginning in the first term of study.
  • Ongoing integration of theory and practice in classroom and clinical education settings.
  • Preparation to serve diverse populations.
  • Introduction to recent developments in neuroscience as relevant to the mind-body discipline of dance/movement therapy.
  • Dance/movement therapy culminating project guided by a multidisciplinary advisory committee.

What makes the Drexel Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling program unique?

  • Learning enrichment derived from interaction with students and faculty from other creative arts therapy disciplines.
  • Specialty coursework in medical applications of dance/movement therapy.
  • Opportunity to enroll in dance classes and audition for the Drexel Dance Ensemble.
  • You are part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to various practice environments 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: January 1, 2024
Regular: February 1, 2024

Bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited institution, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in 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 to Drexel University, Application Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101 or submitted through a secure electronic delivery service to 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.


  • Familiarity with at least two dance or movement forms, with a minimum of five years dedicated study to at least one form in a studio or academic setting.
  • Creative dance or movement improvisation experience.
  • Teaching, performing and/or choreography experience preferred.
  • Liberal Arts coursework, including coursework in Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Human Development or Anthropology).
  • Volunteer or paid experience in a helping relationship.

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:
    Submit an essay (1–3 typed pages) addressing interest in and aptitude for dance/movement therapy and counseling, with reference to personal, service, and arts experience. Submit your essay with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application.


    Upload your résumé as part of your admission application or through the Discover Drexel Portal after you submit your application.

    Select candidates will be invited to participate in an on-campus audition and interview. International applicants will be invited to submit a recorded audition and participate in a video interview.

    Audition: The movement audition involves a group improvisational experience. We are primarily interested in how you communicate, express yourself and interact through movement. Applicants need not prepare anything. Those living overseas may submit videotape or DVD in lieu of movement audition. International candidates should request instructions about these requirements with admission materials and are advised to begin admission process early.

    Faculty will conduct in-depth in-person interview with applicant consisting of review of personal, academic, interpersonal, and creative aptitudes. For international applicants will be invited to submit a recorded audition and participate in a video interview.

    Clinical/Work/Volunteer Experience:
    A social service work or volunteer history and cross cultural experience is highly valued.

    Dance Experience
    Familiarity with at least two dance or movement forms, with five years of dedicated study to at least one form in a studio or academic setting. Improvisation, teaching, performing, and/or choreography experience preferred.

    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) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). 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:, 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

    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):


    The MA in Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling is a 90-quarter credit program. The program can be completed in a minimum of two years (seven quarters) of full-time study, although some students may take longer to complete all 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 Dance/Movement Therapy-specific and general mental health counseling coursework. Dance/Movement Therapy-specific topics include:

    • Theory and practice with child and adult populations
    • Social and cultural foundations in dance/movement therapy
    • Laban movement analysis
    • Movement perspectives in human development
    • Mental health applications of movement assessment
    • Therapy relationship skills
    • Group dynamics in dance/movement therapy
    • Movement observation

    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. Students receive both individual and small group clinical supervision. For more information on the clinical education component of the Dance/Movement 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.


    The Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling program is approved by the American Dance Therapy Association.

    Clinical Practice

    Students engage in dance/movement therapy clinical education in three different settings during the course of the program. Individual clinical supervision is supplemented by small group mental health and dance/movement therapy supervision in the academic setting, a reflection of the program's commitment to clinical supervision as a learning tool.

    In the first year, students are placed in two practicum experiences, with different patient populations and in different types of settings. The student has the opportunity to observe and practice beginning therapy skills with the role modeling and support of an on-site dance/movement therapist.

    Students are actively involved in the selection of their second year internship sites with respect to their individual learning needs and interests. The second year internship offers an opportunity for students to mature and specialize as clinical interns over the course of a full academic year. The student functions as an integral member of an on-site treatment team. Students participate in individual supervision with a dance/movement therapist holding the advanced credential of BC-DMT (Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist).

    Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling Program Philosophy

    The below figure illustrates the intersecting values and principles that drive the program’s philosophy and theoretical framework: (1) dance/movement, (2) development and (3) systems. These values are surrounded by cultures (e.g., cultures of inquiry, education, practice, care).

    figure of ven diagram in which dance/movement, development and systems intersect

    This framework provides students with contextual lenses through which to organize an understanding of the complexities of their clients. A developmental and systems perspective recognizes therapy as a relationship process in which the person of the therapist is essentially involved. As a program, the DMTC program exemplifies this frame in the way the curriculum is conceptualized, how the courses are structured, the way the material is delivered and, most importantly, the way that interactions with students are approached.


    Dance and movement are core to teaching and practice within the program, recognizing that dance and movement principles themselves hold theoretical integrity for the education of our students and their clinical work. The program emphasizes that:

    • The bodily experience is primary in the life of human beings.
    • Movement is an ongoing process of change.
    • The interaction between the body (the somatic, physical self) and the mind (the psyche) is reciprocal and intricate. This dynamic is critical to well-being and health, and as such, is worthy of study.


    A developmental framework is germane to both DMT and counseling, supporting our students as they develop their professional identities. In particular, the program philosophy emphasizes that the development of knowledge coexists with (a) development of the self; (b) development of professional identity; and (c) development as a tool for understanding the clients for whom we care. We apply a developmental framework to the scaffolding of the curriculum and in clinical training.


    The curriculum emphasizes didactic and experiential learning to understand the systems of the body and the structural, physiological, neurological, emotional and developmental layers of influence of these systems through assessment and intervention. Students are encouraged to look at their self-as-a-therapist as influenced by larger systemic structures and how therapeutic treatment can be a collaborative process to dismantle systems of oppression. Students engage in experiential knowledge and interdisciplinary endeavors within broader systems of care. By understanding the broader landscape, students graduate to be social advocates within their clinical roles who can influence structures that perpetuate health care disparities and inequities.

    The DMTC program is designed to train students to graduate with the following competencies:

    1. Provide individual and group DMTC services across a diverse spectrum of recipient populations and ages, including assessment, evaluation and intervention.
    2. Utilize creative processes in therapeutic work and elicit healing properties of dance and movement within a given cultural context.
    3. Apply understanding of functional, relational, developmental, and expressive aspects of movement to support health and well-being.
    4. Exercise cultural humility to work with diverse populations, applying collaboration and advocacy with respect for differences and a commitment to social justice.
    5. Critically interpret and apply research and other scholarly literature in practice, relevant to DMTC.
    6. Effectively communicate, interface, and collaborate with other professionals and members of the public as part of clinical/community practice and advocacy.
    7. Demonstrate an understanding of systems of care and professional roles within systems.
    8. Demonstrate ethical sensitivity and consistent application of ethical principles and standards of practice.
    9. Use self-awareness, reflexivity, and self-evaluation for continued professional growth.

    News & Events

    Meet CNHP Alumni: Morgan Karcher, MA ’21


    Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions Department of Creative Arts Therapies prepares students in art, music and dance/movement therapies and counseling. Our students and alumni have a variety of areas of practice and passions that bring them to the college. For alumna Morgan Karcher, MA art therapy and counseling ’21, a Philly-based queer therapist at Nourish Therapy and Wellness, it's youth in the LGBTQ+ community.

    Morgan stands in front of CAT studios cabinets, full of various art supplies. Activism in Art Therapy

    To me, art therapy is a complement to traditional counseling practices. It is a way to bring folks into a therapy practice that doesn’t require verbal expression and offers different outlets to express emotions. Sometimes we make things, sometimes we destroy things. I think it is a beautiful process and a varied way of expressing how you feel, especially when words feel difficult or impossible to access.

    In addition to the positive impact that art therapy can have with clients generally, I have found that art therapy is a particularly useful intervention for clients in the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ youth. Art helps us tap into different elements of our identity, especially when we haven’t always had the voice to do so. And even within the LGBTQ community, there is a lot of identity exploration to do. I find that art therapy can lean into these areas and provide empowerment and voice to the client that they may not have found before.

    As a queer therapist myself, I am constantly learning about my identity, personally and professionally, and I feel honored to be able to do that work alongside my clients. When I disclose to clients that I am queer, I often hear from them that this is the first time a therapist has disclosed this or that they didn’t feel affirmed in their identity by previous therapists. I really think it’s so important for all therapists to be competent in LGBTQ-presenting issues to affirm and empower our clients.

    Morgan is seated at table in CAT studios, creating a watercolor artwork on white paper Issues Facing LGBTQ Youth

    As some may know, LGBTQ youth are facing discrimination as a community, be it at home or at school. A lot of it has to do with parents not understanding their child’s identity, and, honestly, that is some of my favorite and most difficult work to take on. I create space for parents in this process, including offering parent-only therapy sessions, and I talk with them directly about their experiences growing up. What was their family like? How did they view the LGBTQ community? How have parents or others in their lives, spoken about the LGBTQ community in the past?

    The issues facing LGBTQ youth are huge. Suicidality, self harm, depression, anxiety, gender dysphoria or questioning. These are big topics that are not easy to solve or eradicate, but finding a trusted space to process emotions and connect to self is crucial. In my sessions as an art therapist, I emphasize that we are exploring the client’s identity as a whole. Their sexuality and gender identity are part of that whole, but there are other facets that make us who we are.

    For a young person looking to start counseling, I would remind that that therapy is a human service. Sometimes you have to do a little “therapy shopping” to find a clinician who is right for you.

    Morgan creates watercolor painting, orange paint on white paper with abstract swirls LGBTQ Allyship for Clinicians

    As with any area of therapy, especially those which may not be a part of your lived experience, I think it is so important for clinicians to do research and reading on the communities they work with and to get involved with relevant organizations. It is a huge part of being a therapist and it is a part of being an advocate within therapy, as well as outside of it. There are many topics within the LGBTQ community that I am learning more about and research because I don’t have all the answers either. In my view, to be an affirmative therapist, you must put in this kind of work throughout your career to be effective and informed for your clients.

    Looking to the Future

    In terms of next steps in my career, I am looking forward to beginning practice as a fully registered art therapist. I plan to continue my work with the LGBTQ population and I look forward to working one-on-one with clients. In addition, I am excited to solidify my relationships with local schools, hospitals and community centers and serve as an advocate within these organizations. Advocacy is the center of my work, and I look forward to all opportunities to continue this important effort for my clients and community!

    Edited by Izzy López

    Ivy Tong Celebrates Creative Arts Therapies


    Ivy Tong stands in front of blue wall, holding VR headset and smiling to camera “Dance and movement are a full body vulnerability,” shares Ivy Tong, MA dance/movement therapy and counseling ’23. “As a DMT therapist, it is such a privilege to get to know my clients and learn their stories through this modality. To me, therapy is all about hearing someone’s story and then helping them to reshape their story from a strengths-based perspective.”


    Born in Beijing, China, Tong studied Chinese traditional dance as a child and has fostered a life-long love for the arts. During her undergrad years, Tong studied social work and considered a career in counseling. However, Tong discovered the field of creative arts therapies and considered the possibility of combining her passion for dance with her professional interest in therapy.

    “Because I am a dancer, I know how healing this modality can be,” Tong shares. “I know first-hand the way dance and movement transform my state of being, the way I’m feeling, my emotions and physical experience. Now, I want to use these skills and insights to help others.”


    Exterior image of Health Sciences Building, 11 story building with orange facade and windowsTong says she chose to come to Drexel because she was interested in pursuing research in the field of creative arts therapies. Now, she works as a research assistant in the Mind-Body & Movement Research for Whole-Person Health Lab, led by Minjung Shim, PhD, BC-DMT, an assistant research professor and board-certified dance/movement therapist. The mission of Shim’s lab is “to further the integration of mind-body medicine and creative arts-based interventions into the mainstream healthcare system by means of rigorous, evidence-based research and clinical application of this work.” The lab’s vision encompasses a drive to develop heightened interprofessional collaboration across academic disciplines as well as clinical and community interests.

    A table lined with VR headsets “The work we are doing in this lab is very cool,” Tong says. “We are currently conducting a feasibility study to see how enjoyable and doable older adults find virtual reality mindful movement programs. So far, we are getting great results.”

    As a part of her research work, Tong engages with VR technology in Shim’s lab to simulate experiences for study participants. Shim’s research lab makes use of the new Health Science Building and the dance/movement therapy research studio. “It’s a gorgeous space,” Tong comments.


    In addition to her role in Shim’s lab, Tong has explored several internship opportunities at Jefferson Hospital through her masters’ program. Starting in September 2022, Tong has run therapy groups for in-patient psychiatric units at Jefferson, as well as groups for all different units and floors throughout the hospital. This upcoming term, Tong plans to work the oncology and palliative care units, an experience which will inform her thesis about grief and caregivers.

    As Tong looks towards the future, she shares that she is hopeful about using dance and movement therapy as a method in her future practice. In the long term, Tong hopes to open a private practice that encompasses a variety of therapeutic approaches, including art therapy, movement therapy, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy and more. Tong is an ardent believer in the potential of creative arts therapies and its improved outcomes for clients.

    “Our body holds a lot of information,” Tong explains. “It holds onto our memories, stories and experiences – all of this lives in our somatic memory. So sometimes, being able to move with someone can open them up more so than traditional talk therapy. It can make possible entire conversations that might not have otherwise been accessible for that person before exploring creative arts therapies.”

    Written by Izzy López

    How to Undo Systemic Racism in Higher Education Faculty Hiring


    Veronica Carey, PhD, assistant dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (seated on the left) and Marybeth Gasman, PhD, author of Doing the Right Thing: How Colleges and Universities Can Undo Systemic Racism in Faculty Hiring (seated on the right) having a discussion about Gasman's book.On Thursday, January 12th assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion Veronica Carey, PhD, hosted Marybeth Gasman, PhD, author of Doing the Right Thing: How Colleges and Universities Can Undo Systemic Racism in Faculty Hiring. The 90-minute event welcomed more than 70 faculty, professional staff and students from across Drexel University. This frank discussion, held in the College of Nursing and Health Professions' new Health Sciences Building, focused on what CNHP can do to support the hiring and retention of faculty of color. Gasman, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair and a distinguished professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, noted, " the reason why hiring faculty of color is an issue at most academies is because excuses have been made for the hiring of white faculty who may not have been as qualified as candidates of color."

    In an interview format, Carey's first question, "why this book now?" Gasman responded, "I was angry enough to know academies should not continue like this." A historian by education, Gasman continued by sharing that she wanted to research how long this practice has been happening. Gasman stated that if an academy wants to do something it gets done. "My initial response to why this book now is also because academies do not want to hire faculty of color and I am tired of them stating we just can't find diverse faculty." She passionately answered Carey's follow-up questions — "why don't academies do more when they know the problem exists?", "what can leaders do to ensure equity in hiring?" and "how did you conduct research for this book?" Then, in and open Q&A, attendees asked Gasman to address concerns stemming from quality vs. pedigree and the excuses given for not doing the right thing.

    Veronica Carey, PhD, assistant dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (seated on the left) and Marybeth Gasman, PhD, author of Doing the Right Thing: How Colleges and Universities Can Undo Systemic Racism in Faculty Hiring (seated on the right) having a discussion about Gasman's book.

    Attendee Denise Way, DNP, an assistant clinical professor in Undergraduate Nursing, stated, "This was so wonderful to have an opportunity to be in a room where this topic was addressed. So proud to hear peers' comments and suggestions to correct this issue." Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion student members Alexis Robinson, Charlise Williams, and Seleena Jacob celebrated being at an event targeted to support diverse educational opportunities while they matriculate at CNHP.

    Written by Veronica Carey, PhD, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and associate clinical professor

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