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Master of Arts in Dance and Movement Therapy 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 schools, early intervention programs, community mental health, inpatient psychiatric, medical, social service, and wellness settings. Students also pioneer new frontiers in therapy application.

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.

Students learn to apply the Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) to the evaluation of individual and group functioning and to the design of therapy interventions. The program also recognizes the importance of the therapist's function on a treatment team and fosters students' abilities to communicate valuable knowledge that may not be available to the team through strictly verbal treatment approaches.

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 multiculturally diverse populations.
  • Introduction to recent developments in neuroscience as relevant to the mind-body discipline of dance/movement therapy.
  • Dance/movement therapy research and capstone 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 elective 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.

February 1, 2021

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 relationsip.

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).

    News & Events

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A Day On, Not a Day Off


    We will honor, on January 18, 2021, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This holiday has been a national day of service—a “day on, not a day off”—to improve our communities for the past 26 years.

    We still feel the weight of how much more there is to be done even 52 years after Dr. King's death. Every day for CNHP is a “day on” because we are passionate about social justice and the minimizations of health disparities and health inequities. CNHP is committed to our students, alumni, faculty and professional staff and have long honored this day through service.

    Image with a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and a quote: Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. Dr. King wrote about race relations in a way that was mutually beneficial, writing from the “Letter from Birmingham Jail;” In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.

    His words are especially relevant today: “I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. In summary there is never the wrong time to do the right thing and to grow from our mistakes."

    These tools, Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change, shared by the King Center resonate with me deeply as a social change agent.

    1. Information gathering.
    2. Education.
    3. Personal commitment.
    4. Negotiation.
    5. Direct action.
    6. Reconciliation.

    These tenets are to be reflected in our mission within diversity, equity and inclusion, the course learning objectives and our actions as students, alumni, faculty, professional staff and partners. I must add for a point of reflection: Own your own stuff so that change can occur; I know I do!

    Appreciate you as social change agents,

    Veronica Carey, PhD
    Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Drexel Academic Tower Updates


    December 9, 2020

    When the announcement about a new home for the College of Nursing and Health Professions was made in May 2019, no one could have imagined that construction would be delayed by a global pandemic. It was expected that groundbreaking would be in spring 2020 with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022. Beginning in late July, it is still the hope to maintain the same timeline.

    Google Earth screenshot of the location of the Drexel Academic Tower

    With CNHP being the first occupants of the new facility, some of the College of Medicine’s administrative functions, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and its first- and second-year medical program will join the College in phases. President Fry, in a message to the University in late 2019, said “at the new academic building, many of Drexel’s health-related programs will be under one roof, enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary education in a facility that affords health sciences students, faculty and professional staff the best possible environment for continued development and growth.”

    Art Therapy Graduate Student Conducts an Online Mindful-Art Session for Healthcare Professionals


    Emily Wexler sitting outside drawing a mandalaEmily Wexler, a graduate student at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, is working toward a master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling. After taking Michele Rattigan’s Mindfulness and Clinical Practice course, she discovered what she learned from Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, an associate clinical professor in Creative Arts Therapies, she could apply to help a variety of health professionals with stress.

    Reflecting on the internship Wexler had in pediatric medicine at Cooper Hospital, she witnessed providers working long hours without taking a break or tending to themselves. “I started to notice the different ways that people could be affected when we don't take that break,” Wexler remarked. Her original plan was to work with her team at Cooper then conduct a one-time mindful art experience in the art studio in Three Parkway with physician assistant students. “I'd have all the materials and would be able to do something a little more complex with watercolors and markers,” said Wexler. She also wanted to make it an experience that physician assistant students could continue at home. “Not all students will have watercolors at home, so thinking about what materials people have at home, I landed on pencil or pen and paper,” she shared. Those are pretty much the simplest art materials and most people will have that readily available. Then COVID-19 happened.

    Michele Rattigan painting at a table

    Considering healthcare professionals in the current highly stressful climate and her understanding of mindful art-creating, Wexler, with some guidance from Rattigan, developed an online version of her original idea and invited those working in hospitals or directly or indirectly with COVID patients and their families to participate.<

    It’s very common, suggested Rattigan, for healthcare workers to push their own personal wellness to the back burner. “I think when people fall into a caretaking role, a couple of different things happen. Because it’s what we’re taught, we put our own values, judgments and biases aside to be fully present for another human being,” she asserted. The other part, speaking as a psychotherapist and a counselor, Rattigan said that “it's not about us,” despite bringing themselves into that relationship to help other people. “It's really important for a person to truly focus on their own health journey. We must avoid exploiting clients and bringing in our own ‘isms’ and stuff into the care process,” Rattigan added. Working through the day focused on each person helps protect that patient because the caregiver can separate themselves from the patient and work objectively. Rattigan contends that healthcare professionals can never be 100 percent objective and “if we don't tend to the parts of ourselves that get wounded or vicariously traumatized and push it somewhere else, it will build up to the point where it's affecting many parts of our lives—behavior, work, sleep patterns, relationships, lack of nutrition or overeating, etc.” That is the point at which it's okay to say “I need to take a step back and breathe. I need to fill that need for myself.” In other words, if we all draw from our wells of compassion—keep giving and giving to others—and never replenish it for ourselves, there's nothing left for us to give and there's nothing left for ourselves. “And that's the point of complete, utter burnout,” Rattigan stated.

    A black outline of a circle on a white backgroundWith the elevated level of stress healthcare workers typically experience turned up even higher by COVID-19 and its open-endedness, Wexler directed her knowledge of mindful art-making in developing a way for them to take a pause—that much needed breath. In April, 40 doctors, nurses, physician assistants and mental health providers Zoomed in for a one-hour mindful art session. Wexler led the group through a mindfulness check-in to help everyone focus on the present moment before she described what would happen during the rest of the session. Beginning with an explanation of a self-compassion mantra, she reminded participants why it’s important to extend the same compassion given to others to ourselves then asked them to create their own mantra. “It should include a statement of self-compassion, a statement of shared human suffering, one statement of self-kindness and your intention,” Wexler shared. “An example could be: ‘I am not perfect. Nobody else is perfect. It is okay to make mistakes. I will continue to try my best and to be my best.’” She instructed them to write it down before proceeding toward the next part—creating a self-compassion mandala using the template she provided, and their own materials like pens, pencils and markers.

    The mandala was specifically chosen for this activity because they are done in the circular form to create balance, wholeness and a sense of completion. “Circles are containers in which one can put all their feelings of overwhelm and stress to alleviate that pressure,” Wexler offered. The group took 30 minutes to create their pieces in whatever way felt right with directions to notice and observe rather than judge. Rattigan and Wexler provided support with Rattigan suggesting doodling if anyone was stuck. “Doodling takes that stress out of it. If it’s a doodle, it doesn't have to look like anything. See what comes of it,” Rattigan contributed.

    An added benefit of this online platform for those who might feel nervous about making art in front of others is that no one can see what they’re doing. Wexler commented that if someone is making something and hates it, only they see it. “They don't have to stress about it. They don’t know the other participants or what they are thinking. This setting helps, as does encouraging people to understand that this is their art,” Wexler said.

    After the allotted time, participants were invited to share about the experience, what they learned and how it felt to do it. A theme emerged—seldom did they take a pause during their day or do something for themselves that could replenish their wells of compassion. They learned how simple it is to do a very quick mindful check-in and how effective making art can be to connect with that present moment and let go of what they’d been doing.

    In this time of healthcare workers being pushed to their limits, unpredictability of this pandemic and their worry about their families, people are struggling. This tool provides people an opportunity to stop, even briefly, and take a few minutes for themselves to recharge with the added bonus that it can be done anywhere.

    Written by Roberta S. Perry


    The Mindful Check-in Wexler did is the 5,4,3,2,1 technique shown below.

    Settle into your chair, feeling the ground under your feet, resting your arms
    on your lap or wherever they feel comfortable.

    Bring your attention to the present moment and focus on the space around you, then NOTICE:

    5 things you can see

    4 things you can feel

    3 things you can hear

    2 things you can smell

    1 thing you can taste

    Take three more deep breaths.

    Wexler shared a video she made for school children on how to make a mindfulness jar. It’s a fun activity kids can do at home and use regularly to settle.

    Hand-drawn mandala
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