ECArTE Full Member


Tallinn: Tallinn University

Course Title: Bachelor of Arts Therapies

Specializations: Visual Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance Movement Therapy

Duration: Two years full-time, 120 ECTS


Entry Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree preferably in Arts Therapies, psychology, health or arts. Prerequisites are basic courses in health and psychology, art-related preparation and one-year basic training in corresponding specialization area of arts therapies, and experience of work with children, youth or adults.

Entrance examination:

  • an artistic examination (individual performance and group improvisation);
  • a written overview and/or a portfolio of candidate’s creative/artistic activity;
  • a written project of master’s thesis;
  • an individual interview.


Course Philosophy and Main Theoretical Approaches

The Estonian professional standard specifies creative arts therapist as a specialist of psychotherapeutic treatment and rehabilitation; specialization areas are art therapy, music therapy and dance movement therapy. The Arts Therapies master program has emphasis on systemic, resource- and solution-focused, and expressive-humanistic approaches and provides preparation for therapeutic intervention at different levels: diagnostic, psychotherapeutic, functional, palliative and recreational.

Creative arts therapists are working at health and rehabilitation service providers, in social care and educational institutions, and in private practice.


Course content

Arts therapies master program consists of theory and research subjects, clinical training, master’s thesis, and personal development.

The curriculum (120 ECTS) includes the following modules:

General subject (6 ECTS) interdisciplinary project, which allows students of different specialities to integrate their knowledge and skills in a shared research or development project.

Core subjects (34 ECTS) include

  • Scientific research (14 ECTS) includes qualitative and quantitative research methods, statistical data analysis and research seminars for preparation of master’s thesis.
  • Psychotherapeutic skills (4 ECTS) – resources and strengths oriented short therapy approach
  • Overview of application fields of creative arts therapies (4 ECTS)
  • Health subjects (electives, 12 ECTS): behavioural correlates of health, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, epidemiology, neuropsychological rehabilitation, creativity in relation to health.

Specialization Module (24 ECTS) can be chosen in visual art therapy, music therapy or dance movement therapy and includes principles, theories, application and research methods, client groups and development trends of the area of specialization; methods and techniques; experiential work.

Supervised clinical placement (20 ECTS) is carried out in the area of specialization (visual art therapy, music therapy, dance movement therapy) parallel to theoretical subjects. The specialist placements are divided into four parts and cover the whole two-year study programme. The focus of the placement follows the order and specifics of the theoretical subjects taught. During the first term, the emphasis is on the therapeutic relationship as the prerequisite and major factor of therapy; a half of the placement is the observation (participatory observation) of therapy sessions. The second-term placement focuses on the evidence base of intervention. The third-term focus is on the skills of assessing and analysing therapy. The fourth term focuses on the integration of knowledge and practical experiences and includes conducting a therapy session with a client followed by session analysis and discussion with-in the supervision group.

Specialist English language (6 ECTS) where students are divided into study groups based on their linguistic proficiency.

Open electives (6 ECTS) create opportunities for the realisation of individual needs of development and intellectual interest.

Master’s thesis (24 ECTS): creates opportunities for an in-depth exploration and independent research of certain topical issues related to the specialization area of arts therapies.

Qualification Awarded: Master of Health Science (Arts Therapies)

Language: All modules are taught in the Estonian language, with the exception of those delivered by guest lecturers from abroad.

Student Exchange Opportunities

Tallinn University’s arts therapies master programme is currently able to offer teacher exchange. We are working towards finding suitable student exchange opportunities.

Current research and research interests in arts therapies:

  • Psycho-physiological effect of vibroacoustic therapy (VAT);
  • Application of art therapy for treatment of fibromyalgia;
  • Art therapy with persons with suicidal behaviour;
  • Application of creative arts therapies with older adults;
  • Relationship between creative activities, creativity, and wellbeing; application of arts therapies in school.


Internationally distributed scientific publications:

Ratnik, M., & Rüütel, E. (2017). School factors affecting Estonian students`s subjective well-being at the basic school. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 75(6), 599−611.

Rüütel, E., Vinkel, I., & Eelmäe, P. (2017). The effect of short-term vibroacoustic treatment on spasticity and perceived health condition of patients with spinal cord and brain injuries. Music and Medicine, Special Issue: Vibroacoustic Therapy: Research and Clinical Practice, 9(3), 202-208.

Heinla, E. (2016). Estonian teachers' creative teaching  methods: Supporting mini-c creativity in the classroom. In: I. Briška, D. Kaleja-Gasparovica (Ed.). Creativity is Everywher. Radošums mums visapkart (pp. 14−17). SIA "Izdevnieciba RaKa“ Riga: SIA "Izdevniecib RaKa".

Heinla, E. (2014). Estonian Students’ Creative Thinking in Connection to Their Creative Self-Efficacy at University and Self-Esteem. In: E. Xeni, R. Fisher, L. Howard, K. Monteith (Eds.), Creativity in Education Research and Practice (pp. 67−74). Inter-Disciplinary Press, Priory House, 149B Wroslyn Road, Freeland.

Heinla, E., Nemeržitski, S. (2014). Students' perceptions regarding expression of creativity in post-Soviet Estonian society. The International Journal of Creativity and Human Development, 1-12.

Nemeržitski, S., Loogma, K., Heinla, E., Eisenschmidt, E. (2013). Constructing model of teachers' innovative behaviour in school environment. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 19(4), 398−418. 1.1.

Zajedova, I., & Rüütel, E. (2014). Folk dance practice and transmission of the folk dance tradition by expatriate Estonians in Sweden and Germany. Český lid – Etnologický časopis 101, 57-76.

Rüütel, E., Zajedova, I., & Arraste, A. (2013). Motivational underpinnings of Estonian folk dance practices among the Estonian diaspora over time. Folklore. Electronic Journal of Folklore, 54, 97-118.

Rüütel, E. (2013). Solution-focused art therapy in prevention and treatment of eating disorders. In Edite Krevica, Kristine Martinsone (Ed.), Arts therapies for different client/patient groups (pp.67-83). Riga: Riga Stradins University.

Nemeržitski, S., & Heinla, E. (2012). Relationship between arts-related hobbies, creative activities and creative thinking among school students, and its relation to wellbeing factors that support creativity. CFMAE: The Changing Face of Music and Art Education, 4(1), 81-96.

Sein-Garcia, M., Rüütel, E., Scotti, V., Hentinen, H., Tartes-Babkina, H., & Tuomela O. (Eds.), Promoting natural materials (pp. 150 – 154). Turku, Finland: Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Sein-Garcia, M., Vahtrapuu, A., Rüütel, E., Tartes-Babkina, H., Scotti, V., Hentinen, H., & Ratnik, M. (2012). Materials in art therapy. Educational film. Tallinn: Tallinn University.

Rüütel, E. (2012). Solution–focused approach in art psychotherapy. In P.-M. Hautala & E. Honkanen (Eds.), Kuva kantaa - kuvataideterapia kasvatuksen, opetuksen, hoidon ja kuntoutuksen tukena (pp. 181-185). Pori, Finland: Satakunnan Ammattikorkeakoulu.

Gramakovski, K.-L., & Rüütel, E. (2011). Relationship between the first grade students’ adjustment to school and creativity. In J. Mikk, P. Luik, & M. Veisson (Eds.), Preschool and Primary Education (pp. 77-90). Estonian Studies in Education, Volume 3. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: P. Lang.

Mõistlik, M., & Rüütel, E. (2011). Therapeutic outcomes from music lessons: what supports and influences pupils? The Changing Face of Music and Art Education, 3, 45-58.

Rüütel, E., & Vinkel, I. (2011). Vibro-acoustic therapy – research at Tallinn University.  In M. Prstačić (Ed.), Umjetnost i znanost u razvoju životnog potencijala. Art and science in life potential development (pp 42-44). Zagreb, Croatia: Croation Psychosocial Oncology Association; Croatian Association for Sophrology, Creative Therapies and Arts-Expressive Therapies; Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Zagreb.

Research Collaboration:

Department of Creative Arts Therapies of Tallinn University is interested in research collaboration with members of ECArTE with particular interests in: clinical application of arts therapies and application of arts therapies at school.

Professional Associations:

Estonian Society of Creative Arts Therapies:,

Estonian Society of Music Therapy:

Estonian Society of Psychodrama:


Professional Body or Ministry:

The course is approved by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and validated by the Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency (EKKA) in 2014 and in 2017.


Code of Ethics:

Code of ethics of Estonian Society of Creative Arts Therapies,


Contact details:

Contact person: Eha Rüütel, PhD

Professor of Creative Arts Therapies

School of Natural Sciences and Health, Tallinn University


Postal address: Räägu 49, Tallinn 11311, Estonia

Telephone number: +372 56475876

University website:

Email address: