ECArTE Full Member


Umeå: Umeå University


Course Title: Masters Degree in Art Therapy

Duration: Two years, part-time

Entry Requirements:

In addition to the general entry requirements for higher education, the following is required for admission to this course: a bachelor degree or equivalent within health care, social work or special needs education. The applicant must also have completed their own art therapy and/or psychotherapy, have at least three years’ professional experience; and show evidence of a commitment to visual art practice.


Course Philosophy and Main Theoretical Approaches:

The Art Therapy programme aims to enable graduates to practise art therapy in the context of a therapeutic relationship. It provides a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of art therapy – health promotion, therapy and rehabilitation – in different settings. The course includes theoretical studies, experiential and studio practice, clinical and professional practice.

The theoretical orientation is eclectic, and a variety of approaches to art therapy are critically reviewed and evaluated. Aspects of gender, class and ethnicity are treated in relation to the course’s content and the student’s area of study. Working with one’s own art expression constitutes a large part of the learning.


Course content:

During the first year the role of the image in society and theories of art history relevant for art therapy are covered. Fundamental principles for psychotherapy and other therapeutic/pedagogical methods of working are studied as well as humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and group approaches to art therapy.

The second year includes the advanced study of art therapy, its different research traditions and scientific methods. The course includes an application of art therapy theory and methods in supervised art therapy work with clients, as well as planning, carrying out and defending an independent degree project (paper) at an advanced level.

The course is conducted with a modified pace of study as distance education with instruction periods at the place of study. The studies use a problem-oriented method of working with independent studies at home.


Qualification Awarded:

Degree of master of medical science (one year)

Main field of study: art therapy (60 ECTS)

Language: All modules are taught in Swedish


Student Exchange Opportunities:

Umeå University is currently not able to offer any student exchange or clinical placement opportunities with ECArTE member universities.


Current Research:

Peer reviewed internationally distributed scientific publications in arts therapies:

Egberg Thyme, K., Sundin, E., Stahlberg,G., Lindstrom, B., Eklof, H and Wiberg, B. (2007). The outcome of short-term psychodynamic art therapy compared to short-term psychodynamic verbal therapy for depressed women. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Vol.21, No. 3, 250–264

Egberg Thyme, K., Sundin, E. C. Wiberg, B., Öster, I., Åström, S., Lindh, J. (2009).  Individual brief art therapy can be helpful for women with breast cancer. A randomised controlled clinical study. Palliative and supportive Care. 7, 87–95.

Öster, I., Svensk, A-C., Magnusson, E., Thyme, K., Sjödin, M., Åström, S., and Lindh, J. (2006). Art therapy improves coping resources: A randomized, controlled study among women with breast cancer. Palliative and Supportive Care, 2006, 4, 57–64.

Öster, I., Magnusson, E., Egberg Thyme, K., Lindh, J., and Åström, S. (2007). Art therapy for women with breast cancer: the therapeutic consequences of boundary strengthening. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 34, 277-288.

Öster I., Åström, S., Lindh, J., and Magnusson, E., Women with breast cancer and gendered limits and boundaries: Art therapy as ´safe space´ for enhancing alternative subject positions. The Arts in Psychotherapy 36, 29–38.

Skåréus, E. Digital Mirrors – Conceptions of the Teacher Role and Gender in Teacher Students’ Pictures. Doctoral Dissertation. Umea University

Svensk, A-C., Öster, I., Egberg Thyme, K., Magnusson, E., Sjödin, M., Eisemann, M., Åström, S. & Lindh, J. (2009). Art therapy improves experienced quality of life among women undergoing treatment for breast cancer: a randomized controlled study. European Journal of Cancer Care, 18, 1, 69-77.

Ongoing research projects in arts therapies:

Egberg Thyme, K. and Öster, I. Follow up-studies of breast cancer and depression studies.

Professional Association:

Sveriges Riksförbund för Bildterapeuter (SRBt) - Swedish National Association for Art Therapists

Email address: 

Professional Body or Ministry:

Students are not obliged to register with the professional association in order to practise as an arts therapist, but it is recommended.

The course is approved by SRBt - Swedish National Association for Art Therapists

Code of Ethics:

Code of ethics of SRBt - Swedish National Association for Art Therapists


Contact details:

Contact person: Birgitta Englund

Programme leader, course co-ordinator, senior lecturer.


Postal address: Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå University, SE-903 36 Umeå, Sweden

Telephone number: ++46 90 786 9898

University website:

Art Therapy Program:

Email address: