ECArTE Full Member


Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire


Course Title:  MA in Art Therapy

Duration:  Two years full-time and three years part-time

Entry Requirements:

Academic requirements:

• A degree in Art and Design i.e fine art, design, film etc.


• special entry; criteria for candidates with a degree in another subject or non-graduates who hold extensive work experience.

Relevant work requirement:

All candidates must have one year’s relevant work experience ie. approx. 1,500-1,000 hours of work with emotionally vulnerable people gained in a mental health, special education, social, community or secure setting with adults or children. General teaching experience alone is not deemed adequate for direct entry on to the MA Art Therapy.


Candidates need to be mature, emotionally robust and have the potential to think psychologically about themselves and others.

All candidates must submit:

• a 500 word essay referenced using the Harvard system

• an art portfolio that demonstrates the candidates identity as an artist and an ability to engage with art making as a means of feeling and meaning

•  two references, one academic, one from an employer

• international candidates: IELTS 6.5.


Course Philosophy and Main Theoretical Approaches:

The MA Art Therapy teaches a psychodynamic model of therapy.  This means the significance of emotion and feeling in the therapeutic relationship and in art is central to the learning experience.  A primary concept of a psychodynamic way of working is the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious mind; the programme considers how this becomes expressed through the process of art-making, both clinically and theoretically.  Students are strongly encouraged to continue to develop their artistic identity in relationship to unconscious processes during the training.

Situated within the School of Creative Arts, this programme places emphasis on the visual practice of art-making in the context of a psychotherapeutic relationship with a wide range of clients and placement settings.  The learning experience explores the dialogue between art therapy and other more discursive art forms and image-making processes on a theoretical, practical and philosophical level. Alongside this, students benefit from the wider postgraduate research environment and high quality art & design workshop spaces such as print-making, ceramics and digital studios.

Clinical competence is fostered through clinical placements, supervision, workshops, seminars, and lectures. Research skills are developed with a particular focus in at least two pieces of written work.

The University has excellent online and web-based resources in regard to art therapy literature and other information sources.


Course Content:

The programme’s aim is to train art therapists for employment with vulnerable people in the public sector, offering a broad theoretical foundation in the key concepts of art therapy theory and research in relation to psychodynamic principles. This includes theoretical and practical knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to a range of client groups and settings.

A total of 240 credits delivered across 8 modules. The curriculum explores theoretical areas related to psychodynamic principles that inform the art therapeutic relationship. The modules consist of Art Therapy Theory and Research, Clinical Placement and Supervision and Experiential Art Therapy Training. The programme aims to provide an integrated learning experience through lectures, seminars, experiential workshops and trainings groups, clinical placements and supervision. Experiential learning is regarded as a pivotal experience with particular emphasis on studio practice where students can make and reflect on their own artistic process in relationship to therapeutic work and contemporary or modern art.

The University has long established links with clinical placements situated within health, voluntary and educational settings with a wide range of clients.  Research methods that pertain to contemporary art therapy practice, and particularly the culture of evidence- based practice, are included in the theoretical and research modules. Insights into current art therapy research and health care agendas are given priority.

The programme takes a pragmatic view on students’ professional development and future employment. Emphasis is placed on job-seeking and entrepreneurship, providing skills and knowledge for professional practice.

Programme staff are experts in the field with extensive experience of art therapy clinical practice, academic and research.  The School also offers a range of pre- and post-qualification opportunities such as an Arts Therapy Foundation Certificate, Introductory and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), short courses and research opportunities up to PhD.


Qualification Awarded: MA Art Therapy

Language: All modules are taught in English                       


Student Exchange Opportunities:

The University is able to offer student exchange opportunities with ECArTE member universities in line with the Erasmus programme.

The University is currently unable to offer a clinical placement opportunity for ECArTE member students.


Current Research:

Please list some key publications and ongoing research projects in arts therapies, or closely related areas, at your University/arts therapies programme.

None submitted


Peer reviewed internationally distributed scientific publications in arts therapies:

The International Journal of Art Therapy; Inscape


ii) Ongoing research projects in arts therapies:

Art therapy and chidren; the effectiveness of practice.


Research Collaboration:

The University is interested in research collaboration with ECArTE Members with particular interest in the following areas:

• assessment in art therapy

• working with difference

• art therapy and contemporary art practice

Professional Association:

The British Association of Art Therapists

The Health and Care Professions Council

Professional Body or Ministry:

In order to practice as an arts therapist, are students on the programme obliged to register with The Health and Care Professions Council.

Code of Ethics:

The British Association of Art Therapists

The Health and Care Professions Council


Contact details:

Contact person: Philippa K. S. Brown,

Programme Leader MA Art Therapy and Professional Lead Arts Therapies


Postal address:

University of Hertfordshire

School of Creative Arts

Hatfield AL10 9AB


Telephone number: 01707285339

University website:

Email address: