Master of Arts in Art Therapy

  • Art Therapy student Rafael Lopez, Jr. ’13

  • Rebecca Arnold, director of the M.A. in Art Therapy

This unique studio-based M.A. in Art Therapy program—the first of its kind in the Lehigh Valley—will prime you for a career that incorporates your passion for art with your compassion for people.

Designed to meet the Educational Standards of the American Art Therapy Association, our program will educate you on theory and techniques through art media that promote emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth. The Cedar Crest College M.A. in Art Therapy is committed to an arts-based learning process that will help you:

  • Integrate theories of art therapy and psychology within a studio model of treatment.
  • Develop essential art therapy skills and techniques that can be utilized within a variety of settings.
  • Learn independently, think critically, and develop your personal vision and goals as an art therapist.
  • Become part of a learning community that provides foundations for ongoing professional relationships.

Program Highlights

  • ACCELERATED, online, hybrid, evening/weekend, and daytime courses
  • CURRICULUM that aligns with the guidelines of the American Art Therapy Association and fulfills current Art Therapy Credentials Board Registration (ATR) and Certification (BC) guidelines
  • CREDENTIALED faculty who are practicing in the field. Courses are taught by registered and board-certified art therapists, psychology professionals, and practicing studio artists.
  • ART STUDIO FACILITIES in book arts, ceramics, illustration, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, papermaking, printed image, and sculpture. A new state-of-the-art studio for art therapy.

What You Can Do with a Master in Art Therapy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected the number of art therapists to rise 15 percent from 2008-18 to keep up with demand. Professional art therapists who are currently working in the Lehigh Valley/Philadelphia area are employed in the following settings*:

  • in-patient mental health units
  • residential treatment programs
  • children’s medical hospitals
  • state psychiatric hospitals
  • out-patient mental health programs
  • children’s mental health programs
  • in-patient substance abuse treatment programs
  • assisted living facilities
  • recovery day programs
  • forensic facilities
  • medical rehabilitation centers
  • veterans administration
  • alternative and public school settings
  • therapeutic after-school programs

*Information from The Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association’s 2011 Bi-Annual Salary Survey, (2012) p. 8.


Cedar Crest offers a vibrant art program in the Lehigh Valley, in terms of a strong commitment from the faculty and a strong presence of materials and studio space to support a wide array of media. Our studio space includes:

  • A large ceramics studio with outdoor kilns
  • A painting studio with a full-length skylight for natural, indirect light
  • A drawing and design studio with model and still-life stands
  • A large sculpture studio and shop
  • Two complete metalsmithing facilities with independent work stations and foundry capabilities
  • A well-equipped printmaking studio with a large Charles Brand press for monotype and intaglio work, as well as bookbinding and book arts facilities
  • Papermaking studio equipped with a Hollander Beater, hydraulic press and Reina drying box

New for fall 2013!  The Art Therapy program at Cedar Crest will have a new state-of-the-art studio for the 2013-14 academic year. This studio will provide art therapy students with a single area in which they can incorporate all of their art therapy interests, practice and experiment with an array of art materials including drawing, painting, papermaking, ceramics, and more!

Cedar Crest College art student, Lauren Huebner, helps residents do their daily art project at Hidden Meadows on the Ridge. Photo: Montgomery Media

Fieldwork/Site Placement

Art therapy graduate students will experience a minimum of 800 hours of practical, hands-on field experience to develop the clinical skills they will need to be successful professionals. Site placements will provide opportunities for students to observe and practice art therapy techniques while under the supervision of a credentialed art therapist working with individuals, groups and families in an array of therapeutic settings.

2 Year Master Program

The Cedar Crest College M.A. in Art Therapy program is open to all of those who complete accredited undergraduate art therapy programs or earn a bachelor’s degree in associated majors such as psychology, social work, studio art or education. Please refer to the Admission Requirements for an explanation of the undergraduate coursework necessary. Minor deficiencies in psychology or studio coursework can be made up after acceptance into the graduate art therapy program.

Sample Full Time Course Sequence

First Year

ATP 520 History and Theory of Art Therapy
ATP 534 Dynamics of Psychology
ATP 539 The Studio as a Therapeutic Environment
ART 535 Advanced Problems (2D Studio)

ATP 601 Fieldwork/Group Supervision
ATP 501 Research for the Art Therapist
ATP 552 Group Process in Art Therapy
ART 536 Advanced Problems (3D Studio)

ATP 602 Fieldwork/Group Supervision
ATP 549 Summer Intensive – Cultural Perspectives

Second Year

ATP 603 Fieldwork/Group Supervision
ATP 559 Artistic Development across the Lifespan
ATP 575 Theories of Assessment in Art Therapy
ART 537 Advanced Problems (Elective)

ATP 604 Fieldwork/Group Supervision
ATP 505 Systems of Psychotherapy
ATP 555 Professional Ethics for Art Therapists
ATP 572 Art Therapy in the Treatment of Addictions
ATP 620 Culminating Project: Case Study

ATP 533 Family Art Therapy
ATP 547 Summer Intensive: Investigations in the Treatment of Trauma

Post-Graduate M.A. in Art Therapy

This program is intended for professionals who already hold an M.A. in a closely related field and who are interested in pursuing a career in art therapy. This option provides a minimum of 30-credits in art therapy coursework for the M.A. in Art Therapy degree which includes the courses necessary to fulfill the education requirements for registration as an Art Therapist (Option B of the ATR application). Graduates will need an additional 2,000 hours of supervised clinical work in art therapy to qualify. Refer to for further information.

Course Requirements

Course Descriptions


Admission Requirements

Applications are accepted year-round. Decisions are made on applications that are received and complete according to the following schedule:

Semester admission deadline for completed application
Preferred Application Date (Fall): March 1
Final Application Date (Fall): June 1
Final Application Date (Spring): November 1
General Requirements
  • A completed application (on paper or online).
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Official undergraduate transcripts.
  • The following pre-requisites:
    1. Studio coursework at a minimum of eighteen (18) credits of study in studio art which demonstrates proficiency and disciplined commitment in art making. (Equivalency of non-academic studio art experience or art therapy based coursework may be substituted for academic studio coursework and are subject to approval from the director of the art therapy program.)
    2. Psychology coursework at a minimum of twelve (12) credits including developmental psychology and abnormal psychology with at least a C in each.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE test score (optional)
  • A 500-750 word personal essay describing the focus of your art making and how you came to choose art therapy as the focus of your graduate level education. Also include your future goals as a professional art therapist and how you feel the Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program at Cedar Crest College will help you succeed in these goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess your qualifications and potential for graduate study (such as former/current professors or employers).
  • A current résumé (include a detailed summary of any human service experience or relevant volunteer or employment experience.)
  • Personal interview
Portfolio Requirements
  • 12-16 pieces digitally photographed or scanned, good quality artwork should be submitted as a PDF or JPG.
  • The portfolio should include several examples of art work in each of the following three categories: painting, human figure drawing, and clay work and should demonstrate personal expression as well as technical skills in a range of media and subject matter (i.e. include personal art work not just class assignments).
  • Figurative work in two and three dimensional media should be included. While one artistic style will not be favored over another, evidence of representational work is expected to be able to assess the student’s ability to assist clients should the occasion arise during field experiences and within professional treatment.

Transfer Policy

Up to 12 graduate transfer credits (from previous master’s degrees) may be requested at the time of application for admission and are subject to approval at that time.

» Apply now for a Master of Arts in Art Therapy