What Are the Top Art Therapy Schools?

Art therapists use art to move clients past an emotional obstacle. Find out what the best art therapy schools have in common and learn about three of the top schools in this field of study. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Makes a Top Art Therapy School or Program?

In order to become an art therapist, you'll need to become licensed in the state in which you wish to work, which involves obtaining a minimum of a master's degree in a clinical counseling-related discipline. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) accredits art therapy programs. Some schools offer art therapy as a sub-discipline of counseling, while others maintain it as a program in and of itself. You'll want to look for a school that has an established art therapy program with wide varieties for experiential learning and faculty who are engaged in research and committed to their field.

What Are Some of the Top Schools for Art Therapy?

Drexel University

Drexel University was ranked number six for Up and Coming Schools in 2011 by US World News Report. It was also listed on the Princeton Review's list of Best Northeastern Colleges of 2011.

Drexel's Creative Arts Therapies Department offers both master's- and doctoral-level programs in which you can specialize in dance and movement therapy, art therapy or music therapy. Drexel's program is committed to diversity and community. You'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the form of supervised placement in various psychiatric, medical, and educational facilities. You can pursue the following degree programs:

  • Master of Arts in Creative Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Arts Therapies

Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a private, non-profit school enrolling approximately 6,000 students each year. This school ranked number four on US World News Report's list of Regional Universities (West) for 2012. The Princeton Review placed LMU on its list of Best Western Colleges, along with ranking it number six in schools with the happiest students in 2011.

The Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy administers a program leading to a Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy with a specialization in clinical art therapy. This program has been in existence since 1980 and has produced over 600 art therapists.

In addition to your coursework for the 2-year program, you'll complete a practicum consisting of supervised clinical experience. The department offers several community outreach programs, including the Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic, a program for children and families. You could also participate in a summer art therapy training program in Mexico.

New York University in New York City

U.S. World News Report ranked NYU number nine in social psychology graduate programs in 2009 and number 45 in fine arts graduate programs in 2012. It was one of the first schools to be accredited by the AATA in 1979. The art therapy program is administered through the Department of Art and Art Professions, part of NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The 49-credit hour Master of Arts in Art Therapy degree program is based on the psychoanalytic model while incorporating visual arts. You'll participate in an internship and scholarly research culminating in a thesis project. You'll also have the opportunity to become involved in ongoing projects, such as the 9/11 Arts project, founded to assist first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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