Information Sessions

Register today to attend an info session and learn more about our program. All information sessions are held both online and in-person.

Information Session: MA in Art Therapy

Application Questions

Is the program more clinical or artistic based?

We pride ourselves in providing a balance in our training with strengths in both clinical work and art work. Our coursework is very stringent academically in order to provide you the best training. We work collaboratively with our internship sites and supervisors to provide cohesive and comprehensive clinical training. Our training also includes work in your second year in the GW Art Therapy Clinic with community clients. Sessions are videotaped and examined by the student and their small case consultation group. Additionally, art experientials are an integrative aspect of almost every class and students are given the opportunity to display their artwork in two exhibits in the GW Art Therapy Gallery. Graduates see this balance as a strength of the GW Program.

Can I start the program in the Spring or Summer semesters?

No, our program only starts in the Fall; this is due to the sequence of coursework and internship requirements.

Can I do the program online?

No, due to the curriculum of the program all classes are on campus.   Our approach is very hands-on, student focused; therefore, our coursework is done in person.  The only option we have for online is a 3 credit course on Survey of Art Therapy.

Can I do the program part time?

Yes, we recognize that some students, due to financial or family reasons, need to attend part-time. However, additional advising is suggested as we tailor each approach to individual situations.  

Is this program feasible for a person who works full-time?

Yes, however, it would take at least three years to complete and you would need a flexible work schedule during your second and third year in order to take all the required coursework as some are offered during traditional work hours.

How are internship sites determined?

The Clinical Placement Coordinator will contact you with the link to the online information site. Each student then requests their top three choices in collaboration with the CPC as some sites have limited internship positions available and/or require a certain level of training in the Program first (i.e., 2nd year students only). After being given contact information by the CPC, each student contacts the site and sets up and interview. We approach our internships similarly to obtaining a job—the site chooses the intern and the intern chooses the site. Second year students are given seniority in choosing their sites.

Can we set up our own internship sites?

Yes. We love when are students are proactive and bring us internship sites. However, you must work with the Clinical Placement Coordinator to determine the suitability and create an agreement with the university.

Do all students get to attend the summer study abroad?

Our unique summer abroad program is offered to every GW Art Therapy student as long as the student has maintained a 3.0 and is in “Good Standing” academically, clinically, and professionally. The credits count towards the required coursework and internship hours and there is an additional cost to cover the expenses of the trip.

Can I sit in on a class or observe an art therapy session?

Unfortunately, due to confidentiality this is not a possibility especially with respect to a client session. However, it is also applicable in the academic setting as art experientials can be a part of each class and our students create their art based on their own personal experiences (essentially they are doing the art therapy on themselves). This artwork is then presented in their class to their small cohort of classmates who maintain confidentiality.

How much is tuition?

Tuition information can be found here.

What is the process to be a licensed Art Therapist and how does the Program prepare me?

There are only some states that provide licensure in Art Therapy (see AATA website for details). Currently our students seek licensure in counseling and/or art therapy dependent upon the state. We provide the coursework, internship hours, and supervision required for licensure. Upon graduation a student must then complete between 1000-4000 paid and supervised hours of work in order to then apply to sit for the licensure exam. Each state’s requirements are different and can change and it is important to stay informed of the requirements for any state you may be interested in working in.

Program Questions

What can I do to prepare myself to apply for the Art Therapy Program?

  • Make sure that all of your prerequisite courses are completed and you earned a “B” or above in the class.
  • Create a portfolio that shows your expertise in drawing, painting, and figurative clay, and any other modalities you use (i.e., photography, design, textiles, printmaking, etc.), and portrays that you use art for your own means of expression (not just coursework assignments).
  • Become knowledgeable about art therapy through reading books and articles and/or speaking with art therapists in the field. Show us you have done your homework.
  • Volunteer with a local organization, not necessarily art therapy, to show us that you have experience and the desire to work with people.
  • Take part in your own personal therapy, ideally art therapy, to focus on self-awareness, resolve personal issues, and to get a different viewpoint of what art therapy is like.

Can I still apply if I am missing pre-requisites?

Yes, you can as applications are due the beginning of January and you would have Spring and Summer semester to complete them. However, you should let us know your plans for completion in your Statement of Purpose. If you are accepted into the program all pre-requisite course should be completed by the start of the Fall semester.  You must earn a grade of “B” or above in each course in order for the course to be approved.

I have not done figurative clay but I have done other types of sculpture work, does that count?

Possibly—we require that each student have a foundational knowledge in figurative claywork (i.e., are able to build a figure out of clay). This requirement is based on working with clients and being able to guide them in creating a figure that doesn’t fall apart. Therefore, all sculpture work is important, but you must have this foundational knowledge as well and be able to show your skills in your portfolio.

Does the course name on my transcript have to be the same as the names of the pre-requisites?

No, as long as the course includes the overall topic and you can prove the content through a course description or syllabus, the names do not have to be exactly the same. Some examples include: Human Development and Child Development; Abnormal Psychology and Psychopathology.

What does the interview process involve?

Your application is reviewed by three people from the Program and if chosen, invitations for interviews, which occur in late February and March, are sent out. The interview is a full day and consists of a group interview where you will interact with all of the full-time faculty and meet students from both 1st and 2nd years, an information and Q&A session, lunch with current students, and an individual interview with a faculty and student member.

Are interviews in person or can they be on-line?

It is ideal to attend the in-person interview as you will have an opportunity to visit the campus, meet faculty and students, and interact with other interviewees who may become classmates. Though we prefer the interview to be in person we understand that applicants cannot always make it to the DC area, in those cases we would ask for a video presentation and Skype interview.

Art Therapy Questions

What is Art Therapy?

**"Art Therapy is a human service profession which offers an opportunity to explore personal problems and potentials through verbal and nonverbal expression and to develop physical, emotional and/or learning skills through therapeutic art experiences. Assessment and therapy through art recognizes that the art process, forms, content, and associations are reflections of an individual’s development, abilities, personality, interests and concerns. Art is used as a form of communication or symbolic language, giving external form to internal imagery. The use of art as therapy implies that the natural creative process can be a means of reconciling emotional conflicts and of fostering self-awareness and personal growth. Therefore, anyone can be a candidate for art therapy. Artistic ability is not required."

What is the history of Art Therapy?

**"Although visual expressions have been basic to humanity throughout history, art therapy did not emerge as a distinct profession until the 1930's. At the beginning of the 20th Century, psychiatrists became interested in the art work done by patients, and studied it to see if there was a link between the art and the illness of their patients. At this same time, art educators were discovering that the free and spontaneous art expression of children represented both emotional and symbolic communications. Since then, the profession of art therapy has grown into an effective and important method of communication, assessment, and treatment with many populations."

What are the advantages of Art Therapy?

Through observation and analysis of art making behaviors, art products, and verbal associations, the art therapist formulates diagnostic assessments and treatment plans. Art therapists can provide case management services. Treatment may focus on growth experiences, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, remediation, adaptation and/or personality enhancement. Art therapists respond to the strengths and needs of clients by integrating personal training in art and therapy with knowledge of theories of normal and abnormal behavior and development, visual symbolic expression and intervention methods.

What populations may benefit from Art Therapy?

**"Art therapists work with people of all ages: individuals, couples, families groups and communities. They provide services, individually and as part of clinical teams, in settings that include mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios and independent practices."

What are the educational requirements?

A master's degree is required for entry into the art therapy profession. Master's level curriculum includes the theory and practice of not only art therapy, but theoretical foundations of individual, family, and group counseling, psychopathology and human development. In addition, the art therapist must complete supervised clinical internships and a master’s thesis. Working under supervision, an art therapist who has met specific educational and professional standards established by the American Art Therapy Association and the Art Therapy Credentials Board is designated a Registered Art Therapist (ATR). Additionally, after passing the Art Therapy Certification Exam, art therapists are designated Board-Certified (ATR-BC).

What are some schools that offer Art Therapy educational programs?

At the present time, the George Washington University is one of approximately 30 accredited universities offering an Art Therapy program of study. For more information you can visit the AATA website.

Where do Art Therapists work?

**"Art therapists work in private offices, art rooms, or meeting rooms in facilities such as: 

hospitals--both medical and psychiatric, out-patient facilities, clinics, residential treatment centers, halfway houses, shelters, schools, correctional facilities, elder care facilities, pain clinics, universities, and art studios. 

The art therapist may work as part of a team which includes physicians, psychologists, nurses, rehabilitation counselors, social workers, and teachers. Together, they determine and implement a client's therapeutic, school, or mental health program. Art therapists also work as primary therapists in private practice."

What is the average salary for an Art Therapist?

In the Mid-Atlantic Region, a competitive entry level income for a full-time position is approximately $38,000 with full-time benefits. The hourly rate of art therapists in private practice in this region ranges from $60 to $120.

**"Earning for art therapists vary geographically depending on the type of practice and job responsibilities. Entry level income is approximately $25,000, median income between $28,000 and $38,000, and top earning potential for salaried administrators ranges between $40,000 and $60,000. Art therapists with doctoral degrees, state licensure, or who qualify in their state to conduct private practice, have an earning potential of $75.00 to $90.00 per hour in private practice. State requirements for private practice vary across the country. Practice rules and regulations are available from state licensing boards."