Department of
Counselor Education


Art Therapy Program


Program Description

Art Therapy is a human service profession that utilizes art media, images, the creative art process and patient/client responses to the created productions as reflections of an individual’s development, abilities, personality, interests, concerns, and conflicts. Our two-year degree program results in a Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling.

The program is one of only a handful in the central United States that is approved by the American Art Therapy Association. By maintaining a low student-to-faculty ratio, the Art Therapy program provides quality individual attention and helps to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse student body. Our faculty combines strengths in clinical experience with diverse populations, research skills, fine arts training, state and national professional service, and international networking to offer students an exemplary art therapy education. 

The Department of Counselor Education also offers the unique option culminating in candidates earning two graduate degrees through this program. Learn more about the Dual Curriculum through which students will receive both a Master's of Science in Art Therapy Counseling AND a Master's of Science in Clinical Counseling upon completion.




Length of Program

The M.S. in Art Therapy Counseling is designed to be completed in two academic years, but part-time students are welcome. Students generally enter the program in the fall semester but  may elect to begin the program in other enrollment periods (spring and summer) to either eliminate background prerequisites or to pick up non-sequence courses. However, beginning in spring will result in a minimum of 2.5 years for degree completion, but course load will be slightly lighter.

See the Art Therapy Counseling Program of Study.


Admission Requirements*

  1. Complete Graduate School Application.
  2. Complete Department of Counselor Education Graduate Student Application.
  3. Complete Confidentiality Form.
  4. Three department Reference Forms. If you are employed, a reference from your current or recent employer/supervisor is desired.
  5. Graduate Record Examination (280 verbal and math).
  6. A portfolio with 12 to 20 examples of artwork showing competence in a range of media (electronic portfolios are preferred).
  7. Twelve semester hours of psychology to include abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and other psychology courses.
  8. Eighteen semester hours of studio art courses (may include art therapy based coursework). (Learn more about ESU's Art Therapy preparation program.)
  9. An overall 3.00 grade-point average on a four-point scale or a 3.25 on the last 60 semester hours for the undergraduate degree.
  10. A Bachelor's of Science, Bachelor's of Art, Bachelor's of Fine Arts, or Bachelor's of Science in Education degree.

It is recommended that applicants have previous experience with various special populations in volunteer work, summer jobs, etc. Please mention such experience in the department application. Art Therapy Counseling students have an option of either a Thesis or Master’s Project track.

*International applicants have additional requirements; visit to find out more.


Degree Requirements

Degree Candidacy Requirements

Candidacy is the formal approval for pursuit of the master's degree after it is determined that all specified criteria have been met. Upon completion of six to twelve hours, students should make application for Degree Candidacy through their advisor. Requirements for degree candidacy are as follows:

  • Degree plan filed through student's advisor.
  • Maintain a B average with no grade lower than B in core courses.

Graduation Requirements

The requirements for completion of an M.S. degree in Art Therapy Counseling include:

  1. completion of an approved program of study as developed and approved by your faculty advisor
  2. apply for degree candidacy
  3. Art Therapy Counseling students complete either a Master's Project or Thesis. Students pursuing the dual degree in Art Therapy Counseling and Clinical Counseling have to complete the comprehensive examination for Clinical Counseling and either the Masters Project or Thesis for the Art Therapy.
  4. Finally, students must complete an Intent to Graduate Form (submit to the Graduate Office).


Contact Us

For more information, please call 620-341-5220 or email