The art therapy profession originally began in the 1930s in the United States. The Master’s degree in Art therapy is designed to train art therapists through a course of study that blends theory, technique, and practice. Springfield College’s graduate programs in art therapy uniquely build upon the College’s philosophy of humanics in educating students to become human service professionals who are able to integrate art and psychology as a vehicle for healing. The focus is on the development of the total person to promote the enrichment of society. Art therapy graduates can be found practicing their profession in mental health centers, clinics, hospitals, Veterans’ Administration hospitals and centers, hospices, schools, residential homes, rehabilitation centers, private practice, and other social service settings.
The Graduate Art Therapy Programs provide a synthesis of our major components: 1) art therapy; 2) psychology; 3) development of the student’s artistic and creative skills; and 4) training in research methodology. Students develop an understanding of the variances in normal art development before they work with problems and pathology. Art therapy is an exciting and growing profession. The faculty and supervisors at Springfield College are practicing art therapy clinicians who are committed to a partnership in training. The sharing of a wide range of experience and knowledge is incorporated into each individual learning and creative style. The Graduate Art Therapy Program is dedicated to academic, artistic, and clinical excellence.
All candidates for the Master of Science Degree in Art Therapy are required to have completed a Baccalaureate degree in one of the following: Art, Art Education, Art Therapy, Psychology, or a related field. The American Art Therapy Association mandates the following prerequisites: A minimum of 15 credits in studio art courses at the undergraduate level as well as 12 credits in psychology, which should include courses in introductory psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and one elective. Students who are course deficient will need to complete these prerequisites within the first full-time year of graduate study.
Master’s degree candidates must submit transcripts of completed undergraduate study.
Applicants to the Master’s program must submit a portfolio of a minimum of 10 slides depicting art work in a range of various mediums, labeled with titles and appropriate for viewing. The candidate must present a written statement highlighting his or her interest in the field, personal goals, and academic objectives. Evidence of previous experience working with people in a human service setting or teaching should be included with letters of recommendation. Each applicant is required to have an interview to discuss personal and academic characteristics appropriate for successful adjustment to study and practice in art therapy.
Students are required to take courses in art therapy, psychology, research, and studio art courses. During the second semester, students begin their practicum experience. Working with the fieldwork coordinator, students choose from a diverse selection of field placements. Graduate students work with individuals, families, and groups of all ages and abilities, including those with varying degrees of functional or organic impairment.
The program is committed to developing research skills in order to prepare students to be cognizant of advances in art therapy and related fields and to enable them to contribute to the field of art therapy. Students begin working on final research projects in consultation with faculty during the first year of study.
The Studio Art Therapy Program is an option for those students who are not interested in licensure as a Mental Health Counselor. The undergraduate prerequisites, research requirements, program/concentration requirements, and electives are the same for both programs. The psychology requirement is PSYC 631: Psychopathology (3 s.h.). The program follows the guidelines set by the American Art Therapy Association. All students are required to exhibit their art as part of a final group show. Academic, creative, and ethical integrity are an essential part of the program. Students will be held responsible for their work and are expected to sustain creative/artistic development.
Students are required to matriculate after they successfully complete their prepracticum course, ATPY 625, and at least 15 hours of course work. Matriculation requires a cumulative professional art therapy index of 3.25, professional competency, and completion of clinical evaluation forms. Students’ matriculation files will be reviewed by the Visual Art Department Matriculation Committee.
The Master’s Program in Art Therapy is an APPROVED PROGRAM by the Educational Approval Board of the American Art Therapy Association.
Dr. Leslie Abrams, ATR-BC, LMHC
Director, Graduate Art Therapy Program
Ronald Maggio, M.F.A.,
Chairperson, Visual and Performing Arts Department