The Master’s degree in Art Therapy / Counseling is designed to train art therapists through a course of study that blends theory, technique, and practice. Springfield College’s graduate program in art therapy uniquely builds upon the College’s philosophy of humanics in educating students to become professionals who are able to integrate art and psychology as a vehicle for healing and therapy. The focus is on the development of the total person to promote the enrichment of society. Art Therapy / Counseling graduates can be found practicing their profession in mental health centers, clinics, hospitals, outpatient clinics, hospices, schools, residential homes, rehabilitation centers, private practice, service for the elderly and other social service settings.
The Graduate Art Therapy Program provides a synthesis of our major components: 1) art therapy; 2) psychology/counseling; 3) development of the student’s artistic and creative skills; and 4) training in research methodology. Students develop an understanding of the variances in typical 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 Art Therapy/Counseling Program is dedicated to academic, artistic, and clinical excellence.
All candidates for the Master of Science or Master of Education Degree in Art Therapy / Counseling 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 18 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 studio art, including one course in 3-dimensional art. Students who are 6 semester hours deficient can be accepted but are required to complete these prerequisites as soon as possible and 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 8-10 images in .jpeg format labeled with size, materials, and title. The work should feature a variety of works ranging from 2-D to 3-D work. The artwork chosen must appeal to aesthetic qualities of composition, color, and design for both two and three-dimensional work.
The candidate must present an artist statement, and 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 in an educational setting should be included with letters of recommendation. Each applicant is required to have an interview to discuss personal and academic characteristics appropriate for successful study and practice in art therapy.
Students are required to take courses in art therapy, psychology, research, and studio art. During the second semester, students begin their practicum experience. Working with the faculty, 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 teaching 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. Students in the M.Ed program focus on arts-based research.
There are two program tracks: the M.Ed. and the M.S. track. The M.Ed. track focuses on an understanding of arts-based research. By selecting this track, the student develops as an art therapist with an emphasis on academic scholarship surrounding clinical applications of research. The M.S. track focuses on understanding and conducting research. The M.S. includes clinical training and practice, studio art, and a completed research project.
While both programs require participation in a final art exhibit, students in the M.Ed. track concentrate on an aesthetic vision that includes materials, techniques, invention, expression, and observation. Emphasis of the final art exhibit for students in the M.S. track is related to their clinical experience.
All students are required to matriculate after enrolling in the practicum course, ATPY 625, and the completion of 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 cannot matriculate if undergraduate prerequisite courses are still outstanding. Students’ matriculation files will be reviewed by the Visual Art Department Matriculation Committee.
The Master’s Program in Art Therapy/Counseling Program is an approved program by the Educational Program Approval Board of the American Art Therapy Association.
This program follows the guidelines set by the American Art Therapy Association, the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE) and includes course work mandated by the Board of Mental Health Counselors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Board regulations may change. This program is designed for students seeking to apply for state licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Students seeking licensure in Connecticut and Vermont should enroll in PSYC 643, Career Development and Counseling.
All candidates for the Art Therapy graduate degree are expected to have completed a Baccalaureate degree in art, psychology, or a related field. A minimum of eighteen (18) credits in studio art is required. Studio art course work should include a class in three-dimensional art. A minimum of twelve (12) credits of course work in psychology is also required. Psychology course work must include a 3 credit course in each of the following: introduction to psychology, development, abnormal psychology or psychopathology, and a psychology course of the student’s choice.
The Program and Curricula:
The Art Therapy/Counseling program includes two tracks: an M.S. degree and an M.Ed. degree track. Both tracks have identical Core and Elective courses but differ in the research requirements and elective possibilities.