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SVA’s Master of Professional Studies MPS in Art Therapy is an immersive two-year, 60-credit program that prepares students to become licensed art therapists.

  • MPS Art Therapy is interdisciplinary in approach, integrating the experiential components of art therapy within a comprehensive framework of academic theory, clinical application via an internship program and art practice.
  • In addition to the coursework and internship components, we offer a robust program of lectures, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, and special projects, as well as opportunities for international study and studio time.
  • We seek out a diverse group of students as far as age, cultural background, and work experience, offering scholarships, part-time options and a flexible approach to make the program a possibility for students in a variety of circumstances.

Program Objectives:

1. Understand the relationship between cognition, emotion and behavior and social constructs and apply that knowledge to art therapy treatment.

2. Cultivate the capacity for productive self-reflection, empathy, and insight to enhance clinical practice.

3. Develop a distinctive approach to art therapy practice based on the client’s needs while taking into account the one’s own individual talents and working style.

4. Demonstrate artistic growth through realized handling of materials.

5. Develop an active leadership role, learning to advocate and collaborate in a professional setting.

6. Gain a thorough understanding of professional practices within the field, i.e. ethical/legal standards, career strategies, and expectations. 

New York City is the ideal setting for clinical application of art therapy methods. Gaining experience working as an art therapist in the city is a cornerstone of our program and students are required to complete two distinct yearlong internships at institutions as diverse as the city itself. Internship sites include metropolitan area hospitals and clinics, nursing homes, veterans facilities, drug and chemical treatment centers, public and private schools, community centers, correctional facilities, private practices, and many more. Our location in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan gives us convenient access to museums and contemporary art galleries.

The SVA community at large provides an invigorating setting for dynamic, creative learning. Students in our program may audit SVA classes and learn everything from ceramics to critical theory to video art and everything in between. 

The Department seeks dynamic, well-rounded applicants who demonstrate achievement in studio art, psychology, and community involvement. The program is emotionally and academically challenging; applicants are expected to prepare for the rigorous classroom and internship training. Applicants should have a basic understanding of the field of art therapy and be prepared to discuss issues that relate to their specific interest in the field.

12 credits in Psychology
(Abnormal Psychology and Developmental Psychology are REQUIRED; Introduction to Psychology and Theories of Personality are recommended)

18 credits in Studio Art (a range of coursework, including Drawing, Painting,Sculpture/3D, Design, Mixed Media, Photography, Animation, Computer Art, and Film is recommended)

Relevant Experience
Applicants are expected to seek out relevant volunteer or work experience, ideally in an art therapy setting, to understand the professional expectations and realities of the field. This should include exposure to diverse populations and settings.

Professional Organizations
Applicants are expected to be familiar with the American Art Therapy Association (arttherapy.org), the official organization for art therapists in the United States; the Art Therapy Credentials Board (atcb.org), the credentialing organization for art therapists in the U.S.; the New York State Office of the Professions (www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/ catlic.htm); as well as the professional art therapy association of the state, region or country in which the applicant wishes to work upon graduating.

Information Sessions and Workshops for Prospective Applicants
The Department offers larger group information sessions and experiential workshops each year, as well as individual information sessions. For more information, please contact [email protected].

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School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587