MA in Art Therapy NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
The NYU Art Therapy Program integrates psychotherapy and visual arts practice, engaging the creative power of art for clinical assessment and treatment. In particular, we promote (1) scholarly research abilities and evidence-based clinical praxis, (2) cross-cultural competency with an appreciation of social justice issues, and (3) fluency with the evolving technologies of new media art.
Our person-centered clinical orientation is guided by humanistic and contemporary approaches to psychoanalytic theory that include ego psychology, object relations, self-psychology, and intersubjectivity psychology, and that are grounded in current empirical research, especially attachment and trauma theories.
New York University has been identified with the training of art therapists since the 1950s when Margaret Naumburg, an eminent pioneer in the field, offered courses and training seminars on the graduate level in New York University’s Department of Art and Art Professions. This tradition was continued when Edith Kramer came to the University in 1973 to develop a master’s program in Art Therapy.
By 1976, the master of arts in Art Therapy program had obtained approval from the New York State Education Department, and in 1979, New York University’s Graduate Art Therapy program was one of the first of five programs to receive approval from the American Art Therapy Association. The program prepares students to pass the New York State Licensure for a Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) exam.
You are expected to show proficiency in the basic area of the visual arts: figurative drawing, painting, and clay modeling. The required prerequisite psychology courses are: Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Personality (or Personality Development), and Child Psychology (or Developmental Psychology).
Scholarships and Funding
Continuing your studies as a graduate student is a major investment of your time and money, with the potential for major returns in your future career. We encourage you to review all your options as you decide if education at NYU Steinhardt fits with your goals.
Program requirements for graduation:
- 60 credits in total
- 39 credits for core art therapy courses
- 12 credits for internships.
- 9 credits for psychology electives, chosen from a wide variety of courses offered in other NYU graduate programs as well as local consortium universities.
Period of Study:
- Full-time students: 12 - 13 credits/semester (completion in 2 years).
- Part-time students: 6 - 9 credits/semester (completion in 3 to 6 years).
The NYU Graduate Art Therapy Program offers an intensive 3-week Global Internship during the summer. Students work at a wide range of placements such as orphanages, academic settings, AIDS hospices, mental health facilities, senior residences, juvenile and adult prisons, and among HIV+ and other chronic populations. Internships have been held in Tanzania, Peru, South Africa, and Brazil and will continue in other locations. Successful students earn 3 academic credits.
The Final Project
In addition to course work and internship requirements, students in the Program must complete a substantial project (thesis). The thesis must demonstrate both theoretical knowledge and accumulated clinical experience. It can be an in-depth case study, a research paper, or a creative and practical proposal (applied art therapy). The first draft of the thesis is due by March 1. Thereafter each student works closely with a reader (sponsor) up to the April 30 due date. The reader is usually a program faculty member, though, for highly specialized topics, an outside expert will serve that function. The reader grades the thesis, but if the reader or the student requests a second opinion, a second reader will be recruited. In addition to the extensive narrative evaluation and commentary, the theses are graded on a scale of A through F (a B- is required to pass; successive revisions are permitted).
Upon completion of the thesis, students present their work in a program mini-conference. This is a full-day event, and student presenters are encouraged to invite family, friends, and colleagues to attend.
To prepare competent entry-level art therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
You will develop a robust knowledge of clinical theory, with a solid grasp of psychodynamics. You will master the professional Ethics Code that guides clinical thinking in challenging situations.
You will learn to practice art therapy with diverse populations and acquire multicultural competency that reflects attunement to current global social justice issues.
You will develop an identity as both an art therapist and a practicing artist, developing the clinical attunement, compassion, and acuity that is only fully realized by cultivating profound personal creativity.
Our degree takes full advantage of the wide variety of training opportunities available in New York, the art center of the world with one of the most diverse and richly complex health systems in the country. Experts in the field of mental health provide students with excellent opportunities for internships in a variety of renowned settings for training and career advancement.
We also support the continued growth and development of art therapists. We have post-master’s courses for working professionals and many graduates maintain a connection with our program as field supervisors, creating additional art therapy positions. In addition, we offer conferences and continuing education courses in the field of psychiatry, psychology, and creative arts therapies focusing on contemporary, evidence-based mental health practices.
Graduates are successfully establishing private practices in communities. Best practices are evident through conference presentations and publications. 83% of those who responded to a recent graduate survey reported that they were employed as Art Therapists.