Master of Arts in Art Therapy: Admissions Requirements
While the undergraduate experience is broad and exploratory, a graduate education is specific to professional development in a particular discipline. That is why we encourage people interested in our Master of Arts (MA) in Art Therapy program to think beyond mere application requirements and concentrate on building a background of excellence in the classroom, studio, and workplace.
Before You Apply
You will strengthen you application by doing the following:
- Complete all prerequisite coursework (see requirements below).
- Engage in ongoing artistic development.
- Gain substantial volunteer or paid experience with special populations in human service settings.
- Talk with art therapy professionals, read the literature, and attend association meetings to better understand the field.
- Learn the philosophical, theoretical, and practical differences among graduate art therapy programs.
- Engage in life experiences that expand cultural awareness, sensitivity, and knowledge.
- Participate in personal therapy.
Undergraduate prerequisite courses must be taken for credit through an accredited college or university. The minimum program course prerequisites consist of 33 semester hour credits in the following subject areas.
- Studio Art (18 credits)
- Psychology (12 credits, including Developmental Psychology and Abnormal Psychology)
- Introduction to Art Therapy (3 credits)
Candidates may be enrolled in some of this coursework at the time of application, but all prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to entering the program with the sole exception of the Introduction to Art Therapy course, which is not widely available. Documentation of prerequisite courses in which applicant is enrolled at the time of application or a specific plan for how missing courses will be completed prior to beginning the MA in Art Therapy should be submitted along with the other application materials.
You may take Introduction to Art Therapy in the first semester of the graduate program, however, this requires delaying the first semester studio course. We strongly recommend taking this course at SAIC at the end of the summer prior to entering the program instead.
Note: If taken in the summer semester, this course is charged at the undergraduate tuition rate; if taken in the fall semester, the higher graduate rate is charged. Because this course is not part of the graduate curriculum, the tuition will not be covered by graduate school financial aid.
The Department of Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) requires an online application for its MA in Art Therapy program. Applications will be evaluated based on your artistic ability, academic performance, human service experience, interpersonal skills, and overall readiness for the program.
You will need a valid credit card and current email address in order to complete the application form. Please review the following requirements carefully before submitting your application:
- Applications for the fall semester must be submitted no later than February 1. No applications are accepted for spring semester.
- There is an $80 nonrefundable application fee ($100 for international applications). The application fee is discounted by 50 percent from September 1 through November 30.
- You must upload one 500- to 750-word statement of purpose that describes the focus of your body of work and how you came to choose art therapy as the academic area you wish to pursue at the graduate level. Also discuss future directions or goals for your work and describe how the Master of Arts in Art Therapy program is particularly suited to your professional goals.
- In addition to your application, you must submit an ePortfolio by 11:59 p.m. (CST) on February 4. Your portfolio should represent your current and focused body of studio work with up to 15 images, or up to eight minutes of time-based work, or a combination of the two as appropriate.
- An on-campus group interview is required for all applicants to the MA in Art Therapy program. Group interviews will be conducted in February and March 2013. After completing the online application, you will be prompted to register for an interview date. Phone interviews are acceptable for applicants residing outside of the United States at the time of the interviews.
The Group Interview Day runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It includes brief presentations by MA in Art Therapy graduate students, an art-making activity, candidates’ self-introductions through discussion of their relevant work experience and personal art practice (see “Digital Slides for Group Interview” section below), a brief one-to-one interview with a faculty member, a campus tour, and time for questions and discussion with both faculty and current students. This format provides the opportunity for mutual scrutiny of candidates and the program.
Digital slides for group interview day
During the group interview, applicants will briefly present an example of their artwork. Applicants must email a digital image of the artwork to be presented prior to the interview. To submit your slide in a timely manner and make the process go as smooth as possible, please follow these guidelines:
- Only digitally photographed or scanned artwork will be accepted. No traditional slides, please!
- Images should be saved as 72 dpi JPGs. Please no Photoshop, TIFF, or GIF formats.
- The longest side of the image should be a maximum of 800 pixels. The entire file should not be more than 2 MB in size.
- Please save the file in this format: last name_first initialAT08.jpg. For example: Doe_JAT08.jpg.
- Email the image via an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by FEBRUARY 1. The subject line of the email should read "Group Interview Slide."
- A current résumé must be included with your online application.
- A detailed summary of your human service experience.
- An official college transcript and two letters of reference for admission into the program. You can ask your references to upload their letter to your online application or mail them directly to the school.
- Include a human service summary of relevant volunteer or employment experience that lists the name of each site, the type of setting, your roles and responsibilities, dates of service, and total contact hours. This will be uploaded on the application.
We encourage you to download and read the MA in Art Therapy Program Guide for more detailed information.
For more information on the application and admissions process, visit the graduate admissions website.
Ready to apply? Complete your online application now.