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:

Prerequisite Courses

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.

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. 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 and Counseling should be submitted along with the other application materials.

The Application

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 and Counseling 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:

We encourage you to download and read the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program Guide [PDF] 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.

Application Deadline: January 15

If you are ready to apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling, you will need to build a portfolio, gather all of your application materials, and complete the electronic application by the deadline of January 15 (spring admissions are not accepted).

To prepare the strongest application possible, carefully review the Admissions Preparation & Application section of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program Guide [PDF] as you begin the application process.

Completed Online Application

SAIC requires applicants to apply online. Filing an online application requires a valid credit card and a current email address. You may apply to up to three programs with one application and fee. If you are applying to either the MFA in Studio or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio you may select up to three departments of entry. Applications must be submitted prior to 11:00 p.m. (CST) on the appropriate deadline.

Start your application here: Graduate Online Application.

Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at gradmiss@saic.edu or 800.232.7242.

Nonrefundable Application Fee

When you click the "submit" button on your online application, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information. Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded.

Domestic application fee: $80
International application fee: $100

Application fees will be discounted by 50 percent through December 1.

Official College Transcripts

Submit one official transcript from each college you have attended. If transcripts are issued directly to you, forward them to SAIC with the seal unbroken and the registrar's signature intact. A transcript request form is available for download from the online application, but is not required. If you are in possession of unofficial copies of your transcripts you are welcome to upload them to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio, but you are not required to do so.

If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable. If admitted to SAIC, you must submit a final, official transcript verifying the completion and award of your degree directly to SAIC's admissions office prior to your matriculation.

Address transcripts to:
SAIC Graduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201
Chicago, IL 60603

Students admitted to a graduate program who have not received a high school diploma, GED or equivalent are not eligible for federal Title IV financial aid funds.

Statement of Purpose

Write a 500- to 750-word statement 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 and Counseling program is particularly suited to your professional goals. Upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio.

Letters of Recommendation

You are responsible for securing two letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of reference from current or former instructors.

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via SAIC's ePortfolio. When completing the References section in your ePortfolio, you will be asked to provide the names and other information associated with each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent to each of your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations through the ePortfolio.

If your recommenders prefer they may submit recommendations by mail. Be sure to supply your recommenders with addressed, stamped envelopes and ask them to sign across the seal.

Address recommendations to:
SAIC Graduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201  
Chicago, IL 60603


The Admissions Committee reviews portfolios for clear direction and potential for development. Applicants are required to submit an ePortfolio. You must submit a separate ePortfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. Instructions for submitting ePortfolios will be sent either to the email address associated with your SAIC application, or to the email address associated with your ePortfolio account, if you already have one. You will receive the link to your ePortfolio 24 to 48 hours after you save the first page of the online application.

Submit a portfolio that represents your current and focused body of work. The portfolio should consist of up to 15 images, or up to eight minutes of time-based work, or a combination of the two as appropriate.

Direct all inquiries regarding the ePortfolio to admiss_portfolio@saic.edu, 800.232.7242, or 312.629.6100.


In-person interviews are required. Group interviews are scheduled for February 17, 2018. Students will select the preferred interview date within the application. For applicants residing outside the United States at the time of application, please contact the department at arttherapy@saic.edu or 312.899.7481 to schedule a Skype or phone interview.


A current résumé is required. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio.

Human Service Summary

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 information will be entered into Slideroom under the section "forms."  Please include total hours for all human service experience.

International Students

Students whose native language is not English, or who do not have a degree conferred by a U.S.-accredited university, are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. Submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) results with your application. The Institution Code for SAIC is 1713.

Minimum Required Scores

TOEFL: 100
IELTS: 7.0
For more information about the TOEFL, please visit here.
For more information about the IELTS, please visit here.

Academic Records

Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word.


A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC.

It is strongly recommended that applicants have substantial human service experience. In addition, applicants must demonstrate through a transcript analysis that they have completed 18 semester credit hours in studio art courses and 12 semester credits in psychology, including the following subjects:

Three semester credit hours in an introductory art therapy course strongly encouraged.

See Also

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program

Art Therapy department

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program Guide [PDF]