Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling

SAIC's Master of Arts (MA) in Art Therapy and Counseling program cultivates influential, compassionate leaders who are critically engaged with the social and cultural contexts surrounding artmaking and healing.

Application Deadline: January 10 - $90 Application Fee

Priority Deadline: December 1 - $45 Application Fee

Apply online via Slideroom

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. When you click the "submit" button on the Graduate Application form, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application form is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information.

Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded. After you submit the application form you will be directed to a dashboard where you can begin working on your ePortfolio(s).

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

During the application process an unofficial transcript is acceptable for review pending an Admissions decision. Official transcripts are required upon admission. Include transcripts both official and unofficial from all universities/colleges from which a degree was obtained or prerequisites were fulfilled. You can attach unofficial transcripts as .pdf or .jpg files in the Educational History section of the application form. 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.

Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the degree- or credit-granting institution to the SAIC Graduate Admissions Office. Hard copy transcripts are considered official if the documents remain in the registrar's original signed and sealed envelopes. Official transcripts can be sent both in digital and hard-copy format. Digital transcripts can be sent from the degree- or credit-granting institution to Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:

SAIC Graduate
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1201
Chicago, IL 60603

Write a 500 to 700 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.

A statement of intent is required for all graduate programs though the content varies by department. You will upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your E-Portfolio.

2 Letters of Reference are required.

You are responsible for securing 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 recommendation from current or former instructors.

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via the References section of the application form. In this section you will be asked to provide an email address for each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent from SlideRoom to your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations online.

If your references are unable to provide an online recommendation please contact the Graduate Admissions office at

A current résumé is required.

A resume is required for all graduate programs. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your E-Portfolio.

Your portfolio should represent your area of highest achievement in an arts profession. For example, studio-based work accompanied by descriptions; creative or scholarly writing; or documentation of art education projects in schools, museums, or community-based settings. A visual portfolio should consist of up to 20 images, or up to 10 minutes of time-based work, or a combination of the two in which one image is equivalent to approximately two minutes of time-based work.

Please note, you will be asked to briefly present the first image in your portfolio during the group interview. The first image in your portfolio must therefore meet the following specifications:

  • It should be saved as a 72 dpi .jpg file
  • The longest slide should be a maximum of 800 pixels
  • The entire file should not exceed 2MB in size

Applicants are required to submit an E-Portfolio, though the content varies by department. Please visit your individual program of interest to find details. You must submit a separate E-Portfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an E-Portfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard.

Submission specifications:

  • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
  • Videos: .flv, .wv, .mov (up to 60 MB each)
  • Audio: .mp3 (up to 10 MB each)
  • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)

TOEFL: 100 



International applicants are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. You are waived from this requirement if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your native language is English
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a U.S. accredited university
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a university whose primary language of instruction is English

If you do not meet one of these conditions, you must submit official English language proficiency test scores. You are strongly encouraged to schedule a language proficiency test appointment as early as possible in order to receive official test scores prior to the application deadline.

SAIC accepts official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Duolingo. The TOEFL Institution Code for SAIC is 1713. Please upload an unofficial copy of your test score results to the International Requirements section of the application form.

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 role and responsibilities, dates of service, and total contact hours. This information will be entered into the Human Services form in your SlideRoom E-Portfolio. Please include total hours for all human service experience.

Prequisites: Applicants must demonstrate, through a transcript analysis, that they have completed 18 semester credit hours in studio art course and 12 semester credits in psychology, including the following subjects: Abnormal psychology, Developmental psycholog. An introductory art therapy course is strongly encouraged.

A required, on-campus group interview will take place the weekend of February 15, 2020.

If you reside abroad, you may opt to have a Skype interview. If you require a Skype interview, you must contact the Department of Art Therapy at 312.899.7481 or prior to the deadline to arrange an interview time.

Art Therapy Program Guide Cover for 2019-20


View MAATC Brochure

The Art Therapy and Counseling graduate program is a national leader in articulating the role of the artist and art therapist. As part of their art therapy education, students are expected to be fully engaged in the intellectual dimensions of art therapy theory, research, and philosophy, as well as important trends in related fields such as counseling and psychology. The MA in Art Therapy and Counseling curriculum is designed to meet the standards for post-graduation application for registration and board certification with the Art Therapy Credentials Board, as well as the academic requirements to sit for the Illinois counseling exams and similarly designed licensing guidelines in other states.




The Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program offers you:

  • A comprehensive art therapy education that emphasizes development of the artist-art therapist
  • Preparation to function as art therapists in specialized settings
  • Critical engagement within social and cultural contexts

Leading Practitioners, Experience, and Connections

Our faculty's combination of clinical experience and scholarly and artistic backgrounds has helped establish social service resources across the United States and around the world. They have contributed to the history of the profession through publications, presentations, exhibitions, clinical innovations, and professional leadership, and students benefit from their commitment to the field and their vast array of professional connections.

Additionally, students embark upon professional practice through required fieldwork experience, which may be selected from a diverse array of healthcare and social service settings, including psychiatric facilities, residential care, schools, drug treatment centers, and correctional facilities. Exposure to the unique challenges, ethical dilemmas, and successes of their fieldwork settings—as well as the requirement to work with both children and adult populations—enriches the students' understanding of the application of art therapy in multiple contexts. Graduates become leaders in the field of art therapy in the areas of professional practice, research, and theory.

Artistic and Therapeutic Practice

The dynamic production and exploration of art is central to art therapy, and MA in Art Therapy and Counseling students' practices are profoundly shaped by their peers at one of the best art and design schools in the world. Artmaking is incorporated into every art therapy class, and students are required to take nine credits of studio coursework. Through academic and studio courses, exhibitions, and events, SAIC influences students' creative visions and offers them the opportunity to produce innovative creative projects and individualized educational initiatives.