MA Art Therapy
Why choose this course?
- The course is approved and accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, and recognised by the British Association of Art Therapists.
- Graduate with the eligibility to apply for professional registration as an art therapist or art psychotherapist with the Health and Care Professions Council.
- Become eligible to apply for full membership of the British Association of Art Therapists.
- Gain first-hand, practical experience of clinical art therapy practice.
- Develop your clinical reasoning and professional identity, and integrate your learning from all areas of the course through Independent Scholarship
- See artwork our students created at Big Show 2016.
Course code: MB9AC
Start date: September. If you are a registered art therapist who is wanting to top up your existing qualification to an MA then there is the option of starting in January.
Course length: Full-time: two years
Campus: Britannia Mill, Derby
College: College of Health and Social Care
This course is available to international students
About this course
The course reinforces the centrality of the image and the role of the imagination in the practice of art therapy. It will give you experience of clinical art therapy practice under supervision, as well as experience of group work, studio practice and a critical understanding of current theory.
The course aims to enable you to become eligible to apply for professional registration as an art therapist or art psychotherapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Develop your clinical skills
A fundamental part of the course is the Independent Scholarship, which will provide you with an opportunity to integrate your learning through conducting an arts based piece of research. This aims to assist you in developing your clinical reasoning and professional identity.
During the course you’ll have a personal tutor who will monitor your overall progress. As well as the taught components of the course, you’ll also need to engage in personal therapy for a minimum of one hour a week throughout the training; this is a requirement for professional registration. This can be either individual or group therapy, which is psychodynamic in orientation.
The course is deemed as full-time and requires you to fulfil the following attendance requirements:
You will need to be available to attend the University from September to June for one day a week between the hours of 9am-7pm. This would currently be on either a Monday or Tuesday, depending upon which year you commenced the training. Your day of attendance at the University would remain the same throughout your training. The only exception to this is the block teaching week which takes place in September at the start of the second year of the course. You are invited to spend a week at the University developing ideas for your Independent Scholarship. If you are unable to attend for the full week due to other commitments we advise you to attend at least on the Monday.
In addition to attendance at the University, you will also be required to undertake two periods of clinical placement. The first of these commences in January, during the first year of the course. This comprises attendance on placement for two days a week for 25 weeks. The days you attend placement are negotiated between you and the placement provider. The second period of placement runs throughout the second year of the course starting in September and requires two days a week attendance, for 35 weeks.
Examples of work
Explore our galleries of MA Art Therapy at Derby, with images of the Big Show 2016, Big Wood project, Independent Scholarship Exhibitions and studio spaces.
We’re proud to say that our courses are closely mapped against the health and social care sector. This ensures that our curriculum is up-to-date, providing you with the assurance that your learning is current and relevant. This does mean that we do have to respond to national changes such as government policy. As a result, some of the information about our courses may change. Please check the website for the latest information.
What you will cover
The course runs over two academic years and is made up of seven core modules. Six modules are 20 credits each, while our Arts Therapies Independent Scholarship module is deemed a triple module (60 credits).
You’ll study modules such as:
- Art Therapy Clinical Placement One
- Arts Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice One
- Art Therapy Studio
- Art Therapy Clinical Placement Two
- Arts Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice Two
- Art Therapy Experiential Group
- Arts Therapies Independent Scholarship: A Body of Work
To apply for this course you are required to have completed an undergraduate degree, either:
- BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies
- a degree in the visual arts, or
- an undergraduate degree in other related areas, such as psychology, occupational therapy, social work, and nursing and have a sound current folio of artwork.
You will also need:
- around one year's full time (or equivalent) relevant work experience which may be voluntary work
- to be able to show you've got sufficient life experience and emotional maturity, as well as having the intellectual capacity, to cope with the demands of the course
- if your first language is not English, you'll need to have achieved an IELTS of at least 7.0 or equivalent with no element below 6.5, as stipulated by the HCPC.
Experience of having undergone personal therapy is desirable (though not essential).
Application and interview
Your application should include a CV and one A4 sheet (maximum) outlining why you wish to complete the professional training and elaborating on what qualities and skills you feel you have to offer and the kind of ideas which presently inform your thinking about art therapy.
Typically applicants go through a selection and interview process that usually includes attending an experiential workshop as well as a formal individual interview which includes a discussion of a portfolio of your artwork.
Your portfolio should demonstrate your current artwork and have no more than 10 completed images and one sketch book. The work needs to be your own personal work, i.e. not client work or work produced though facilitation of others and, where possible, actual images need to be brought. If this is not possible then photographs will be accepted.
If you are an international student and you are required to send a portfolio with your application, please be aware that your portfolio will not be able to be returned.
Limited places available
Currently we are able to offer 16 places per academic year.
Disclosure and Barring Service
A large component of the course involves work with clients and therefore a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application is required at the point of accepting a place at the University.
How to apply
- Students should apply directly to the University
- Students should apply directly to the University
Information for international applicants
Due to high interest and application levels this course is now closed for applications for September 2017. If the situation changes information will be updated here. Please check back for the latest information.
Fees and finance
2016/17 Fees (August 2016 - July 2017)
Full-time Part-time UK/EU
£800 per 20 credits*
£800 per 20 credits*
£12,000 for the full programme
*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.
Postgraduate Certificate 60 Credits Postgraduate Diploma 120 Credits MA or MSc 180 Credits
This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you’re studying full-time you will normally complete 180 credits over one year. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.
Funding your studies
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
Scholarships and bursaries
How you will learn
Real world learning is incorporated within the course through the requirement to undertake two clinical placement modules. These require you to complete 120 days of supervised clinical practice during the training. The course also offers opportunities to learn from guest lecturers.
Assessments are practical, oral and written - there are no exams. Usually, assessment is through either written assignments, the production of artwork, oral presentations or reports based on performance in the clinical setting. You'll receive clear guidelines at the start of each module, about how you'll be assessed in that module.
The programme team is currently delivered by the following staff members and may be subject to changes.
Jean Bennett is a qualified art therapist and is currently a lecturer at the University of Derby where she facilitates the art studio component of the art therapy training in addition to being the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies. She has conducted work in primary and secondary education, offering art therapy individually and in groups. She is a practising artist and exhibits regularly believing that the core essence of art therapy is the physical interaction with materials in the making of imagery and the relationship that exists between the creator and the image.
Shelagh Cornish has practiced extensively and continuously as an Art Psychotherapist since qualifying in 1991, including within the NHS as Lead Art Psychotherapist in Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and currently as a private practitioner and clinical supervisor. She is a BAAT Recognised Supervisor and Private Practitioner, a Registered Member of the BACP (MBACP), and is qualified to intermediate level in family therapy. As a part time Senior Lecturer she teaches, supervises Masters dissertations and projects across the MA Art Therapy and MA Dramatherapy programmes at the University of Derby, and provides the facilitation for the second stage reflective practice groups on the MA Art Therapy programme. She is also module leader for Arts Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice One module.
Kirsty McTaggart is a qualified Art Psychotherapist who has worked in a variety of settings with children and adults in education, the voluntary sector and mental health services. She is currently a part time Lecturer on the MA Art Therapy and BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies courses at the University of Derby. Kirsty is acting as module leader for the MA Arts Therapies Independent Scholarship module.
Nicholas Stein is a qualified Art Psychotherapist and acts as the Programme Leader and Admissions Tutor for the MA in Art Therapy offered by the University of Derby. He is the module leader for the Art Therapy Clinical Placement modules and Art Therapy Experiential Group module. Since qualifying Nick has worked within a range of psychiatric services and continues to work within Private Practice. He is particularly interested in the ideas of an Archetypal Psychology.
Other staff from the subject area that you may encounter includes:
• Drew Bird, (Senior Lecturer MA Dramatherapy
• Dr Jamie Bird (Head of Therapeutic Practice)
• Dr Jill Bunce (Programme Leader MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy)
• Professor Susan Hogan (Professor in Cultural Studies and Art Therapy)
• Dr Clive Holmwood (Senior Lecturer MA Dramatherapy)
• Katy Tozer (Programme Leader MA Dramatherapy)
• Helen Railer (Placement Co-ordinator)
We also are very fortunate to draw on the services of other professionals who work in a range of settings.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.
Careers and employability
The course can lead you to a career in areas such as mental health, education, the prison service, social services and the voluntary sector, as well as in private practice (following gaining additional post training clinical experience), and increasingly, in business.
If you successfully complete the Masters degree in Art Therapy, you will be eligible to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an art therapist or art psychotherapist and also for full membership of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).
What our students say
“I found that the training was extremely worthwhile in forming a way of thinking and perceiving the world and am very grateful for the opportunity to have taken part in the excellent course.” Ericka Cain
“It was an incredible learning journey. The course is amazing, you need to be prepared and ready for a very specialist training by a dedicated team.” Andrea Grealy