Full-time: 2 years
£1,500 per 20 credits (2023/24)
£14,900 for the full course (2023/24)
Britannia Mill, Derby Campus
- 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, as long as you meet the HCPC’s requirements.
- 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 some examples of the imagery our students created as part of their independent scholarship that formed the MA Art Therapy Exhibition 2020; and imagery from our MA in Art Therapy annual environment sculpture project - Big Wood.
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 theoretical ideas.
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 (please note that this is at your own cost). This will be individual therapy, where you will be required to work with an Art Psychotherapist.
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), as long as you meet the HCPC’s requirements.
James Ventre's experience
Watch the video below to find out more about James' experience of the University of Derby's MA Art Therapy course.
Transitional Spaces: MA Art Therapy exhibition
Watch the video below to go on a virtual walk-through of the 2022 Transitional Spaces: MA Art Therapy exhibition at Britannia Mill, home to Therapeutic Arts courses at the University of Derby.
There are so many different aspects to the curriculum that challenge you to push yourself past your comfort zone, which retrospectively have enabled me to find my own autonomous voice and judgement.
MA Art Therapy graduate*
*Hannah Elliott at the 2021 MA Art Therapy exhibition photographed by Richard Richards Photography. You can hear about Hannah's experience as an Art Psychotherapist trainee in the NHS by watching this short video.
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 exceptions to this will be scheduled and timetabled Masterclasses which will take the form of up to 3 additional days in your first and second years. A block teaching week which takes place in September at the start of the second year of the course where you are invited to spend a week at the University developing ideas for your Independent Scholarship. At the end of your programme we will require you to be present during the dissemination of your research exhibition build.
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.
Develop your clinical and research skills
You will have the opportunity to further develop your research and clinical understanding through Theory and Research Modules in first and second year.
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.
"What is offered within this course is carefully considered and thought about in order to guide trainees to develop and playfully interrogate what they know and assume. It has allowed me the space and time to develop my understanding of my own art practise and be able to use this knowledge to approach working clinically with care and confidence in sitting with the unknown and helping clients to do the same. It has been transformative and I will look back on the last two years as a crucial point in my education."
James Ventre, MA Art Therapy graduate
The studios provide a secure, spacious, and well-stocked space with expert guidance on hand. The teaching team have fantastic placement connections and were able to offer me two excellent trainee jobs in special interests and locations that I chose.
MA Art Therapy graduate and Art Therapist
Examples of work
Explore our galleries of MA Art Therapy at Derby, with images of previous exhibitions, 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.
"The studio facilities are of the highest standard I have seen." Kate Rothwell, Head of Arts Therapies for the Forensic Directorate of the East London Foundation NHS Trust
You will study the below modules:
- Art Therapy Studio Practice (20 credits)
- Art Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice One (20 credits)
- Art Therapy Clinical Placement One (20 credits)
- Art Therapy Experiential Group (20 credits)
- Art Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice Two (20 credits)
- Art Therapy Clinical Placement Two (20 credits)
- Art Therapies Independent Scholarship: A Body of Work (60 credits)
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
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.
Programme Leader 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. Kirsty began her art therapy career working with children and adults with a diagnosis of autism before moving into working in the NHS with CAMHS and Social Services where part of her responsibility was to create a service for young people who were in the care system. Kirsty has also worked and taught in South East Asia and Singapore where she developed Art Therapy services within a psychiatric hospital for adults and children and young people on an inpatient and outpatient basis. She is currently a full-time Senior Lecturer on the MA Art Therapy and BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing course. Prior to becoming a therapist Kirsty was a painter, gaining a Fine Art degree from Glasgow School of Art.
Adem Peach is a qualified Art Psychotherapist who works across the Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing Bachelors programme and the MA Art psychotherapy programme. Adem has experience of working with child and adolescent survivors of significant trauma and neglect within specialist residential services. Adem has worked within education and healthcare provisions providing therapy to individuals, family groups and in consultation for professionals supporting young people. Adem has a background in adult psychiatry, social enterprise and community arts projects. He is interested in the relatedness of the art forms. In particular, Adem is interested in relationships between the self, the image and the processes by which the self engages creation.
Keziah Smith is a qualified Art Psychotherapist and lectures on the MA Art Therapy and BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing programmes. Keziah has worked in a variety of settings including for the NHS within CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and within specialist residential services with young people who have experienced significant trauma and those that care for them. More recently Keziah has set up mental health support within schools, working therapeutically with both young people and school based staff, as well as providing training, consultation and supervision.
Bethan Baëz-Devine is a qualified Art Psychotherapist and lectures on the MA Art Therapy programme at Derby University. Clinically, Bethan has worked predominantly for the NHS in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and specifically Looked After Children and their communities. She has also worked within educational provisions providing therapy to individuals and groups; run workshops for teachers; supported adults in the community with a dual diagnoses of severe learning difficulties and enduring mental health conditions; ran creative workshops in hospices and also facilitated psychosocial programmes in refugee camps abroad from France to Africa. Bethan is also a Clinical Supervisor with her own private practice.
Martina Mindang is a qualified Art Psychotherapist and is currently a part-time lecturer on the MA Art Therapy programme at Derby University. Martina has worked in a variety of NHS adult mental health services including acute admissions, day centre and high secure hospital. She has experience of working within forensic services with people who are survivors of trauma, violence and neglect and she has a special clinical interest in recovery from violence. Martina has a background in providing group and individual art psychotherapy over many years as well as providing reflective practice and clinical supervision to professionals working in these sectors. Martina is a clinical supervisor within her own private practice.
Other staff from the subject area that you may encounter include:
We also are very fortunate to draw on the services of other professionals who work in a range of settings.
Watch the below video to hear from one of our Therapeutic Arts lecturers.
To apply for this course you are required to have completed an undergraduate degree, either:
- BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing
- 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, or
- an equivalent professional qualification and extensive experience in a related field.
You will also need:
- around one year's full time (or equivalent) relevant experience which may include paid or voluntary work and experience gained through caring responsibilities in your personal life
- 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 6.5 or equivalent with no element below 6.0, as stipulated by the HCPC at the point of application.
Experience of having undergone personal therapy is desirable (though not essential).
Please note that admission for the course is conducted on a gathered field basis and this course had an application deadline of 10 March 2022.
The final interview date is due to be conducted in April 2022, this means it is likely to be mid-April before the interview panel will be in a position to issue outcomes.
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.
Following application submission, applicants will be asked to submit an online portfolio. Applicants who are invited to submit a portfolio will have three weeks to do so and will receive guidance information related to the completion of the portfolio.
The portfolio element of your application must be submitted and passed in order for you to be shortlisted for interview.
Shortlisted candidates will be required to complete a satisfactory virtual interview. This will include both a group and individual interview. Non-attendance may result in your application being withdrawn.
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.
2023/24 Fees (August 2023 - July 2024)
£1,500 per 20 credits
£14,900 for the full course
Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.
Additional costs and optional extras
About postgraduate awards
Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.
|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 are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Funding your studies
Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.
Find out about funding your studies
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out about the Alumni discount
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
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, as long as you meet the HCPC’s requirements, and also for full membership of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
If you are a registered art therapist who is wanting to top up your existing qualification to an MA then please get in touch with the Course Team.
Download programme specification
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 usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
- Resources for practical workshops, clinical supervision, some travel to placements can also be refunded
- DBS check
- Health screening costs
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Travel to and from placements, some placement related expenses are reimbursed if students spend more than £5 per day in travel to and from placement
- Minimum of 72 sessions of personal therapy approx. £3000
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Any additional academic books that students feel they need
- Students may opt to engage in international trips and activities that are not fully funded, though bursaries may be available.
- Optional outings and trips will also require self-funding
- Professional HCPC membership required to practice. More details can be found www.hcpc-uk.org
- British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) - optional but advised
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.
Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.