Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2 years

UK fee

£13,500 for the full course (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 for the full course (2024/25)

Course level




Start date



Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

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.

Professional registration 

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.

Student feedback - Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2023

100%agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating
100%agreed the course has enhanced their academic ability
100%agreed that the course has challenged them to produce their best work

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.

Take a look at a video of James telling us about their experience of postgraduate Therapeutic Arts study at the University of Derby.

View MA Art Therapy James Ventre's experience video transcript

A blonde female in a navy and brightly patterned shirt stands in a white art studio space with hanging sculptures and paintings in the background

Mature student Amy achieves her art therapy goal

Be inspired by Amy's journey to becoming a qualified art therapist.

Read moreRead more

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.

Take a look at the Transitional Spaces MA Art Therapy exhibition at Britannia Mill, home to Therapeutic Arts courses at the University of Derby.

View Transitional Spaces: MA Art Therapy exhibition video transcript

A female with brown curly hair wearing a black t shirt and black shirt with colourful pattern and a gold chain around their neck leans against a wall with a back and white abstract print of a spider pattern and a pink knitted spider hangs from above

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.

Hannah Elliott
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. 

Black and white image of a paper model of a house in front of a circular mirror in a brick environment

MA Art Therapy Exhibition 2020

Explore a showcase of dissertation artworks by 2020 MA Art Therapy graduates. This collection of artwork is the culmination of two years’ hard work and is the final aspect of study before the students move onto professional practice.

Discover 'Beyond Words'Discover 'Beyond Words'

Attendance requirements

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.   

Clinical placement

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 

A headshot of a smiling female with blue eyes and blonde hair tied in a bun

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.

Catherine Brooks
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

Close up of colourful woven piece of work at MA Art Therapy Exhibition 2017

MA Art Therapy galleries

Explore work from our MA Art Therapy students, including previous exhibitions, Big Wood project, Independent Scholarship Exhibitions and studio spaces.

Explore our student workExplore our student work
Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

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.

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.

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. 

Hear from one of the Therapeutic Arts lecturers at the University of Derby.

View MA Art Therapy - hear from one of our Therapeutic Arts lecturers video transcript

Entry requirements

To apply for this course you are required to have completed an undergraduate degree, either:

You will also need:

Experience of having undergone personal therapy is desirable (though not essential).

Gathered field

Please note that admission for this course is conducted on a gathered field basis and this course had an application deadline of 3 March 2024.

Due to the volume of applications that have been received for this course, the final interview date is now due to be conducted in May 2024 rather than April 2024. This means that it is likely to be mid-May 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.

Interview information

Your portfolio

Following application submission, applicants will be asked to submit an online portfolio. Applicants who are invited to submit a portfolio will have two 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. Non-attendance may result in your application being withdrawn.

Limited places available

Currently, we are able to offer 20 to 30 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.

Fees and funding

2024/25 (August 2024 - July 2025)


£13,500 for the full course



£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 Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 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 studiesFind 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 discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarships

We have a range of scholarships and discounts available to international students which can be used together to offer a reduction in your tuition fees.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

We are not currently accepting applications for this course, please check back for further updates. 


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).

Contact us

Course: Kirsty McTaggart (Programme Leader) +44 (0)1332 594016

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 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

Teaching hours

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.

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
Mandatory costs not included in your fees


Optional costs not included in your fees

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.