Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£950 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,700 for the full programme (2020/21)

Course level




Start date



Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

Course description

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. This can be either individual or group therapy, which is psychodynamic in orientation.

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.

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 reserarch 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. 

Examples of work

Explore our galleries of MA Art Therapy at Derby, with images of the MA Art Therapy Exhibition 2017, 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 the Big Show 2016, Big Wood project, Independent Scholarship Exhibitions and studio spaces.

Explore our student workExplore our student work

What you will study

The course runs over two academic years and is made up of five core modules. Four 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:

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.

Side-on black and white portrait of a young student looking to the sky for inspiration with bokeh lights

Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

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. She is currently a full-time Senior Lecturer on the MA Art Therapy and BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing courses at the University of Derby. Kirsty is module leader for the MA Arts Therapies Independent Scholarship module and the Arts Therapies Theory and Research in Relation to Practice Two module.

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. 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.

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.

Sage Stephanou is a qualified Art Psychotherapist, and lectures on the MA Art Therapy programme and BA Creative Expressive Arts, Health & Wellbeing programme. Sage is a practicing multi-disciplinary artist, trainer and facilitator and has a particular interest in working with trauma and anti-oppressive practices. Sage currently works with individuals in mainstream schools, Pupil Referral Units and Special Schools, and has experience working with children and young people who have experienced abuse and complex trauma as well as working in a variety of settings with diverse client groups, including nursing homes, community groups, the NHS, mental health services, schools and therapeutic arts organisations.   

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. 

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.

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).

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

Your portfolio should demonstrate your current artwork created in the past year and offer 10 completed images and one sketchbook. The work needs to be your own personal work, i.e. not client work or work produced through the 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. Digital portfolios will be accepted.

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)


£950 per 20 credits*



£14,700 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 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.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

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

How to apply

The application deadline of 14 February 2020 has now passed and this programme is no longer accepting applications for September 2020.

Should this change and the programme not reach the required recruitment target then we will re-open to applications. Please keep an eye out on the website as this page will be updated regularly.

To find out more about the definition and process of a gathered field, please see our Gathered Field Policy.


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 below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees


Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

Minimum numbers

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