Postgraduate Taught

MSc Art Psychotherapy

Art Psychotherapy is a profession with creativity at its heart! The programme at QMU has the potential to offer a personally rewarding career on the only Art Psychotherapy MSc course in the UK. You can study full- or part-time, and as a graduate you will be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council to work as an art psychotherapist. 

The life-changing potential of psychotherapy, the power of artistic expression and your desire for a more meaningful career all meet on this unique course. If you have at least one year’s experience of working with people within a mental or physical health service, education, social services or the voluntary sector, this course will help you build on your experience and develop new skills as an art psychotherapist. The MSc Art Psychotherapy is based in our School of Health Sciences and offers a stimulating learning environment with a practical focus. 


Why QMU?

  • We have excellent partnerships with third sector organisations. You’ll benefit from excellent placement opportunities working with a variety of clients, in schools, the NHS, community settings and other organisations.
  • The course is proud to have an international perspective and welcomes students from across the world. It carries 240 credits/120 European Credits which are transferable across Europe, some states in the USA and Canada.
  • Students on this course usually come from across the globe, which makes for a very rich and interesting learning experience.
  • Our campus has extensive landscaped grounds and we are developing an environmental element to our teaching, encouraging our students to connect with, and be inspired by, the natural world around us.

Course overview

The creation of art in the presence of a trained art psychotherapist can have a profoundly positive effect on people with emotional, behavioural, mental health or physical problems. Art therapy is not a recreational activity (although the sessions can be enjoyable) but a form of psychotherapy that helps people address confusing and distressing issues.

Art psychotherapists work with people to access their own image-making abilities. You could work with people of any age, from very small children to young people, adults and older adults, helping them to use art media to express themselves and communicate. You may work with groups or individuals, depending on clients’ needs. 

You and your client will jointly explore the meaning of the process and image/art object in the light of personal experiences and/or interpersonal relationships that may sometimes be distressing or troubling. The aim is to facilitate the intra-personal and interpersonal communication of experiences that the client may initially have difficulty in discussing verbally. The art psychotherapist’s task is to support processes of emotional integration by providing a safe, reliable and containing therapeutic environment within which the client can create and use art making to develop insight and promote change.

This course, the only MSc in Art Therapy in the UK, will introduce you to the profession, theory and practice of art psychotherapy. Regular practice placements working with clients will build on your theoretical learning and allow you to apply your developing skills.

Your learning will be enriched by the interdisciplinary structure of the course as you study some modules alongside your peers on our Music Therapy course.

All students are required to be in personal psychotherapy throughout the duration of the course.

Students will attend supervision on site at the practice placement setting and at QMU throughout the training.


To obtain this MSc you must complete a number of credit-bearing modules. 

Exit awards

MSc (240 credits/120 ECTS)/ PgDip (120 credits/60 ECTS)/ PgCert (60 credits/30 ECTS)

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will attend classes, work in groups and carry out independent learning. Assessment methods include reports, essays and presentations. You will undertake a practice placement (see below).


Teaching hours and attendance

For full-time students, classes in Year One usually take place from 9-6.15pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. In Year Two classes take place from 9-6.15pm on Thursdays only.

For part-time students, classes in Year One take place on Tuesdays, 9am-6.15pm. In Year Two, classes take place on Mondays, 9 am-6.15pm. In Year Three and/or Four, classes will take place on a Thursday only, 9am-6.15pm.

You will also be required to carry out independent learning. Full-time students attend practice placement two days per week and part-time students attend one day per week over two semesters. Part-time students wishing to complete their Clinical Project in Year Four will attend personal academic tutorials by appointment.

The Art Studio will be open for practice during evenings and weekends, outside of normal teaching hours.

Class sizes

There are usually around 30 full time and 12 part-time students on this course each year. Some classes are larger as some teaching is shared with MSc Music Therapy. Much of the teaching, however, is in small groups of between 5 and 9 depending on the group type.  

Links with industry/ professional bodies

Our graduates are eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council as Registered Arts Therapists (Art) and are eligible for full membership of BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists). The course meets the requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Art Therapists.


Level 1 (full-time: year 1/ part-time: years 1 & 2)

  • Developmental and Relational Perspectives (20 credits)
  • Art Psychotherapy Theory and Practice (20 credits)
  • Theory and Practice of Person-Centred Health and Wellbeing (20 credits online)
  • Leading Person-centred Practice for Health and Wellbeing (20 credits online)
  • Practice-Based Learning 1 (40 credits)

Level 2 (full-time: year 2/ part-time: - Years 3 & 4)

  • Arts Therapies in Context (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Practice-Based Learning 2 (40 credits)



Placements are vital to your learning process. You will undertake supervised practice placement spread over two semesters. For full-time students that are two days per week and for part-time students it is one day per week. Your placements could be in various locations and settings, including education, voluntary and healthcare environments. Placements are allocated by QMU.



You will graduate with the knowledge and practical confidence to start work as an art therapist thanks to the course’s strong research component. Training as an art psychotherapist has the potential to be a dynamic and exciting career. Art psychotherapists work with a wide range of clients and communities, individually or with groups, within the public and private sectors. You could work in the UK or travel and use your skills to make a difference much further afield.

Application deadline

31st May 2020. The deadline for this course has been extended to 15th October 2020. This course is highly competitive with limited places. We advise applicants to apply early however late applicants will be considered.

Entry requirements

UK honours degree or equivalent in the area of the visual arts supported by a portfolio of art work (no more than 12 examples) in a variety of media over a period of time. Degrees in subjects such as psychology, social work, nursing, education etc. will be considered with evidence of sufficient level of art skills demonstrated in their portfolio. It is recommended to include sketchbooks, slides, photographs and other media. 

Normally a minimum of one year’s full-time experience (or part-time equivalent) of work in a caring capacity or equivalent. Relevant care work includes: nursing assistant, project worker, arts instructor, care work in a community setting, art teaching, or facilitating art workshops. Some experience of personal art psychotherapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy, or experiential workshops in creative therapies is desirable.

International : Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 7.0 with no individual component score less than 6.5 .

Criminal records check: A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.

Interview: UK applicants are expected to attend an interview at QMU and will be required to bring their art portfolio. Interviews will take place normally between December and May. Interviews for international students will be conducted over Skype and will be required to submit an electronic portfolio.

More information and contacts

For more information, please contact Julliet King or contact Admissions 

Single modules for CPD

It is not possible to study single modules, however you may be interested in our Introduction to Art Psychotherapy Short Course.

For more information please


Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU and on practice placement
Full-time: 2 years; Part-time: 3-4 years
Start Date
January 2021
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies


Useful Links

A Student Story (see bottom of page for more)

Eva Grigoriadou - MSc Art Psychotherapy "The art psychotherapy course has changed me a lot as a therapist but also as a human being. My mentality and the way I perceive and understand my external and internal reality has changed but also my self-esteem and confidence were raised. I would and already do suggest this course to people who are interested in art therapy as it has also opened a new path for my career." Read my story