MA Art Psychotherapy

The part-time MA Art Psychotherapy course at the University of South Wales provides you with the fundamental training and skills to become a qualified Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Art Psychotherapist. You may be a graduate or already working in a related area and looking to qualify professionally and work in art therapy.

On the MA Art Psychotherapy course, you will benefit from training alongside trainee Music Therapists as well as participating in experiential and supervision groups.

In addition, you will go out on placement in supervised and University-approved placement settings in the second and third years, and a pre-clinical experience placement in the first year. 

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years September Newport City C

You will participate in infant or child observation, providing you with a strong grounding in human development and observational skills that will inform the rest of your studies. You will benefit from the use of the bespoke facilities on campus to support your learning and further develop your creative skills and art form.

Experiential group, supervision groups and other course components, talks and discussions will provide an insight into the principles, practices and application of Art Psychotherapy.

Each year students will complete 60 credits.

Year One: Art Psychotherapy 

Module: Theory and Practice of Art Psychotherapy, incorporating:

  • Infant or child observation
  • Seminars and workshops with highly experiential and participatory content relating to study of theories and concepts relevant to Art Psychotherapy practice and the arts therapies in general
  • Study of a range of client groups
  • Modality specific experiential groups
  • Group supervision
  • Placement in a University-approved setting

Module: Art Psychotherapy Skills 1, incorporating:

  • Role play and video recording of peer practice
  • Study of generic and specialist Art Psychotherapy skills

Year Two: Art Psychotherapy

You will begin to explore evidence based Art Psychotherapy practice and therapeutic approaches to meet the needs of diverse populations and client groups and settings.

You will further develop your specialist Art Psychotherapy skills and continue to learn through experiential group, supervision groups, workshops, lectures, show cases and participatory teaching.

Module: Therapeutic Approaches and Evidence Based Practice, incorporating:

  • Lectures, seminars and workshops pertaining to specialist Art Psychotherapy practice
  • Group supervision
  • Modality specific experiential groups
  • Introduction to research methods
  • One-day placement in a University-approved clinical setting

Module: Art Psychotherapy Skills 2, incorporating:

  • Role play, facilitation and video recording of peer practice
  • Study of advanced specialist Art Psychotherapy skills

Year Three: Art Psychotherapy

You will continue to learn and increasingly facilitate peer learning, through group supervision, experiential groups and practice based research. You will undertake an independent study of a specialist subject relevant to the Art Psychotherapy practice and complete a research project of your choice.

Support is provided through dissertation and research supervision, tutorials, peer discussion and presentations.

Module: Art Psychotherapy Research and Practice

  • Research methods and research project
  • Seminars, lectures and workshops with focus on specialist Art Psychotherapy practice (including working in multidisciplinary, innovative and non-traditional settings) and research
  • One or two-day placement in a University-approved clinical setting
  • Group supervision
  • Modality specific experiential groups

Please note: it is a course requirement that you are in weekly therapy for the duration of the course. Read our Guide to Studying Art Psychotherapy for more information.


You will study through classroom teaching, presentations, clinical placement, professional development, exhibitions, dissertation, self-directed and independent study and viva voce assessment.

  • Year One: One day per week at university, a Monday; in the second semester (January), this will change to one day at university and one day at placement
  • Year Two: One day at university, a Tuesday, and one day at placement
  • Year Three: One or two days at placement (depending on the requirements of individual placements) and one day on campus, a Wednesday


Summative assessment will take the form of course assignments, presentations, examinations, projects, and dissertation. These assessments will make use of, for example, case studies, workplace investigations, experiential learning in university and placements, literature searches and the outputs to be assessed will include written reports, verbal presentations, essays and portfolios of evidence/work.

Formative assessment will be collated from placement providers via placement report and student self-assessment, course staff and group leaders in form of group supervision report, accumulative feedback from classroom and peer feedback.


Our trainee art psychotherapists have the opportunity to experience a number of placement settings and organisations whilst on the course. Innovative and non-traditional ways of working in art psychotherapy are also explored together with the concept of what ‘therapy space’ may look like in practice.

A unique feature of our art therapy course is training in ‘live’ art psychotherapy rooms where client therapy work is undertaken at other times during the week. This enables our students to consider the room with service users in mind at all times. Organisation of resources, safety and boundaries, room furniture and ambience are important to explore and it enables the students to gain key transferable skills in being able to set up therapeutic spaces in most environments. This may include non-traditional work in outreach mental health services, environmental art psychotherapy practice, museums and galleries as well as traditional therapy spaces which are ward based (acute mental health settings), in community and/or specialist non-statutory therapeutic services.

Placements include a range of organisations and settings such as:

  • NHS (PMHT, CMHT, specialist services – forensics secure and medium secure wards, eating disorders services, CAMHS – all levels, perinatal mental health services, learning disabilities, palliative care, physical and chronic conditions and arts in health and wellbeing programmes within the NHS); Education (primary, secondary, specialist, further education, YOT); social services, youth offending agencies, specialist agencies (trauma recovery centres, sexual assault referral centres, private forensic settings, substance misuse and recovery services); charity (palliative care and hospice care, AiHWB, social enterprises and arts based organisations in rural areas) etc
  • Innovative practice: therapy in museums and galleries, outreach and environmental therapy etc.


  • An undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification and extensive experience in a related field.
  • Two references uploaded with your application – providing referee details alone is not sufficient.*
  • An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)**
  • 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.
  • Ability to provide evidence of sufficient life experience, intellectual and emotional capacity to cope with the demands of the course.
  • A current and ongoing arts practice, including the use of art for personal expression of thoughts and feelings
  • If your first language is not English, you'll need to have achieved either IELTS or TOEFL as stipulated by the HCPC at the point of application. For IELTS we require 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each band. For TOEFL (IBT) we require 100/120 with a minimum of 24 in Reading and Writing, and a minimum of 25 in Speaking and Listening. Please upload this as part of your application.

*The references must be uploaded on letter headed paper, if this is not available the referee can send them direct from a professional/work email address to [email protected]

**Please note any disclosed police record will be assessed in line with the USW Fitness to Practice process and the requirements of HCPC, to check the potential of successful professional registration with the Regulator upon graduation from the course.


 Please read our Guide to studying Art Psychotherapy for more detailed information.


We do not accept deferred applications for the MA Art Psychotherapy

Application Deadline

Applications for 2022 will open in September 2021, complete applications need to be submitted by the 30th June 2022. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on an individual basis should places remain.

Artistic portfolio required. Tutors will explain the course content and you will be given the opportunity to ask us questions in addition to us assessing your suitability for the course. We will wish to explore the professional experience you can bring to the programme and expect all applicants to be able to discuss and evidence their experience.

If you are selected to attend an interview we will contact you by e-mail to make a booking. This is a very popular course and we receive more applications than we have places.  Therefore, if you are selected to attend an interview we would strongly advise that you book yourself onto the earliest interview date to avoid disappointment as interview dates/spaces are limited.

Interview Dates for 2022 to be confirmed




Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Additional assessment or memberships: Professional body student fees £55
Years 1 - 3. Fees per year. BAAT trainee membership - strongly advised
Therapy * £20 - £60
Years 1 - 3. Costs are per session/per week. At least 20 sessions required per year.
DBS * £53.20
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Other: Professional Indemnity Insurance * £45 - £90
Years 1-3. Costs are per year.
Other: Binding Dissertation * £30
Year 3
Other: Placement travel *
Students have to fund travel and subsistence costs for their work placements. Costs will vary, depending on location.
Other: Infant Observation travel *
Year 1. Travel to infant observation. Costs will vary, depending on location.
Other: personal art materials
Art materials for ongoing personal art practice and voluntary exhibition . Years 1 - 3
Other: data collection
Travel or other costs for data collection for research project, if required
Other: Printing of poster * £3
Contribution to printing of group research poster - one poster per group
Other: Placement equipment * £20
Encrypted memory stick for bringing images of client artwork etc to University
Other: Placement vaccinations (may be compulsory) *
Years 1 - 3. Placements may require students to have/ you may wish to have vaccinations eg Hepatitis B (£120 approx. or placement may pay)



Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.


USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount 

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales graduates studying a postgraduate course from September 2021 (this includes students starting their course in January/ February 2022). T's and C's apply.

Click here for more information about the USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount


Apply directly to the University for this art therapy course.

Admissions statement 

Read our Guide to Studying Art Psychotherapy.

You are eligible to apply for professional UK HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registration on successful completion of the Masters course. Graduates of this MA Art Psychotherapy course can go on to private practice after two years full-time/four years part-time supervised practice, or into employment in settings including NHS psychiatric and other hospitals, Social Services departments, education settings including special education, the criminal justice system, the voluntary sector and community projects.

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree, or career routes in higher education teaching and clinical supervision. For more information on careers for art therapy / art psychotherapists visit The British Association of Art Therapists website.