MA Art Psychotherapy
The three-year part-time MA Art Psychotherapy course at the University of South Wales provides you with the fundamental training, skills and clinical experience to become a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Art Psychotherapist.
The course’s theoretical grounding is in the psychodynamic and systemic theories and its professional leaning is pluralistic and trauma informed. The course prepares students to practice as an Art Psychotherapist across the lifespan in a range of settings, working across a wide spectrum and complexity of needs. It enables students to work collaboratively with clients and their representatives to develop the best possible art psychotherapy-based support and interventions, enabling full involvement of service users in the access to, design and evaluation of their art psychotherapy experience. Our students develop their knowledge, skills and experience to meet the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists by the end of their studies.
Additionally, you will explore group processes and relate them to clinical practice, as well as working alongside students from other courses to boost your learning experience.
A range of learning and teaching strategies, meeting the needs of the diverse learner, will help you engage with the most current Art Psychotherapy theory and practice to develop your own Art Psychotherapy identity.
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 in the context of art psychotherapy practice.
A fundamental part of the course is infant or child observation, providing you with a strong grounding in human development and observational skills that will inform the rest of your studies.
Experiential group, peer practice, supervision groups, seminars and lectures, external talks, classroom discussions are underpinned by the most recent pedagogical advances in higher education and will provide a further insight into the principles, practices and application of Art Psychotherapy.
Each year students will complete 60 credits.
Please note it is a course requirement that you attend 1 hour of personal therapy on a weekly basis (except for breaks during the year such as holidays or annual leave). Read our Guide to Studying Art Psychotherapy for more information.
Year One: Art Psychotherapy
Module 1: 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 and the service user voice in the Art Psychotherapy practice
- Modality specific experiential groups
- Group supervision
- Placement in a University approved setting in the second half of the year.
Module 2: Art Psychotherapy Skills 1, incorporating:
- Highly experiential role plays and video recording of peer practice
- Study of generic and specialist Art Psychotherapy skills and their application in a range of settings
Year Two: Art Psychotherapy
You will begin to explore collaborative, evidence-based Art Psychotherapy practice and therapeutic approaches to meet the needs of diverse populations, 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 peer presentations.
Module 1: 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 2: Art Psychotherapy Skills 2, incorporating:
- Simulated practice and peer experimentation with Art Psychotherapy tools and approaches, feedback facilitation and video recording of peer practice
- Study of advanced and specialist Art Psychotherapy skills and related theoretical concepts
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 in-depth 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 1: Art Psychotherapy Research and Practice
- Research methods and student led research project supported by dissertation supervision
- Seminars, lectures and workshops with focus on specialist Art Psychotherapy practice (including working in multidisciplinary, innovative and non-traditional settings) and current research underpinning such practice
- Group supervision
- Student-led experiential groups
- One or two-day placement in a University-approved clinical setting
The course is designed with the most current Art Psychotherapy pedagogical advances in mind. You will study through classroom teaching, staff and student led presentations, clinical placement, professional development, exhibitions, dissertation, self-directed and independent study and formative and summative assessments.
- Year One: One day per week at university, on a Monday; in the second semester (end of 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, personal therapy, 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. Informal formative feedback is available throughout your studies from peer facilitation and observation, experiential learning and reflection, personal tutorials and group discussions.
Our trainee art psychotherapists have the opportunity to experience a range 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, to enable first-hand experience of both in person and remote delivery of Art Psychotherapy.
Increasingly across the three years of study, our students are able to contribute to services utilising public health, leadership and reflective practice skills, ensuring their therapeutic approach is collaborative, adaptable and versatile.
A unique feature of our 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 always consider the room with service users in mind. 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 (such as acute mental health settings), community and/or specialist therapeutic services.
Placements include a range of organisations and settings, such as:
- NHS (Primary Mental Health Teams, Community Mental Health Teams, specialist services – forensics secure and medium secure wards, eating disorders services, CAMHS – all levels, perinatal mental health services, learning disabilities and acquired brain injury, palliative and dementia care, physical and chronic conditions and arts in health and wellbeing programmes within the NHS); Education (primary, secondary, specialist, further education, YOT, adult); Social care (across all age groups and needs) and social services, youth offending agencies, specialist agencies (trauma recovery centres, sexual assault referral centres, private forensic settings, substance use, addictions 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 art therapy etc.
We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
An undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification and extensive experience in a related field.
Two years’ full time (or part-time equivalent) relevant experience which may include paid or voluntary work and experience gained through caring responsibilities in your personal life. A full work experience history must be provided at application stage.
Ability to provide evidence of sufficient life experience, intellectual and emotional capacity to cope with the demands of the course and working in unpredictable situations.
A current and ongoing arts practice, including the use of art for personal expression of thoughts and feelings. You are required to submit 5 examples from your arts practice (photographs or web-based examples of your work) at the application stage.
A focused personal statement: – you must respond to the following questions:
1. Why do you make art and what does your art express?
2. How does your experience, skills and education to date prepare you for art psychotherapy practice? You must consult the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists to respond to this question.
3. What have you done to prepare for the training? Include any reading and audio-visual material, attendance at courses or open evenings, discussions with arts therapists and other activities relevant to the training.
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)**
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. This requirement applies even if your first degree was completed in English. 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.
We do not accept deferred applications for the MA Art Psychotherapy course. If you are unable take up your place, you will need to reapply. Please note that the course is substantially oversubscribed, and early application is advised to avoid disappointment.
Applications for 2023 are now open. The deadline for complete applications is the 30th June 2023. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on an individual basis only if any places remain.
The in-person interview is comprised of a group information session, a group exercise/discussion, and an individual interview. You will have the opportunity to ask questions at various stages to the day and we do our best to answer them so that you are as fully informed as possible to thrive on the course.
Artistic portfolio is required in person. We will wish to explore the personal attributes, professional experiences and skills you can bring to the programme and expect all applicants to be able to discuss and evidence these.
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 substantially 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 and fill up quickly.
Interview Dates for 2023
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 2023 - July 2024 Fees
Part-time UK: TBC
August 2024 - July 2025 Fees
Part-time UK: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
|Additional assessment or memberships: Professional body student fees *||£55||
Years 1 - 3. Fees per year. BAAT trainee membership - required
|Therapy *||£20 - £60||
Years 1 - 3. Costs are per session/per week. At least 20 sessions required per year.
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: 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 student group 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 or memory card 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 e.g. Hepatitis B (£120 approx. or placement may pay), Covid-19 vaccination and boosters
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
USW Postgraduate 20% Alumni Discount 2023/24
The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales* graduates starting a taught/online*** MA,MSc, LLM,MBA or DBA course from September 2023 (this includes students starting a course in January/February 2024). T's and Cs apply. Click here for more details and eligibility criteria: USW Postgraduate Alumni Discount 2023/24
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.