Pre-Art Therapy Track Puts Students on Career Path

Studio art and art history majors interested in a career in art therapy can follow that path now.

UA Art and Art History can provide undergraduate coursework students will need to apply to a master’s degree program in art therapy, which is the required entry level into art therapy work, according to the ACATE (Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education). The department has several options for preparatory studies.

Molly Lay (MFA 2023), “Be Here,” 2021, cast bronze and concrete, Woods Quad Sculpture Garden, University of Alabama.

One of the best ways to prepare to apply to a master’s level program to train as an art therapist is to major in studio art and minor in psychology or double major in both subjects. UA students can earn a BA in studio art (with 42 hours) or a BFA in studio art (with 81 hours). They will receive a strong background in all areas of studio art and psychology, be able to prepare a portfolio of artwork for graduate school and gather experience through practicums, research, volunteering or other opportunities.

For a psychology minor students will need to take Psychology 101 plus six hours in 300- or 400-level courses, and then nine hours of psychology electives. Course topics that art therapy graduate programs like to see can be abnormal psychology, developmental psychology (including courses such as child psych, adult psych, lifespan or the psychology of aging); in some cases, a psychology research class, statistics, or personality theory may also be preferred by a graduate school.

Some of the top master’s in art therapy programs include schools such as Florida State University, George Washington University, New York University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indiana.

Students who are thinking about majoring in art or are already an art major are almost there. Contact your adviser or the departmental office and we’ll talk you through your next steps, whether you need to declare a major or a minor or assess which courses you need.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.