MA Art Psychotherapy

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(Opens in a new tab) 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.

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Entry Requirements

Please read carefully as all requirements must be met:

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. Only .pdf format is supported and the maximum acceptable file size is 10MB. If this is likely to pose a problem please email your documents to: admissions@southwales.ac.uk

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.

**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 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.

Application Deadline

Applications for 2024 are now open. The deadline for complete applications is the 30th June 2024. 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.


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(Opens in a new tab) 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.


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.

Additional Costs

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.


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.


Full time

Complete your degree in the shortest possible time and study flexibly – when and where suits you!


You’ll study 9 modules in total (approx. 37 hrs/week).

Part time option one

Study for a degree whilst fitting it around your work, care and other life commitments.


You’ll study 6 modules per year (approx. 25 hrs/week).

Part time option two

Take time to study and spread the tuition fees over a longer period – at no extra cost.


You’ll study 4–5 modules per year (approx. 19 hrs/week).

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