Postgraduate Taught

MSc Art Psychotherapy

Open yourself up to a creative and personally rewarding new career on the only Art Psychotherapy MSc course in the UK. You can study full or part-time, and as graduate you’ll be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council to work as an art psychotherapist.

 The life-changing potential of therapy, 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 in a caring profession such as psychiatry, 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.

You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

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.
  • You will graduate with the knowledge and practical confidence to start work as an art therapist thanks to the course’s strong research component.
  • 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 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.

As an art therapist you will work with clients to access their own image-making abilities. You could work with people of any age, from very small children to young people, adults and the elderly, 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 find 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 real-life 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 alongside your peers on our Music Therapy and Play Therapy MSc courses.

 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 a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip, or a PgCert.

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 and a clinical project.


Teaching hours and attendance

Attendance is mandatory. Classes in Year One usually take place from 9-5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In Year Two classes take place from 9-5pm on Thursdays only.

You will also be required to carry out independent learning. Students attend practice placement two days per week. All students will be required to carry out independent learning. The Art Studio will be open for art practice outside of scheduled teaching, most evenings and weekends.

Class sizes

Each year group contains 25-30 students.

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).


Level 1 (f/t -year 1)

  • Art Psychotherapy Practice Placement 1
  • Art Psychotherapy Therapeutic Skills & Interpersonal Learning Groups 1
  • Interdisciplinary Studies 1
  • Pre-registration Research Methods

Level 2 (f/t- year 2)

  • Art Psychotherapy Practice Placement 2
  • Interdisciplinary Studies 2 & IPL Groups 2
  • Clinical Project

All modules are 30 credits, except Clinical Project, which is 60 credits.

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (September 2018), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.

Please check this site for any updates.


You will undertake 110 days supervised practice placement. Full-time students attend practice placement two days per week. Placements are allocated by QMU. Placements will take place in various settings throughout Scotland, including education, voluntary and healthcare environments.



Art psychotherapists work with a wide range of clients and communities, individually or with groups, within the public and private sectors throughout the world. The course meets the requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Art Therapists. Graduates work in a wide variety of different settings across the globe including health, education and the voluntary sector.

Application deadline

31st May 2019. This course is highly competitive with limited places. We advise applicants to apply early, however late applications will be considered.

Entry requirements

Qualifications: 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 in a variety of media over a period of time. Degrees in subjects such as psychology, social work, nursing, education etc. will be considered if supported by a substantial portfolio of art work.

Experience: Normally a minimum of one year’s full-time experience (or p/t 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 and no individual component score below 6.5.

Applicants may apply for the course without a formal IELTS certificate but one will need to be provided before a final offer can be made.

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

Portfolio: Portfolios are not needed when submitting your initial application. Portfolios will be requested once applications have gone through the initial review stage. The request will be made via email and each applicant will have 14 days in which to submit.

The portfolio should show no more than 12 examples of artwork should demonstrate a serious involvement with art media and your own personal process of work with imagery. It is recommended that you include:

  • Sketchbooks – scanned images
  • Slides – as scanned images
  • Photographs

These should be supplied as a link to a website such as tumblr, flickr or a page of your personal website.

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

More information and contacts

For more information, please contact Julliet King or Admissions 

Please Note:

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

Course Overview

At QMU and on practice placement
Full-time: 2 years; Part-time: 3-4 years (2020)
Start Date
September 2019
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

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