Art therapy offers a rich range of life enhancing and strengthening opportunities for individuals, families and communities. Art-based approaches to healing foster non-verbal modes of communication to express emotional difficulties and diverse life-world experiences in ways that spoken language cannot. Art therapists assist individuals and groups of people in exploring forms in which visual imagery can nurture significant insights related to the psychological issues they may face and develop new ways of understanding self and others. We need art therapy researchers, scholars and practitioners to lead the development of personal and social uses of art-related health and therapeutically oriented practices and processes in the 21st century.
The MA in Creative Arts Therapies, Art Therapy option, provides you with an opportunity to combine your passion for art and therapeutic work. Our distinguished faculty members have a wealth of theory and practical experience as scholars, researchers and registered art therapists. They will assist you to develop deep and wide reaching applications of the interventions, research, and clinical applications of art therapy.
Benefit from two eight-month-long practicums where you will work directly with clients in conjunction with an on-site supervisor, as well as your departmental supervisor. Montreal provides a myriad of local sites to carry out your practicum, including the Centre for the Arts in Human Development and the Art Hives network connected to Concordia University. Placement possibilities include hospitals and health care institutions, community centres, geriatric facilities, and schools.
The Art Therapy option is a professional program approved by the Canadian Art Therapy Association and the American Art Therapy Association. You will graduate from our program having met these association’s educational requirements to become a professional Art Therapist. Graduates are also eligible to become professional members of the Quebec Art Therapy Association or of their provincial art therapy association. Additionally, graduates can apply for the Canadian Certified Counsellor designation offered through the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
Entry into the program requires a bachelor’s/baccalaureate degree with courses in Visual Arts (24 credits, which must include 18 credits in Studio Arts, and 6 credits in Art History/Art Theory/Art Education, or approved equivalents); Psychology (24 credits, which must include courses in Introductory, Developmental and Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Strategies of Inquiry, or approved equivalents); and An Introduction to Art Therapy (3 credits). Since enrolment is limited, applicants are selected on the basis of a past academic record of no less than a B average, a 500-word letter of intent and three letters of recommendation. Applicants must submit a portfolio of up to 20 slides, clearly identified in their name. They may choose to present pictures of their work in an 8.5” x 11” plastic pocket or submit digital pictures on CD. Previous work experience in a clinical, rehabilitative or educational setting is expected. Direct experience with the therapeutic process is highly desirable.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete 60 credits.
Residence. The minimum residence requirement is two years (5 terms) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
Courses. All students are required to take the following core courses (with a 3-credit value, unless otherwise specified): ATRP 600, ATRP 602, ATRP 603, ATRP 604, CATS 610, CATS 611, ATRP 613, ATRP 614, ATRP 620, ATRP 623, ATRP 624, ATRP 630, CATS 639 (1 credit), CATS 641 (1 credit), CATS 643 (1 credit), CATS 691, and ATRP 693. Six additional elective credits, to be chosen in consultation with an academic faculty advisor, are required of all candidates. With the approval of the Chair of Creative Arts Therapies and that of the cooperating department, some or all of the elective credits may be chosen from other graduate programs in the Faculty of Fine Arts, in other faculties at Concordia, or other universities.
Additionally, students choose to enter one of two streams of research in the program containing the following requirements:
CATS 689: Research Paper (9 credits)
OR CATS 698:Applied Research Project with Report (6 credits) and CATS 699:Comprehensive Exam (3 credits).
Practicum. In addition to the credit requirements, and as stipulated by the professional program approval associations (the American Art Therapy Association and the Canadian Art Therapy Association), each student must successfully complete a minimum of 800 hours (350 direct client contact hours and 450 agency hours) in the practice of art therapy, under faculty supervision, in an approved practicum setting. The program emphasizes experience with individual, group, and family formats for therapeutic interventions. Students work with different client populations during the first and second year of the practicum.
CATS 689: Research Paper. The research paper represents the formal culmination of graduate studies in creative arts therapies. This paper includes a literature review and may also include methodology, specific procedures, research population or sample, data collection and analysis, as appropriate to the topic approved by the Creative Arts Therapies Research and Ethics Committee. Students develop their proposals for submission to this Committee as a course requirement for CATS 691. The required research courses (CATS 691 and ATRP 693) aim to provide students with knowledge of specific research methodologies.
CATS 698: Applied Research Project with Report and CATS 699: Comprehensive Exam and . The student chooses this project to further explore specific pilot project reports, feasibility studies and research with artistic, photographic or video documentation relevant to the creative arts therapies. All applied projects must include a written component, and be presented by each student as a public seminar upon completion. An oral/written comprehensive case study examination must be taken to demonstrate integrative aspects of learning and knowledge in the study of art therapy.
Language Requirements. While there are no formal language requirements, students intending to work in Quebec are strongly encouraged to develop a working knowledge of French.
Our department hosts a semi-annual workshop for prospective students where faculty members give art therapy information sessions that include a presentation and a question and answer period. The day offers you the chance to learn more about Concordia, our program prerequisites and how to complete an application. You will also be introduced to a number of international creative arts therapy organizations.
New students are automatically eligible for fellowships and select awards offered within the Faculty of Fine Arts and the School of Graduate Studies, ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 per year. Some awards have specific criteria and can be based on academic excellence and financial need.
The practicum component of our program provides you with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that you are acquiring in your coursework. It is the vehicle for integrating theory with clinical experience – a critical element in the development of the professional competence of an art therapist. Practicum includes both clinical experience and supervision. You must successfully complete 800 hours (350 direct client contact hours and 450 agency hours) in an approved practicum setting.
Clinical experience is acquired in a variety of agencies in the greater Montreal area, providing you with a practical application of art therapy. Supervision is provided at both the agency and at the university.
The Creative Arts Therapies Student Graduate Association promotes stronger interdisciplinary ties with the Concordia community at large. Become an elected officer and participate in a number of committees that make a vital contribution to university activities.
An MA in Art Therapy prepares you for careers in various sectors, including art therapy clinics, youth and family centres, and women’s shelters. Many of our graduates also work with aboriginal communities and a number of Alzheimer’s societies. Read about our alumni career stories.
The practicum is of tremendous benefit in familiarizing you with the working environment. Occasionally, graduates have gone on to full or part-time work at the health care institution, school or clinic where they were initially placed as students. Graduates have found employment throughout Canada, the United States and abroad.
Graduates may also choose to join professional associations such as: