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Art Therapy

Art therapists work with children, young people, adults, and older people in a range of health, education, social care, advocacy, and community services.

As a career, art therapy offers an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. It combines therapeutic expertise, evidence based research, social engagement, resourcefulness, and creative ingenuity.

Combining experiential learning, clinical placements, seminars, workshops and studio practices you will have the opportunity to work in conjunction with cultural and heritage partners, advocacy organisations, and social enterprise initiatives. Clinical supervision will be available to support your training and professional development within a variety of practical settings.

Art therapy is a catalyst for the arts being of service to people and communities in need. This course will train you to become both a skilled clinical practitioner and a social innovator, with the aim of transforming lives and promoting social inclusivity.

This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an arts therapist (Art Therapist or Art Psychotherapist).

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Application process phase 1: application:

Required entry criteria leading to possible selection for interview:

(a) an honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent qualification, normally in visual arts / Fine Art, (or psychology, psychotherapy or allied therapeutic area; or a relevant professional qualification e.g. nursing, social work, medical, teaching etc.); or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through APEL.

(b) demonstration of commitment to own ongoing art practice and to emotional and psychological exploration of self and gaining personal insight & self-awareness from own art process. If invited for interview, a brief portfolio demonstrating this will be required.

(c) at least 1000 hours minimum work experience in a clinical / psychological helping capacity in a professionally relevant caring context (e.g. mental health, health/social care, residential social work, special education, counselling setting), or its equivalent. Paid or voluntary work is acceptable.

(d) applicants must also be able to satisfy the panel at interview that they and their work is of a standard that will allow them to deal with the intellectual, material and emotional rigours of the course. This involves demonstrating capacities consistent with training to become a therapist, including: self-awareness, psychological mindedness, emotional resilience, robustness, and the capacity to be self-reflective and to form and maintain appropriate empathic relationships with clients. This is assessed in a combination of ways: health related questions, searching questions at interview.

(e) all applicants must have a good command of English. (see English language requirement section)

Desired criteria may also be taken into account if applications exceed places.

All successful applicants will need to complete an enhanced Access NI security check or equivalent.

Applicants will be required to submit references from two Referees relating to their: 1) academic work & 2) professional work.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.



MSc Art Therapy is delivered in part-time and full-time mode, with part time study over 3 years and full-time over 2 years. The course is based in Belfast School of Art, Belfast campus.

Attendance must be in compliance with the University's attendance policies.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Graduates of the MSc Art Therapy will be able to apply to the HCPC to Register as "Art Therapist" or "Art Psychotherapist".

Graduates of previous art therapy training in Northern Ireland have typically found sessional, part-time and/or full-time work related to art therapy/art psychotherapy working with adults, young people and children in a number of mental health settings, the third sector and education.

Further enquiries

Fiona Murphy
T: +44 (0)28 9536 7549

Dr Pamela Whitaker
T: +44 (0)28 9536 7167

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 5 March 2020
Register at:

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