M.Ed. in Counseling & Personnel Services (Art Therapy)

The Annual Art Therapy Forum will be held Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. via Zoom Meeting Online. The Forum includes presentations and Q&A; sessions about the program and profession.

The M.Ed in Counseling and Personnel Services with a concentration in Art Therapy was the first art therapy university-based educational program established in the U.S. It has been an American Art Therapy Association approved program since this designation was offered, and the curriculum adheres to the association's guidelines for education.

The Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as "a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight." (www.arttherapy.org).

Our students meet requirements for national certification as art therapists as well as licensure as art therapists in the state of KY.

Taylor Ray

The Art Therapy program at UofL offers students a well balanced education in both art and psychology classes, as well as provides the time to still maintain your own self care in graduate school. I am thankful to have chosen a University where the faculty and staff genuinely care about my education and success in the program.

Taylor Ray, Art Therapy Student

Art Therapy strives to be an outstanding program--to be in the forefront of excellence in research, scholarship, education, and clinical application; to discover and provide expansion and integration of individual and group art therapy ideology and services into diverse segments of the culture.

Application Deadline: February 1st for Fall (only) admission.

Jonathan Hernandez

Everybody is friendly and the professors are wonderful teachers as well as mentors and will do their best to help you with whatever you need. Further, the program is not only an opportunity to develop as a therapist, but also an opportunity to make new future art therapy friends. Moreover, the program includes three semesters of practicum that offers great experiences for what it will be like as a therapist after graduation. I believe this program has a lot to offer future art therapy students and I recommend it to those who are interested in art therapy.

Jonathan Hernandez, Art Therapy Graduate

American Art Therapy Association Approved Program

The Art Therapy Master's Degree is an approved program of the American Art Therapy Association and adheres to the association's guidelines for education.

After receipt of your master's degree and professional employment for one year (equal to 1,000 supervised hours of art therapy experience), you become eligible for registration with the association. For more details on registration and the field of art therapy in general, please write or call the American Art Therapy Association, 1202 Allanson Rd., Mundelein, IL 60060, 888-290-0878, or FAX 847-566-4580.

Tessa Banta

This is a great program. The classes are very enlightening and exciting and the faculty is extremely talented and supportive. I love that art therapy stimulates a journey of self-discovery and creative expression. The opportunities of art therapy are limitless.

Tessa Banta, Art Therapy Student


Graduates of the program secure employment in private school settings, medical hospitals, inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and forensic correctional institutions.

For more details about program curriculum, visit the Graduate Catalog.

Note: Meeting GRE score and GPA minimums does not guarantee a student will be accepted to the program.

Admission Requirements for Art Therapy

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

  • The minimum requirement for admission is the baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. Minimum overall GPA of 2.75, or 2.75 on the last 60 undergraduate hours, is required. Applicants are required to submit all official transcripts from all colleges attended as verification of coursework and degree(s).

    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    Graduate School
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm @ louisville.edu

  • Each applicant is required to submit at least two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential. Please download the Graduate School recommendation form [PDF].
  • Prospective students must submit a professional goal statement [PDF] appropriate to their stated area of concentration for admission to the degree program. Please submit the cover sheet (see link) along with your goal statement.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all foreign students from countries in which English is not the native language. Students holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States are exempt from this requirement.

In addition to these requirements, admission to the degree program may require completion of prerequisite undergraduate courses specific to each area of concentration.

Faculty may require interviews in addition to written credentials as part of the admission process.

Application Deadlines

Application Deadline: February 1st for Fall (only) admission.

Additional Requirements

In addition to general admission requirements for the degree, prospective students applying for a concentration in Art Therapy demonstrate evidence of having completed the following undergraduate coursework.

Art, 18 hours to include the following:

  • Basic drawing course
  • Course in painting
  • A course using clay
  • Three other studio courses of your choice (many students take 2D or 3D design, photography)

Psychology, 15 hours to include:

  • General or intro to psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Personality theory
  • Introductory statistics

Applicants to the Art Therapy program must also submit samples of their work including the following portfolio items:

  • Writing sample which reflects the student's ability to write a formal paper. A copy of paper written for a previous class will do.
  • Portfolio of student's artwork on CD/DVD; 10 images are recommended.

Experience in helping professions, either paid or volunteer, is recommended.


Eileen O'Neill Estes, Ph.D., LPAT, ATR-BC, Program Director
Mary Beth Orton, M.A., ATR-BC, LPAT, Clinical Coordinator
Department of Counseling and Human Development
College of Education & Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Opportunities for Graduates

Art Therapy is a human services profession. It provides individuals and groups with the means to support and express and explore feelings, thought, problems and potential through the use of art media and imagery. It is utilized with any age and in areas such as medical illness, grief, educational and behavioral problems, emotional issues, and even criminal behavior. It is one of the nonverbal expressive therapies (along with dance, drama, music and poetry therapy) where the process is emphasized rather than the product.

Financial Aid

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if your UofL advisor approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.