Art therapy

Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy

The Department of Art Therapy Psychology at Notre Dame de Namur University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy that is designed to train students as both researchers and practitioners. The doctoral program builds on the strong tradition the Art Therapy Master’s Program at NDNU has held in educating art therapists for 33 years. The Ph.D. in Art Therapy is designed to educate leaders in the field. The program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is currently the only Ph.D. in Art Therapy in the U.S.

The art therapy profession has progressed such that a master’s degree no longer serves as the terminal degree in the field. Art therapists have made significant progress in developing skills in the clinical application of art therapy and in art therapy research. Now, there is a growing need for an increased level of excellence that can be achieved at the doctoral level in training clinicians and researchers as well as providing for advanced scholarship and teaching.

Individuals who obtain the Ph.D. will be at the forefront in career options, including teaching in the field, research, clinical technician work and international job opportunities.

Who should apply?

  • Individuals looking to become pioneers in the field of Art Therapy and to contribute to the local, national, and international development and recognition of the profession.
  • Prospective and current educators wishing to strengthen their educational credentials in the field of Art Therapy.
  • Practicing Art Therapists who wish to contribute to the advancement of the profession through research that develops the evidence base for their work.
  • Visionaries who seek to pioneer pedagogical practices which will help to advance understanding of art as a way of knowing the human experience.
  • Career-changers who sense the growing demand for Ph.D.’s in Art Therapy and the opportunity to become the new leaders in the field.

Admission Requirements

NDNU admits students throughout the year for fall, spring and summer semesters. Please visit Admissions for complete admission requirements.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree from an accredited university in art therapy or in a related field
  • Graduate-level courses in designated subject areas
  • Documented completion of academic work required for registration as an Art Therapist, or partially completed with full completion before the end of first year of doctoral work
  • Minimum of two years of clinical work in the field
  • Portfolio of 10 -12 JPEG images of art work of different media
  • Autobiographical statement; 2-3 page double spaced, that includes experiences and personal background in the field of art therapy and outlines interest in the Ph.D. Program
  • Three professional recommendations
  • Submission of one published article or a scholarly academic writing on an art therapy subject in publication acceptable form
  • Interview with the department chair


Graduate Admissions

General Inquiries
Amy Kiernan

Amy Backos, Ph.D., ATR-BC
Chair, Art Therapy Psychology Department

Richard Carolan, Ed.D.
Program Director

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