Program Overview

Students who successfully pursue this degree will emerge prepared with academic, clinical and research experience in preparation for the credentials of Registration as an Art Therapist (ATR) according to the educational guidelines established by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), and Licensure as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).

Positioned within the urban campus Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), this two-year, full-time residential program is the only one of its kind in the state of Indiana. Built in partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine, the program is housed within a psychodynamic framework and pays close attention to the neurobiological mechanisms that are at the root of creative expression and symbolic, unconscious communication. Honoring the dynamic nature of the psyche, the art therapist calls upon the theoretical and practical application of psychotherapeutic principles through a variety of interventions and in myriad settings including mental health, medical, educational and forensic facilities. In art therapy, the general concepts of science, art and the creative process are understood and applied in a therapeutic context.

While in the program, students receive internship and practicum assignments, giving them on-site experience working with professionals in the field. These experiences are coupled with the use of imagery to conceptualize symbolic communication and expression of the unconscious, taught through the application of present-day assessment and intervention strategies in areas such as neuroscience and trauma, and through research methodologies including art-based and evidence-based practices.


To cultivate the understanding of creativity as a process that elicits the integration of psychic systems, divergent thinking strategies, and overall healing. Students are encouraged to explore their identity as artists and as therapists through the experiential pedagogies offered in the Herron School of Art and Design and within Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana's urban research and academic health sciences campus. Students in the program will also be placed in practicum and internship experiences at regional healthcare facilities, mental health treatment centers and independent organizations that service vulnerable populations.

To integrate the theoretical foundations of art psychotherapy with the most current neuroscience findings in the preparation of skilled Masters level clinicians to assess, intervene and treat people with various emotional, cognitive, physical, and mental health disabilities.

To prepare students with fundamental research skills which encourage the exploration of the multi-disciplinary possibilities and implications of art therapy theory, practice, and program development.


In order to enroll in the Art Therapy program, students must have 18 credit hours of studio art courses and 12 credit hours of psychology courses, including developmental psychology (3 credits) and abnormal psychology (3 credits). These courses must be taken at an accredited institution of higher education. These prerequisites do not have to be completed before applying to the program, but they must be completed before the start of the first semester, at which time official transcripts reflecting the completion of the prerequisites will be required.


* Herron’s Art Therapy program does not yet appear on the American Art Therapy Association’s (AATA) list of approved master’s programs because it is new. Schools need to graduate three classes of students in order to be considered for AATA approval through the Education Program Approval Board. More information regarding ATR registration and Board Certification can be found on the website of the Art Therapy Credentials Board and in their Professional Credentialing Guide for Students and Recent Graduates.