This programme will provide you with a broad understanding of the theories and practices of art psychotherapy necessary for safe and effective clinical work.
The Masters enables you to practice as an art therapist in the NHS, Social Services, and educational establishments, and to become a practitioner registered with the British Association of Art Therapists.
Your learning is underpinned by the principles and practices of psychodynamic psychotherapy practised within the context of mental health care, and informed by contemporary art practice.
Via theoretical studies, clinical work and experiential learning you will integrate cognitive understanding and practical experience with a developing awareness of self and other. The nature of the therapeutic relationship between client, their art work, and the art therapist is explored, and you have the opportunity to put your learning into practice through two 60-day placements which are supervised and supported in-depth.
You are encouraged to develop your own art practice and to situate your work in relationship to your development as a therapist, to contemporary art practice and to psychoanalytic theories. You must be in personal therapy throughout the programme.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Sue Williams
What you'll study
Modes of study
The MA in Art Psychotherapy is a course that leads to successful applicants becoming eligible to apply for registration as an Arts Therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the body which regulates and monitors standards of practice in the public sector. The programme can be studied in two modes - full-time for 2 years or part-time for 3 years. A clear indication of the mode chosen should be stated on application forms.
Year 1: all day Monday and Tuesday in college. Clinical placement days are usually Thursday and Friday. One day should be set aside for on-going studio practice where possible
Years 2: all day Tuesday in college plus two days clinical placement to be arranged on other days – usually two consecutive days and these are negotiated with your placement. There are also three two day blocks of time for experiential groups (Mondays and Tuesdays). One day should be set aside for on-going studio practice where possible.
Year 1: all day Monday and Tuesday in college. One day should be set aside for on-going studio practice where possible.
Year 2: all day Tuesday in college plus two days clinical placement to be arranged on other days – usually two consecutive days. There are also three two day blocks of time for experiential groups. One day should be set aside for on-going studio practice where possible.
Year 3: Half a day in college on Tuesdays with some full-time Tuesdays (the yearly timetable will have details of which Tuesdays are half day or full day), plus, two days clinical placement to be arranged on other days – usually two consecutive days. One day should be set aside for on-going studio practice where possible.
Most Mondays will run from 9.00am to 4.00pm; Tuesdays in year one vary but can be from 9.00am to 7.00pm. Times at placement are arranged with the particular organisation. The programme follows standard university terms; Term 1 – late September to early December. Term 2 – early January to late March. Term 3 – late April to early July.
The part-time programme allows trainees to continue with some paid work. However, the environment where such paid work is carried out cannot be used as a training placement, because of the inherent differences in role, expectations and responsibilities. Placements are arranged by art psychotherapy staff and placement allocation for both part-time students is made after discussion with staff.
Enquiries have sometimes been made about module-based study and correspondence study or distance learning. Because a large proportion of the course is based upon experiential learning in groups, these options are not possible. However, for students living outside London, it may be possible to arrange the clinical placement part of the course in other areas, if local supervision is available.
It's a mandatory aspect of the course that all students must be in personal therapy for the duration of their training. It is usual for therapists to expect attendance throughout the calendar year except for usual holiday breaks; this may entail attendance outside term time.
Therapy may be on a group or individual basis and can be art therapy or verbal psychotherapy. Attendance must be at least once weekly. It must be stressed that it is not acceptable for a student to be in therapy with a trainee; all personal therapists should be qualified and registered with a relevant professional organisation. Students’ therapists will also be expected to register their professional details with the college. Contact is made with students' therapists at various points in the training to ensure that consistent attendance is being maintained.
|Theory and Practice of Art Psychotherapy 1||45 credits|
|Experiential Learning 1||30 credits|
|Clinical Placement 1||45 credits|
|Theory and Practice of Art Psychotherapy 2||60 credits|
|Experiential Learning 2||15 credits|
|Clinical Placement 2||45 credits|
Assessed by assignment, portfolio, case study, presentation, dissertation, reports and logs.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
- at least one year's full-time, or the equivalent in part-time hours, 1,500 hours' relevant work experience. Find out more about these work experience requirements.
- an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in visual arts/design, or in a related/relevant area, or a professional qualification.
- an enhanced disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service. There is a fee to apply for a disclosure certificate. Further information about payment is sent with the offer of a place.
- to disclose any criminal record, disciplinary record, significant periods of time off work and significant health problems in writing after interview
Some experience of personal therapy can be useful prior to application but it is not a pre-course requirement. However, once you've enrolled you will be required to undertake personal therapy for the duration of your training.
Successful applicants are advised to commence therapy as soon as they receive the offer of a place on the course. In practice, many applicants have some experience of personal therapy before they apply and, whilst not mandatory, this is clearly advantageous.
Information regarding entering personal therapy may be obtained from the department's secretary. Applicants who are already in therapy but are unsure as to whether or not their situation meets course requirements should write in with full details for advice.
We recognise that there may be some very able candidates who do not conform to traditional educational patterns, so a small number of 'special-entry' places are allocated each year to non-graduates.
Each special-entry application is assessed on individual merit, so it is essential to give full details of all educational achievements on application forms. Reasons for any interruptions or early terminations to courses of studies must be clearly outlined. If a non-graduate applicant has not undertaken any formal art education, the above-stated commitment to practice in the visual arts is expected and, again, examples of artwork must be sent with applications.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Find out more about tuition fees.
A requirement of the programme is that you must be in personal therapy for the duration of your training, and this is an additional item that must be budgeted for.
Currently, individual therapy costs around £50 per session, and group therapy costs around £30 per session. Some organisations and individual therapists may be prepared to offer a reduced rate to students.
Corinne Burton Memorial Studentship
Applicants for the full-time programme can apply for the Corinne Burton Memorial Studentship.
Hardship bursaries of £500 each are also being offered for this programme.
Ebb and Flow Bursary
2 x bursaries of £500 each are available to students taking a professional therapy course within Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies at Goldsmiths.
The bursaries are intended to support individuals who are experiencing unavoidable financial hardship, with priority being given to hardship related to disability, as well as the strength of the individual’s performance and attendance on the course. Find out more about applying for these bursaries.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of both a professional referee (a manager at your place of relevant work pre-application, from whom we will request a reference) and an academic referee (an electronic copy of your academic reference is also acceptable)
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
- A portfolio of art work showing evidence of a longstanding commitment to your own art practice (this should be uploaded electronically as part of your application)
- Experience of work in health, social services or education (equivalent to at least 1,500 hours) – your application will only be considered if it includes full details of all work experience, including exact hours worked
- Experience of personal therapy (ideally)
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
The programme can be studied in two modes - full-time for 2 years or part-time for 3 years. A clear indication of the mode chosen should be stated on application forms.
Your personal statement should include:
- your reasons for wanting to study the degree
- what you feel you can offer to the profession of art therapy
- a brief summary of the rationale of your past and current art practice
- a short account of your experiences in relevant work experience
- your thoughts about planning your course of study, with details of things such as time management, how you will secure any necessary study leave, and how you plan to fund your studies/support yourself financially
No specific guidelines are offered as to the content of this portfolio, it is up to you to present yourself as a practising artist in your own way, perhaps with a selection that includes both current and past work. If you have been engaged in art activities as part of your work experience you can also present examples of this.
If you're invited to interview you will be asked to discuss your portfolio during a 10-minute presentation. Bearing this time limit in mind, it's best to select a small representative selection of your work.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
After we've reviewed your application, we may invite you to attend a two-hour group interview.
The first stage of the interview involves a group discussion followed by a 10-minute presentation of your portfolio of personal art work. You may decide to bring actual art objects, or to use a computer-based presentation – please plan for this carefully in advance, and bring your own laptop if necessary. If any equipment such as slide projectors will be needed, please inform us well in advance. Large or three-dimensional work may be presented in photographic print form.
A short break follows during which you will write a brief reflective text on your experience of the interview. Each candidate will then be given a short individual interview by one of the interviewing staff.
Interviews are hold from December onwards and are held until all places are filled – usually no later than the end of May. Interviews are offered as applications are received, and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you're not invited for interview, it will usually because you haven't met our entry requirements, and some advice may be given about how these can be achieved so that you can re-apply in future.
Find out more about applying.
The MA will develop skills including:
- the ability to work with a range of client populations
- an understanding of psychodynamic concepts
- development of your own art practice
Completion of the programme provides eligibility for the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration as an art psychotherapist.
Our graduates are invariably seen as offering a valuable and unique service to their clients and to the multidisciplinary teams in which they work – graduates have gone on to practice as art psychotherapists in the NHS, social services and in the education sector.
We regularly receive positive feedback from organisations that employ art therapists and/or accept trainees on placement.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
The following members of staff teach on this course:
Fred Gwatkin (ceramic technician)
Lesley Morris (clinical placements co-ordinator)
Dr Sally Skaife
Dr Robin Tipple
Dr Jill Westwood (programme convenor)