Art Therapy Degree: Major or Minor

This piece embodies the light that is within me, and how it grows when I share it with others. The golden lines represent how the warmth of my community has strengthened my sense of self, my creativity and my passions. -Amanda Leslie, Undergraduate Art Therapy

Why major in Art Therapy?

Mount Mary University’s undergraduate degree in art therapy is a pre-professional program that prepares you for entry-level, human-service work and graduate study in art therapy or in other helping professions.

Minor in Art Therapy
Complete degree requirements for a minor in art therapy and a listing of courses are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Senior Capstone Projects

Developed during the students' senior year, the Senior Capstone Project integrates individual student interests with the art therapy curriculum. It takes the form of either traditional or art-based research or a service project, art exhibition, or combination of these possible choices. The culminating presentation and contextual essay demonstrates the student's understanding of art's purpose and function as an instrument of transformation. 

Right: Ashley Ong '20: a colorful womanhood: between cultures & generations

Learn more about Mount Mary's Art Therapy Degree

Mount Mary University’s undergraduate art therapy program is a pre-professional degree program that emphasizes community building, a solid foundation in art and psychology, and competence in areas that enhance your ability to be expressive and communicate well with others.

Community building in class – At Mount Mary, you’ll be a student leader, caring friend and creative thinker. In the classroom, you’ll get to know other students and better understand yourself as you explore ideas and feelings through our arts-based curriculum.

Service learning and internships – As a student you will gain real-world experience working together or individually in a variety of settings that might include: schools, art museums, churches, community art studios, elder care facilities and summer youth art programs. You also can study abroad to witness and become a part of art making in service within the global community. 

Senior capstone project – During your senior year, you’ll design a final project that may include art, social action, research and/or poetic reflection and then share your project in a culminating presentation to the community. 

Learn from experts – Our faculty members have more than 25 years of experience as art therapists and bring real-world experience and examples into the classroom. Our faculty members have worked in a variety of art therapy settings: inpatient child and adolescent care, drug and alcohol treatment, private practice, community-based arts groups and adaptive arts for Milwaukee Public Schools.


Mount Mary University offers a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Art Therapy degree. The undergraduate art therapy program is an interdisciplinary major that requires a strong foundation in studio art and art history (a minimum of 21 credits), behavioral sciences (minimum of 12 credits) and communication and art therapy courses (15 credits). You also must complete the university’s core curriculum requirements.

Complete degree requirements and a listing of courses are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin.


Mount Mary University’s undergraduate art therapy program prepares women with the capacity for compassion and creative action, equipped with the knowledge of art’s role in the reflection and transformation of individuals and society for pre-professional employment and for graduate study in art therapy or related helping professions.

Program Objectives

As an art therapy student you will:

Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills

  • Learn to listen actively, respond empathetically, express yourself and learn about others through art making poetic response, movement and music.
  • Build from a solid foundation in art studio, behavioral science and communication classes.

Understand yourself

  • Reflect and connect to your intuition and creativity.
  • Identify your strengths and talents.
  • Learn from challenges and risk taking.
  • Become flexible and adaptable.

Work together with others

  • Become part of a vibrant community on and off campus, collaborate, and build bridges of connection through art and relationships.
  • Celebrate our differences and our interconnectedness.
  • Explore culture and diversity through the arts and see the world through multiple viewpoints.

Make a difference

  • Share your passion for helping and your commitment to social justice.
  • Identify ways you can share yourself as a change agent.
  • Develop integrity and professionalism through ethical behavior and responsible action.
  • See the good in yourself, each other and the world.

Mount Mary offers the only fully accredited Master of Science Art Therapy degree program in the state of Wisconsin – so you can continue on to achieve professional success and certification in art therapy or other helping professions after you complete your bachelor’s degree.

An undergraduate program in art therapy is a pre-professional program that prepares you for graduate study in art therapy or in other helping professions such as psychology, social work, education, fine arts and counseling.

Employment after graduation – Mount Mary University's art therapy bachelor’s degree graduates are employed in pre-professional work as activity therapists, case workers, after school art specialists and group home supervisors. They often work with agencies that offer services to veterans, children with autism, at risk and homeless youth, the elderly and people with developmental and physical challenges.

To practice as a certified art therapist, you must have a master’s degree in art therapy or a related field, pass a written exam and complete more than 1,000 hours of direct client contact hours after receiving your master’s degree. The  Art Therapy Credentials Board is the recognized body that grants credentials to art therapists. You can become a registered art therapist (ATR) and/or board certified art therapist (ATR-BC). State regulations for private practice vary by state.

Mount Mary offers a Master of Science in Art Therapy degree program and Professional Doctorate of Art Therapy degree program. Mount Mary’s Master of Science in Art Therapy is the only program in the state of Wisconsin fully accredited by the American Art Therapy Association. The Professional Doctorate of Art Therapy is the first degree program of its kind in the United States.

As an art therapy student at Mount Mary University, you can participate in a number of student clubs and organizations, as well as participate in social action and service learning activities.

The Student Art Therapy Association provides opportunities for you to develop a sense of community and social responsibility. Through the association, you can volunteer, connect with the Wisconsin Art Therapy Association and participate in social and career development events.

Contact Melody Todd, faculty adviser, for information on joining this group.

In addition to academic scholarships, art therapy majors at Mount Mary may qualify for the Layton Art Scholarship. Current students majoring in art education, art therapy, fashion, fine arts, graphic design and interior design can apply each year for scholarships of up to $3,000. Find out how to apply for the Layton Art Scholarship.

Learn more about other scholarships available at Mount Mary.

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