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Department of Art & Design

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Pre-Art Therapy Major

Art therapy offers participants the means to communicate through art and develop motor skills. The pre-art therapy program at UIndy prepares you to continue on to graduate school in art therapy. A graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Art Therapy or in Art Therapy is required to be an Art Therapist. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) does not certify undergraduate programs, but ours does meet the AATA and National Association of Schools of Art and Design standards. Upon graduation from UIndy, you can be sure that you will have completed all the necessary prerequisites for graduate school or related career choices. In fact, the University of Indianapolis offers a Master's in Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Art Therapy. It is possible to get a direct admit to the graduate program as an entering freshmen Pre-Art Therapy major.

Program strengths

  • UIndy’s program uses both theory and practice in the studio to prepare you to succeed, both in graduate school and later in your career
  • We encourage our students to work with participants not only locally but internationally
  • The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • An emphasis is placed on psychology
  • Courses help you develop personal art style and techniques
  • Courses taught by a practicing art therapist
  • You will work with participants in the community throughout your studies
  • Students can choose between one of two majors: pre-art therapy and pre-art therapy/studio art

Curriculum: blending art and psychology

Along with studio art courses and Community Immersion in the Arts courses, you will take several psychology courses that prepare you to work with rehabilitation teams, helping participants through creative means. Working closely with the School of Psychological Sciences, these courses pair well with the required art courses.  

The curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Pre-Art Therapy and Community Immersion in the Arts
  • A range of studio art courses including ceramics, digital photo, drawing and painting
  • 18 hours of required psychology courses
  • 12 hours of other psychology electives
  • Psychology courses such as Lifespan Development, Abnormal Psychology, Foundations of Psychotherapy and others
  • Relevant art courses such as Art Teaching, Art History and Business and Practice of Art

Potential careers in art therapy

Given that a master’s degree is required to practice art therapy, the purpose of these undergraduate courses is to complete all prerequisites for graduate school. Currently, art therapy is a growing field with career opportunities in:

  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Shelters for battered women
  • Substance abuse centers
  • Veterans care

Art therapy might be for you if:

  • You want to use art to help others who suffer from developmental, physical, emotional or psychological issues
  • You find value in creative problem-solving
  • You have an interest in social services
  • You have an interest in assessing client artwork for patterns or indicators of life issues
  • You often play the role of mediator in your relationships

Curriculum Guides

These curriculum guides outline the different classes you will need to take as a pre-art therapy major. The general education guide provides a list of all the classes you need in order to fulfill UIndy’s general education requirements. The pre-art therapy guide lists the classes you'll need to take to fulfill your major’s requirements. Be sure to take a look at both guides in order to get a complete picture of what your classes will look like at UIndy.