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Adler University

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling: Art Therapy/Ph.D. in Art Therapy

Chicago, IL


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Adler University | Introduction to MA in Counseling Program: Specialization in Art Therapy & PhD in Art Therapy Program

Established in 1952, Adler University is a private, coeducational university located in Chicago, Illinois and Vancouver, British Columbia. Adler University also offers a fully online degree program. 

A leader in preparing students for careers in industrial & organizational psychology, psychology, military psychology, clinical mental health counseling, and public administration, Adler University offers diverse programs in psychology including the MA in Counseling Program: Specialization in Art Therapy & PhD in Art Therapy Program

Adler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the American Psychological Association.

Adler University is known as one of the largest and best-known art therapy programs in the nation. With an intimate on-campus atmosphere, students are provided modern studios designed to encourage the artistic and therapeutic process.

Course Description and Program Highlights | MA in Counseling Program: Specialization in Art Therapy & PhD in Art Therapy Program

MA in Counseling Program: Specialization in Art Therapy - This program is recognized and approved  by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Students complete a 700-hour art therapy practicum focused on the clinical work and principles of art therapy in settings such as schools, mental health centers and community organizations, allowing students to gain first-hand experience. Two years of full-time study is required at the Adler University immersive Chicago campus. Coursework will prepare students for four licensure exams. 

Adler students work alongside licensed counselors, psychologists, social workers or couple and family therapists, in addition to art therapists to gain experience and prepare for success after graduation. Faculty are dedicated and accomplished in their field and are motivated to help students succeed. 

The curriculum for Adler University master’s degree consists of 63 credits. Courses include a blend of theory, research and practicum experiences with our community partners. These include a Clinical practicum, in which students gain hands-on counseling experience under a clinician’s supervision, and a Social Justice practicum.

Program coursework includes: 

Community Psychology

Biopsychosocial Bases of Health and Dysfunction for Counselors

Assessment and Appraisal in Art Therapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy

Sociocultural and Multicultural Approaches in Art Therapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy

Neuroscience in Art Therapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy: Special Populations

Adler Art Therapy specialization prepares students for numerous licensure examinations including, Eligibility for registration as an AATA Art Therapist upon completion of supervised hours and The National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential. 

More information can be found on the Adler University MA in Counseling Program: Specialization in Art Therapy site. 

PhD in Art Therapy Program

Adler University encourages students to further the field of art therapy as a researcher, educator or practitioner committed to social justice. Students work with nationally renowned, dedicated faculty in a distinct program that includes a 700-hour clinical practicum that focuses on clinical work and principles of art therapy.

Students apply real-world, hands-on experience, as well as research and intellectual curiosity to help others through creative expression.

Additionally, students will complete a doctoral dissertation, providing students with the opportunity to engage in in-depth scholarship on an important issue in the field of art therapy and the resources to demonstrate their skills in advanced research.

Program coursework includes: 

-Art Based Research

-Advanced Philosophy of Art I & II

-Neurodiversity & Neuroaesthetics

-Foundations in Thanatology in Art Therapy

-Doctoral Internship & Seminar I – III

-Dissertation Component

Students after graduation are eligible to apply for the following licenses including Registration as an art therapist through the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and The National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, as well as sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) before graduation. Students can view more information about this program at:

Admissions | Adler University Graduate Program

Admission to Adler University is competitive and students are expected to submit all completed materials at the time of their application. Prospective students can request more information about Adler University admission process.  

Students applying to Adler University’s graduate program are expected to satisfy the following criteria: 

- Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution.

- Present an academic record that demonstrates ability to fulfill the academic demands of the program. Successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate coursework.

- Practicum or work experience in psychology or a related field is highly desirable and is considered in the evaluation of applicants.

- Complete the equivalent of 18 semester-credit hours in psychology with grades of "C" or better, including the following prerequisite course subjects: General or Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Personality and Research Methods or Statistics. Equivalent coursework in other social sciences may also be considered. Students may be admitted prior to completing these prerequisites, but all students must complete these courses by the end of their first semesters of enrollment at Adler University.

- Approved applicants will be invited to complete interviews as the final step in the application process. Applicants should submit all application materials to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

Adler University Graduate Program | Financial Aid

Students who would like to apply for need-based financial aid should submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in accordance with the application timelines. By submitting the FAFSA, each student is automatically considered for need-based grant and scholarship programs.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 1
Doctoral Degrees 1

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Practicum
Doctoral Degrees Comp Exam Required
Dissertation Required, Practicum; Internship

Location & Contact

Address 17 North Dearborn
Chicago, IL  60602
United States
Contact Phyllis Horton
Director of Admissions
Phone: 312-662-4100

Adler University