• academic - art 12
Art Therapy Major

  • Art therapy combines the artist’s understanding of creative expression with the therapist’s understanding of personal dynamics.


    By using the creative process, art therapy can help to develop and enhance the mental, emotional and physical well being of individuals of all ages. Certain characteristics of an individual's artistic expression, such as form and content, as well as the associations and reactions to the artwork, can be used by the art therapist to explore interpersonal conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage symptoms and behaviors, gain self-awareness and develop self-esteem. The art therapist brings to the therapeutic setting a unique view of the creative process as a healing process.
    Art therapy can be used as a primary, parallel or adjunctive therapy. It also can be used as a diagnostic tool in the evaluation of individuals, groups and families. Many art therapists function as an integral member of a therapeutic team, while others serve as consultants or conduct private practices. 


    The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in art therapy is awarded upon the completion of a four-year program that includes a broad range of courses in studio art, psychology and art therapy. Students will be given the opportunity for individual study in professional settings and will be able to attend lectures, workshops and seminars regularly scheduled throughout the year.

    Course requirements, a complete listing of courses and an explanation of our general education requirements can be found in our online course bulletin.

    Strengthening Your Degree

    The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in art therapy can be strengthened by applying 29 elective credits toward an added major or minor with one of the following tracks:

    Clinical Tracks

    Major or minor in psychology - 8 to 31 hours
    Minor in criminology - 20 hours
    Minor in social work - 20 hours
    Minor in sociology - 20 hours

    Studio Tracks

    Major or minor in studio art - 6-28 hours
    Minor in art history - 15 hours
    Minor in music - 18 hours

    You may become involved in art therapy experiences that are arranged through the Art Therapy program and Capital University Student Art Therapy Association (CUSATA). There are research opportunities available such as designing an independent study, presenting at the Annual Student Symposium, partaking in the STARS program, and responding to a call for research participants. You are invited to attend an art therapy mini-symposium of practicing art therapists held each semester at Capital. And, you may want to gain a global perspective by studying abroad.


    The American Art Therapy Association awards the designation of Art Therapist Registered (A.T.R.) in recognition of specific standards of professional competence. Certification at the professional level requires appropriate work experience and a master's degree from an approved graduate program. An undergraduate degree in art therapy provides a strong foundation in using art as meaningful expression, as well as preparing for further study.

    The Capital University Student Art Therapy Association attends meetings sponsored by the Buckeye Art Therapy Association, which is the state chapter of the American Art Therapy Association.


    Art therapists are employed in medical and psychiatric hospitals and out-patient clinics, performing individual and group art therapy, as well as aiding in the assessment of individuals and families; in schools and special needs programs working with people who have physical, emotional and developmental challenges; and in nursing homes where art is being used for issues such as family, health and quality of life.

    Art therapists also can be found in substance abuse agencies, counseling centers, halfway houses and prisons, employee assistance programs, hospice programs and in private practice. A growing area of professional involvement is in medical facilities as part of the alternative healing programs now offered. Students who achieve a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in art therapy may find employment in settings where state licensure, certification or registration (A.T.R.) is not a requirement.