Transform lives through 
creative expression.

Transform lives through
creative expression.

Master's (M.A.) in Counseling: Art Therapy

  • Our program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).
  • Train in one of the nation’s largest and best known art therapy programs—taught by leaders in the field who embody Adler’s unique focus on socially responsible practice. Learn in small, intimate classes in state-of-the-art studio spaces designed to encourage the artistic and therapeutic process.
  • Empower individuals to cope with life’s challenges as a specialized art therapist.
  • Earn your degree in two years of full-time study.

Our Master of Arts in Counseling: Art Therapy program prepares counselors to use the creative process to improve individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. We offer one of the country’s largest and best known degrees in art therapy, training graduates to teach coping skills through art to people facing trauma, stress, and other struggles.

Our innovative program is AATA-approved and designed to meet the standards of the Higher Learning Commission. Our rigorous curriculum focuses on art-making and counseling methodologies to foster personal growth and learn to face life’s challenges.

We offer an immersive learning experience that brings together real-world training with a focus on socially responsible practice—all led by experts in the field. Students learn to set therapeutic objectives and serve clients through a thoughtful selection of artistic materials and interventions. Adler University is a nationally recognized pioneer in graduate education, training professionals who are committed to a more just society.


Our groundbreaking program is designed to prepare art therapists to serve diverse populations in a range of settings, including:

  • Clinics
  • Mental health centers
  • Children’s agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Urban community organizations
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Violence shelters
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Private practice

Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the following licensures:

  • Registration as an art therapist through the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).
  • The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in the state of Illinois.
  • The Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) credential in Illinois, upon completing all necessary post-graduate training. Students interested in applying for licensure elsewhere should work with their faculty advisors to plan their curriculum accordingly.
  • The National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, as well as sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) before graduation.

Professional Development & Training

Gain the knowledge and skills to create real change in individuals’ lives through art. Our diverse faculty brings together rigorous classroom learning with individualized mentorship, artistic guidance, and hands-on professional experience.

Unique to our institution is the Social Justice Practicum, a nonclinical experiential practicum completed by all Adler students to cultivate the skills for becoming agents of social change. Working with our network of hundreds of community partners, students develop the practical knowledge and understanding of what it means to engage with communities and be a socially responsible practitioner.

We offer extensive field training, including 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.

Cohort Learning, Format & Support

Our program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study.

When you enroll, you join a cohort or group of students who will take classes together throughout the course of the program. This cohort model emphasizes collaboration, communication, connection, and camaraderie among students.

Our program environment is characterized by Adlerian encouragement, empathy, genuine care, and good will, with the expressed purpose of supporting the personal and professional growth of each of our students based on their interests and professional focus.

Upon graduation, you will become a member of the University’s Alumni Association, which along with our Office of Alumni Affairs, provides extensive ongoing networking and professional development opportunities.