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Art Psychotherapy MA

Course code


Start date


Placement available

Mode of study

2 years full-time



UK £9,935

International £20,450

2021/22 changes

Click here to read about how your course will be delivered and supported from September 2021.

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The MA Art Psychotherapy programme at Brunel is provided in partnership with CNWL NHS Foundation Trust. We developed the programme to advance creative interdisciplinary approaches to Art Psychotherapy building upon empirical evidence within a well-established arts culture at Brunel.

This programme will offer you the skills, knowledge and critical competence to reflect on and respond to a wide range of health needs across physical, mental health and community sectors.

At the heart of the programme are the cultural values of responding to the social and health care needs of the participants and this may vary according to the socio-economic context, age, disability, gender, sex, race and religion. You will learn ways of understanding different approaches to art psychotherapy which means you can tailor the practice according to the people you work with. You will be taught evidence-based practices, including arts-based innovative approaches to collaboration and co-production that are safe, effective and well managed. To this effect, some learning will be provided by people with lived experience and your placement environments will facilitate your understanding of adapting practice to meet the needs of those who are in most need. Ultimately, you will learn how to conduct transparent, accessible art psychotherapy that is accessible for the people you will be working with.

The MA qualification is approved by the HCPC and learners are expected to achieve advanced skills and knowledge of working in health contexts, including the NHS and third sector. This qualification aligns with Healthcare Employers strategic objectives and goals related to workforce planning and the strategic aims set out by NHS England and local NHS Trusts to have closer working relationships with the third sector.

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You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Course content

The course is two year full-time with two clinical placements to complete. Placements are attended consecutively to one another and alongside to academic teaching and you must complete a minimum of 620 clinical hours over two years to complete the course.

The first placement (Placement A) is for the first year of the programme and the second placement (Placement B)  for the duration of the second year of the programme.

The first two terms of the MA Programme and placement (see Placement A) comprise a PG Cert – Arts in Health.

The following terms (terms 3 in year 1 and terms 1-3 in year 2) comprise a PG Dip Arts in Health, if all modules are passed with the exception of the dissertation and/or the placement.

At the end of the two years, if you have passed all the compulsory modules and placements and completed a Dissertation, you will achieve an MA in Art Psychotherapy. 

This course can be studied 2 years full-time, starting in September.

Year 1

Year 2

This course has a placement option. Find out more about work placements available.

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

The programme specification is in the process of being updated and may not be an accurate reflection of the programme.

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Careers and your future

We support our students to begin thinking about life after their studies from the point of acceptance onto one of our programmes. Working with an NHS partner means that we are sensitive to the professional environment and how we meet learning outcomes in light of evidence and employability. This means that you will have the opportunity to develop a career in a range of growing contexts.

We are currently supporting the NHS to expand their arts therapies services to physical healthcare contexts such as neurorehabilitation and cardiology, so new opportunities for art psychotherapists are always being developed. We work with the student to build networks that will continue their career beyond their studies into areas of arts therapies practice, evaluation, training clinicians, developing models of practice, and researching experience, efficacy and effectiveness of treatment. Exciting career opportunities have been fulfilled in the NHS as the single largest employer of arts therapists in the UK.

As well as supporting clinical services, we also support research in the field and a robust introduction to research methodologies will enable you to consider how you evaluate and research art psychotherapy practice that enables real impact in a range of care settings.

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UK entry requirements

A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a visual arts degree or in a discipline related to the programme such as psychology, occupational therapy, social work, or nursing. 

In addition, successful applicants must complete the following:

Submission of a portfolio: 

All applicants should be prepared to submit a portfolio of artwork demonstrating an in-depth understanding of aesthetics and image making processes. The portfolio should include:

  • Written examples of reflections on art within a healing context
  • Images (12 JPEGS max)
  • Written and verbal explorativewell-informed thinking to reflect on the following areas: a) the use of image-making to facilitate relational change b) reflections on aesthetics and how aesthetics are shaped by cultural, ethnic and indigenous contexts

Ideally the portfolio should be presented in an online format, for example as an Adobe Portfolio (more information on Adobe Portfolio can be found at https://portfolio.adobe.com) or alternatively Microsoft Sway (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2016/08/17/sway-design-tips-and-new-templates/)

Work experience: We recommend 12 months comprehensive and relevant work experience, which may be voluntary work in a health, social services, education, special needs, community centre or charity setting. You should supply a CV with your application that details this experience. 

Interview: Competitive applicants will be invited to take part in an interview with the academic department.

Further details about the format of the interview will be available soon.

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EU and International entry requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 68% (63% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 98 (min 23 in all areas) 

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 entry


£9,935 full-time


£20,450 full-time

More information on any additional course-related costs.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase. 

Fees for EU applicants – For entry in 2022/23 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to continue our support during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course.

See our fees and funding page for full details of postgraduate scholarships available to Brunel applicants.

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Teaching and Learning

We use an array of teaching and learning strategies on the MA, including group lectures, role-play, workshops, experiential learning (e.g. dynamic group art therapy work), tutorials, writing and arts-based learning experiences. Lecturers will introduce conceptual material and we will direct learners to explore this in relation to arts therapies, either individually or in collaboration with peers.

The seminars and practical workshop sessions will provide smaller group contact and the opportunity to practice, review, discuss and debate the practice and theory, knowledge and understanding of evidence informed Art Psychotherapy. The sessions sometimes will require learners to make non-assessed presentations to the peer group and the tutor, either individually or as part of a team making use, where appropriate of ICT.

Individual and small group assignments and presentations build critical awareness and give opportunities to explore and develop the practical implications of theory. Dissertation research will give learners the opportunity to integrate knowledge about pertinent clinical advances, and to familiarise learners with the rigours of independent investigative work.

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Assessment and feedback

Formative Assessment Strategy

The programme uses a range of formative assessment methods to assist with assimilation and comprehension of complex learning material. On the MA Art Psychotherapy programme we will often use formative assessments at the end of learning sessions and these should enrich the learning experience through assessing for learning rather than only an assessment of learning. Whilst the data helps to provide a basis for steering and adapting future teaching and ensuring that the teaching content is fully integrated with practice, the approach intends to be non-judgemental and to ensure that the teaching offers a creative approach to reviewing what has been learnt and requirements for improving teaching. Formative assessments will focus on five areas of learner experience: reliability, validity, feasibility, acceptance, and impact. Reliability will focus on art psychotherapy theory and practice required for using the arts as well as practice and knowledge about the professional environment and competencies.

We will regularly assess the validity of the assessment, drawing upon evidence-based principles. Whilst it is not always appropriate or workable to conduct formative assessments, we will endeavour to enrich knowledge through discursive means if specific evidence-based methods are not appropriate. The key aim is to provide thoughtful feedback appropriate to learning that addresses learning strategies. Lastly, we aim for the formative assessments to have impact on the direction and motivation for learning. Examples of formative assessments include case study analysis, clinical simulation, practice observations and feedback, peer assessments, surveys of practice. The placement uses an ongoing placement digital portfolio which can utilise images and writing for the purposes of supporting formative assessments involving the placement supervisor and tutor and contributes towards the final placement digital portfolio for their summative assessment for each year. The expectation is that the placement digital portfolio reflects assimilation of critical thinking with an advanced applied knowledge of clinical practice in art psychotherapy.

Summative Assessment Strategy
The summative assessments progress from formative assessments and are based on many of the same principles that enable the learner to learn and assimilate knowledge. Throughout the programme we have positioned summative assessments to reflect the required depth of learning consolidation required for effective application of practice and theory. Further to this the summative assessment strategy will ensure that learners are ‘work force ready’ enabling professional competency, increasing employability and offering an accessible and inclusive approach to learning. We use summative assessments to develop learners’ skills and abilities and to assess levels of competence. The nine modules for the award combine different modes of assessment which are positioned carefully throughout the course to optimise the learner’s assimilation of feedback on each assessment and to prepare for the next summative assessment.


Read our guide on how to avoid plagiarism in your assessments at Brunel.