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College of Creative Arts: School of Art and Design

Art Therapy, BA

Art Therapy blends studio art training with psychology and counseling courses to prepare students for careers that use visual art mediums to target therapeutic issues.

Our program teaches you to engage people through art and facilitate meaningful and expressive experiences. You will explore potential art therapy mediums — including drawing, painting, clay sculpting, photography, collage work and papermaking — and learn how to use these mediums to assist clients in psychological and mental wellness.

While a graduate degree is required to become a practicing art therapist, undergraduate students develop valuable community arts facilitation skills to comfortably lead groups through art making and communications activities.

Your Degree Plan


People seated on the floor arrange brightly colored shapes on a white background.

Art therapy is a unique, creative mental health profession that targets specific therapeutic goals, promotes healing and improves overall mental health and wellness.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • You'll graduate with a minor in human services, which provides additional preparation to work in social services, mental health and substance abuse agencies.
  • Elective options explore related fields that can complement art therapy education and training.
  • You'll take courses that focus on art therapy and art education and how these fields can work collaboratively.

90% of WVU freshmen receive grants or scholarships (2020-2021).

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Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

As an R1 institution, WVU offers opportunities to assist and engage in art therapy research projects alongside experienced faculty. Potential research settings may include the WVU Hospital System as research proposals and studies develop.

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Healthcare Support Workers

All healthcare support workers not listed separately.

Median Salary: $40,420

Possible job titles include: .

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Mental Health Counselors

Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $49,710

Possible job titles include: Clinician, Counselor, Mental Health Counselor, Therapist.

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Recreational Therapists

Plan, direct or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, dramatics, social activities and arts and crafts. May assess a patient's condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.

Median Salary: $51,330

Possible job titles include: Rehabilitation Therapist, Activities Director, Activity Assistant, Activity Coordinator, Activity Director, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), General Activities Therapist, Recreation Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

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Art Therapists

Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $60,800

Possible job titles include: Art Psychotherapist, Art Therapist/Licensed Professional Counselor (Art Therapist/LPC), Counselor/Art Therapist, Day Treatment Clinician/Art Therapist, Group Therapist, Registered & Board Certified Art Therapist.

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Art Therapist

A master’s degree is required to practice as an art therapist. The undergraduate degree in Art Therapy is designed to prepare you for graduate study in art therapy.

The BA Art Therapy curriculum provides coursework for you to gain foundational studio art proficiencies, counseling and interpersonal skills, and engage in hands-on learning activities through self-exploration and community arts engagement.

As a stand-alone degree, the BA in Art Therapy will allow you to apply for entry-level human service positions in schools, community arts centers, rehabilitation facilities and/or correctional institutions.


Common questions and answers about Art Therapy.

  1. Art therapists are master-level mental health clinicians that use active art-making, creative process and counseling techniques to facilitate therapeutic interventions with clients with a wide variety of clinical populations and settings. Art therapists learn how to use a variety of art media therapeutically in order to assist clients in psychological and mental wellness.

  2. Art therapy is a masters-level profession so graduate study is required to become an art therapist. Most art therapy graduate programs require applicants have completed 18 studio art credits and at least 12 psychology credits and can come from a fine arts or psychology undergraduate program. Once you complete your master's degree in art therapy, you then work to acquire client contact hours and supervision hours, both requirements to earn your board certification in art therapy from the Art Therapy Credentials Board. You can learn more about becoming an art therapist from the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education website.

  3. As a stand-alone degree, the BA in Art Therapy will allow you to apply for entry-level human service positions in schools, community arts centers, rehabilitation facilities and/or correctional institutions.

  4. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) website is a great place to start. There you can find information about how to become an art therapist, what art therapists do and various events that will help expand your knowledge of the profession. You can also contact Professor Annie McFarland for more information about the profession and the art therapy undergraduate program at WVU.

Places and Spaces

Learn about all of the places and spaces you'll learn in.

Program Facility - Creative Arts Center

Canady Creative Arts Center

The Loulie, Valerie and William Canady Creative Arts center boasts 4 exhibition spaces, 5 performance spaces, 33 individual practice rooms and 50 classrooms and studios with plenty of space to create. The loading dock at the rear of the building is a wonderful open-air space with stunning acoustics.

Explore the Canady Creative Arts Center
  • Virtual Tour
    It's the next-best thing to being here – you can virtually tour residence halls and the WVU Morgantown Campus.
  • Student Life
    You will have it all here — epic traditions, quality academics and a supportive community that feels like home.
  • Visit
    Experience WVU in person and start imagining life as a Mountaineer!

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Art Therapy major, first-time freshmen must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2024-25 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Tuition and Aid

How much does Art Therapy at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates are available on our tuition website. Anyone who is not a current West Virginia resident, including international students, will be charged non-resident rates.

View Tuition and Fees


Estimate your eligibility for merit scholarships at WVU Morgantown.

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Net Price Calculator

Estimate your cost of attendance and eligibility for financial aid and scholarships at any WVU System campus.

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Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Financial Aid

The most important step toward funding your future with financial aid for the Art Therapy major is submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Ohio Tuition Reciprocity

As the result of a special agreement, students from Ohio who are fully admitted to Art Therapy can enroll at WVU and pay in-state tuition rates. Students must be admitted to both the University and this major.

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Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU.

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits

Ready to take the next step?

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Request Info

Want to know more about Art Therapy at WVU? Fill out our request form to receive more information.

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​​Experiencing campus is the best way to see if WVU is the right fit. Choose from in-person and virtual options.

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Your first step to becoming a Mountaineer is applying for admission using our convenient online application.

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