Art Therapy

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Location(s): Alexandria Graduate Education Center

Program Overview

One of the first programs to be developed in the United States and receive approval from the American Art Therapy Association, GW’s art therapy program combines artistic training with therapy and counseling skills. A part of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ social and behavioral sciences program, students are trained to become effective art therapists through a combination of coursework, hands-on projects and placements in internships for course credit.

Studies include training in drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as intensive course work in the types of art therapy, diagnosis, and assessment. Coursework in trauma training is also available.


Admission Requirements

Admission Deadline:

Fall: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in mid-December. Applicants seeking funding are strongly encouraged to submit their completed applications no later than January 5.

Standardized test scores:

GRE is not required.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.A. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68

Recommendations required:

Two (2) recommendations

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Prerequisite Requirements:


Statement of Purpose:

A bachelor's degree, with 18 credits in art, including painting, drawing, and figurative clay, and 12 credits in the behavioral and/or social sciences, including abnormal psychology and  human development. Coursework grades must be B or above to be accepted.

In an essay of approximately 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in Art Therapy and specifically why you are interested in the GW Program. Include why you have chosen this field over any other you considered and what led you to this decision. We are not looking for a reiteration of your CV, but rather your exploration of the field, your sense of self awareness, and your level of maturity. 


Please be aware that an online interview will be required. Interview dates are available on the department website.


Please submit your portfolio directly to the Art Therapy Department via email or Google Drive at [email protected]. You can submit a PDF, PowerPoint presentation or individual photos. See website for specific requirements.

Course Summary Sheet:

Applicants must submit an Art Therapy Course Summary Sheet with their applications. The template may be downloaded from the Art Therapy Department website. 

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

All other supporting documents must be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday