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Postgraduate study
Arts Therapist (Degree Apprenticeship)

Arts Therapist (Degree Apprenticeship)* MSc

Art psychotherapy is a rapidly expanding intervention within sectors including health, education, and social care.


Degree apprenticeship


Course overview

Our course, carefully designed within the School of Arts & Creative Industries, is the only MSc Art Psychotherapy Degree Apprenticeship in England and has the potential to offer a dynamic, exciting, and personally rewarding career. The course offers a broad understanding of art psychotherapy, covering a range of clinical, theoretical, and practical components. On completion of the course, apprentices will be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a qualified and professional art psychotherapist, ready for practice.

An art psychotherapist’s task is to support processes of emotional integration by providing a safe, reliable, and therapeutic environment within which the patient or client can create and use art-making to express thoughts and feelings, leading to personal insight and positive change.

The programme aims to:

  • enable graduates to undertake safe and effective practice of art psychotherapy
  • introduce professional, theoretical, and practical components of art psychotherapy, enabling a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of working within professional practice
  • ensure first-hand experience of art psychotherapy practice. Support exploration of meaning of the process of art making in the light of personal experiences and/or interpersonal relationships enhancing self-reflection and development skills
  • develop and enable analytical thinking, using research methods and being informed by evidence-based practice
  • integrate learning from all areas of the course within employment
  • develop clinical reasoning and professional identity
  • produce art psychotherapists of a high quality, ready to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council
  • become eligible to apply for full membership of the British Association of Art Therapists.

Developed and delivered in partnership with key stakeholders from the profession, and led by established art psychotherapists, this course allows the apprentice to develop clinical reasoning and professional identity within a supportive and comprehensive training programme.

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* Subject to University approval


Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Integration of Theory and Practice

Apprentices develop and integrate their critical and theoretical awareness of art psychotherapy practice. They explore and expand on key theories and practices, both historical and contemporary, developing investigative research, analytical and communication skills through practice-based learning, theoretical studies, clinical work, and experiential learning. In addition, theoretical learning is considered through a trauma-informed lens.

Learners are encouraged to develop their own reflective art practice and to situate their work in relationship to their development as a therapist.

Personal Therapy

It's a mandatory aspect of the course that all apprentices must be in personal therapy for the duration of the taught programme.

Therapy may be on a group or individual basis and can be art psychotherapy or verbal psychotherapy. All personal therapists must be qualified and registered with a relevant professional organisation. Apprentices’ therapists are also expected to register their professional details with Teesside University to ensure that consistent attendance is maintained.

Preparation and Theory of Practice

Your apprentice develops their understanding of art psychotherapy in preparation for practice. The nature of the art psychotherapeutic relationship between client/patient, their artwork, and the art psychotherapist is explored. They gain knowledge and insight into theory and evidence-based approaches for safe and contained delivery of treatment, through a theoretical, institutional, and ethical lens. They build on an awareness of developmental relational perspectives of art psychotherapy practice through experiential learning, working in groups, online, and carrying out independent reflective enquiry.

Professional Practice

Apprentices demonstrate an extended and competent professional art psychotherapy practice to a level of distinction. They further develop their research enquiries through a dissertation or expansive portfolio of research and contextual information. Expanding on the knowledge base acquired through their learning in this program, they develop and demonstrate enhanced learning in an area of clinical and theoretical specialism.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The apprentice learns through intensive week-long sessions of seminars, lectures, workshops and group activities, plus regular smaller seminars delivered online. Research-informed teaching is embedded throughout and delivered by professional art psychotherapists within the programme team, key speakers and experienced academics.

We encourage guided independent exploration, allowing the apprentice to take ownership of their learning and work with their tutors as collaborators. This radical new approach to developing the learner as a professional art psychotherapist promotes independent enquiry, research skills, self-direction and responsibility, confidence, communication and negotiated learning.

How you are assessed

The apprentice is assessed through reports, project research and development work, presentations, and their engagement in art-making for personal and professional reflection. There are no formal exams.

Degree assessment
Each 60-credit module is assessed by the submission of a portfolio. The assessments focus on the analytical, professional, theoretical, and practical elements of the apprentice's study, and they engage in consistent dialogue with tutors about their clinical practice and progress toward their end point assessment.

Following completion of the module assessments, a Gateway meeting will take place to confirm that the apprentice meets the requirements and can proceed to the end point assessment. Gateway requirements are:

  • the employer is satisfied the apprentice is consistently working at, or above, the level of the occupational standard
  • successful completion of all modules within the MSc Art Psychotherapy degree
  • English and mathematics Level 2 (or equivalent)
  • completion and sign-off of Practice Assessment Documents by Practice and Academic Assessor.

End point assessment
As an integrated degree apprenticeship, there is no additional assessment requirement. The conclusion of the apprenticeship will start with the School assessment board confirming the degree qualification and end once the required documentation has been submitted to the HCPC for professional recognition.


Entry requirements

Maths and English qualifications at level 2 (or equivalent)

Apprentices will need to be proficient in art before applying to this apprenticeship e.g. holding a degree or with experiential equivalence.

In order to meet the HCPC requirements apprentices must be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7 of the International English Language Testing System, with no element below 6.5, prior to entering the degree programme.

Be successful at interview where Value-based Recruitment (VBR) is embedded – the interview is a requirement of the Health and Care professions council (HCPC) as well as being an opportunity for the employer and the course team to explore the suitability of the candidate for this course. Given the intensity of it, this is an important opportunity to avoid the recruitment of candidates who lack insight into the course and potential career. The robustness of this process will contribute towards a better experience for the student and hopefully their well-being will also be protected. Value-based recruitment is a requirement for all posts in the NHS (HEE, 2016).

Able to declare that they are not currently subject to any disciplinary actions or the subject of a current investigation.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

On completion of the course, apprentices will be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a qualified and professional art psychotherapist, ready for practice.


Degree apprenticeship

A degree apprenticeship combines vocational work-based learning with study for a university degree. Designed in partnership with employers, degree apprenticeships offer it all - a higher education qualification, a salary, and invaluable practical experience and employment skills.

Find out more


  • Not available full-time


2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants

The cost of the apprenticeship is covered through the Apprenticeship Levy Fund. Businesses that do not pay the apprenticeship levy will pay a maximum of 5% towards the cost of training an apprentice.

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2 years

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