Master of Science
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Belfast School of Art
Art Psychotherapy is a catalyst for the arts being of service to people and communities in need. Applications open 1 Nov 21 and close on 1 March 22.
The MSc Art Psychotherapy course is a two-year part time training programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the regulating body for the health and care professions in the UK.
The course combines experiential learning, clinical placements, seminars, and studio practices. Art Psychotherapy trainees also attend clinical supervision to support their learning and professional development within a variety of practicum settings.
Art psychotherapists work with children, young people, adults, and older people in a range of health, education, social care, advocacy, and community services.
As a career Art Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. It combines therapeutic expertise, evidence based research, social engagement and creative ingenuity. The course integrates HCPC professional clinical training requirements along with practice-based learning in conjunction with cultural partners, advocacy organisations, and social enterprise initiatives.
The training in art psychotherapy is life changing for both the student and the service user. Art in the service of wellness creates opportunities for making both with art media and the materials of our lives.
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The MSc Art Psychotherapy is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator of the profession of Art Therapy/Art Psychotherapy and other allied health and care professions in the UK. The MSc Art Psychotherapyis a pre-registration clinical training course run by the Belfast School of Art and validated by Ulster University. The course is recognised by the British Association of Art Therapists, the UK professional body, and also by the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists, the Irish professional body.
The programme encompasses seminars, tutorials, peer learning groups, reflective practice and art making. The MSc Art Psychotherapy course also includes practicum components, with students undertaking approved placements in diverse organisational settings. These will be supported by training and mentoring within the placement and also by ongoing supervision from experienced HCPC registered arts therapists and art psychotherapists.
These will be supported by Practice Education within the placement and also by ongoing supervision from experienced HCPC Registered Arts Therapists/Psychotherapists, clinical seminars and personal therapy. To maximise student clinical and multi-disciplinary team experience and potential for employment, placements will be with approved agencies across statutory and voluntary settings and with clients across the lifespan.
Successful completion of an HCPC approved programme provides eligibility to apply for HCPC registration. It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practise using a title protected by the Health & Care Professions Council Order 2001 (e.g. "Art Therapist" or "Art Psychotherapist") is on the HCPC register. Therefore, HCPC Registration permits practice of Art Therapy / Art Psychotherapy in the UK and use of the legally protected titles: “Art Therapist” or “Art Psychotherapist”.
MSc Art Psychotherapy is delivered in part-time mode over 2 years. The course is based in Belfast School of Art, Belfast campus.
Attendance must be in compliance with the University’s attendance policies.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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This module will examine the history nature and parameters of art psychotherapy and effective practice within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. It aims to develop understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to working within an evidence-based framework, adapting practice to suit client need. Understanding will be developed about relevant theories and art-making/experiential techniques and theoretical learning in groups will explore art processes and theories of group work and the management of group process and diversity in groups.
This module will examine the history, nature and parameters of art psychotherapy and effective practice. It aims to develop understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to working within an evidence-based coherent integrative pluralistic framework, adapting practice to suit client needs. Building on this, the art psychotherapist's practice needs to be tailored to the needs of the client and adapted in a culturally competent way. Understanding will be developed about relevant theories and techniques and the relationship between research and practice.
This module will introduce the Practicum component of the programme. It will enable students to begin the practice of art psychotherapy under clinical supervision and with the support of the placement and practice educator. It will introduce students to professional practice within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. This module will run alongside the academic module(s), training groups and studio group module. Students will be in personal therapy and this must run concurrently with placements.
This module explores skills and attitudes relevant to working with cultural diversity and fostering art psychotherapy multi-cultural competency. Understanding will be developed in distinguishing between human health and illness. We explore diverse cultural perspectives on areas such as; mental health difficulties, special and additional needs, age and generational influences, developmental and acquired disabilities, religion, ethnicity (and race), social status, sexual orientation, indigenous heritage, national origin, and gender.
This module will continue the Practicum component of the programme. It will enable students to develop and continue the practice of art psychotherapy under clinical supervision and with the support of the placement and Practice Educator. Students will further explore professional practice within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. It aims to continue to develop understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to practice and to working within an evidence-based coherent integrative pluralistic framework, adapting practice to suit client needs. Students will be in personal therapy and this must run concurrently with placements.
This module will examine reflexive practice, routine systematic evaluation of practice, evaluating practice, collaboration, clinical audit and career-long learning - all within a culture of quality assurance and clinical governance and also within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. The art psychotherapist must be committed to reflexive practice, and to improve services. Understanding will be developed about relevant theories and techniques, art-making, experiential and theoretical learning in groups.
This module will examine art psychotherapy research - within a culture of research governance, clinical governance and quality assurance and also within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. It aims to further develop understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to research and to working within an evidence-based coherent integrative pluralistic framework, adapting practice to suit client needs.
This module will continue and conclude the practicum component of the programme. It will enable students to gain further experience of the practice of art psychotherapy under clinical supervision and with the support of the placement and practice educator. It aims to increase understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to practice and to working within an evidence-based coherent integrative pluralistic framework, adapting practice to suit client needs. This module will run alongside the academic module(s), training groups and studio group module.
This module will continue the practicum component of the programme. It will enable students to develop and continue the practice of art psychotherapy under clinical supervision and with the support of the placement and practice educator. Students will further explore professional practice within professional, ethical, legal boundaries and requirements. It aims to continue to develop understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to practice and to working within an evidence-based coherent integrative pluralistic framework, adapting practice to suit client needs. The module also aims to develop the following programme components—supervision groups and clinical seminars. This module will run alongside the academic module(s), training groups and studio practice. Students will be in personal therapy and this must run concurrently with placements.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Criteria leading to selection for interview:
(a) A 2:2 degree or above in either visual arts, psychology, psychotherapy, social work, nursing, teaching, social care, occupational therapy or an allied profession.
(b) A commitment to reflective arts practices facilitating personal insight and an artistic repertoire of self enquiry. If invited for interview, a portfolio of six artworks demonstrating proficiency in a range of arts media will be requested.
(c) A 1000 hours of work experience in a helping capacity in either mental health, arts and health, social care, social work, special education, or a counselling setting. Paid or voluntary work is acceptable.
(d) Applicants are requested to demonstrate self-awareness, psychological mindedness, emotional resilience, robustness, and the capacity to be empathetic.
(e) All applicants are asked to demonstrate a level of English necessary for the completion of academic assignments. An example of academic writing can support your application and also be submitted prior to interview.
All successful applicants are required to complete an enhanced Access NI security check.
Applicants will be required to submit references from two referees relating to their academic and professional performance.
Applications for this course will open on 1 November 2021 and close on 1 March 2022.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
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"Art Psychotherapy graduates typically combine sessional, part time and full time employment. They work with people of all ages living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions in the context of mental health, education, arts and health, community, and voluntary settings. Art Psychotherapists need to be flexible and resourceful. Within the current context in health and social care, entrepreneurial skills are also needed, and most art psychotherapists start their career on a self-employed basis and establish art therapy provision in a wide variety of settings. Many Art Psychotherapists work in partnership with allied professionals to develop innovative approaches to practice" (British Association of Art Therapists).
Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an arts therapist.
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
|Credit Points||NI/ROI/GB Cost||International Cost|
NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
Students must be prepared to enter personal therapy, with a university approved therapist for a minimum of 75 hours throughout their training. This is paid for by the student, in addition to their course fees. Personal therapy provides an experience of learning about the therapeutic relationship and supports the emotional demands of training. Personal therapists are required to submit reports confirming hours completed and noting any concerns about a student practicing as an art psychotherapist. This is paid for by the student, in addition to the course fees. The costs of this vary significantly and may range between £25 to £80 per session. This provides a personal experience of learning about therapy and also supports the emotional demands of the training. Whilst the content of this therapy work is confidential within normal parameters, personal therapists are required to submit a report regularly confirming the hours completed and noting any serious concerns about the student practising.
Whilst students are covered by University insurance, students are strongly encouraged to take out their own additional professional indemnity cover and this may be required by some placements.
The additional cost of travel to and from placements and the University should be taken into account.
Studio fee for specialist art equipment may be required and is normally up to £100 and contributes to additional materials used by students.
Students purchase materials for their own coursework.
Northern Ireland, Great Britain and EU Fees
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees. See www.ulster.ac.uk/student/fees-and-funding/tuition-fees/tuition-fees-202223/ni-roi-students for most up to date costs.
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