North Park University’s pre-professional track for art therapy is a sequence of courses and advising that will give you a solid foundation for your applications to competitive art therapy graduate programs around the country. The pre-art therapy track should accompany a major—most often art or psychology—where you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the mind and the therapeutic nature of creating art.
Pre-art therapy students are advised by faculty in the Art Department, often Kelly VanderBrug. VanderBrug is an associate professor who earned her BFA degree and BA in art history from Calvin College, and an MFA in painting from Washington University. She’ll talk with you about your particular interests in art therapy, and help you stay on track throughout your program at North Park. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in GRE or MAT preparation sessions, and our faculty will work with you to make sure you are prepared for your applications and interviews for art therapy school.
Course Sequences and Activities
We recommend you take the following courses alongside your major and Core Curriculum requirements to prepare for art therapy schools and a career in art therapy. Some courses may also meet major/Core Curriculum requirements.
Recommended Core Courses
Two Dimensional Design
Three Dimensional Design
- 12 semester hours of Studio Art Electives
Introduction to Psychology
- Research Methods in Psychology
Human Life Span Development or Educational Psychology (required only for students desiring to work with children in schools)
- An internship in art therapy is strongly recommended
Candidates for MAAT programs submit portfolios of at least 15 works of art. Some programs want to see strength in a variety of media (three) while others want a more focused artistic development in one or two areas of studio work.
Download a PDF of this recommended sequence