MA Art Psychotherapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still apply to the Programme if I don’t hold an art degree?

Ideally we are looking for candidates who have a degree in art and design. However, we also consider applicants with a degree in a related field, such as the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Can I still apply to the Programme if I don’t hold a degree?

On occasion, we do accept special entry applicants who do not hold a degree. Applicants without a degree need to have extensive clinical experience; a strong portfolio and demonstrate the qualities expectant of an art therapy trainee. Special entry candidates also need to demonstrate that they can manage the academic demands of an MA training.

Do I have enough clinical experience to apply?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The Programme looks for applicants who have extensive post qualifying clinical experience within a setting and with clients relevant to the Programme. This might include working with children, young people, adults and elderly with behavior or developmental challenges, learning difficulties, mental health or substance abuse issues, homelessness or facing life threatening illnesses, trauma or displacement etc. This work can either be done on a voluntary or employed basis. Artists in residency in a hospital would be welcome to apply as would people who have had experience working for aid agencies abroad.
Applicants need to have worked face to face with people in a helping capacity, within a clinical context. Applicants need sufficient experience to have developed a professional attitude and insight into the nature of the client group and care institutions.
Teachers and learning assistance need to have worked within special needs to meet this entry criterion. Unfortunately, working in a mainstream school with ordinary young people would not constitute clinical experience.
While applicants may have first hand experience of mental illness through, for example, a family member, this would not constitute clinical work. However, this would be a valuable experience for an applicant’s global understanding.
Clinical experience completed several years ago will be considered, however, it would strengthen an application form if the candidate had more recent clinical experience.
Applicants are asked to list their clinical experience carefully in their application form and self-asses to see if they meet this criterion before applying. In some cases, it might be useful to delay applying for a year and use the time to accrue further clinical experience.

Where can I obtain further clinical experience?

When trying to obtain further clinical experience, future applicants may wish to explore clinical services that are of interest to them, near where they live, for either paid or voluntary experience. The experience should involve working face-to-face with vulnerable or difficult to reach people within a clinical context. An excellent on-line resource for voluntary work can be found at

How do I apply from outside the UK?

EU and overseas applicants must include a portfolio with their application. This can either be sent as a disc, electronically via a website or as printed photographs. EU and overseas application forms cannot be processed without a portfolio.
It would be helpful to know in your application if you were travelling to the UK at any point. Should your application be successful it would be best to meet in person for an interview, where you could present your portfolio.
If you cannot travel then you will be interviewed over the telephone.

What should I include in my art portfolio at interview?

All applicants who are invited to an interview need to present a portfolio of their artwork. The brief for this is deliberately broad to encompass all aspects of art making. Portfolios need to demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to their art making along with the development of an identity as an artist. The portfolio should also demonstrate a fluidity of self-expression in a particular medium as well as a capacity to begin to explore self through the art making process. All plastic and digital visual art forms are welcome at interview. Please note that we do not provide computers or slide projectors at interview. If you are bringing any digital media you are requested to bring in a laptop.

Can I make an appointment to visit the University and speak to someone about training as an art therapist?

Unfortunately, due to this frequent request, we cannot make appointments to see individuals to discuss training options. However, we do hold 2 Open Days every year, which anyone interested can attend. This is a good opportunity to visit the University, meet the Programme staff and find answers to your questions. Open Days usually occur in January and June. You are advised to keep visiting the Programme webpage for updated information.

Is there an application deadline?

There is no formal application deadline. We usually stop interviewing candidates towards the end of July for the following academic year. As places are limited, an early application is encouraged. You are welcome to send in an application at any point. It is best to ensure that the University receives your application by the March prior to the September start of any given year.

Can I do my placement near to where I live?

On the whole, finding and allocating placements is done through our placement coordinator. The Programme has extensive links to clinical services nationally and every effort will be made to place students with an Art Therapist in a service in travelling distance to the student's home. However, depending on each student's location and availability, students need to be prepared to travel up to 1 hour one way, to reach their placement. On some occasions, those students living in more remote locations will be asked to work in collaboration with the placement coordinator to help identify local services. Some students will be involved in pioneering placements where they will establish a modest art therapy service.

Do I need to complete a Foundation course before applying to the MA Programme?

Completing a Foundation course is not a prerequisite to applying to the Programme. However, it can be a useful experience to find out more about art therapy as well as exploring yourself and art making in a unique environment. The Foundation course may be of equal interest to artists who wish to explore their practice in a psychological space but who don’t necessarily wish to go on to the full training.
Go to Psychology Short Courses for further information.

I have already had therapy do I need to have it again?

Yes, therapy is a mandatory aspect of the training and provides an important area of exploration and support for students.

Can I transfer credits from another Art Therapy training?

The specific nature of the training makes it very difficult to transfer credits from one University to Roehampton. However, you are asked to present your situation to the Programme coordinator for consideration.

Am I the right age to apply?

There is no age criteria associated with training. However, applicants need to have sufficient maturity and life experience to meet the personal qualities that are expected of a trainee therapist.

Shall I wait for all my documents before I apply?

No. The application process takes some time and you can submit your initial application and obtain references and copies of documents while this is being processed. However, any offer of a place is conditional upon submission of all the evidence.

Is there any funding available?

The majority of home/EU MA Art Psychotherapy students are self-funding. More information about funding opportunities can be found on our finance pages. Roehampton also offers a range of scholarships for international students.