study art therapy 2.0

Now there’s an update to my popular blog post about studying art therapy. I am regularly asked two things: whether I can recommend studying art therapy and where you can study art therapy. The first question is easy to answer: Yup. Art therapy is awesome and I would choose it again. This blog post on universities with art therapy courses in Germany is dedicated to the second question.

A brush and a whisk, both with paint on them

not all art therapy is the same

“Art therapist” is not a protected professional title in Germany, such as physician or psychotherapist. Accordingly, the qualifications behind the title of art therapist vary greatly. From weekend workshops, to more time-consuming training, to bachelor and master degrees, anything can currently be called art therapy. That’s why it’s important to take a close look: A course lasting several years naturally offers much more in-depth knowledge than a weekend workshop. This is particularly important because as an art therapist you work therapeutically and artistically with (vulnerable) people. In order to do this work responsibly – both for the people you work with and for yourself – you need sound knowledge and professional training.

training or study?

If you already have a university degree in a subject related to art therapy (e.g. art education), further training at a institution that is certified by a professional association may be a good option. In general, however, I would always prefer a degree in art therapy to an apprenticeship. On the one hand, because it offers several years of intensive study. Secondly, because our discipline is becoming increasingly academicized. The career prospects are much better with a degree than with additional training.

There are several universities in Germany that offer a degree in art therapy – with different admission requirements and focuses. Most of them are full-time courses. Some universities also offer the option of studying part-time while working.

hey hamburg

I myself studied at the Hochschule für Kunsttherapie (now: Nürtingen-Geislingen University (HfWU)) from 2003-2008 and have been a professor of Intermedia Art Therapy at the Faculty of Art, Health and Social Science at the Medical School Hamburg since 2022. I really like both universities and can only recommend them professionally. Incidentally, our faculty in Hamburg has the only department for Creative Arts Therapies in Germany. That means you can not only study art therapy here, but also music therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, Expressive Arts in Social Transformation and more. I myself am jointly responsible for the study program Intermedial Art Therapy (M.A.), but I also teach in other degree programs, such as our Art Therapy (B.A.). My focus here is on intermediality, intersectionality and Open Science. However, our community is rather small, so I am cooperating with many of the other universities mentioned below or have taught there myself.

which university suits me?

To decide which degree course is right for you, make up your own mind. You know best what suits you. Once you’ve checked the websites, it’s best to get in touch with the institutions and get an idea digitally or on site. Universities offer a wide range of opportunities to gain an insight. At the Medical School Hamburg, for example, we have the following opportunities to get to know us:

You can find all information about studying with us here.

at which universities can I study art therapy?

Below you will find a list of universities where you can study art therapy. All of them are members of the German professional associations Deutscher Fachverband für Kunst- und Gestaltungstherapie (DFKGT) and/or the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Künstlerische Therapieformen (DGKT). The training committees of these professional associations ensure and demand compliance with the respective association’s minimum standards. You can therefore be sure that these are qualified art therapy training institutions.

study internationally

Are you interested in international study programs outside of Germany? Then take a look at the respective professional associations for art therapy, if the country in question has one. For English courses of study, I recommend to take a look at the websites of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) and the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).

Good luck with your application!

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