Frequently Asked Questions 

Answers to questions frequently asked about the MSc Art Psychotherapy Course


1. What are the entry requirements for the MSc Art Psychotherapy course?

  • An honours degree or a professional qualification /vocational qualification in a relevant subject e.g. psychology, art, sociology, teaching.
  • A minimum of 1000 hours of employment or voluntary experience.
  • A portfolio of 12 examples of personal artwork

Note: Experience of either personal therapy or experiential Art Psychotherapy workshops and participation in an introduction to Art Therapy course is a benefit


2. What constitutes relevant work experience?

Relevant work includes work in a care (nursing assistant, project worker, arts instructor etc.) or experience of work in community settings, art teaching, facilitating art workshops etc.


 3. Are applicants with degrees other than Fine Art considered?

A large number of students embarking upon the MSc Art Psychotherapy have a degree in visual art or a related field, which involves arts practice. Queen Margaret University does accept students with degrees or professional qualifications in other subjects relevant to Art Psychotherapy, e.g. Psychology, Art History, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Sociology, Medicine, etc.


 4. What should a portfolio include?

A portfolio should demonstrate a serious involvement with art media and your personal process of work with imagery.


 5. Are there other steps I can take to prepare to apply for the MSc Art Psychotherapy?

Reading about Art Psychotherapy is essential and a pre-course reading list is provided at the end of this document. Introductory Art Therapy courses and workshops are also a helpful way of learning about the subject. See websites; British Association of Art Therapists, Health & Care Professions Council .


 6. Does QM have Open Days?

QMU holds two university postgraduate open evenings, one in the autumn and one in the spring. This offers potential applicants an opportunity to meet with representatives of the Art Psychotherapy programme and discuss any queries with them. The university also offers virtual meetings on those days.

 Please check the university website for details of the postgraduate open evenings.


7. How is the course structured?

The MSc Art Psychotherapy programme has a modular structure:

Level 1 modules:

Interdisciplinary Studies 1 (30 credits)

Art Therapy Theory, Skills and Practice (30 credits)

Research Methods (30 credits)

Practice Placement 1 (30 credits)


Level 2 modules:

Interdisciplinary Studies 2 (30 credits)

Practice Placement 2 (30 credits)

Clinical Project (60 credits)


8. There are two modes for the course, full and part-time. What is the length of each and how long will it take to complete the course in either mode?

The full-time course runs over two years. This involves two fifteen-week semesters in each year. In year one students will attend two days at the university and two days a week on a practice placement.

Students taking the part-time mode typically will attend university one and a half days a week in the first year of this route a week and thereafter one day a week at university and another day on practice placement. This route can be completed over a three or four year period.


Level 1 - Semester 1

Week 1 - Full and part/time students

New student induction week


Weeks 2-6 - Full and part/time students

The programme commences with a 5-week induction to practice placement programme in Level 1 which all students full time and part time are required to attend, 4 days per week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays)

Week 7 - onwards.


Year 1 -Level 1 classes are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The 2-day placement commences.

Year 2-Level 2-Classes are held on Thursdays. The 2-day a week placement commences in week 1 of Semester 1.

Students attend practice placement 2 days a week over 2 years.


Year 1-Level 1 classes are held on Tuesdays all day and Wednesday mornings.

Year 2-Level 1 - students will attend on Wednesdays

Year 3/4- Level 2 – students will attend classes on Thursdays.

Students attend practice placement 1 day a week over 3 years.


9. How is the practice placement allocated?

Practice Placements are arranged and allocated by the Practice Placement Coordinator and Administrator in the School Office. Students have two practice placements during the training course. The Practice Placement Coordinator will match the student's learning needs with a suitable practice placement. Efforts are made to arrange practice placements in or near the city where the student resides.


10. What kinds of practice placements are offered?

The range of practice placements are extensive including placements within hospitals, schools, voluntary sector organisations, child and family centres, counselling services, prisons, drug and alcohol services, hospices, community based health centres, community based mental health teams, day centres for the elderly and for adults with physical and/or learning disabilities. The range of practice placements for Art Psychotherapy students changes from year to year.


11. What else do I need to know about placements?

Students are required to complete a minimum of 110 days of practice placement. Participation in a weekly Supervision Seminar in university is a co-requisite of the practice placement. Students will be required to complete a Police Check/ Disclosure Scotland for their placement. International students are required to bring Police checks with them for the start of the semester at the latest. Admissions may ask for this information to arrive 3 months prior to the start of the course so that a final offer of a place can be granted.


12. Why are students required to attend personal psychotherapy for the duration of the MSc Art Psychotherapy?

Students are required to attend personal psychodynamic psychotherapy for the duration of the MSc Art Psychotherapy course. All of the registered Art Psychotherapy courses in the UK have this personal psychotherapy requirement. Responsibility for finding a therapist rests with the student. In general students are advised to work with a therapist whose orientation is compatible with the psychodynamic orientation of the programme, with a minimum of 5 years experience BAAT, UKCP or BACP or HCPC State Registered.

Fees for personal therapy range on average from £35-50 per session. It is important to bear this additional expense in mind and budget for it.

Personal psychodynamic psychotherapy is seen to be supportive of the student whilst on the course and also enables a student to have personal experience of a therapeutic relationship. As personal therapy is a programme requirement, the student's therapist will be requested to submit a letter to the student’s personal academic tutor at the end of each semester informing her of the number of sessions the student has attended. Otherwise the student's personal therapy is distinct from the course and is confidential between student and therapist. Personal psychotherapy is predominately carried out while seeing clients during semesters, while additional sessions may be carried out over the summer.


13. What are the course fees? .

A full outline of the MSc Art Psychotherapy course fees and updated information on possible student funding can be found on the MSc Art Psychotherapy course pages. There are no grants and most students take out a student loan. Some applicants have received part funding from their employers


14. Are there grants, trusts or scholarships for the course?

No grants are available. Some students have sought funding from other sources by consulting information on Education Awards in their local library. Other students have obtained a Career Development Loan from their bank.


15. May fees be paid over the course of a year or need full fees be paid at the outset of the academic year?

A full outline of the MSc Art Psychotherapy course fees and information on payment structure can be found on the MSc Art Psychotherapy course pages.


16. What sort of tutorial support is available to students?

Each student on the course has a personal academic tutor whose role is to help the student to integrate the different parts of the course and to be aware of any circumstances affecting the student’s learning on the course. Tutors will meet with their tutees at least once per semester to review the student's work. In addition, students will receive weekly supervision as part of their placement.


17. Is there support within college with students with special educational needs?

A member of the course team is an academic disability student coordinator and is able to meet with students to discuss requirements and offer advice in liaison with the academic disability services. For example students with dyslexia may be advised how to be assessed, where to find technological support, and what sorts of extra support is available. In addition there are workshops within the university on essay preparation and some tutorials are offered for students whose first language is not English. QMU has a student counsellor who can be contacted through Student Services. QMU subscribes to an equal opportunities policy. There is an access hardship fund within the college to which students experiencing financial difficulties may apply. Information is available from


18. Are there studio facilities in the college for students wishing to continue with their own art work?

There is a workshop component to the course. There is studio space although this is timetabled. However students are encouraged to pursue their own artwork and to find out about the media specific workshop facilities open to them in Edinburgh (e.g. sculpture, photography and printmaking). Students are also strongly encouraged to visit the many excellent museums and galleries in Edinburgh.


19. Do most students find employment after they graduate?

Employment opportunities vary, with some regions of the UK offering more employment possibilities for qualified Art Psychotherapists than others. Some Art Psychotherapists will find employment in settings where their Art Psychotherapy knowledge combines with the requirements of the job. An example would be e.g. a job as a project worker or an art worker with special needs, on a Community Mental Health Team, School and Hospice etc. Art Psychotherapists find full, part-time and sessional work within statutory and voluntary sectors. Practice Placement experience whilst a student contributes to an understanding of employment possibilities and enables students to consider realistically how to approach employment upon graduation.

The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT), the professional organisation which newly qualified Art Therapists may join, publishes, a journal (international journal of Art Psychotherapy), a Newsletter, and circulates online information about Art Therapy posts in the UK. In addition BAAT Regional Groups enable Art Therapists to keep in touch with one another and focus upon local and professional issues and developments. Within BAAT there are a number of special interest groups, such as Art Therapy and Education, Art Therapy and Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Art Therapy and Palliative Care, Art Therapy and Learning Disability, Art Therapy in Forensic Settings and Art Therapy Race and Culture, creating networks which in turn promote employment.


20. What support is offered to International students?

We recommend pre-sessional courses to all applicants whose first language is not English.

Studies Department at QMU offers a range of preparatory English courses for students whose first language is not English. Interested students are advised to contact Recruitment & International Liaison Office: telephone:+ 44 ( 0) 131 474 0000 email: . For information about student accommodation contact the Accommodation Office on Tel: +44 (0) 131 474 0000. We recommend pre-sessional courses to all applicants whose first language is not English. 


21. How many students are accepted on the course each year?

Between 25 and 30 full-time places and 10 part-time places are offered each year or the equivalent in terms of full and part-time places. 


22. When should I apply?

Applicants are advised to apply between October and May 31st. This is a competitive course and early applications are recommended. Late applicants will be considered. The majority of interviews take place in the second semester between January and May. For more information, contact: QMU Admissions Office on Tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000. Please enclose your  reference together with your application form.


23. What are the research interests of the staff? 

Please see individual staff member's details on the QMU Occupational and Art Therapies subject area website


24. Could I have a reading list?

Case, C. (2005) Imagining Animals: Art, Psychotherapy and Primitive States of Mind, Routledge.

Dubowski, J. and Evans, K. (2001) Art Therapy with Children on the Autistic Spectrum: Beyond Words, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Edwards, D. (2013) Art Therapy, Sage publications.

Gilroy, A. (2011) Art Therapy Research in Practice, Peter Lang Publishers.

Gilroy, A. (2006) Art Therapy, Research and Evidence-based Practice, Sage publications.

Hogan, S. (2001) Gender Issues in Art Therapy, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Huss, E. (2015) A Theory-based Approach to Art Therapy: Implications for teaching, research and practice (Explorations in Mental Health), Routledge.

Killick, K. (Ed.) (2017) Art Therapy for Psychosis: Theory and Practice (The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis Book Series), Routledge.

Leibmann, M. and Weston,S. (2015) Art Therapy with Physical Conditions, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Schaverien, J. (2009) The Revealing Image: Analytical Art Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Wood, C. (Ed.) (2011) Navigating Art Therapy, A Therapist's Companion, Routledge.


Online Journal: Art Therapy Online-ATOL: