Master of Arts in Art Therapy

No longer accepting applications for Fall 2023

Applications for Fall 2024 will open October 1st

Art Therapy Prerequisites

The prerequisites below are set by the Art Therapy national licensing body and are in place to ensure that all applicants have met the same standards before entering the program. Applicants may submit an application while prerequisites are in progress. The application will be considered for conditional admission to the program with the condition being that all prerequisites must be complete prior to the start of the program.


Applicants must successfully complete the following prerequisite coursework prior to beginning the program. Credits must be earned at a college or university approved by a national or regional accrediting agency (minimum 100 level). NOTE: These courses are not available to the public through the Lewis & Clark undergraduate program. Please explore options at your local university or community college.

Studio Art Coursework: minimum of 18 semester credits (27 quarter credits)

Must include one course in each of the following categories:

  • Painting —oil, acrylics, watercolor, mixed painting
  • Drawing —must include figure drawing
  • Sculpture —must include fired clay/ceramics hand building or wheel throwing

Psychology Coursework*: minimum of 12 semester credits (18 quarter credits) including:

  • Abnormal Psychology —Psychopathology
  • Developmental Psychology** —Life Span Development; or Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Adult Development

*To meet the minimum credit requirement applicants may choose to take courses outside of psychology that focus on social justice such as gender studies, feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, social construction, etc.

**Applicants may demonstrate competency in this topic and earn credit by exam. Refer to CLEP CollegeBoard Exams for more information about the exam, testing fees, and how to earn college credit for the course.

Human Services Hours

In addition to the course prerequisites, applicants are required to complete a minimum of 200 hours in experiences helping people and can be hours completed while in paid positions, volunteer positions, or an internship or practicum. Examples of human services sites are homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, residential home programs, crisis intervention programs, disaster volunteer work, AmeriCorps, mentor programs with children and youth, immigration services, Special Olympics. You will document your experiences through the online application. If you are in the Portland area, use the links below to explore volunteer opportunities. If you are not in the Portland area, these lists can provide you with examples of the type of organizations you may find in your own area.

Admissions Requirements

To receive priority consideration for admission, the application form and all supporting materials must be received by the Lewis & Clark Graduate Admissions office on or before the program’s published application deadline.

The following items are required for the Master of Arts in Art Therapy admissions application. 

  1. Application Form
    Lewis & Clark uses an online application. You will be able to upload your essay, resume, and portfolio. However, transcripts must be sent directly to the graduate school. We will accept official e-transcripts sent by college and university registrar offices.
  2. Application Fee
    A $50 nonrefundable application fee is required. The fee is payable with a credit card or electronic check. Fee waivers are available to alumni of Lewis & Clark and current students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. Participants in special programs are also eligible for a waiver. Go to this page for more information about the fee waiver process.
  3. Two Essays 
    Applicants to the Art Therapy program must submit two essays that address the topics below. You will be able to upload your essays through the online application.

    Essay 1. (approximately 500 words)
    —-  Please tell us about your commitment to social justice.

    Essay 2. (approximately 750 words)
    —-  What led to your desire to become an art therapist?
    —-  Why are you specifically interested in Lewis & Clark’s Art Therapy program?
    —-  What strengths do you bring to the learning community?
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation
    We require letters from two individuals who know you and are qualified to evaluate your academic competence, character and/or experience in professional or leadership roles. Professors, supervisors, and employers are often the best sources. References from a personal therapist, family members, or friends are not accepted. 

    How to Submit Your Letters
    Applicants will provide contact information for their references within the application. An email will be sent by our office to those references with a form they need to complete on the applicant’s behalf in addition to attaching their letter of recommendation.
  5. Official Transcripts
    Applicants must hold or be in the process of completing a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States (the college or university must be regionally accredited at the time of enrollment and when the degree was conferred) or the foreign equivalent. One official transcript must be submitted from each post-secondary institution attended regardless of the length of study or the number of courses taken. This includes all college level credit earned while in high school or participating in study abroad programs. Failure to submit official copies of all transcripts may result in the withholding of your application for consideration. Transcripts stamped “Issued to Student” will not be considered official.

    Graduates of a non-U.S. university system are required to provide officially evaluated and translated copies of all their college transcripts. Official evaluations and translations are done by outside agencies. Information regarding three such agencies can be found by going to International Applicants.

    How to Submit Transcripts
    Lewis & Clark will accept paper or e-transcripts ordered directly from each post-secondary institution attended. Transcripts cannot be uploaded via the online application. Transcripts must be mailed or emailed directly from the institution to the Graduate Admissions office. The mailing and email information can be found on the Transcripts website.
  6. Grade Point Average (GPA)
    All applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), or the equivalent in their undergraduate degree.
    Applicants who have an GPA of less than a 3.0 on their undergraduate, degree-posted transcript are required to provide a statement that explains their previous academic record.
  7. Resume 
    Submit a current professional resume.
  8. Art Therapy Prerequisite Courses form (.pdf)
    Please complete the form indicating required Studio Art and Psychology coursework. This form can be uploaded through the online application.
  9. Human Services Hours
    Applicants are required to complete a minimum of 200 hours of helping experiences working with people. These must be direct service experiences and can be of paid or volunteer positions, or internship/practicum hours. You will document your experiences through the online application.
  10. Portfolio or studio artwork (9-15 pieces)

    In addition to studio art classes, applicants must submit a portfolio with their application that shows technical proficiency in painting, drawing, and sculptural work including ceramics. The portfolio must include at least one example of each of the three areas listed below.  

    • Figure drawing
    • Painting (include examples of representational imagery - figure, landscape, portrait, still life)
    • Ceramics (include an example of a fired hand built, or wheel thrown piece)

    In addition to expressing competency in painting, drawing, and sculpture/ceramics, your portfolio should also include images that address the following:

    • Self-reflection, depth, or introspection.
    • Conceptual awareness of relationship to society or social justice.

The remaining images can be of your choosing. Applicants who have a background in additional art forms are encouraged to include their work in their portfolio. All images should be presented in the best possible way, (In focus, no distracting backgrounds, good lighting.)


Qualified applicants will be invited to interview with Art Therapy faculty. Selection will be based on initial faculty review of completed applications. 

Tuition Deposit

Admitted applicants will be required to confirm their intent to enroll and pay a (non-refundable) $100 tuition deposit to secure a spot in the program.  The tuition deposit will be credited toward the student’s first term of enrollment.


Application files for all Counseling, Therapy, and School Psychology programs are kept for one year. If reapplying for the following year, you will need to submit a new application form and the $50 application fee. If you would like us to use the essay(s), resume, and/or letters of recommendation that were submitted with your old application please notify us of this in writing. If you wish to submit new essay(s), resume, or letters, send these in with your new application form. The Admissions office will notify you of any additional required documentation. If you are reapplying more than a year from your previous application, you will need to resubmit all required application materials. 

Additional Information