M.A. in Counseling with Mental Health Counseling/ Art Therapy Specialization – CACREP – Accredited

The M.A. in Counseling with Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization is a uniquely designed 63-credit interdisciplinary program that prepares students to effectively function as mental heath counselors and art therapists in a variety of human service settings. The program integrates the practice of art therapy within the mental health counseling model, reflected in educational philosophy, course readings and course content. The program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association and meets educational requirements for registration as an art therapist. The program also meets educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey and is approved by the New Jersey Professional Counselor Examiners Committee. Since requirements for counseling licensure differ from state to state, potential applicants from outside New Jersey are advised to contact their state licensing boards for requirements.

Graduate mental health counseling and art therapy courses at Caldwell University are a combination of didactic and experiential teaching methods, blending theory and practice. Successful completion of this program includes the requirement that students pass written and oral comprehensive examinations in addition to the prescribed course work and practica/internship requirements.

Admissions RequirementsProgram Requirements (63 credits)

Note – The application deadlines for the M.A. in Counseling with Mental Health
Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization are: April 1 – Summer; June 1 – Fall;
December 1 – Spring Semesters

  • A completed application (on paper or online)
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2
  • 15 credits in Psychology including Psychological Statistics, Experimental Psychology,  Psychopathology, Human Development and either General Psychology OR  Personality Theory with at least a B in each
  • 18 credits in studio art including drawing, painting, and three-dimensional work  with at least a B in each
  • Official undergraduate/graduate transcripts
  • Writing sample: In lieu of the statement of objectives on the application, submit a research-based paper of 5-10 pages that was previously submitted in an undergraduate psychology, graduate counseling or art therapy course. APA style preferred.
  • Art portfolio of 10-15 pieces, slides, or digital copies evidencing proficiency in different media
  • Two letters of recommendation for graduate study, preferably from former professors or current employer
  • Personal and group interviews required

If provisional acceptance is granted, prerequisites need to be completed no later than twelve (12) months after entering the  program.

Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization
Required Courses (48 credits)

CPS 510 Research Methods (3)
CPS 520 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling (3)
CPS 535 Biopsychology (3)
CPS 545 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling (3)
CPS 577 Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology (3)
CPS 578 Assessment Methods in Counseling (3)
CPS 633 Career Counseling (3)
CPS 667 Lifespan Development (3)
CAT 501 History and Development of Art Therapy (3)
CAT 504 Counseling Theory and Practice for Art Therapists I (3)
CAT 505 Counseling Theory and Practice for Art Therapists II (3)
CAT 507 Art Therapy Methods in Counseling (3)
CAT 509 Cultural Diversity in Counseling for Art Therapists (3)
CAT 607 Art-based Assessment in Counseling (3)
CAT 612 Counseling with Children and Adolescents for Art Therapists (3)
CAT 617 Group Dynamics in Counseling for Art Therapists (3)

Required Practicum Experience (9 credits — 800 hours)
CPS 590 Counseling Practicum (3)
CAT 601 Internship in Mental Health/Art Therapy I (1)
CAT 602 Internship in Mental Health/Art Therapy II (1)
CAT 603 Advanced Internship in Mental Health/Art Therapy I (2)
CAT 604 Advanced Internship in Mental Health/Art Therapy II (2)

Electives (6 credits with advisement)
CAT 615 Spirituality in Counseling for Art Therapists (3)
CPS 619 Counseling Practice Seminar: Cognitive & Behavior Theories (3)
CPS 627 Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals (3)
CPS 637 Substance Abuse Counseling (3)
CPS 657 Issues of Grief in Counseling (3)
CPS 673 Foundations of Brief Counseling (3)
CPS 677 Sexual Issues in Counseling (3)
CPS 689 Advanced Seminar in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (3)
CPS 699 Special Topics in Counseling (3)

Practica/Internship Screening Requirements
Practica and internships are the culminating experience in counselor education, preparing students to apply classroom learning to real world concerns. Success in these courses is a requirement for graduation. Some placement sites require certain types of health and other screening in order to protect their vulnerable populations.

To qualify for full admission and continue in the counseling program, students must supply all required health information within their first semester. Criminal background and drug screening may be required within 30 days of placement in some facilities. All screenings are the student’s responsibility; the Program Coordinator can assist in identifying practicum/internship sites.

Transfer of Graduate Credit
Caldwell University may accept the transfer of six credits of graduate work in counseling, art therapy, or a closely related field, provided the credits were completed within five years of the student’s graduate registration at Caldwell. Official transcripts of previous graduate work as well as the catalog description of each course must be submitted for review at the time of application. Approval of transfer credit is based on course content and grade earned in the course. Each request for transfer credit will be reviewed by the Program Coordinator.


The M.A. in Counseling with Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization uses a combination of assessment measures to evaluate student learning and competency. These include: Mid-term and final exams; signature assignments and research papers
that assess students’ comprehension, organizational and writing skills; successful integration of theory with course material, especially the use of research to inform clinical practice; completion of specific projects that assess integration of counseling and psychological principles with personal experience; and the administration of both psychological and art-based assessments with actual clients in at least 800 hours of supervised practicum/internship experience that demonstrates professional aptitude and an ability to integrate theory and practice. Like all M.A. in Counseling graduates, earning the degree with a Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization requires successful completion of a two-part comprehensive exam in the form of a case study.

  • An understanding of the fundamental principles of mental health counseling and art therapy, including treatment approaches, learning, individual behavior, personality, group processes, human development, psychopathology (abnormal behavior), the role of culture, gender, and spirituality, and the biological basis of behavior, among other areas.
  • An understanding of counseling and art therapy research, including experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental designs, particularly as they pertain to treatment of psychological disorders.
  • Ability to read and evaluate reports of psychological research.
  • Ability to write clearly about therapeutic content and to be able to communicate it effectively.
  • Ability to integrate art therapy theory and practice within a counseling framework.
  • An understanding of the selection and implementation of appropriate art therapy and psychological methods of assessment and evaluation.

Graduate Programs Information Request Form

If you have any further questions please send us an email at graduate@caldwell.edu