Art Therapy Schools & Programs in California

Below is a list of graduate and undergraduate schools and programs in California. If you know of any schools or programs that should be added to the list, please leave a comment below. We’ll check out the school and add them to the list if appropriate.

Graduate Art Therapy Schools & Programs in California

Los Angeles, CA

Loyola Marymount University
Contact: Debra Linesch, PhD, ATR-BC, Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy
Address: 1 LMU Drive, Suite 2518, Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659
Phone: 310-338-4562
Degree: Masters of Arts (MA) in Marital and Family Therapy with a specialization in Art Therapy Modality.

Belmont, CA

Notre Dame de Namur University
Contact: Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC, Department Chair, Art Therapy Program
Address: 1500 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA 94002
Phone: 650-508-3556
Degree: Masters of Arts (MA) in Art Therapy, MA in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Encino, CA

Phillips Graduate Institute
Contact: Erin King-West – Director of Art Therapy and Core Faculty
Address: 19900 Plummer St, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Phone: 818-386-5618
Degree: Masters of Arts (MA) in Psychology with a major in Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy.

Other Graduate Degree Programs Related to Art Therapy

Pleasant Hill / San Jose, CA

John F. Kennedy University
Contact Info for Admissions:
(800) 696-5358 Pleasant Hill Campus and Berkeley Campuses
(800) 868-2359 Campbell Campus and Santa Cruz Satellite Location
Address: 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4817
More information
Degree: Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program – Holistic
**Note: They also have an Expressive Arts Certificate program

The Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology Рspecialization in Expressive Arts, offered at JFK University’s Campbell campus, integrates the creative process into the academic learning and applied practice of counseling psychology. This degree program prepares individuals for a wide range of employment opportunities currently as art-based therapies are commonly used in community mental health, agency and private practice settings. Looking ahead, the opportunities will increase as there is a growing demand for therapists with these skills at nursing facilities, hospitals, convalescent facilities, and recovery centers (both substance abuse and medical) and for veteran care as the power and potential of this therapeutic process is more fully appreciated and incorporated.

Rohnert Park, CA

Sonoma State University
Contact: Graduate Administrative Coordinator
Phone: 707-664-2682
Contact: Suzanne Lovell, PhD, ATR-BC, Program Coordinator
Phone: 707-539-9245, Psychology Department
Address: 1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
Degree: Masters of Arts (MA) in Psychology, Art Therapy Emphasis.
Update: This program doesn’t appear to be available.

San Diego, CA

Expressive Arts Institute
The following was suggested to us by Judith Essex via the comments, and we thought it was worth adding to the list for those interested.
Contact: Judith Greer Essex PhD
Phone: (619) 239-1713
Address: 2820 Roosevelt Road, Suite 204, SD, CA 92106
Available Degrees, Programs and Courses:

  • Continuing Education
  • Professional Certificate
  • EGS Master’s Program
  • EGS Ph.D. Program
  • Arts Based Therapy
  • Corporate Consulting

Service to Students: Our mission is to provide an educational experience of unparalleled quality to each student. Our programs provide the thorough academic grounding needed for professional success, with an emphasis on experiential learning and exploration through studio work, classes and workshops.Through shared art-making, students and faculty form a learning community deeply rooted in the body, senses and imagination. Students become disciplined in phenomenology: the practice of paying attention to what is present and authentic. The Institute provides a safe, challenging and nurturing atmosphere for personal and professional growth.

Service to the Community: Those seeking a profession in Expressive Arts Therapy will find our courses provide a firm grounding in the skills needed to facilitate the healing of individuals and communities through the creative process. Graduate students are encouraged to use their expressive arts training to benefit the communities in which they live and work on an ongoing basis.

Service to the Field: We also take seriously our mission to graduate students who will contribute to the scholarship and philosophy of the field of expressive arts through their work and research.

Undergraduate Art Therapy Schools & Programs in California

We’re always looking for schools & programs to add. Do you know of any undergraduate art therapy schools or programs in California? Add them to the comments below.

San Francisco, CA

California Institute of Integral Studies
Contact: Jana Krezo
Phone: (415) 575-6246
Address: 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
More information here
Degree: Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy

The master of arts program in Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) was established in 1996 upon the foundation of a existing certificate program. The EXA program offers students the opportunity to develop expressive arts skills across a range of media, to gain proficiency in the theories and practices of counseling and psychotherapy, and to meet the California state requirements for licensure. Our faculty includes seasoned educators and expressive arts practitioners, many who are considered leaders in the field both nationally and internationally.


  1. says

    Thanks for the great site! I am a Certified Creative Journal Expressive Arts facilitator as well as Certified Visioning(R) Life coach.

    I received both certifications through a program designed by Lucia Capacchione, PhD, ATR and REAT.

    The first program is a year long program where you attend to week long intensives and the Visioning(R) coach training is a 6 month program.

    More info is at

    Also, I do write about my experience with Visioning(R) on my own blog accessed at, if interested.


  2. says

    Hello! Thank you for your excellent blog. Just FYI: in San Diego the Expressive Arts Institute offers course work leading to a master’s degree (in conjunction with the European Graduate School in Swizterland) or training and education for those with a California license which qualifies people to gain the REAT (Registered Expressive Arts Therapists) from IEATA (the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association). We are intermodal; that is, teach dance, drama, music, poetry and visual arts in an integrated way. Our program is 12 years old. Small, but potent! If you Google us, you will finds all our contact info on our web site – or you can email me for it if you would like to add us to your list. It isn’t exactly “art therapy” but closely related! Cheers! Judith

  3. says

    I am looking for research on intermodal expressive arts: the how, why, when, this is considered when we choose particular modalities in working with groups. I’ve spoken with Shaun McNiff and he does not know of any.
    Any ideas on this are appreciated.
    Ellen Speert REAT, ART-BC

    • Lynn Talmon says

      I found this about Natalie Rogers who was involved in birth of Expressive Arts movement: She used the philosophical and pragmatic approach of Carl Rogers integrated with the

      expressive art modes, placing the person at the center of his/her learning. Qualities such as

      empathic understanding, acceptance, and congruence are emphasized.

      By combining different expressive modes, a process may evolve for releasing

      more of a person’s creative potential. Natalie Rogers’ (1985b) theorizes that writing

      improves our thinking, painting changes our feelings, movement integrates our body,mind,

      spirit, and sound opens us to channels of energy.

      Creativity is fostered when the facilitator permits the individual complete freedom to

      express feelings in symbolic form. She calls the process the ” creative connection”

  4. jen says

    Hello, I would like to asked if there’s one in East Bay area. Im from Richmond CA. I’m interested to take classes to become an Art therapist.

  5. Jodi Bowen says

    I want to be an Art Therapist when I grow up. I am just graduating from CSUBakersfield with my BA in Psychology and am searching for a school that I can ultimately do both a MA in Psych and art therapy, however, my travel allowance is very slim. Is there a way to take my MA online and the Art Therapy at the same time????

    Any suggestions would be great, especially since the time to sign up is now.

    Thank you,

  6. suzanne lovell, Ph.D., ATR-BC says

    This message is more from the heart than from the mind. The Sonoma State University, M.A. Psychology/ Art Therapy has passed away. You may want to remove it from your list. But thank you for including it in the past.

    Sincerely, Suzanne Lovell

  7. Roni says

    I am a senior looking to be an art therapist, I need help to figure out what I need before I move on to get my M.A. in art therapy. What is required prior to the Graduate schools.

    Sincerely, RoniGirl

  8. Sarah says

    I m from Germany and would like to attend for a semester at an Art School in the US- best in CA; any recommodations?
    Also I need a place where therapists work with art and where I can make an intership.
    Do you know any good places?
    Thank you

  9. Alicia Guerra says


    I would like to study Art Therapist in San Diego, I like to work and help children. I am a graphic designer graduated from Mexico City.
    If you know a Course that is 6 months longer an if the cost is not to high,
    Thank you very much,

    Alicia Guerra

  10. says

    I am in my forties and would like to go back to school. I am very interested in Art Therapy as a career path. I will be moving to Orange County in the next couple of months. Are there night classes? What schools offer this in the Lake Forest area?

    Thank you.

    Shand Coetzee

    • stuart says

      Hi Shand – My wife is very interested in a similar career path. Have you found any answers?

  11. says

    I am an ikebana instructor (Japanese Floral Design) and I would love to teach and participate in Art therapy. I volunteer for classes and workshops. I live in San Diego, California. Thank you.

  12. San Francisco says

    There is another accredited program that offers a Master’s degree in Expressive Art Therapy in California that I did not see listed….California Institute of Integral Studies.

  13. says

    The content for Phillips Graduate Institute needs to be updated. We’ve relocated to 19900 Plummer St, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Our contact for Art Therapy is Erin King-West and she can be reached at 818-386-5618 or

    @Teresa – thanks, we’ve updated this information.

  14. eren says

    hi, would anyone know of a great art therapy school close to fresno, ca? i live in fresno and for the moment i don’t plan on moving at least not yet. if there’s nothing in or near fresno then at least in monterey county area? if anyone can help i would greatly appreciate it.

  15. Natali says

    Hello! Im a psychologist, dancer and dance therapist from buenos aires, argentina.
    Im around california up to november 10, and Im looking for workshops, internships, volunteer… In relation to art therapy. Do you know anything?
    Thank you!!

  16. madel says

    Hi, I will be in San Jose, California November 5- 24 this year. I am looking for short courses/sessions on creative arts therapy.

  17. angel says

    hello ,I have already my master’s degree from Lebanon ,saint Joseph university ,my master in counseling ,now I’m in California Orange County ,I look for a training or university to studying art therapy

  18. Erica Langer says


    Does anyone know anything about the program at Notre Dame? I currently live in NJ but may be moving to Mountain View CA. I really don’t know anything about the California schools so if anyone could offer some insight that would be great!!


  19. Jill says

    I’m from Northern California and I have recently discovered Tamalpa Institute! It’s an institute that provides certification in movement based arts therapy and once completed, I believe you can also use the training to apply to become a movement or expressive arts therapist. I am considering applying right now!!

  20. Yessenia says

    Is the San Diego University of Integral Studies, not an accredited school? Or why is it not on your list?



  21. Erin King-West says

    Hi, Please remove the following web address for Phillips Graduate Institute. That address is connected to a person who no longer works at phillips.,

    Thank you!!

  22. says

    Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California now offers a PhD in Art Therapy. The first PhD class starts in Fall 2013.

  23. James says

    Just curious if there are any creative art therapy programs within or around the Sacramento area. I thought UOP had one, but it seems like just Music Therapy. I’m looking for something that incorporates all arts. Thanks

  24. says

    Anyone know of any art therapy volunteer opportunities around the Irvine California (orange county)? I’m an undergrad student studying Psychology and I’m very interested in art therapy since I was able to effectively channel and cope better with my depression and anxiety by creating art. Looking for volunteer opportunities for school applications and it would be great to volunteer for something I am so interested in and I hope becomes even more prevalent and supported in the mental health community as opposed to relying solely on pharmaceuticals

  25. Shelby says

    I am currently in school for my bachelors degree in psychology, and I am looking for masters programs for counseling psychology with an emphasis on art related therapies.. Need some help and advice

  26. vale says

    I wanted to know if it is possible to get a masters in Art Therapy with a BA in Social Work ?

  27. says

    HI, Judith Essex here. Expressive Arts Institute has a new web site. Could you change it on my listing? I can’t see how top do it myself, or I would have. thanks for the GREAT resource!

  28. Vitoria says

    Hi, I just want to know if anybody here know something about “Art therapy technician” ?

Leave a reply