If you have a passion to help people through the healing power of art, the Art Therapy major from Carlow University can help you develop your skills to prepare for graduate-level work in art therapy. Our art therapy degree program is an interdisciplinary educational path that combines the principles of art and psychology to train students in using artistic expression as a therapeutic tool to help individuals process emotions, reduce stress, and improve mental well-being.

With Carlow’s location in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Innovation District, you’ll have convenient access to medical and therapeutic sites.


Bachelor of Arts


On campus, some online



Transfer credits:

Up to 90 credits

The Art Therapy major curriculum consists of art, art therapy and psychology courses. You will have access to on-campus facilities such as the 2D and 3D studios, as well as the Carlow University Art Gallery, which showcases professional artists.

Internship opportunities are available at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Dream Big Studio, a television and radio studio for children that is part of the hospital’s Creative and Expressive Arts Therapy program. Students are usually placed with an art therapist or psychologist.

Carlow’s Art + Design Program  is a hub for innovation, creativity, and practical skill development through an emphasis on experiential learning. Studio art making and praxis lie at the core of our program. We understand that practice is essential for growth and development as an artist. Our studios, fabrication laboratory, and professional art gallery provide dynamic environments for you to experiment, explore new techniques, allowing you to manifest your ideas into tangible forms of expression. . 

The art program part of the highly interdisciplinary Department of Art, Communication and English. As such we center storytelling and curating as vital skills in the art world, and our program recognizes their significance. Whether you aspire to become a curator, designer, or art educator, our courses in art history and curatorial studies will immerse you in the world of art narratives, cultural heritage, and exhibition curation. You’ll learn how to communicate the story behind artworks, contextualize them within historical and cultural frameworks, and curate engaging exhibitions that captivate audiences. 

Artists, designers and creatives thrive in a supportive community where they can exchange ideas, receive feedback, and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Through group projects, collaborative exhibitions, and interdisciplinary workshops, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate with fellow artists, designers, and scholars, expanding your horizons and enriching your artistic practice and professional networks. 

In addition to honing your artistic abilities, our program emphasizes the development of essential skills such as information literacy, critical thinking, and design thinking. We believe that artists have a unique ability to solve complex problems and make a positive impact on society. Our curriculum integrates ethics and social justice, allowing you to explore the role of art in promoting equality, inclusivity, and social change. 

With our comprehensive undergraduate program serving as a strong foundation, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue advanced studies through our master’s degree program. Our master’s program provides a unique platform for you to specialize further in your chosen field of art. Under the guidance of distinguished faculty mentors, you’ll undertake advanced coursework, engage in critical discourse, and produce a culminating thesis or project that reflects your artistic vision and research interests.  

The Art Program and Department of Art, Communication, and English aim to create an ethical, equitable, career-focused and student-centered academic institution for the 21st century. 

Quick facts

  • Study near prominent medical and therapeutic locations
  • Gain real-world career experiences with an internship
  • Build a foundation for graduate-level studies 


Fast track your way to a master’s by taking graduate courses as an undergraduate student. Course credits count toward both degrees. Apply for the accelerated option after your sophomore year.

Career Opportunities for art therapists

The art therapy major prepares students to pursue a master’s in art therapy, which is required to be an art therapist. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for recreational therapists, who often use art as part of their treatment plans, will grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, faster than average.

  • Submit an application for admission. It is free to apply. 
  • Request that official transcripts from all current and previous institutions you’ve attended are sent directly to the Carlow University Office of Admissions. 
  • Must have a minimum 3.00 cumulative high school or 3.50 cumulative college GPA. 


Start terms:

Fall, Spring & Summer

1. Ethical and Socially Responsible Design: Graduates of this program will be able to demonstrate an understanding of ethical principles and social responsibility in design and art-making practices. They will have the ability to identify and analyze ethical and social issues related to their work, and to make informed decisions that take into account the impact of their art and design on society and the environment. 

2. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Graduates of this program will be able to work collaboratively across different disciplines to develop innovative and creative solutions to complex problems. They will be able to communicate effectively with team members from different backgrounds, and to integrate diverse perspectives and knowledge into their work. 

3. Critical Thinking and Analysis: Graduates of this program will be able to analyze and evaluate art and design works critically and effectively. They will have the ability to think independently, identify and challenge assumptions, and articulate arguments in a clear and concise manner. 

4. Information Literacy: Graduates of this program will be able to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively and responsibly. They will be able to navigate the complex landscape of information resources, and to understand the ethical and legal implications of using and sharing information. 

5. Studio Art Making and Praxis: Graduates of this program will have the ability to create and produce art and design works that demonstrate technical proficiency, conceptual depth, and aesthetic innovation. They will be able to apply a range of techniques and methods to their work, and to experiment with new media and materials. They will also have the ability to reflect critically on their own art-making practices and to engage in ongoing self-reflection and evaluation. 

6. Storytelling and Curating: Graduates of this program will be able to develop and communicate compelling narratives through their art and design works. They will have the ability to curate exhibitions and design experiences that engage and educate diverse audiences. They will also have the ability to use storytelling and curating as tools for social justice, activism, and community engagement. 

If you are interested in this major, our Admissions team is available to help you with the next steps, including scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

© Copyright 2024 Carlow University. All rights reserved.