Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Be the Future
Masters of Arts in Art, Drama, or Music Therapy

Art as therapy: healing through art, drama, and music

New York State now licenses creative arts therapists. Careers in this exciting area combine individuals’ talents in the performing and fine arts with the principles of psychotherapy to assist both children and adults in improving their quality of life.

Creative art therapists work in:

  • hospitals
  • community agencies
  • shelters
  • early childhood centers
  • prisons
  • nursing homes
  • schools
  • hospices

These populations can all benefit from the practice of creative arts therapy:

  • young children
  • adults
  • the homeless
  • survivors of trauma
  • HIV/AIDS patients
  • adolescents
  • the elderly
  • substance abusers
  • people with physical and emotional disabilities

The profession seeks to balance the therapeutic potential of the creative process and the informed use of psychological understanding. Creative arts therapists can help abused children to heal through painting, foster self-expression in autistic children through musical improvisation, or help war veterans to cope with their experiences through story-making and performance.

Pursue a rewarding career in a growing field at the center of the art world: New York City

NYU Steinhardt offers three distinct master’s degree programs:

All three address the growing need for skilled and compassionate therapists in a variety of settings. Each program was a pioneer in its field and continues to enjoy a reputation for excellence throughout the world.

Through a combination of theoretical and experiential coursework, students are exposed to psychology, counseling, and various facets of their specific creative art form.

  • The Drama Therapy program includes coursework in educational theatre, projective techniques, and psychodrama.
  • Our Art Therapy program incorporates all the various forms of artistic expression, from sculpture to watercolor.
  • Group dynamics and improvisation are central to the Music Therapy program.

Students in all three programs are encouraged to continue developing their own artistic talents through the vast performance/studio opportunities available through their respective departments. Fieldwork and internships take advantage of the wide variety of opportunities available in New York City, arts capital of the world and center of one of the most diverse and richly complex healthcare systems in the country.


Apply online today.

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Issues you'll explore as a creative arts therapist

  • behavior
  • communication
  • creativity
  • cultural considerations
  • diagnostics
  • group dynamics
  • healing
  • improvisation
  • memory
  • movement
  • pain management
  • perception
  • personality development
  • personality theory
  • physical and mental rehabilitation
  • psychoanalysis
  • research and development
  • self-exploration
  • self-expression
  • stress management
  • systems theory
  • trauma survival
  • treatment