Maryland’s Only Art Therapy Master’s Program Earns National Accreditation

Accreditation Highlights Program’s Success Preparing Students to Excel in Growing Profession
Materials at an art therapy class

BALTIMORE – Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Master of Arts in Art Therapy program was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), completing another significant milestone for the only master's program in Maryland that prepares graduates to become professional art therapists.

The CAAHEP accreditation process, which is managed by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE) in cooperation with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), is designed to ensure that art therapy programs meet the rigorous standards required to position students for success after graduation. Initial CAAHEP accreditation is valid for a period of eight years. Launched in 2018, NDMU’s master’s art therapy program celebrated its third cohort of students in August with a thesis colloquium that featured Maryland’s first lady Yumi Hogan, a longtime champion of the art therapy profession and NDMU’s art therapy programs.

“The award of initial accreditation, a remarkable four years from the program's founding, was made possible through the trust and dare of a collaborative deeply committed to its construction, refinement, and evaluation,” said art therapy department chair Cathy Goucher ’94 MA, ATR-BC, LCPC, LCPAT. “We claim the first and only accredited graduate art therapy program in Maryland due to our dynamic founding faculty, the visionary and persistent leadership of dean Pamela O'Brien and the School of Arts, Sciences, and Business, our clinical and community field instruction partners, and most especially due to our fearless students and alums, who are deeply engaged in socially responsible service to others.”

Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches lives through a combination of active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. All art therapists in Maryland are licensed as distinct mental health professionals by the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, which issues Licensed Clinical Art Therapist (LCPAT) and Licensed Graduate Art Therapist (LGPAT) credentials.

NDMU’s master’s program requires 1,000 hours of clinical instruction and a thesis project integrating research and field experiences. In addition to its master’s program, NDMU also offers the state’s first bachelor’s degree in art therapy, which prepares students to pursue graduate school for the profession.

Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.

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