Dominican To Add PhD, Graduate Programs In Art Therapy

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Dominican University of California will acquire the well-regarded graduate programs in Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU), Dominican President Mary B. Marcy announced today.

Effective summer 2021 and pending the approval of accreditors, this acquisition will result in Dominican’s offering its first earned doctoral degree, the Ph.D. in Art Therapy.

The transfer of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, and the PhD in Art Therapy will be finalized when approval is received from WASC Senior College and University Commission.

“These graduate degree programs align seamlessly with Dominican’s mission and existing strengths, the University’s focus on the intersection of the liberal and fine arts and the health sciences, and our longstanding commitment to service and social justice,” said Dr. Nicola Pitchford, Dominican’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.

The transfer is the result of some months of collaborative discussions with NDNU leadership and the faculty and staff of the Art Therapy department; it also has the enthusiastic support of Dominican’s own faculty and Board of Trustees. In the coming weeks, the two Universities will coordinate closely on the programs’ transfer, focusing on ensuring that both current students and new applicants experience a seamless transition.

Art Therapists are master-level clinicians trained in psychology, human development, counseling, therapeutic techniques, and the visual arts. They work in a wide variety of settings including schools, mental health organizations, inpatient and outpatient programs, hospitals, community centers, nursing homes, prisons, and private practice. In recent years, Art Therapists have been included in medical and mental health support teams deployed to support communities in the aftermath of disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.

Established in 1979, NDNU’s Master of Arts in Art Therapy is the only program of its kind in Northern California and one of only two programs in the state. Enrollment has increased steadily in recent years, with 65 students enrolled in the program in fall 2020. Dominican sees potential for continued growth after the acquisition.

The strength of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy led NDNU to establish the PhD in Art Therapy in 2013; the doctoral program enrolls an entering class every other year in a cohort model. As one of only two PhD-Art Therapy programs in the country, the program attracts a diverse student body from throughout the United States and overseas. Students all have previous training in art therapy, psychology, and art and advanced degrees in fields that include psychology, counseling, social work, and art. Graduates are contributing to the local, national, and international development and recognition of the Art Therapy profession.

Dominican is eager to welcome these established and respected programs, the accomplished faculty who teach in the programs, and the students engaging with both the practice and the scholarship of Art Therapy Psychology. The programs will be housed in the School of Liberal Arts and Education.

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