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M.A. in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy - Admission Requirements

Overview, Admission Requirements, Curriculum, Art Therapy Blog

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

M.A. in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy

  • Prerequisite coursework: 12 units of study in psychology at a letter grade of "B" or higher must include Abnormal Psychology and Developmental Psychology
  • Completion of an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA)*
  • Demonstration of English proficiency may be required
  • 18 semester units of studio art at a letter grade of "B" or higher
  • Completion of Phillips Graduate Institute Admissions Application Packet (See Admission Application Process)
  • Admissions interview with Art Therapy Department Chair or faculty, including a portfolio review (10 originals and/or color prints of artwork, 8x11 paper). Marriage and Family Therapy, School Counseling, and/or Pupil Personnel Services credential students interested in the Art Therapy concentration are also required to interview with the Art Therapy department.
  • Please refer to the Student Services section for details on admissions policies and procedures.

*Note: A “Grade Point Average Exemption Petition” may allow admission for applicants who do not meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement.

Entry Options

Students may enter the Art Therapy program in the fall or spring. To accommodate for adult learning needs and in order to meet the demands of a 61-unit program, 2-year and 3-year academic plans are offered. Both fall and spring entry offers the 2- and 3-year options. Upon interviewing and in accordance with admissions criteria, applicants are accepted to either the 2-year or the 3-year plan. The 2-year fall entry plan includes one required summer semester, and the 2-year spring entry plan requires two summer semesters. The 3-year fall entry includes one required and one optional summer semester, and the 3-year spring entry requires two summer semesters. Students in a 3-year plan have the option of enrolling in additional Practicum courses and increasing the number of clinical hours accrued towards licensure. Please call the Admissions Office at (818) 386-5660 for dates and class schedules.

Clinical Placement Services

The practicum experience allows students to provide counseling services to clients under the supervision of licensed professionals. Phillips-approved training sites include counseling centers, schools, mental health agencies and hospitals throughout Southern California, in addition to our own Counseling Center.

Students seeking both the California license as an MFT and the Art Therapy Registration (ATR) must complete a total of 700 hours of Practicum, of which 350 hours are direct client contact, prior to graduation. Art therapy students are required to be enrolled in a Practicum for a minimum of three semesters. Students work with the Clinical Placement Chair in the Art Therapy Department to initiate and complete this process in a timely manner.

Please refer to the “Clinical Placement Handbook” for further information regarding required hours of clinical experience.

Students may begin Practicum experience after they have completed 13 units of coursework, which must include PSY 513A and PSY 502A. In addition, students must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in PSY 561 and PSY 562 and must have been designated by Phillips faculty as trainees who are ready to begin clinical work.

Students enrolled in PSY 553A/B and PSY 554A/B must be in a clinical placement.

While Phillips makes every effort to inform students about and prepare them for each step of the state licensing process, it is each student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all qualifications for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Additionally, students in the MFT/AT program are responsible to ensure that they meet all the qualifications for national registration as outlined by the Art Therapy Credential Board (ATCB).

Faculty Advisement

Students will be assigned an academic advisor by the Art Therapy Department at the beginning of first semester of enrollment. Students are required to meet with their advisors early in the first semester and twice each semester until degree completion. The faculty values and welcomes open communication with students. Students are encouraged to make appointments with other members of the core and adjunct faculty to answer questions and provide consultation. New students will meet with their faculty advisors to develop a degree completion plan. Academic plans must comply with required course sequences and with clinical placement requirements. Students will also meet with faculty advisors to plan any modifications to their schedule or academic plan.

Program Compliance

The Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy program meets educational requirements for licensure by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). The program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Information regarding these requirements and educational standards are available through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website, www.bbs.ca.gov, and the AATA website at www.arttherapy.org. Information regarding Art Therapy Registration (ATR) requirements is available through the Art Therapy Credentialing Board (ATCB) website at www.atcb.org. Program curriculum and experience hours are subject to change without prior notice according to BBS and AATA/ATCB requirements. Students who add the Career and Lifestyle Development Counseling course may be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), which is valuable for practice out of state (www.nbcc.org). In addition, it is recommended that students check on LPC eligibility based on the state in which they are planning to practice.

Academic Proficiency

Any student receiving a grade of C- or below in a course must retake the course, demonstrating sufficient mastery of the course content. Retaking a course may delay program completion and graduation. The student must meet with their academic advisor to discuss the impact of repeating a course on program completion. The original grade received in the course, as well as the grade received upon retaking the course, are both averaged into the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Requirements for Degree Completion

The degree is posted three times yearly; on the last day of May, August, and December. All of the following requirements must be met prior to degree posting:

  • Completion of all 61 units of required courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completion of 700 hours of supervised clinical placement concurrent with practicum registration
  • Verification of required hours in personal or family psychotherapy*
  • Intent to Graduate Form on file with the Registrar's Office one semester prior to the graduation date when a student expects to meet all graduation requirements
  • Payment in full of financial obligations to Phillips Graduate Institute and the Counseling Center
  • Return of all Library materials
  • Provision to the library of a clean copy of the Professional Research Paper ready for binding
  • Completion of an exit interview with the Financial Aid Office (financial aid recipients only)
  • Students must complete and submit all required verification documentation to the Art Therapy Department by the last week of classes. Later verification may cause a delay in the student’s graduation date. Students may also need to complete other requirements as specified by AATA and ATCB at time of graduation.
*Psychotherapy Requirement: In order to become an effective therapist, an individual must first be willing to work on their own issues in a therapeutic relationship. This experience is in keeping with the Phillips Graduate Institute philosophy of theory, experience and application as it represents integrated learning. Therefore, all students in the MFT/AT program are required to engage in a minimum of 24 hours of psychotherapy during their tenure in the program. Therapy may be individual, couple, family, or group sessions. The therapist must be licensed as a psychologist, LMFT or LCSW. Referrals to therapists who are also art therapists are available through the department’s clinical placement chair. The cost of therapy is to be met by the student. Students are not required to discuss personal information from the therapeutic context as part of coursework.

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