WVU offers new art therapy degree


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University is in its final stages of offering a new degree.

Since the fall of 2019, Annie McFarland, an assistant professor of art therapy, has been working to develop a new degree for WVU. She said art therapy is beneficial for anxiety reduction, substance use disorders and trauma recovery.

“Art therapy is a mental heath profession that uses human service skills. So, art therapists are trained in studio art and psychology and counseling techniques,” McFarland said. “We learn a lot about human development, how to work with individuals in therapy settings, things like that.”

It’s a degree that’s exactly what some students have been looking for.

“We have students that might be double majoring in psychology and studio art, and they hear now we have an undergraduate degree in art therapy. You can combine those two things and really pursue a degree that will get you to that career that you’re really hoping to,” McFarland said.

The classes aren’t offered yet at WVU, but once a student completes the degree, he can also go on to get a master’s in art therapy if he wants to pursue an art therapist career.

Anther option for students is the therapeutic art certificate.

“So, it’s a little different than art therapy because we’re not learning the clinical practice. It’s four courses taught exclusively online, and they really focus on the education and classroom setting and how to use some of these therapeutic approaches in different professions,” McFarland said.

WVU students will be able to start majoring in the art therapy degree this fall. Learn more about the college of art and design by clicking here.

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