Admission Requirements - Ph.D. Research Program

Department of Creative Arts Therapies

Admission Requirements

photograph of woman at art museum Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) Program in Creative Arts Therapies are screened based upon the required application documents plus a personal interview by the faculty. The application documents and interview are designed to assess the applicant’s aptitudes and commitment to advanced academic achievement and the development of scholarship. Admission into the PhD program includes both firm and malleable requirements. The firm requirements include a Master’s degree in Art, Dance/Movement, Music or Expressive Therapy, a minimum of three years post master’s clinical experience, certification in the Creative Arts Therapies field, and at least one research course. We encourage prospective students to inquire about applying to the Ph.D Program even if they are uncertain if they meet the all of the admission requirements. In many cases applicants are considered on a very individual basis and assessment. For this reason we look forward to speaking with you about your eligibility and your questions.


Masters Degree in Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Music Therapy, or Expressive Therapies.

Pre-Requisites (in addition to or included in Master’s degree)

  • 6 semester  (9 quarter)credits equivalent in graduate level Research coursework.
  • 3 semester  (4 quarter) credits equivalent of graduate coursework in Multiculturalism, Anthropology, or Sociology.

Research Education and Training

The PhD in Creative Arts Therapies is a research degree. Consequently it is essential that those entering the program demonstrate foundational education and experience in research.   

  • Documented research courses with a grade of no less than a ‘B’.
  • Documentation of having conducted one research project.  This can be a master’s thesis project or post-master’s research.

Scores and GPA

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with minimum scores of 300 combined (150 Quantitative and 150 Verbal Reasoning)  and 4.0  in analytic writing, or
  • Miller Analog Test (MAT) with scores of 396 or above.
  • GPA of 3.5 or above from the master’s degree education

Clinical Experience and Credentials

  • A minimum of 3 years full-time equivalent post-master’s degree creative arts therapies clinical practice.
  • Professional Credentials including Board Certification and/or Registration in the applicant’s Creative Arts Therapies discipline. A professional license is preferred but not required.

Academic Writing Proficiency

Central to success in the Ph.D program is the ability to write at a professional scholarly level. Even though this ability will develop as a result of being a doctoral student, it is essential that the applicant demonstrate having both interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for scholarly writing. To demonstrate this interest, commitment, and aptitude each applicant is being asked to submit documentation of his/her writing competence by submitting several academic writing samples. These writing samples provide the opportunity for each applicant to select the scholarly writing that best represents their abilities. All writing samples should be submitted in APA format, double spaced, 11-12pt. font.

  • Academic Writing Sample: Demonstration of scholarly writing proficiency from an academic writing sample. This could be a graded graduate writing sample or an independently authored publication.
  • Publication or manuscript for submission: Documentation of having submitted an article for a peer reviewed publication. The documentation should be in the form of a manuscript that was submitted to a journal or as a chapter in an edited book. This manuscript can also be used for the academic writing sample if it was authored solely by the applicant. If it was co-authored an additional independently authored sample is required to fulfill the requirement for demonstration of scholarly writing proficiency.
  • *On-site spontaneous writing assignment about research interests

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required as a part of the application process. The letters should be from individuals who can knowledgably address the applicant’s aptitudes for scholarship and teaching. Recommenders should also address the applicant’s maturity, initiative, independent self-directed motivation, and commitment to higher education.

Admissions Essay

The admissions essay is an important part of the application and writing proficiency assessment process. Since the PhD is the highest level of scholarly education the expectation is for incoming students to possess and demonstrate competency in in this area as reflected in their writing. The scholarly writing not only requires writing skill but also represents a thought process—the ability to review, organize, select and synthesize ideas of self and other. In addition, scholarly competence requires familiarity with acceptable writing styles. For those reasons we require an admissions essay which is in three parts. These parts are:

    • Reasons for Application: In this section, briefly describe your professional background,  your clinical practice and interests and how these experiences coalesced in your decision to apply  to the Ph.D Program (1 page).
    • Research Interests: In this section describe 1) two areas of interest for your own research; 2) a summary of current research in these areas; and, 3) the direction you hope to take your research (3 pages). 
    • Academic and Career Goals: Conclude your essay  with a summary of your academic and  career goals (1 page)

Following the initial screening of the application materials for the initial criteria if a determination is made that the applicant meets the criteria, the applicant is scheduled  for an interview with the faculty of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies.  The interview protocol includes:

  1. Review of application materials and associated questions to address scholarly competencies for the program.
  2. Discussion regarding the theory and practice of the creative arts therapies and the applicant’s specific discipline.
  3. Discussion of the applicant’s research interests, competencies, and ideas.
  4. Discussion of the applicant’s reasons and motivation for applying for doctoral education.
  5. *An on-site writing assignment may be included as part of the interview on a case by case basis