Creative Arts Therapies PhD

Major: Creative Arts Therapies
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.2399
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-1129

About the Program

The PhD in Creative Arts Therapies is a research degree program for art therapists, dance/movement therapists, and music therapists who are interested in pursuing advanced scholarship and assuming academic leadership in their discipline. The primary mission of the program is the cultivation of scholars and academic leaders in the creative arts therapies who can:

  • Generate and disseminate relevant, robust rigorous research
  • Contribute to theory evaluation and building
  • Develop evidence-based best clinical practices
  • Cultivate academic proficiency in educating the next generation of art therapists, dance/movement therapists, and music therapists

The PhD program consists of four interactive learning modules plus a dissertation:

  • Interdisciplinary- Delivered as seminars, these modules challenge students to study, explore, critically evaluate, and synthesize areas of interdisciplinary knowledge relative to creative arts therapies origins, philosophy, and theory.
  • Research- Includes intensive study of multiple approaches to research. The purpose of the research module is to develop research skills along a spectrum of traditional and innovative approaches. The research curriculum contributes to the generation and dissemination of robust and relevant research in the students’ respective fields.
  • Self/Other Artistic Knowledge- Introduces the exploration of the intrinsic intersubjective therapeutic processes emergent through artistic inquiry and parallel to the actual arts therapies experience. 
  • Practicum- Emphasizes the transformation of theoretical knowledge to practical application and specialization.  The research practicum is aimed at helping students gain hands-on experience in the design and conduct of research, collaborative team work, grant writing, data analysis, and writing of research reports and publications. All students are required to complete a teaching practicum for one term.
  • Dissertation- An original robust research project that directly relates to the development of and contribution to the theory and practice of the students' creative arts therapy specialization. The dissertation is the culmination and representation of the students' doctoral work that not only advances knowledge in their field, but also positions them for career opportunities in academia and research.


The professions of art therapy, dance/movement therapy, and music therapy have grown and become increasingly integrated as interventions in healthcare, education, and human services. Implicit in the emergent growth and integration of these professions is our responsibility to evaluate existing and develop new evidence-based theories and clinical practices. The mission of the PhD in Creative Arts Therapies is to generate, critically evaluate, and disseminate research to address this need and ultimately to advance the knowledge and evidence bases for these professions. Consequently, we have identified the following core values central to our research agenda.

Stewardship and scholarship in the Creative Arts Therapies includes:

  • Critical evaluation of the philosophical assumptions inherent in and essential to the understanding, preservation, and advancement of theory and practice of the CATs
  • Critical evaluation of the research approaches and methods best suited for the investigation of theories, processes, mechanisms, and outcomes in the creative arts therapies
  • Generation of knowledge that contributes to the construction, evaluation, and credibility of evidence-based theory and clinical practices
  • Translation, dissemination, and application of rigorous research that contributes to the preservation and advancement of our fields and the health of society.

Additional Information

For more information about the program, visit the College of Nursing and Health Professions' PhD in Creative Arts Therapies webpage.

Degree Requirements

Interdisciplinary Seminars
CATX 703Interdisciplinary Seminar I3.0
CATX 704Interdisciplinary Seminar II3.0
CATX 705Interdisciplinary Seminar III3.0
Research Courses
CATX 712Philosophy and Theory in Research3.0
CATX 715Expanded Perspectives on Research Methodologies3.0
RSCH 714Qualitative Research Methods I3.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
Research Specialization
Select one of the following:3.0
Qualitative Research Methods II
Intermediate Mixed Methods Research
Self/Other Artistic Knowledge Studio Labs
CATX 716Studio Based Artistic Inquiry3.0
CATX 717Intro to Arts-Based Research3.0
Practical Application Courses
Practica in either research, teaching, clinical supervision, or advanced clinical practice.
CATX 808Practicum I2.0-9.0
CATX 809Practicum II2.0-9.0
CATX 812Teaching Practicum1.0
Dissertation Research - Minimum of 4 credits4.0
Dissertation Research I
Dissertation Research II
Dissertation Research III
Dissertation Research IV
Students, with advisement and in accordance with their educational plan, may choose a course in their content area.
Total Credits45.0-59.0

All electives must be graduate courses and can be selected from those courses offered at Drexel University. In particular, doctoral-level courses in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, School of Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences, and/or the School of Education may be the most relevant to students in this program. (The Creative Arts Therapies PhD program director will obtain permission for the student to take the elective from the relevant dean of the College or School and the relevant program director and course instructor.)

Content areas that are acceptable for electives include the following: anthropology, biology, creativity, culture and communication, ethics, health psychology, literature, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and advanced statistics. Additional content areas may be added by special request as approved by the supervising faculty advisor and program director.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
CATX 7033.0CATX 7043.0CATX 7053.0
CATX 7123.0CATX 7173.0CATX 7153.0
CATX 7163.0RSCH 7703.0RSCH 7143.0
 9 9 9
Second Year
RSCH 7593.0CATX 8043.0CATX 8052.0-9.0
CATX 8082.0-9.0CATX 8092.0-9.0CATX 8121.0
Adv Research Elective3.0  
 8-15 5-12 3-10
Third Year
CATX 8061.0-9.0CATX 8071.0-9.0 
 1-9 1-9 
Total Credits 45-82
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