Expressive Arts Therapy


Effective 1 June 2024 through 31 May 2025

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

18 Credit Hours

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis main campus.

For information on the general requirements for a certificate, see Certificate under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

This certificate is available to students pursing a bachelor's degree and/or those who have already completed a bachelor's degree.

Program Description

Expressive arts therapy is a growing area for graduate study that may lead to subsequent employment as an expressive arts therapist. Expressive arts therapy integrates the healing objectives of the fields of art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy. This undergraduate expressive arts therapy certificate offers an introduction the unique potential to the fine and performing arts to foster healing and increase empathic human connection. Techniques from expressive arts therapy have been proven to increase mind-body integration, support self-actualization and promote healing in adults and children in numerous therapeutic and non-therapeutic contexts.

Because the arts rely primarily on sensory processes (auditory, vocal, visual, kinesthetic, interoceptive and proprioceptive) to engage individuals and groups, expressive arts therapy is often utilized as an adjunctive or alternative approach to language based "talk" therapy. For this same reason, techniques from expressive arts therapy are frequently adapted for use in humanitarian settings which serve migrants, war refugees, and victims of trafficking. For this reason, the expressive arts therapy certificate may be considered complimentary to the international human rights certificate and the migration and refugee studies certificate offered at Webster. 

Students who complete the expressive arts therapy certificate will need to pursue a graduate degree before they are able to obtain professional licensure. Students are encouraged to check entrance requirements for any post-graduate programs prior to finishing their degree at Webster in the event they need to take additional coursework.

Students seeking this certificate are required to adhere to the Ethics and Standards of Practice guidelines of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to describe the basic principles of art therapy, dance therapy, psychodrama, and music therapy and how these principles combine in expressive arts therapy. 
  • Students will be able to identify the key figures and factors that led to the development of expressive arts therapy and to summarize the concepts that are unique to expressive arts therapy.
  • Students will apply and practice these concepts through hands-on activities* individually and in collaboration with class peers. 
  • Students will demonstrate a introductory level of proficiency in two of the four fine arts areas of music, dance, theatre, or visual art. 
  • Students will demonstrate an intermediate level of knowledge in psychology.
  • Students will design, produce, and document an Expressive Arts Therapy Project* for the campus community or another specific community group in the St. Louis community. 

*All activities in this program, including the Expressive Arts Therapy Project, will follow the key concepts of expressive arts therapy and may be therapeutic for students and participants. Due to ethical considerations and the basic level of this certificate, however, none of the activities included within this certificate's requirements will be considered or evaluated as "therapy." In each hands-on activity within this certificate and Expressive Arts Therapy Project, students will work within ethical guidelines as established by the IEATA and Webster University.

Required Courses

Expressive Arts Therapy (9 credit hours)

  • ART 2200 Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapy (3 hours)
  • ART 3210 Expressive Arts Therapy Studio (3 hours)
  • ART 4810 Expressive Arts Therapy Project (3 hours)

Psychology (9 credit hours)

  • PSYC 1100 Introduction to Psychology (3 hours)
  • PSYC 2000 level or higher elective of choice (3 hours)
  • PSYC 3900 Introduction to Counseling (3 hours)

Recommended Keystone Seminar: 

  • KEYS 4019 Art & Social Engagement: How Do the Arts Impact the World? (3 hours)


To pursue the certificate in expressive arts therapy, you must be one of the following:

  • A sophomore student or higher, successfully pursuing a bachelor's degree in any major within the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.
  • A sophomore student or higher, successfully pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology within the College of Science and Health.
  • A graduate who holds a bachelor's degree with a fine arts or psychology major.

Current undergraduate students should petition to become an expressive arts therapy certificate candidate after successfully completing their freshman course of study (C or higher) and any departmental reviews. To petition to begin the expressive arts therapy certificate, students must write a letter of intent to the certificate director, Carol Hodson, and submit to

Webster graduates must apply for acceptance into this certificate through the Academic Advising Center.

Applicants who have previously completed a bachelor's degree at other accredited institutions must apply through the Office of Admission.