BA Hons in Art Therapy At University of Johannesburg‎ (UJ)

The BA Hons in Art Therapy is a qualification for BTech and Honours Fine Art, Design,. Education and Humanities graduates who wish to specialise in the …

BA Hons in (Art Therapy) 

Welcome to FADA’s Art Therapy web page. The Bachelor of Arts Honours Art Therapy qualification is an exciting new programme, available for the first time in South Africa (and on the African continent) at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA).

Building on the historical role of arts in activism and healing in South Africa, the Art Therapy qualification aims to respond to South Africa’s traumatic past and continued trauma by developing accredited mental health practitioners with a strong focus on community.

As part of the community and professional practice module, the students from the BA Honours in Art Therapy compiled their lockdown art skills projects into a resource book.

Click on the link ‘Art and creativity in lockdown: Unlocking art making with found materials during lockdown’ to download this handbook.

Our programme
The BA Honours Art Therapy programme offers an integrated curriculum which is supported by FADA’s extensive infrastructure and resources, including dedicated studios, lecture theatres and onsite libraries.

 The art therapy programme has established collaborative relationships with the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and Lesley University (US) as well as the departments of psychology and social work at the University of Johannesburg, to develop a curriculum that provides a relevant and dynamic foundation in psychodynamic theory with extensive community practice and clinical application components.

 Students are guided by local and international specialists, including art therapists, supervisors and educators through supervision, lectures and experiential work in developing skills towards their own final research.

 Research practice is concentrated on both participatory and visual methodologies appropriate for arts-led community practices and activism relevant in our South African context. The programme includes experiential group and studio practice to develop deep and authentic reflective practice that is rooted in the South African paradigm. 


 UJ’s learning innovation (including CAT, ICS and AVS) departments worked together using the latest technologies to develop an ambitious web-based mix for learning that supports and enables connecting with international specialists and supervisors.

Our team of lecturers
The BA Honours Art Therapy programme has a core team headed by Professor Kim Berman, Professor in the Department of Visual Art at FADA.

The programme coordinator is Amalia Beagle, MAFA graduate, community arts counsellor and lecturer in the UJ access programme. Rozanne Myburgh, drama therapist and managing director of Lefika La Phodiso, convenes the reading group and community/professional practice. Sharon Benatar, registered psychotherapist, facilitates the open creative studio practice.

Our team of highly regarded lecturers are some of the most experienced professionals in the field, both in South Africa and internationally:

·       Dr Hayley Berman is the founder of Lefika La Phodiso and Senior Lecturer MA Art Therapy ( previous programme leader) at the University of Hertforshire in the UK

·       Dr Nataly Woollett is an art therapist and research fellow at Wits

·       Professor Vivien Marcow Speiser is a professor and director at Lesley University in the US and Dr Phillip Speiser is an expressive arts educator/therapist, drama and music therapist, and psychodramatist

The programme draws from a very rich resource of outstanding professional guests in the fields of psychology, social work, leadership, children’s rights, GBV, drama, art and expressive therapies, and creative leadership, both locally and internationally.

Community partnerships and social action
The BA Honours Art Therapy programme has partnered with community organisations to provide practical placement experience.

Students participate in a participatory research and social action module that supports effective and ethical engagements using arts-based approaches to identify needs within community.

Current partners include Lefika La Podisa in Braamfontein offering grassroots experience for students in a space deeply embedded in art therapeutic practices, as well as the Alex Arts Academy in Alexandra and Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre in Sophiatown.

As part of community practice, students are required to observe a range of clinical practices in professional sites that are relevant to their research specialisations.

MA Art Therapy
The BA Honours Art Therapy programme provides entry to the MA art therapy qualification.

The University of Johannesburg has been working closely with the HPCSA and HEQC to register the MA qualification by 2021.

We anticipate that our current cohort, each of whom has developed relevant and cutting-edge research proposals, will continue their studies towards qualifying as the pioneering group of the first qualified professional art therapists in South Africa.

This profession is desperately needed to step in and support our already stretched mental health services with this proven modality for supporting trauma and wellbeing in our communities.

FADA is looking forward to growing the art therapy programme to be a much-needed front runner in establishing the field of art therapy for community psychosocial support in South Africa. 

Admission requirements:
The minimum admission requirements for the BA Hons (AT) programme is an appropriate bachelor’s degree, BTech degree or equivalent advanced diploma. In addition, a minimum of two years of psychology is a prerequisite for entry.

An equivalent qualification in the fields of education, humanities or health sciences, or a professional qualification relating to arts or psychotherapies at an equivalent standard determined by a UJ status committee and supported by a portfolio of the applicant’s own experiential and image-based work.

All prospective students would need some experience of working with image making within community contexts.

 All students will be required to submit a portfolio of their own artwork and a letter of motivation.

Selection criteria:Selection is based on the academic merit of the candidate’s art portfolio, psychological maturity, and capacity to engage creatively with their internal world and external worlds. Candidates require a minimum of two years of psychology.

  •  Applications are approved by the departmental committee comprising a panel of assessors from the visual art department.
  • Committee and art psychotherapy specialist lecturers. Candidates will be interviewed, and their portfolios assessed by the visual art department’s selection committee panel. Candidates who are not accepted may request to receive feedback regarding their unsuccessful submission.

Applicants who wish to specialise in Art Therapy are selected by means of an entrance assessment comprising the following:
1. A personal portfolio that demonstrates an ability to engage reflectively with visual art, image-making and design practices.

2. An interview where candidates reflective practice will be assessed.

3. A written motivation that demonstrates sufficient academic and research competency.

4. Evidence of community engagement experience (recommended).

Duration of the programme:

Minimum duration: One year full-time/two years part-time

Maximum number of modules per year of study: All modules must be successfully completed in order for students to graduate.

Contact details: Name: Mrs Adele Maritz

Tel: 011 559 1126 / Email: