Art Therapy Diploma

With a firm basis in psychodynamic theory and developmental psychology, art therapy provides a creative, empowering and inspiring approach to address social, emotional and psychological difficulties. The WHEAT Institute Diploma in Art Therapy is an intensive program spanning the course of two summer intensives and two full academic years. In addition to the summer intensives, it includes online coursework over 16 months, 700 hours (300 direct client contact hours) of practicum experience, ongoing individual and group supervision and support in the development of a thesis in your particular area of interest. Elective courses can be chosen from an exciting array of expressive arts options.

The WHEAT Institute program meets the Educational Standards of the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA).  Graduates will have the necessary requirements to work as art therapists, join CATA as professional members and work towards registration as Registered Canadian Art Therapists (RCAT). CATA standards currently require that students wishing to register as art therapists have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in the areas of psychology, fine arts, social work, or counselling or complete a Prior Learning Assessment PLAR during their registration process at WHEAT. Please note that a  Master's degree may be required by certain agencies in order to bill as a therapist. Master's level candidates are welcome to apply to the program. Contact WHEAT Institute for details. More information about becoming a registered member of CATA can be found here and RCAT registration here.

CATA: "Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.”

May 2021 update: The 2021 Art Therapy cohort begins their program on July 2nd. All summer classes will be offered online. In-person programming will likely resume in July 2022. We are hopeful for future face to face and land based gatherings, still including ongoing options for online participation. 

For more information about Art Therapy training, contact WHEAT Institute at info@wheatinstitute.com or register here.

A copy of our course of study schedule is available upon request.

AT Diploma Poster 2021.png

Current Requirements

A Bachelor's or Master’s degree is required in either counselling, social work, fine arts, psychology or an equivalent field with a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) completed to determine equivalencies. Students with diverse backgrounds will be admitted for professional development training. Refer to the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) website for information about requirements for professional membership and for registration as a Registered Canadian Art Therapist (RCAT).

Prerequisites include Developmental Psychology (3 credits) and Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology (3 credits). This work may also be completed during the course of study, but must be completed in order to call yourself an art therapist upon graduation. WHEAT recommends the completion of these courses prior to the beginning of our program.

As part of their learning process, students will be required to have received art therapy prior to or during the program for a minimum of 25 hours. Due to the psycho-dynamic nature of the program, we recommend students have the experience of receiving art therapy support during the program.

Ongoing engagement in the arts is a part of the Studio Art requirement.

Current Application Process

Application Deadlines: We are currently accepting registration for next year's 2022 Art Therapy cohort, which will begin in July 2022. There are a limited number of seats available and spots will be reserved as applications are received. The application deadline is May 31, 2022. 


Applicants are selected based on past academic records, a 500-word letter of intent and three letters of recommendation.

Applicants must also submit: Documentation of previous art-making experience, current Resume (reflecting some experience in clinical, rehabilitative and/or educational settings), Child Abuse Registry and Criminal Record Check. Registration fee of $225 is due at that time. The Director and/or selection committee will interview potential participants. Confirmation of acceptance to the Diploma Program will occur within two weeks of application. Training completion fund of $234.90 plus materials fee of $200 are due upon acceptance and signing of the Tuition Contract.

Manitoba courses take place at St. Benedict's Retreat Centre and Arthur St. Studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Information on accommodation is located on the Winnipeg Location page.

Saskatchewan courses take place at Ancient Spirals Retreat 10 minutes south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Learn more on our Saskatoon Location page.

"The Art Therapy Diploma Summer Intensive, instructed by Karen Wallace, was hard core, enlightening and I cannot wait to dive further into Art Therapy over the next few years.  It's really hard to put into words just how amazing it was!  I would definitely suggest this program to anyone interested in Art Therapy."

Joanna Watt, Art Therapy Diploma Graduate 2018

Angela Meyer, Art Therapy Diploma Graduate 2018

I am so proud to be part of this cohort of healers and have gratitude to all the excellent instructions given through the WHEAT Institute. 

Art THerapy Diploma Graduate 2020

Art Therapy Diploma


Current Fees

There is no GST on any of our fees or tuition. All fees are listed in Canadian (CAD) dollars. Training is tax deductible, see more information here.

Tuition Fees for Art Therapy Diploma: $23,490.00 CAD
* Term payments are calculated on the course hours you complete in the given period. An estimate will be provided to each student upon acceptance.
Term 1 due June 15
Term 2 due September 30
Term 3 due January 31
Term 4 due June 1
Term 5 due September 30
Term 6 due January 31

Additional Fees:

$225.00 CAD Non-refundable Registration Fee due upon registration (part of the application process)

$200.00 CAD Non-refundable Supply Fee due upon acceptance  

$234.90 for Non-refundable Training Completion Fund (TCF) fee due upon acceptance. See details of the purpose of this fund here.

$50.00 CAD Graduation Fee due in final term

Practicum / Thesis Extension for all Diploma Programs:

Students will be considered graduates following completion of the Practicum as well as having completed and received a passing grade on the final project / thesis. There are fees of $1600 / term for Practicum Extension and $1000 / term for Thesis Extension.