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Art Therapy Diploma

With clear awareness of two-eyed seeing  and intersectional identities, our art therapy program provides a creative, empowering, and embodied approach to address individual and community social, emotional, spiritual, somatic, and psychological challenges and possibilities through all forms of visual arts. Our program engages participants in art-making, reflection, personal practice, and action on issues of identity, relationship, and social transformation.


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 practicum supervision, and academic and writing support development of a thesis or project in your particular area of interest.

Our program meets the Educational Standards of the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA), and consistently integrates emerging approaches and best practice. Graduates will have necessary requirements to  work as art therapists, join CATA as professional members and work towards registration as Registered Canadian Art Therapists (RCAT). CATA educational standards currently require that applicants to art therapy programs 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) to reflect related capacities and training. Please note that a master’s degree may be required by certain agencies in order to bill  as a therapist and by some provinces in order to register as a psychotherapist or counselling therapist. Master's level candidates  are welcome to apply to the program. Contact WHEAT Institute for details. Information about requirements for Professional and Registered membership in CATA can be found 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.”

Please note, for students interested in a comprehensive immersion in art therapy and expressive arts therapy, we offer a 800+ hour dual diploma including comprehensive training in both domains. See more information here.


2024 Update: We value the benefits of face-to-face programming and land-based experiences. This summer 2024 will be our last year offering a hybrid option where students who are unable to attend in person can elect to participate online. Starting summer 2025 we will have mandatory in person spring and summer immersions. The rest of the academic year (September - April) will remain as online classes. Information on accommodation is located HERE 

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

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

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Arts & Crafts

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 receive 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: There are a limited number of seats available and spots will be reserved as applications are received. Join our waitlist for the 2025 cohort. 


Applicants are selected based on past academic records, a 500-1000 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 $127.45 plus materials fee of $200 are due upon acceptance and signing of the Tuition Contract.

Manitoba courses may take place at Painted Sky Studio in St. Laurent. Information on accommodation is located HERE

"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: $25,490.00 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 15
Term 4 due June 1
Term 5 due September 30
Term 6 due January 15

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  

$127.45 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 and/or Thesis Extension for all Diploma Programs:

Students will be considered graduates following completion of their Practicum as well as having completed and received a passing grade on their Final Project or Thesis. There is an additional fee of $100 per supervision hour for any supervision required beyond that included in the program. There is a fee of $1000 for students wishing to extend their Final Project or Thesis for an additional year. This will be accompanied by additional research support. 

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