National ranking in Art Therapy

Caitlyn Lear, News editor

This month, the Mercyhurst University Art Therapy program earned a national ranking. According to Best Counseling Degrees, Mercyhurst’s Art Therapy program is one of the top 35 undergraduate degrees.

Mercyhurst ranked 31 out of 35. The list was ranked in order of increasing tuition rates. Of the 35 schools, five were from Pennyslvania, and Mercyhurst was the only one from Erie County.

Art Therapy is the use of art and using it as a healing mechanism through research and service learning in the surrounding community. The program at Mercyhurst is directed by Heather Denning.

“The undergraduate art therapy program will prepare students to enter a graduate level training program to become an art therapist. The program offers five art therapy classes in combination with studio art and psychology courses,” Denning said. The art therapy field is a dynamic career combining creativity and service to others. Students who are creative but would like to connect to others in a meaningful career would be a good candidate for this program.”

According to Best Counseling Degrees some of the classes on campus are taught by board certified art therapists. They teach about the history of art, why it is therapeutic and encourage students get hands-on experience. Unlike many other universities, none of the classes in the program at Mercyhurst are taught by graduate students. Most students will go on to graduate level training, while some will find entry level jobs right out of school doing case management or working within an activities department.

Best Counseling Degrees’ website talks about how engaging the program is and what students in the program can gain from its experience.

“Through engaging with art at numerous levels students will learn the therapeutic benefit of art and how the process of engaging in art can lead to change and growth,” the site said.
The ranking was made using NCES College Navigator site and

“The ranking highlights the value Mercyhurst offers its students in higher learning and preparation to become an art therapist,” Denning said.