Admission to the Program

The Expressive Arts Therapy curriculum explores interconnections between spirituality and creativity. This thread is deeply embedded into the program and is integral to the healing and transformative power of therapeutic arts processes.

One of a handful of MA Expressive Arts Therapy Programs in the world, the EXA program offers students the opportunity to integrate the whole palette of creative arts processes into their work including visual and fine arts, digital, spoken word, movement, dance, drama.

CIIS' intensive training combines coursework with individual and group expressive arts psychotherapy, plus a yearlong clinical practicum. Students come from all over the world to enroll in our three-year program. They work in a variety of psychotherapeutic contexts including private clinical practice, expressive arts consulting education, expressive arts coaching and community arts & social justice practice locally and internationally.

Please visit Applying to CIIS for application deadlines and other important dates.

Click here to view application requirements

Online Admissions Application: Begin the application process by submitting an online graduate application at the link below and submitting the non-refundable $65 application fee payment.

Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or the equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution.

Academic Prerequisites: Two undergraduate psychology courses from an accredited college or university are recommended but not required. Completion of coursework in one of the following areas is strongly recommended: human development, psychopathology, theories of personality, and/or introduction to psychology.

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended. Transcripts must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes.

Autobiographical Statement: Please write a brief statement in response to the following questions in the order that they appear:

  • Why are you interested in becoming an expressive arts therapist? What strengths and what limitations do you bring to pursuing this career direction?
  • What work experiences have you had that might be useful in preparing you to study to be an EXA therapist?
  • What personal experiences have you had that might be useful in counseling and psychotherapy?
  • The prevalence of experiential exercises in our courses tends to stir up life issues. What internal and external strengths and resources do you draw from to help you cope in your daily life? What social supports does this include?
  • Our graduates are expected to be able to work with people from very diverse social, cultural, sexual/affectional preference, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. What is your experience of relating across dimensions of difference?
  • Students in the EXA program attend classes in a cohort. Since much of the class work is experiential, much of your personal process will be also visible to others. Have you ever been in such a group? If so, what was it like for you? If not, what do you imagine it would be like?
  • Share with us what integration of mind, body and spirit means to you.

An Expressive Arts Statement: a statement (two pages, typed, double-spaced) on your background in the arts (personal and/or formal), discussing any form of creative expression that has been important for you.

Two Letters of Recommendation: letters of recommendation will be accepted from academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors, or someone able to attest to your ability to undertake the work required for your program. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information- name, email, phone number, and mailing address.

Academic Writing Sample: a writing sample of eight to ten pages (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities.

An Up-To-Date C.V. detailing your educational and professional experience


Please submit all electronic materials as individual attachments (one document per submission, in .doc, or .pdf formats) to materials@ciis.edu.

International Students

Please note: International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada have additional requirements. Please see the International Student page for addtional details.

Admissions Counselor: Christopher Ho

For any additional admission questions, please contact our admissions counselor:

Christopher Ho
(415) 575-6155
cho@ciis.edu

Photo Credit: EXA Banner Photos by LissaIvy Tiegel

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