Admission to the Program

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.

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

  • Why are you interested in applying to CIIS specifically to study Expressive Arts Therapy? (350 words maximum)
  • Describe the creative arts modalities you would bring with you into the Expressive Arts Therapy program. (350 word maximum)
  • Please describe the direct human services experiences you have had in either employment  and/or through volunteering. (200 word maximum)
  • 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? (200 word maximum)
  • 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? (200 word maximum)
  • To which clinical track would you be applying (MFT or LPCC) and why? In answering this question, please consult and reference your area's regulatory agency's guidelines for licensure: (e.g. http://www.bbs.ca.gov/)
  • (Please answer only if applying for the low-residency program). The low-residency program requires a high level of self-directed, autonomous work in addition to the ability to work in groups. Please describe your experience a.) working individually; and b.) working collaboratively in a group to meet a deadline. (200 word maximum)

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 five page sample of  a piece of your academic writing (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities. The selected samply must be five consecutive pages. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations.  Please include the reference pages from this writing sample. (The reference pages are not included in the five page limit.)

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.

Contact us

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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