Drama Therapy (Alternate Licensure) (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

Drama therapy is the intentional use of theatre techniques to facilitate personal growth and promote health, thus treating individuals with a range of mental health, and cognitive and developmental disorders.

The MA program in Drama Therapy attracts theatre professionals and educators, therapists, and those working in the fields of medicine, healthcare, and special education. Students come from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds to study and do fieldwork and internships with leading professionals in the creative arts therapies. Classes are small and instruction individualized.


The program offers two curricular options:

50-Credit Track

The 50-credit track (Drama Therapy (MA)) meets all requirements for licensure in New York State as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) This includes required coursework in drama therapy and applied psychology with no electives. Those who intend to practice in New York only, and international students who will not require a license to practice, might prefer the 50-credit program.

60-Credit Track

The 60-credit track (Drama Therapy (MA), Alternate Licensure) allows students to do advanced training in Role Theory and Method, Psychodrama, Arts-Based Research, or pursue other electives in Applied Theater (e.g., Theater of Oppressed) or in Applied Psychology (e.g., Marriage and Family Counseling). This track meets the degree credit requirements for licensure in most states outside of New York. Those who intend to practice in states other than New York should consider the 60-credit option.

All students are required to complete fieldwork and 800 hours of internship with two different populations in selected clinical facilities, including such settings as hospitals and shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, prisons, and special facilities for the elderly, those with developmental disabilities, and the terminally ill, among others.

Special Opportunities
The program hosts an internationally recognized therapeutic theater series “As Performance.” This series investigates the nexus of therapeutic theater and arts-based research. Clinical drama therapists participate as artists, and artists explore a therapeutic process. Therapeutic theater is presented as a primary process where need transforms into action. Productions are made possible by an ongoing grant from the Billy Rose Foundation. As Performance seeks to explore the aesthetic, therapeutic, and ethical issues embedded in the process of making theatre.

Career Opportunities

Graduates are employed in a variety of therapeutic settings throughout the world, including public and private hospitals and mental health clinics, centers for adults with developmental disabilities, nursing homes, and drug rehabilitation centers. Drama therapists work in medical facilities as well as artistic ones, in social services as well as private practice. Although drama therapy is a relatively new profession, it is practiced widely with a number of special populations: war veterans and those afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abusers, mentally ill individuals, the elderly, and children who have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. Drama therapists also treat dysfunctional families and, more generally, healthy individuals in need of exploring significant life problems.

Licensure and Accreditation

The program is approved by the New York State Department of Education and qualifies students for licensure in Creative Arts Therapy (LCAT) after graduation and 1,500 hours of postgraduate supervised practice. Graduates of the program also meet the educational requirements for credentialing as a drama therapist with the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA), which accredits this master's degree program.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

All students should have a solid, practical background in the art form of drama and theatre, including experience in improvisational drama and theatre performance. Candidates should also demonstrate a strong academic background in psychology or a related social science, including coursework in developmental and/or abnormal psychology. In certain exceptional cases, alternative experience relevant to drama therapy will be considered.