Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Therapy

National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level: 8
NQF Credits: 120
EFTS: 1.0
Qualification Code: PC4426
Duration: 1 year low residency
Next Intake: February of each year
Application deadline: 1 October for February intake
Campus: Main Campus, 24 Balfour Road, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Creative expression, which is the basis of arts therapy, can have a significant impact on the healing process. Creative therapists enjoy rewarding careers in a variety of therapeutic settings in mental health environments, prisons and the community. Working through art, they help people with trauma, addictions and psychological or emotional issues.

The Whitecliffe low residency Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Therapy (PG Dip AT) programme develops the theoretical knowledge and professional skills utilised within the field, and is a pre-requisite for applications to continue on the Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical) programme. 


The course prepares students with previous clinical or other professional qualifications to integrate arts therapy theory and practice into their professional role and also prepares students without previous clinical experience for further study towards a range of roles in the Arts Therapy professions. Students are encouraged to apply their creative and scholarly abilities to healing and self-development through the arts and explore the relationship between theories about the human psyche and Arts Therapy practice. 


Whitecliffe Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Therapy requires attendance at 10 intensive weekend seminars, plus a substantial amount of independent course work. Students are free to continue in their employment, but must schedule release time as needed. Computer and Internet access are essential because communication with lecturers and other students is maintained online. Due to the high demand for entry into this programme from applicants all over New Zealand, Whitecliffe now delivers the course from Christchurch as well as Auckland.

Auckland - Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design Main Campus - 24 Balfour Road, Parnell 

Christchurch - Design and Art College New Zealand (D&A) - 52-54 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch  

Click on the image below to view or download the prospectus (PLEASE NOTE: The MAAT Prospectus is being revised to reflect changes in course structure.

For current information, please download the Addendum to the Arts Therapy courses and the Arts Therapy Course Information below.



The weekend seminars include guest speakers, tutorials, discussion groups and experiential workshops. Over the course of two semesters students complete four compulsory courses; Creative Studio; Social Aspects of Arts Therapy; Psychology; and Group Arts Therapy. The course aims to develop a range of skills which include: analysis of academic and professional readings; critique effective Arts Therapy session design; presentation delivery; workshop facilitation; production of art works and/or performances informed by Arts Therapy theory; report and academic writing. The course further equips students with a knowledge base for effective Arts Therapy research and further Arts Therapy study and enables students to extend their creative abilities in the arts; develops students' critical skills; and fosters a mature understanding of the relationships between their work and society. 


There is one intake through the year for the PG Dip AT (February) however, applications for admission can be submitted anytime. Applications received after the deadlines will be considered for entry subject to places being available.

The PG Dip AT has been approved and accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) under the provisions of the Education Act 1989.


For all Arts Therapy Programme enquiries contact:

  • Postgraduate Programme Manager, Pam Young Contact Us  or
  • HoD Arts Therapy Programme, Amanda Levey Contact Us

Click here to download and print the Addendum to the Arts Therapy manual

Click here to download and print the Arts Therapy Course information