Columbia College Chicago

Dance Movement Therapy and Counseling, MA

Columbia’s Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling program is recognized as a national leader, and is one of the few programs in the country that connects students with a highly diverse portfolio of clinical settings. Our strong ties to the Chicago community will provide you with many placement options for your practicum and internship, which we will tailor to your interests. You’ll gain valuable experience in the field and make meaningful connections for your future career.

You’ll couple this practical, hands-on clinical experience with rigorous coursework. You’ll build relationships with our faculty of licensed clinical professional counselors and board certified dance/movement therapists who are also innovative practitioners, scholars and artists.

You’ll leave Columbia as a registered dance/movement therapist and will be eligible to sit for the Illinois State Licensing Exam to become a licensed professional counselor. Our program meets the standards set for counseling by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

As a graduate of this program, you’ll join a vibrant and active dance/movement therapy community. We are proud of our unique creative focus, and come together regularly for dance concerts with alumni, practitioners and current students.

Application Information

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll begin this intensive program in the summer of your first year with a three-week immersion. You’ll join a small cohort of students from the U.S. and abroad as you explore the culture of Chicago, the college and our department. Your first-year coursework will include Laban movement analysis, social and cultural foundations, human development, psychotherapy and dance/movement therapy theory, among other topics. By the end of your first year, you’ll identify your interest area and will work with our clinical placement coordinator to find a practicum that makes sense for you. You’ll complete this practicum over the summer of your second year, in which you’ll be supervised by an academic, board certified dance/movement therapist.

What to Expect Your Last Year

After completing your practicum in the summer of your second year, you’ll move into your 700-hour internship. You’ll secure a clinical placement that is different from your summer placement. We require students to gain experiences with different developmental and mental health populations. Our students have interned in a variety of clinical settings including schools, hospitals, out-patient programs, nursing homes, community centers, rehabilitation services and correctional facilities. You’ll spend 20-24 hours a week at your internship. The rest of your time will be devoted to coursework that will focus on clinical appraisal, treatment planning, family counseling and addiction counseling.

As you begin your second year of coursework, you’ll develop a thesis project. Research is an important component of the program, as it not only prepares you by narrowing your expertise in a specialization, but also exposes you to research methods and leading scholarship in the field. Students graduate with a strong scholarly foundation and thorough clinical experience. You’ll complete your thesis in a final summer session, after which you’ll submit your diploma to the American Dance Therapy Association to be a registered dance/movement therapist and will prepare to sit for the Illinois State Licensing Exam to become a licensed professional counselor.

Alternate Route Certificate

Columbia offers an alternate route program to students who have an MA, or are in the process of earning an MA, in counseling psychology or a related field. In this program, you will join a cohort of Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling MA students with an alternate course pathway to earning registered dance/movement therapist credentials from the American Dance Therapy Association. The Alternate Route Certificate program takes two years to complete.

Columbia’s Gainful Employment Disclosure for this program.

Detailed Program Information

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog


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