Center for Arts in Medicine

Arts In Medicine: Online Graduate Program

FAQs Frequent Questions

What is arts in health?

Arts in health, also referred to as arts in medicine, is a diverse, multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming health and the healthcare experience through the arts. The field integrates literary, performing, and visual arts and design into a variety of healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes.

The arts are now being used within healthcare institutions worldwide. The international arts in medicine movement represents a rediscovery of the links between body, mind and spirit and of the unity between the creative and medical arts. It recognizes and advocates the role of the imagination and creativity in developing and maintaining health. Specific applications may include:

  • Bringing the arts into the hospital environment through exhibitions and/or performances.
  • Providing arts activities and workshops for patients, family members and staff.
  • Artists facilitating creativity with patients on an individual basis.
  • Workshops for health maintenance for healthcare givers or other healthy or non-hospitalized participants.

Under the broad umbrella of arts and health, several disciplines have emerged.  The creative arts therapies were established between the 1930’s and 1960s in the United States; and arts in medicine, also commonly referred to as arts in healthcare or arts in health, began to emerge as a discipline in the 1980’s. A third discipline, arts in public health, is emerging as well in alignment with the national and global priority to enhance population health through wellness and prevention.

Professionals and services in arts in medicine provide patients, their family members, caregivers, and other health-related populations with opportunities for creative engagement and expression that support health and well-being.  The discipline serves as an adjunct to medical care, utilizing evidence-based arts practices to support health, healthcare, and wellness. While the arts can contribute to healing in a holistic sense, professionals in the field do not make claims that art can heal illness or replace medical treatment.  Artist in health professionals are not clinicians, and they are not healers.  Artists in healthcare are highly skilled and trained professionals who are adept at facilitating arts practices and navigating the healthcare environment.  They understand patient safety and work in partnership with health professionals and health systems to compliment healthcare.  Similarly, artists in public health partner with public health professionals to enhance the efficacy of health promotion programs.

What's the difference between arts in health and the arts therapies?

Artists in health and arts therapies play distinct and complementary roles in a healthcare setting. An artist in residence in a healthcare setting is a practicing, professional artist in an artistic discipline such as visual art, music, dance, theatre or writing. An arts therapist is a mental health professional who utilizes an artistic discipline for a psychotherapeutic purpose. The expertise of an arts in health professional is to facilitate a creative process using their artistic discipline in a healthcare or community setting. The expertise of an arts therapist (i.e. dance therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, or music therapy) is to assess, treat and evaluate an individual using their artistic discipline of training to facilitate a psychotherapy session.

The primary distinction between the two disciplines of the Arts Therapies in contrast to Arts in Health, also known as Arts in Medicine, is the objective of engaging a patient, loved one, or clinician. An arts therapist engages a client for therapeutic goals and objectives serving as an integrated, interdisciplinary healthcare practitioner. An arts in health professional engages an individual for the purpose of making art together to enhance health and uplift the body, mind and spirit through the experience of making art. While an arts in health professional such as an artist in residence is also an integrated team member in a healthcare setting, they do not serve the healthcare team in a clinical capacity nor do they make mental health assessments or set psychotherapeutic objectives. An artist in residence has the clear and pure task of facilitating creative process; and making art. The arts therapist establishes therapeutic goals with the client; and continually engages the creative process with the aim of meeting stated goals.

These same distinctions hold true in a community setting or in public health settings where an arts in health professional may also engage the public in creative experiences for the purpose of enhancing wellness or communicating health messages. Both fields, Arts in Health, and the Arts Therapies are complementary and necessary for preserving and creating healthy communities.

What is the cost of tuition?

Online Master of Arts (MA) in Arts in Medicine: $660 per credit hour; $23,100*

Online Graduate Certificate in Arts in Medicine: $660 per credit hour; $7,920*

Online Graduate Certificate in Arts in Public Health: $580 per credit hour; $6,960*

*Tuition estimates are based on cost per credit hour and do not include University of Florida student fees. Additional fees may apply.

Costs are the same for out-of-state and international applicants. Our tuition is the same flat-rate anywhere in the world.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, federal financial aid is available at the University of Florida for Master's students. Graduate Certificate students do not qualify for federal financial aid. Please review the tuition and financial aid information in the admissions section.

Time Commitment
How long is each course?

Our Arts in Medicine courses are 8-week terms (accelerated half-semesters), with the exception of Arts in Medicine Practicum and Arts in Medicine Capstone, which are 16-week, full-semester courses.

How quickly are students able to complete the programs?

The Master of Arts (MA) in Arts in Medicine program can be completed in 5 to 6 semesters (about 2 years) when students follow the defined course sequence. This sequence includes enrollment in fall, spring, and summer semesters. If students choose to vary the course sequence, that time would be extended.

The graduate certificate programs can be completed in 3 semesters (about 10 months).

Can I complete the program part-time?

Yes, you can complete the program on a schedule that meets your needs by taking fewer classes per semester. However, you must take the core courses in the required sequence.

Please be advised that if you extend the program length and you are on financial aid, your disbursements may be affected. We suggest you first consult your fiancial aid advisor before choosing an extended course path to be sure you meet the credit-hour requirement of your financial aid package.

How many hours should I expect to devote to coursework each week?

Each 3-credit, 8-week course requires approximately 16 hours of active time per week. However, this time will vary depending on the individual.

Career & Entrepreneurship
How can I apply these programs to my career?

The online programs in arts in medicine are designed to help professionals develop careers that engage the arts to enhance individual and community health. At this time, there are no credentialing or certification requirements for arts in health professionals. However, training for professionals is essential and employers are looking for evidence of appropriate training and experience, particularly related to patient safety and professionalism. Additionally, our students learn imporant entrepreneurial skills such as planning, proposing, evaluating, and sustaining progams so they may develop their own practices in communities without existing programs.

What kinds of career opportunities exist for arts in health professionals?

The field of arts in health is a wide-ranging discipline with career and entrepreneurial opportunities in either the private or public sector. Graduates of our program can gain employment and/or create new programs within hospitals, assisted living centers, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, non-profit organizations, community health centers, academic institutions, studios, museums, etc. Titles or positions our graduates may acquire as arts in health professionals include artists in healthcare, arts in health administrators, researchers, artists in community health, public health advocates, freelancers, and educators. Some graduates with existing arts, health, or arts in health professions choose to incorporate their learning to enhance their current careers. You can also join the U.S. based National Organization for Arts in Health as a student or professional by visiting for additional networking and professional opportunities. Global partner networks include UK (National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, ARTS HEALTH Early Career Research Network); EU (Long Live Arts); USA (National Center for Creative Aging); Canada (Arts Health Network Canada).

What does an arts in health practice look like?

Check out our video showcase here to see some examples of arts in health practices:

Program Structure
Are there any live components to the programs?

Bi-weekly phone calls with faculty are included in the practicum course. Students may also choose to interact with other students via phone or Skype during group projects. These are scheduled with student availability in mind. Students in practicum or capstone courses will also schedule themselves to complete hands-on practice in their local communities at a site of their choosing which will require a consistent weekly time commitment during those semesters.

Otherwise, courses are completely asynchronous and there are no required "class meeting times." Students are responsible for learning materials each week that are available 24/7 and completing assignments according to weekly deadlines.

What support services does UF offer online students?
  • UF Career Connections – This career resource guide provides degree seeking students access to full and part-time opportunities, internships, co-ops, information sessions, workshops, career fair information, networking opportunities, mock interview options, career planning appointments, and so much more.
  • 24/7 Tech Support – The e-Learning Help Desk and e-Libraries Help Desk sites are always available to answer any questions you may have.
What is the practicum?

The Arts in Medicine (AIM) Graduate Practicum provides students with opportunities to undertake hands-on work with a particular health related population at a clinical or community site. The goal of the practicum is to give students the chance to apply their knowledge of arts in medicine academic theory and understanding of professional proficiencies to healthcare, or community‐based, hands‐on practice. Students are expected to act as a facilitator of arts activities within the Practicum.

On‐site practicum activities may include facilitation of individual or group art activities, public performances or events, or other arts activities as proposed by the student and approved by the Center for Arts in Medicine (CAM) faculty, course instructor, and on‐site supervisor. The AIM Graduate Practicum course runs over 16 weeks. The practicum hours should be completed over 12 weeks. Students should plan to begin the hands‐on practicum work facilitating the arts to participants at the site no later than the fourth week of the course.

What is the capstone?

The Capstone provides an opportunity for students to design their own ultimate challenge and hands-on learning experience as the culmination of their MA in Arts in Medicine degree. The Capstone includes a project that they undertake and an assessment of that project, which can be either research or evaluation. In the capstone, students may choose to take an active role as an artist facilitator or they may take a more administrative role as a project director. The Capstone course will span 16 weeks, including completion of the final paper.

Prior to undertaking the Capstone, students register for the Capstone Proposal course. During that eight-week course, students develop the Capstone plan, undertake an exhaustive literature review, and write the Capstone Proposal. They then typically have eight weeks before beginning to work on details of their plan, which may require IRB approval if human research is undertaken.

While the MA in Arts in Medicine is a nonthesis degree program, the Capstone is equivalent to a thesis in that it asks students to undertake a significant project and conduct an equally significant assessment of that project. Within the Capstone Proposal and Capstone courses, students enjoy tremendous support from faculty and peers. At the completion of Capstone, students have prepared themselves to achieve their professional goals. Final Capstone papers are retained in the UF Libraries.

Application & Pre-Requisites
What are the application deadlines?

We are always reviewing applications, so you may apply at any time for either of the two start dates which are typically Fall (August) and Spring (January). MA students can also apply to start in the Summer (April/May). The earlier the better! You'll hear back with a decision about your complete application within 3 - 4 weeks of applying. Applications should be submitted at least 6 - 8 weeks ahead of your preferred start date. For more information, contact the Graduate Programs Admissions Coordinator at or request more information.

Who should I ask to submit recommendation letters for my application?

Your recommendation letters are an excellent opportunity for others to attest to your attributes, skills, and competencies. Of particular interest are recommendation letters from those who have witnessed your work ethic, professionalism, academic performance, creative/artistic skills, and/or arts-in-health activities.

For the strongest application, we recommend the following types of recommenders, both former and current:

  1. Professors, instructors, or academic advisors
  2. Employers, supervisors, or managers
  3. Volunteer supervisors
  4. Academic/Professional/Volunteer mentors
  5. Community leaders

Please do not submit recommendations from relatives, friends, peers, clients, or those under your supervision, care, or instruction.

You should ask at least three people (Master of Arts) or two people (Graduate Certificate) who can speak to your various skills to write your letters of recommendation. If possible, at least one of those people should be a faculty member who can speak to your academic abilities. Contact these people early, and stay in touch throughout the process and ensure they are aware of the deadlines.

All recommendation letters must be received by the middle of June for Fall enrollments, or the middle of November for Spring enrollments.

These letters take time to write, and many faculty members are often writing for several students. Contacting your references early ensures they will have time to write you an in-depth letter of recommendation.

Are there any prerequisites to the online programs?

Yes. Please review the application procedures in the How to Apply section.

What is the Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive Program?

The Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive is designed to provide students and professionals at all levels of experience with a comprehensive overview of the field, including its theoretical foundations, professional opportunities, and scope of practice. The program includes two weeks of on-site programming at the University of Florida and a set of online modules designed to be completed prior to the program.

The Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive is an intensive training program for artists, caregivers, administrators, students, educators, and others who wish to explore the roles of the arts in healthcare fields and settings. Participants may choose the arts clinical practice or administration track. Both tracks include workshops in the history, philosophy and physiology of art and healing, experiential workshops in the visual artsmusicdance, theatre and writing, workshops in compassion fatigue and self-care, facilitating the arts at the bedside, arts in healthcare program implementation, administration, and grant writing, research, and practical bedside arts experience with the Shands Arts in Medicine program. The intensive now includes new online modules, including Patient Safety, Understanding the Experience of Illness, Healthcare Culture, and Healthcare Communication.

For more information, click here.

What is the “Creating for the Health of It” online module?

This module is designed to prepare students and professionals to begin the UF Center for Arts in Medicine’s online graduate programs, including the Master of Arts (MA) in Arts in Medicine, the Graduate Certificate in Arts in Medicine, and the Graduate Certificate in Arts in Public Health. Through this module, students come to understand the basic concepts that shape the field of arts in medicine and become familiar with the basic applications and professional opportunities available.

For more information, contact a Graduate Programs Advisor at (352) 273-1488.

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