Creative Arts and Mental Health

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


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This innovative and unique MSc in Creative Arts and Mental Health is jointly run by the Centre for Psychiatry and the Department of Drama and offers an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and research, with a particular emphasis on theatre and performance in the creative arts. It covers the history, theory, and practice of performance in relation to all aspects of mental health promotion and the prevention and treatment of mental illness. The programme is directed at a combination of education professionals, artists, scholars, and mental health practitioners. It offers students the opportunity to learn in detail, from both arts and science perspectives, about how the creative arts can be used to think critically about and engage the public with concepts and experiences of mental health and the mental health system. The course necessarily reflects a critical analysis of the scientific method(s) of mental health research and practice and explores the use of arts-based research, evaluation and dissemination methods.

The primary aims of this course are to develop students’ ability to think critically about the relationship between the arts and mental health and mental health care practices in a national and international context. Specifics aims are to develop and enhance:

  • how mental health professionals, arts practitioners and others interested in mental health and wellbeing work together in both clinical and non-clinical environments;
  • the ways in which mental health experiences are represented in the arts and in popular culture, and how arts-based practice can help to expand and nuance both clinical and popular understandings of patient and clinician experiences in the mental health system;
  • perceptions and assumptions about the ways arts-based practices can support recovery;
  • critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current practice in arts/mental health collaborations, with an eye to developing best practices for collaboration among arts workers, clinicians, mental health researchers, and - crucially - people with lived experience of mental health issues.

The course is not clinical, therefore the students will not leave with a clinical accreditation in mental health practice or art therapy. Rather, the course is practice, research and reflection-based and is designed to encourage each student, whether coming from an arts or a sciences background, to critically consider the strengths and the limitations of his or her existing knowledge base. Whereas other courses in arts and mental health hierarchise the disciplines and treat the arts as a "therapy" tool, this course seeks to interrogate the assumptions underlying such disciplinary hierarchies in order to develop genuine best practices for better, more effective collaborations among arts practitioners, health care practitioners and patients, in order to serve the interests of all who work within mental health and social care systems.

Why study your Creative Arts and Mental Health at Queen Mary?

The fantastic reputation of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of English and Drama.

The new MSc in Creative Arts and Mental Health is delivered as a collaboration between the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results have shown that Queen Mary University of London has risen to 9th place among multi-faculty institutions in the UK.

The Centre for Psychiatry was ranked 5th in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 for research on public health, health services and primary care. Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry is comprised of two world renowned teaching hospitals, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London, which have made, and continue to make, an outstanding contribution to modern medicine. We were one of the top five in the UK for medicine in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

The Department of Drama was ranked 1st in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and is consistently rated among the top programmes in the country on a variety of league tables. Drama’s core faculty include internationally recognized experts on intercultural theatre and performance, early modern theatre and performance, live art, applied performance in the community, and theatre and performance made for and with vulnerable populations.

This course involves the regular participation and contribution of numerous community partners (including local, national, and international arts organisations), leading mental health professionals, and applied theatre scholars and practitioners, representative of both of the MSc's core fields. Combining critical mental health sciences and research methods with a rigorous study of the history, theory, and practice of performance with and about mental illness, the MSc includes modules both separately and jointly taught across its two core fields, in order to ensure students receive rigorous training in best practices in each field, as well as plenty of opportunity to think, work, read, write, and make performance that reaches across both fields.

Who is the course suitable for?

Careers and progression

The MSc is directed at education professionals, artists, scholars, mental health practitioners, and graduates in psychology and social sciences who are looking to learn from both arts and mental health science perspectives about how theatre and performance can be used both to promote mental health and wellbeing, and to explore and interrogate issues in the field of mental health. Some students may already hold qualifications in art or drama therapy, may be practicing artists, or may work elsewhere in mental health; for them, the course offers an opportunity to reinvigorate their work, expand their knowledge base, and meet a variety of other professionals working in related fields.

Other students may go on to seek mental health qualifications, or may pursue postgraduate research/doctoral training in either art or mental health. The MSc is designed to assist students in their professional development through lectures, workshops, studio-based sessions, and work placements that will enrich their options for future training or job-seeking. Students will develop a global perspective on the ways in which art practices and mental health and wellness work may cross over or combine.
Where will I be studying?

The MSc’s core mental health practices module will be based at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, in Charterhouse Square, Central London. The programme’s core theatre and performance module, including studio sessions, will be taught at the School of English and Drama, on Queen Mary’s Mile End campus.

In addition to being home to the world-leading Centre for Psychiatry, the Wolfson Institute is located just steps from the Barbican Centre, one of London’s premiere venues for gallery art, film, theatre, and cultural exchange. At Mile End, meanwhile, students will be exposed to the vibrant, multicultural communities that make up London’s east end, as well as its unique blend of emerging and established theatre companies and live art makers.


You will have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource.
Specialist resources include:

  • The Blizard Building. At the heart of the Whitechapel development is the Blizard Building, which houses state of-the-art facilities for students and staff: open-plan research laboratories, office space, a 400-seat lecture theatre and a cafe
  • You will have access to a large collection of basic medical and dental texts in the main library at Mile End. The Library is open seven days a week. This resource is complemented by the two large medical and dental archives based at the Royal London and at Barts in older, architecturally distinguished buildings that are well worth a visit just to experience their atmosphere
  • Our Mile End campus is home to a range of specialist performance facilities, including three rehearsal rooms, the Pinter studio theatre, and the Film and Drama Studio (FADS) in the news ArtsTwo building.
  • The newly opening Graduate Centre and the award-winning Lock-Keepers’ Cottage (housed in an historic building alongside the Regent’s Canal) at the Mile End campus offer comfortable study areas, networked computer facilities for the sole use of postgraduate students, seminar rooms, and common rooms for studying.

Key Academics

Course co-directors and tutors

Course co-director

Further Information on general course queries and applications

MSc Administrators:  tel: 0207 882 2013

Programme Information - Important points to note:

Detailed programme information can also be found on:

For detailed information please see attached

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Full-time Part-time

Admission status:

Charterhouse Square

Find out more:
Wolfson Institute
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5511


Creative Arts and Mental Health is available to study to MSc or PGDip levels.

The MSc programme consists of five modules. Completion of the first four modules is accredited for exit with a PGDip in Creative Arts and Mental Health. Completion of all five modules leads to the MSc award.

In term 1 students take Module 1- Critical Mental Health Sciences and Module 2- Performing Mental Health. In term 2 students take a choice of two existing Module 3 options offered by the Department of Drama (Cultural Industries or Independent Practical Project) and Module 4- Critical Encounters in Arts and Mental Health.  In term 3, students completing the MSc award also take Module 5 and undertake a dissertation on an original topic in the field.

Period of Study

FULL TIME: PGDip and MSc options are available full-time and students complete all study components within one academic year.

PART TIME: Part-time MSc students participate in the first four modules in the same way as the full-time students but for part-time students, module five (i.e. the research and dissertation module) can be completed over the second year instead of finishing in the first year, allowing additional time and flexibility for conducting research that needs a longer time-frame and for flexibility to pursue other work or commitments.

At the discretion of the programme organiser and the examination board, those not completing the programme of study for the Masters may exit with a PG Diploma or a PG Certificate.

Flexible Study

We offer a variety of modes of study including full-time and part-time options, giving students many choices to suit their existing workloads and lifestyles. Part-time study is ideal for those with work or other commitments.


Term 1

Module 1: Critical Mental Health Sciences

This module sets out the existing state of mental health care and practice, taking account of the historical legacy and the place of power and identity in contemporary practice. Students hear about assessment and diagnostic practices, their strengths and limitations, and about traditions of evaluation and research methods ranging from medical to social sciences. The module is based on seminal readings and textbooks that investigate the philosophy, social and anthropological perspectives on mental health practice, and the place of representation and stigma in modern policy and practice. The scientific method and research methods found in psychiatric and medical practice is critiqued. The taught component of this module consists of lectures delivered by specialists and intercalating workshops, running for 12 weeks.

Module 2: Performing Mental Health

This module explores the performance of mental health and mental illness as they have been defined across history, and in the contemporary moment. In particular the module asks how the social construction of mental health is reflected in and produced by performance. Special attention is given to representations of ‘madness’ and ‘mental illness’ produced in historical performance, as well as to how these representations have since been reinterpreted and adapted to reflect current constructions and concerns. The taught component of this module consists of a total of 30-33 hours of lectures and workshops.

Term 2

Module 3 : A choice of two existing module options offered by the Department of Drama

Option 1:  Cultural Industries

This module explores cultural industries – both their practices, and the issues (ethical, practical, political, economic, etc.) they raise. It examines the political and economic contexts and practices that give rise to and affect them. It evaluates their aims as well as the practices they do and might employ to achieve those aims. Module convenor(s) facilitate students’ placement with an appropriate industry partner and students develop industry-based projects to complete within the context of the industry partner’s work. Students’ work on this module is partly seminar-based, and partly based on work with the industry partner. The taught component of this module consists in 2 hours seminars for 8 weeks.

Option 2: Independent Practical Project

This module requires students to devise an individual project that focuses on a chosen area of performance practice. The aim of the module is for you to raise a series of research questions that are addressed as a result of and through their practical work. This could encompass playwriting, applied drama, directing, dramaturgy, acting, new technologies, site-specific performance and live art. Working under the supervision of the module convenor and a mentor, each student crafts a professional project that also provides an opportunity for critical reflection on the processes of performance practice.  Students take part in 11 weekly workshop classes at 4 hours per class.

The two assessments (presentation and portfolio) are designed to provide public platforms for the dissemination of rigorous practice-based research while maintaining an emphasis on high standards of professional performance making.

Module 4: Critical Encounters in Arts and Mental Health

This module investigates the use of arts-based practices as research, education, health intervention, advocacy and activism in mental health. Students will learn about contemporary art practice which interrogates, critiques and/or contributes to mental health theory and practice. The module is based on lecture-seminars delivered by artists, art-historians and clinicians who engage with art within their practice. Students will be encouraged to develop a specialist area of interest that will be furthered developed during their dissertation project (Module 5). The taught component of this module is delivered in 3 hours lecture-seminars for 12 weeks.

Term 3

Module 5: Dissertation

Module 5 includes lectures/workshops on research methodologies as further preparation for your independent dissertation work. Research workshops are offered during Term 1 and 2. Additionally, in Term 3 you will have access to a Research Methods module made available to all MSc students at the Centre for Psychiatry. Module 5 is assessed by a dissertation that includes original research using an art-based or science-based methodology or an original and comprehensive systematic literature review. Where applicable, you are required to obtain ethics applications for your research. Each student is matched with at least one dissertation supervisor from either Drama or Psychiatry, based on their topic and methods of research, who will offer individual tutorials.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a 2.1 in a UK Bachelor's degree or overseas equivalent in related subjects. Applicants with good lower second class degrees may be considered on a case by case basis if they have relevant experience.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate strong academic thinking, reading and writing skills via a personal statement and references. We wish to include people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and career pathways, especially people working in art organizations and the volunteer sector. Individual meetings can be arranged to discuss specific circumstances.  Some applicants will be interviewed to discuss entry onto the course.

International students are required to meet standard 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For further information, please refer to English language requirements for admissions to Queen Mary University University of London:

Students applying from countries which require a tier 4 visa should also take care to meet UK Border Agency (UKBA) minimum component scores, as well as overall Queen Mary requirements.

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning takes place through a mix of interactive lectures and seminars, group work, case studies and practical workshops. Lectures and seminars present a theoretical framework while group discussions focus on practical applications of the theory presented in the lecture. In addition, Module 3 includes a work placement related to creative arts and mental health, which is facilitated by the tutors and lecturers in this programme through existing and new partnerships with the performing arts community, voluntary organisations and mental health organizations.

You will be assessed by a range of methods:

  • Module 1:  Essay
  • Module 2: Presentation & Essay
  • Module 3:
    • Option 1: Project Plan and Project Report
    • Option 2: Continual Assessment, Performance or Presentation, Portfolio of Documentation
  • Module 4: Essay
  • Module 5: Dissertation


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £7,250
Part time £3,625

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £16,300
Part time £8,150

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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