Master of Science in Dance/Movement Therapy


Director of Graduate Admissions

E-mail Emanuel

(914) 395-2371

The Dance/Movement Therapy program at Sarah Lawrence College is based on the empirically supported premise that the body and mind are interconnected and interact in health and illness. Body movement provides both a means of assessment and a mode of intervention for dance/movement therapists, working with individuals or with groups, in the treatment of developmental, medical, social, physical, or psychological impairments. Learn to use dance/movement therapy, a psychotherapeutic use of movement, to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual.

The Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) program at Sarah Lawrence College graduated its first class in the spring of 2014. The program is a culmination of the College’s long tradition of engagement with the profession and with the vibrant dance community in New York City. Program director Cathy Appel is a noted dancer, founding clinical coordinator of the Creative and Movement Arts Psychotherapy Program at the International Center for the Disabled in New York City, and a leader in the field of DMT.

Program & Requirements

Program Overview

The Dance/Movement Therapy program:

  • Blends theoretical perspectives and practical fieldwork
  • Integrates the historical, developmental, cultural, and clinical aspects of dance's ability to heal and promote change
  • Empowers students to explore their own relationships with dance from the perspective of personal growth, reflective use of self, and social action
  • Enables students to develop and integrate their own movement abilities using their cognitive, emotional, and social resources as a means of building connections with their clients and facilitating growth and change
  • Permits students to engage with professionals from the Dance, Psychology, Child Development, Art of Teaching, and Health Advocacy programs
  • Provides a setting for ongoing research and innovation among established practitioners

Program Requirements

The M.S. degree in Dance/Movement Therapy can be completed on a full-time basis in two years. The program’s structure does not allow for part-time study.

Program requirements include:

  • Completion of 60 credits.
  • Clinical internships totaling 700 hours, with at least 350 hours of direct client contact. Internship placements include therapeutic preschools or community programs, elementary or secondary schools, or child-life programs on pediatric wards, adult psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes.
  • Clinical fieldwork, which provides opportunities for observation, research, and practicum experience. Many first-semester placements are at the Early Childhood Center, the campus laboratory preschool, which allows students to study typically developing children from ages 2 through 6.
  • Master’s project and thesis, during the program’s second year. 

Typical Course of Study

Classes are scheduled to meet two days per week, with fieldwork and internships occurring on non-class days. Students will need to have flexible schedules in order to meet fieldwork and internship requirements.

Courses involve movement participation and/or experiential exercises in a seminar format with class discussions. Verbal and movement participation are expected of all students.

Year One, Fall Semester

  • Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of Dance/Movement Therapy I
  • Movement Observation I
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Group Work: Theory and Practice I
  • Professional Orientation and Ethics
  • Movement Observation of Children

Year One, Spring Semester

  • Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of Dance/Movement Therapy II
  • Movement Observation II
  • Psychopathology
  • Group Work: Theory and Practice II
  • Clinical Fieldwork Orientation
  • Research Methods

Year Two, Fall Semester

  • Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of Dance/Movement Therapy III
  • Movement Observation III
  • Clinical Internship
  • Clinical Internship Practicum
  • Clinical Treatment Planning
  • Graduate Thesis I

Year Two, Spring Semester

  • Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of Dance/Movement Therapy IV
  • Clinical Internship II
  • Clinical Internship Practicum II
  • Graduate Thesis II

Skills & Experience

A strong background in dance is essential. Students should demonstrate concentrated study in a classic, contemporary, or world dance form and some experience in at least one other dance style or a body-mind modality such as yoga. Proficiency in basic elements of dance, such as improvisation, choreography, and teaching, is also preferred.

Interest and experience in working with and helping others are also important. Applicants should be self-reflective and respectful of individual differences, with a commitment to working as a therapist.


The Sarah Lawrence program prepares graduates to take the New York State licensing examination for Creative Arts Therapists.

Many states require certification or licensure of dance/movement therapists as mental health counselors. Students are advised to consult their state credentialing requirements for specific information.

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) provides information about the profession and about the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board. Sarah Lawrence College is approved by the ADTA as a graduate program in Dance/Movement Therapy.

Career Opportunities

A graduate degree in Dance/Movement Therapy from Sarah Lawrence College will prepare students for careers working in medical facilities, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation settings, residential programs, and schools, as well as many other clinical and educational settings. Advanced level DMTs also provide services in private practice.

Dance/Movement Therapy is eligible for licensure and third-party reimbursement in many states. The SLC program prepares graduates to take the New York State licensing examination for Creative Arts Therapists.

Sarah Lawrence College's Dance/Movement Therapy Program is approved by the American Dance Therapy Association. DMT Graduate Programs that meet the requirements stated in the ADTA Standards for Graduate Dance/Movement Therapy Programs satisfy all professional requirements for the Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) credential.