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Master of Applied Arts in Health
Accelerated 1-year degree

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Master of Applied Arts in Health

The Master of Applied Arts in Health (MAAH) program at Ohio University stands at the forefront of merging arts and healthcare, offering a dynamic platform for graduates from diverse arts disciplines. This program provides opportunities for performing, visual, and other fine artists to advance their knowledge and practical skills necessary to effectively expand and apply their arts practice safely within healthcare and public health settings. 

  • 30 credit hours
  • Asynchronous online coursework, with required in person, synchronous volunteer and internship hours
  • Cohort model program (start in Fall semester; Spring or Summer start with program approval)
  • Graduate in as few as 12 months
  • Culminating professional internship

    Personalized Guidance

    Navigate your academic journey with tailored support and guidance. Our program offers personalized advising, ensuring you receive individualized attention and resources to excel in your studies. Whether you're exploring diverse arts practices or delving into health care applications, our advisors are dedicated to nurturing your unique interests and ambitions.


    Immersive Real-World Exposure

    Engage in hands-on experiences beyond the classroom. During the summer semester, our program features the Arts in Health Professional Internship, a 10-week, 180-hour immersive experience. This internship provides an in-depth, hands-on opportunity for students to synthesize their coursework, engage in on-site Arts in Health interventions, and work under the guidance of professionals. With the flexibility to choose their location (pending approval), students craft a capstone project, showcasing their mastery in Arts in Health practices, approved by both the site supervisor and course professor.


    Faculty Expertise and Mentorship

    Experience guidance and mentorship from seasoned professionals in the field of arts in health. Our distinguished faculty bring a wealth of experience from diverse backgrounds, providing invaluable insights and mentorship to students. Benefit from their expertise as they offer personalized guidance, share real-world experiences, and foster a supportive environment for your academic and professional growth. Engage in discussions, research collaborations, and projects guided by their wealth of knowledge, allowing you to flourish within this specialized domain.

Diverse Careers in Arts and Health

Embark on a versatile career path equipped with your Master of Applied Arts in Health. While not a clinical degree, our program opens doors to a spectrum of impactful roles within healthcare and community settings, offering opportunities such as:

Artistic Engagements

  • Artist-in-Residence: Foster healing environments by infusing artistic practices within healthcare facilities.
  • (Hospital) Art Curator: Curate spaces that promote wellness through carefully selected artistic displays.
  • Arts Activity Specialist: Facilitate creative workshops aimed at enhancing well-being in diverse populations.

Healthcare Advocacy and Management

  • Arts in Health Consultant: Offer expertise in integrating arts into healthcare practices, advocating for innovative interventions.
  • Arts in Health Program Manager: Lead initiatives that promote equity and access to arts-based healthcare programs.
  • Wellness Program Facilitator: Design and implement wellness programs integrating artistic practices for holistic health promotion.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Research

  • Performing Arts Medicine Practitioner: Merge arts and medicine for holistic patient care and rehabilitation.
  • Music and Medicine Practitioner: Utilize music in healthcare settings.
  • Community Program Developer: Create and implement arts-based community programs fostering well-being and health equity.

Research and Collaboration

  • Arts-Based Research Team Collaborator: Work alongside creative arts therapists and other healthcare professionals by collaborating on interdisciplinary research initiatives.
  • Enhancing Interprofessional Practice: Increase interprofessional research and interdisciplinary application of arts-based interventions for comprehensive patient care.

Faculty Highlight — Lisa Gallagher

Dr. Lisa Gallagher, an invaluable member of our faculty, holds a Bachelor's in Music Therapy from Ohio University, a Master's in Counseling and Human Development from Walsh University, and a PhD in Health Psychology from Northcentral University. Renowned as the founder of Cleveland Clinic's Music Therapy Program and currently serving as the Research Program Manager in the Arts & Medicine Department, Dr. Gallagher brings extensive clinical, research, and teaching experience.


Our collaboration with Cleveland Clinic's Arts & Medicine Department facilitates the inclusion of experts like Dr. Gallagher in our program. Through this partnership, she contributes real-world insights to our virtual classrooms, bridging the gap between academic learning and innovative healthcare practices.


View Lisa Gallagher's Profile

Lisa Gallagher, 2018

Goals and Outcomes

  • Students will be able to articulate various ways that the fine arts can impact the health and wellness of  communities.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate arts-based experiences with communities served where arts in health practices exist.
  • Students will be able to advocate for arts in health experiences when speaking to health practitioners, families served, and other arts in health stakeholders.
  • Students will be able to safely and effectively apply their arts practice within health care and public health settings

Our Mission

To provide opportunities for graduate students from diverse arts disciplines and perspectives to learn, collaborate, and innovate arts-based interventions for future development and research in professional environments.

Our Vision

Ohio University Arts in Health upholds the program mission through engaging curriculum and expertise from the field to support graduate students in becoming compassionate and collaborative leaders who increase access through advocacy, creativity, and innovation of arts in health opportunities within healthcare and community environments.


Featured Student

"As a dance student with a keen interest in dance for health and wellness, this program has significantly influenced my approach to my work. I now actively apply the principles acquired from the Arts in Health program when designing and executing dance programs aimed at enhancing the holistic well-being of individuals within the community."

— Wendy Dzikunu

Headshot of Wendy Dzikunu

Costs and Financial Aid

When you choose OHIO, you’re getting the competitive tuition rates of a state university, but with the personalized attention and support you might expect from a private school. In fact, for the second consecutive year we were named the best value among Ohio’s public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Financial Aid: U.S. citizens and permanent residents have access to federally funded loans through Ohio University's Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. The Ohio University school code is 003100.

Tuition and fees are assessed on a per-credit-hour basis. 

OHIO Online Graduate Tuition and Fees

  • Also Available: Graduate Certificate in Arts in Health

    The Arts in Health graduate certificate allows any graduate student at Ohio University to learn a breadth of foundational concepts related to the Fine Arts in Health theory, practice, and research. Students will have opportunities to provide analysis of visual art, dance, theater, music, film or philosophy of art in relation to health, as well as have unique opportunities to experience community Arts in Health practices. All classes are offered online either through Athens Online or eCampus except for some elective choices.

Who can apply for the MAAH program?

Applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree in fine arts (music, dance, theater, dance, etc.) from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or equivalent, or an undergraduate degree in another field with equivalent lived or academic fine arts experience. Creative arts therapists may choose to apply to gain a broader perspective on the role of arts in health in their own professional clinical practice or how to better learn to collaborate on research teams or in community programs.

"Equivalent" arts experience will be assessed based on the required letter of interest/personal statement and the required portfolio submission that demonstrates the applicant's fine art practice. For example, a student who received a BA in computer science but has early training (or self-taught) as a musician who continues to compose or perform. The depth of their practice as a fine artist would be evidenced through arts-based submission (video audition, art portfolio, etc.).

Can I work full-time and complete this program?

Yes. The online coursework is asynchronous and you can complete work during hours that work best for you. For some, completing a part-time track (which will extend longer than a year) might be a better option to successfully complete courses.

Are there any 7-week online courses offered?

Yes. A majority of the Health Sciences/Public Health elective options, and several of the core Arts in Health courses, are offered as 7-week online courses.

Is there a part-time option if my employer only allows two classes (6 cr) a semester?

 Yes. While we encourage students to complete the full-time track, there is flexibility in when the elective coursework can be completed. Coursework does need to be completed prior to the culminating professional internship (final course: FAR 5911).

Can I work as a creative arts therapist or arts-based clinician with this degree?

No, this is not a clinical degree program. Creative arts therapies (music therapy, dance therapy, art therapy, dramatherapy, etc.) have specific educational and training requirements that center in treatment protocols and processes. In this program, you will gain understanding of the scope of practice of creative arts therapies and how to best collaborate to support individuals as an arts in health professional. Arts in health professionals may support the work of creative arts therapists and other clinical professionals by enhancing patient experiences, caring for caregivers, and creating optimal environments in healthcare and community settings through their fine arts practice.

Are internships paid or volunteer experiences?

It is hoped that an organization where a student is planning to complete an internship is able to provide a paid internship or a stipend to support the student. If this is not feasible, the organization might be able to provide some type of support through providing gas cards, food, or other assistance. 

If a student completes an internship in their place of employment, arrangements for any additional pay or release time will need to be made between the student and their employer.

Can I complete the internship where I live, or even where I work?
  • All internship sites and onsite supervisors need to be approved by the Director of Arts in Health.
  • Community programs, healthcare settings, or arts organizations may be appropriate placements.
  • Onsite supervisors are ideally creative arts therapists or expressive arts therapists, arts and medicine professionals or managers, or other related professionals with expertise in arts in health, arts in public health, arts and medicine, creative arts therapies, etc. with supervision experience.
  • During the application process, students should discuss the internship options in their area with the Director of Arts in Health. If a student works in an organization with potential arts in health opportunities that are outside of their regular job scope, their workplace may be an option as long as there is an appropriate onsite supervisor willing to have the student complete an internship and if their employer agrees to the internship. 
  • If a student needs assistance in locating a potential internship site, the Director of Arts in Health may be able to assist. 
Will I get hired where I complete an internship?

It is hoped that an organization will see the benefit of the student contributions throughout internship, along with the final project, and determine these services need to be integrated into the organization. This may lead to part-time or full-time employment, but this is not guaranteed.

If I am completing the Graduate Certificate in Arts in Health, can I apply these courses to the Master of Applied Arts in Health (MAAH) if I decide to apply to the master's program?
  • Yes. The courses taken for the Graduate Certificate in Arts in Health are the same courses required as part of the MAAH program. By completing the Graduate Certificate in Arts in Health, you will essentially have completed 12 credits of the 30 required credits of the MAAH.
  • It is important to note that completing the Graduate Certificate in Applied Arts in Health does not mean acceptance into the MAAH program. Each student will need to apply for the MAAH graduate program if choosing to move from certificate to graduate program.


What kind of job can I get with this degree?

The field of Arts in Health is professionalizing and growing, so this degree will provide you with a depth of understanding of arts in health systems, other intersecting disciplines, and applied experience in using your arts practice in a health-based environment. Opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary programming in medical, community or public health programs as well as collaborative research in arts and health can stem from this type of degree and experience.

Jobs that relate to this degree may include: artist-in-residence, hospital art curator, arts activity specialist, arts medicine practitioner, community program director, arts and medicine director, arts in health consultant, wellness program facilitator, healing arts program director, or an adjunct or instructional faculty role in a related academic program.

Can I add art therapy or music therapy licensure/credentials to this degree?

Getting the Master of Applied Arts in Health (MAAH) degree does not lead to a creative arts therapy licensure or credential. If an individual would like to practice as an art therapist, then a master’s degree in art therapy is needed to practice. Those interested in music therapy need to at least complete an undergraduate music therapy degree program (or equivalency program) or complete a master’s + equivalency program (both programs are available at Ohio University) if they already have a music degree of some kind. Other creative arts therapies require a master’s degree in those clinical program areas.

The MAAH degree is a wonderful extension to a creative arts therapy degree and can be completed in just one year, expanding the individual’s understanding of public and community health, and increase the ability to manage teams of diverse arts practitioners. If you completed the MAAH degree first, you could, with an undergraduate degree in a specific art discipline, apply for master’s degree program in the respective creative arts therapy discipline following completion of the MAAH program.

If I didn’t go to school in a healthcare field, is this a route to consider?

Yes, this is a route to consider if you have a fine arts practice (or have a degree in the fine arts) but are interested in using your art in some fashion within healthcare environments. Someone already in the healthcare field who has an arts-based practice as well is also a potential good fit for this program.

Can I do this program if I don’t have an arts-based degree?

“Equivalent” arts experience can be assessed based on the required letter of interest/personal statement and the required portfolio submission that demonstrates the applicant’s fine art practice and experience. For example, a student who received a BA in computer science but has early training (or is self-taught) as a musician who continues to compose or perform. The depth of their practice as a musician would be evidenced through their arts-based portfolio submission (video audition) as part of the application to the Graduate College.

Is this program like a health degree?

No, this is not a clinical program. There is exposure and information about medical, community and public healthcare environments, along with information about the health sciences through elective courses. Students will learn how to engage in these environments and learn about ethical parameters, confidentiality, professional roles, and other important information when working in a healthcare environment.

Would this program be for artists with a BA or BFA who have decided they need a more lucrative career?

Artists with an undergraduate degree who are seeking a new avenue with their arts practice may consider this degree. This program may help enhance and open new opportunities for using their art in a new role for employment. An advanced degree also can assist some in obtaining opportunities in management or director roles.

Why is this program emerging now?

Arts in health is a discipline that is professionalizing, with a new Code of Ethics and Standards for Practice being developed in the past couple of years. There is basic certification at the ground level of arts in health practice being offered through the National Organization of Arts in Health (NOAH) with evolving aspects of the work emerging.

There is movement on the federal and state level toward providing access to cost effective and meaningful ways to benefit the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Healthcare settings are collaborating more with community programs to provide access to the arts. Arts in health professionals will play an important role moving forward toward increasing access to health services, awareness and understanding about health topics, and in creating healthier environments for wellness and healing.

Ohio University is one of the first institutions in the United States to provide a graduate level program to help foster future leaders of Arts in Health practice. 

Does this program accept transfer credits?

The program can review transfer credit possibilities related to only the fine arts elective of 3 credits. Any fine arts course being considered needs to reflect a minimum grade of a B and not have been used to meet another degree program.

What kind of portfolio is required for admission? Where can I submit my portfolio?

Your arts-based portfolio (music, dance, theatre, film, etc.) is submitted as part of your application to the Ohio University Graduate College. The portfolio submission content varies based on the applicant’s art discipline. For more information, please contact the Program Director or an enrollment advisor in OHIO Online.

What if I already have a master's degree?

If you already have a master's degree in a creative arts therapy, you may choose to obtain this 1-year, 30-credit Master of Applied Arts in Health degree to expand upon what you have already studied. For example, if you are already a music therapist, you might consider this graduate program as it is peripheral to your current work. It may allow you to expand your reach and develop connections in unique ways along with new understanding of a more integrative practice.

If you already have a master's degree in a specific fine arts discipline, such as music performance or art history, you may want to consider exploring the addition of this 1-year, 30-credit Master of Applied Arts in health degree to provide you with more applied opportunities for engaging with others for their health and wellbeing in medical, community, and public health settings. This degree may help you step into a new path or opportunity for using your arts practice.

If you have a master's degree in a non-arts discipline and do not have an arts background or ongoing fine arts practice, you may consider the arts in health graduate certificate to expand your understanding for potential to connect better with the arts and health arena.

How do I choose the right arts and health program for me?

The Master of Applied Arts in Health program may be a great fit if you are:
looking for a way to deepen your own arts practice (in music, theater, visual arts, dance, etc.) by supporting the well-being of those seeking services in medical, community, and/or public health settings
would like a flexible graduate degree that can provide you avenues for intersecting across health settings
are seeking leadership opportunities such as director or manager of arts medicine programs, arts and wellbeing community programs, etc. desiring collaborative opportunities across multiple arts and health sectors, including working alongside creative arts therapists and other healthcare professionals

The Arts in Health Graduate Certificate program may be a great fit if you are:
a medical, public health, community health, student or professional without a performing arts or visual arts practice or background
seeking to increase understanding of how the arts intersect within a range of health-based settings
desiring to collaborate with arts professionals from a range of disciplines in program development or research
wishing to explore a new pathway that includes both the arts and health/wellness

The Ohio University Music Therapy programs may be a great fit if you are:
wanting to work as a clinician
desiring to work with individuals and groups within a range of settings (educational, healthcare, correctional, rehabilitative, etc.) addressing specific therapeutic goals (such as pain management, neurological conditions, addiction, etc.) using music-based experiences
wishing to engage in music therapy research and advanced practice
drawn to assessing, treatment planning, implementing treatment, evaluating treatment, and being part of treatment and healthcare provider teams

*There are music therapy undergraduate, graduate, and graduate equivalency options for those with a range of music backgrounds.

Program Faculty

Headshot of Sharon Boyle

Sharon Boyle
Director of Arts in Health, Associate Professor of Music Therapy

Headshot of Angela Sprunger

Angela Sprunger
Assistant Professor of Instruction, School of Art & Design and Co-Founder, Ohio Valley Center for Collaborative Arts

Headshot of Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher
Adjunct Faculty, Arts in Health, Music Therapy

Program Contact

For more information and answers to questions, please contact:

Sharon R. Boyle, D.H.Sc., M.M., MT-BC
Associate Professor of Music Therapy
Director of Arts in Health