Curriculum Overview and Courses

Customized Curriculum

Working closely with the Director of the MAAE Program and other faculty, students identify and focus their research interests and career goals and design a curriculum that supports their unique professional pathway.

Balancing Reflection and Action

Engaging contemporary art and theory in core program seminars and developing their artistic practices through studio and project-based courses is balanced with opportunities to work with various communities, audiences, and organizations through internships and fieldwork. Thus, students have many opportunities to develop arts-based projects, teach in community settings, and/or facilitate cultural programming. Throughout the program, visiting professionals share diverse perspectives and experiences about their innovative strategies for combining arts experiences, community engagement, and social activism. Each student’s curriculum culminates in a fieldwork project and final thesis.


 A key aspect of the MAAE degree is significant experiences and research in their focus area. At least one course of independent fieldwork or participating in an internship is required. Fieldwork usually occurs in the third semester of study. Sites for fieldwork or internships include museums, community organizations, arts education organizations, schools, and other sites. In the Fieldwork course, students gain professional experiences and deepen their pedagogical and artistic practices. These individually designed practicum experiences combined with research form the basis for innovative final thesis projects.

Thesis Project

Students’ course of study culminates in a written thesis, or a thesis project combining a written component and other media. During the first year of the MAAE Program, students with the support of faculty identify, expand, and deepen their research focus. The thesis proposal and project are developed through a sequence of courses (Thesis I, Fieldwork, Thesis II). After completing their fieldwork project as the basis for their thesis, each student works with an advisor to develop their thesis project. The completed thesis project is presented in a public forum in which students share their projects and frame the significance of their research for the field and for communities.

Each student participates in a Defense Panel with their advisor, reader, and other invited guests during which the group discusses the thesis project and recommends changes needed to ensure the rigor and accuracy of the work. The final advisor-approved, professionally edited thesis is submitted through the Flaxman Library Art Education thesis portal.

The SAIC Thesis Repository contains theses submitted since November 2013.

Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are listed in the Flaxman Library catalog.

  • ARTED 5103 Social Theory for Artists & Cultural Workers
  • ARTED 5105 Ethical and Pedagogoical Issues in Art Educaiton


REQUIRED ART EDUCATION COURSES (choose 3 from this list) 9
  • ARTED 5011 Understanding Curriculum: Politics and Pedagogies
  • ARTED 5106 Arts in the Community
  • ARTED 5028 Art and Design as a Social Force: Collaboration
  • ARTED 5030 Museum as Critical Curriculum
  • ARTED 5109 Dialectical Practices in Research & Cultural Production
  • ARTED 5116 Interpretation: Exploring Meaning & Identifying Bias
  • ARTED 5118 Teaching Art at the College Level
  • ARTED 5125 Doing Democracy: Pedagogies of Critical Multiculturalism
  • ARTED 5210 Cyberpedagogy
  • ARTED 5210 Cyperpedagogy Lab
  • ARTED 5900 Cultural Approaches to Production
  • ARTED 6030 Museum Education: History, Theory & Pracitce
  • ARTHI 5002 Graduate Survey of Modern & Contemporary Art
FOCAL AREA ELECTIVCE COURSES* (choose three from the list) 9  
  • Art Education
  • Architecture, Interior Architecture, Designed Objects
  • Art History, Theory, and Criticism 
  • Arts Administration and Policy
  • Design Education
  • Exhibition Studies
  • Intership/CAPX Elective Internship
  • Historic Preservation
  • Fieldwork/Co-op internship
  • Liberal Arts
  • Visual Critical Studies
  • Studio
  • Writing
Professional Core  9  
  • ARTED 6105 Fieldwork 
  • ARTED 6109 Thesis I: Research Methodologies 
  • ARTED 6110 Thesis II: MAAE 
Total Credit Hours 36  

* Focus area electives are chosen in consultation with the MAAE program Director during advising. If you choose a 3000 or 4000 level course, you may register on your own. If you wish to take a lower level studio class (below 3000), please discuss and seek approval with the MAAE Director during advising. To register for a 2000 level course, contact the Registrar's Office, identifying yourself as an MAAE student, and request that you be registered for desired course.

MAAE Degree requirements and specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence.
  2. Thesis in Progress: Students who have not submitted a finished thesis for review and approval by the end of the final semester of enrollment are given a Thesis in Progress grade (IP). All students with a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) will be charged the Thesis in Progress Fee in each subsequent full semester until the thesis is completed and approved and the grade is changed to Credit (CR). If the statute of limitations is reached without an approved thesis, the grade will be changed to No Credit (NCR).
  3. Transfer credits: A minimum of 30 credit hours must be completed in residence at SAIC. Up to six transfer credits may be requested at the time of application for admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  4. Curriculum: The Master of Art in Art Education program is designed to be a full-time program completed in three or four semesters.
  5. Enrollment: Nine credit hours constitute full-time enrollment although as many as 15 credit hours may be earned in any semester. A minimum of six credit hours per semester is required of part-time students for continued enrollment in the program. Electives, internship, and thesis are subject to the approval of the MA in Art Education program director.
  6. Undergraduate courses must be at the 3000-level or above; Art History courses must be at the 4000-level or above. Courses at the 1000 and 2000 level need permission from the department chair.
  7. Thesis presentation: All MA in Art Education candidates are required to publicly present their completed thesis project to a thesis advisory committee in order to graduate.
  8. Fieldwork/Internship Requirements: This MAAE program requires students to complete an internship(s). Students are obligated to meet the requirements of their internship site. Such requirements may include a criminal background check, drug-testing, the submission of immunization records, CPR training, etc.
  9. Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 9 credit hours.

SAIC’s Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching program educates graduate students (teacher candidates) for teaching art, design, and visual culture in elementary and secondary schools. Through this 48-credit graduate program, teacher candidates become critical, creative, and reflective instructors of contemporary art and culture while fulfilling the current State of Illinois requirements for K–12 Visual Arts licensure. The MAT is designed to be a full-time program completed in four semesters (two years)

Coursework in the MAT program balances artmaking and learning about the theory and practice of education with experiences of teaching in a wide range of school settings. All education coursework is arts-focused, taught by faculty who combine expertise in art and cultural theory with deep knowledge of teaching. MAT teacher candidates are encouraged to take electives in emphasis areas outside SAIC's Department of Art Education.

Interwoven throughout their art and education coursework, teacher candidates experience teaching in elementary and secondary schools in the Chicago area. Teacher candidates observe in schools and other educational settings (such as Local School Council and School Board meetings), design and teach short projects during visits to schools as part of their education coursework, and participate in seven-week Apprentice Teaching placements at the elementary and secondary levels. MAT coursework and teaching experiences prepare teacher candidates to work with English Language Learners, to support students in reading in their content area, and to differentiate instruction for students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

MAT Curriculum Overview

Course Areas Credit Hours
SAIC Teacher Preparation Course 24
Fieldwork and Apprentice Teaching 12
Thesis Research & Thesis II 6
Electives in Art/Design History, Studio, or Art/Design Analysis 6
Total Hours for MAT Degree 48

MAT Course Sequence

1st Semester-Fall 12
  • Ethical and Pedagogical Issues: Cultural Workers adn the Public Sphere - ARTED 5105 (3)
  • Understanding Curriculum: The Politics and Pedagogy of Curricula - ARTED 5011 (3)
  • Histories, Theories, and Philosophies of American Public Education - ARTED 5120 (3)
  • Cyperpedagogy - ARTED 5200
2nd Semester-Spring 12  
  • Doing Democracy: Pedagogies of Critical Multiculturalism - ARTED 5125 (3)
  • Curriculum & Instruction: Resources and Methods - ARTED 5211 (3)
  • Graduate Art Education Thesis: Research as Social Inquiry - ARTED 5290 (3)
  • Electives in Art/Design History, Studio, Art/Design Analysis, Visual Critical Studies (3)
3rd Semester-Fall 12
  • Fieldwork: Elementary and Secondary Experiences - ARTED 6190 (3)
  • Cultural Apporaches to Production - ARTED 6100 (3)
  • Psychological, Sociological, & Phenomenological Approaches to Teaching - ARTED 5220 (3)
  • Electives in Art/Design History, Studio, Art/Design Analysis, Visual Critical Studies (3)

Candidates cannot take Winter Session courses before Apprentice Teaching because timing conflicts with the start date of teaching.

4th Semester-Spring 12  
  • Apprentice Teaching -ARTED 6290 (9)
  • Thesis II - ARTED 6110 (3)
Total Credit Hours 48 


Qualifying for Teaching Experiences in Schools

Teacher candidates complete 550 hours of preclinical (during core Art Education courses and  Fieldwork) and clinical (during Apprentice Teaching) teaching experiences under the supervision of a mentor teacher in a school setting and a SAIC Art Education Faculty Supervisor.

During the initial SAIC MAT orientation, teacher candidates will be given information on how to complete the Chicago Public School (CPS) Fingerprint-based background check. If the results of the teacher candidate’s background check do not meet the Chicago Public School district’s standards, the candidate cannot continue in the MAT program.

Candidates teaching in schools are considered mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) when observing or teaching in school settings. Candidates must complete the Illinois Department of Human Services Mandated Child Abuse Reporter on-line training and have a record of their completed training on file in the SAIC Licensure Office at the beginning of the teacher preparation program (before visiting schools).

Teacher Licensure Requirements

SAIC's Master of Arts in Teaching teacher preparation program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The MAT degree meets the current requirements for the State of Illinois K-12 Visual Arts Professional Educator License. SAIC's teacher preparation coursework contributes to (and may meet) the teacher licensure requirements for other states and countries. The SAIC Licensure Specialist works with graduating teacher candidates to identify steps to investigate how to become licensed in other places.

The State of Illinois Board of Education testing, assessment, and coursework requirements periodically change. As a result, candidates for Illinois licensure may be required to complete a different set of courses, tests, and/or assessments than those noted above if they delay graduation and licensure.

Teacher candidates must successfully complete all of their program coursework, thesis requirements, and meet ISBE mandated tests before recommendation for licensure.

Testing Requirements

There are two tests that the Illinois State Board of Education requires teacher preparation candidates to complete and pass during and upon completion of a teacher preparation program. It is important to understand that these tests are mandated by the State of Illinois. The SAIC Department of Art Education is obligated to ensure all candidates have met these legal requirements before recommending the candidate for licensure.

Candidates must pass the following tests:

Test 1: ILTS Visual Arts Content Area Test (145) To be completed and passed before Nov 15 of the Fieldwork semester. Tests are valid indefinitely.
Test 2: edTPA Clinical Practice Assessment To be completed and passed during the Apprentice Teaching semester.* Definitive information on the period of validity of an edTPA score is unknown at this time. Check with SAIC Licensure Specialist.

For information on the current scores needed to meet ISBE requirements, contact the SAIC Art Education Licensure Specialist.

* Candidates must take the edTPA assessment while enrolled in Apprentice Teaching as a requirement of the course. If a candidate does not receive a passing score on edTPA from the first submission, the candidate must resubmit a revised portfolio (or sections of the portfolio) to Pearson in order to receive Credit for Apprentice Teaching. After the candidate has submitted an edTPA portfolio two times (even if a passing score is not achieved), the candidate is eligible to receive CR (credit) for Apprentice Teaching and is thus eligible to graduate from SAIC if all other requirements are fulfilled. The candidate cannot be recommended for licensure until receiving a passing score on the edTPA.

Other Information Related to Admissions

  • Transfer Credits: A minimum of 42 credits must be completed at SAIC. Up to 6 hours of transfer credits may be requested at the time of application and are subject to approval of the Teacher Education Committee at that time. Transfer credits will not be evaluated or accepted after beginning the MAT Program.
  • Fees: Candidates are responsible for all fees related to testing, edTPA assessment, and background checks. Candidates are also responsible for any TB tests, physical exams, etc. that may be required by school districts in which the department places a teacher candidate for Fieldwork or Apprentice Teaching.

MAT Degree requirements and specifications

  • Full-time status minimum requirement: 12 credit hours
  • Completion schedule: Teacher candidates have a maximum of four years to complete the program. This includes time off for leaves-of-absence.
  • Thesis in Progress: Students who have not submitted a finished thesis for review and approval by the end of the final semester of enrollment in the MAT Program are given a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) for the Thesis II course. All students with a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) will be charged the Thesis in Progress Fee in each subsequent full semester until the thesis is completed and approved and the Thesis II grade is changed to Credit (CR). If the statute of limitations is reached without an approved thesis, the Thesis II grade will be changed to No Credit (NCR).
  • Thesis presentation: All MAT candidates are required to present their completed thesis project at a public event (such as the Art Education Graduate Symposium) and to later defend their work at a Thesis Advisory Panel in order to fulfill thesis requirements and be eligible for graduation.

The information below updates twice a week--it is possible that changes may occur between updates. Up-to-the-minute information for enrolled students can always be found at PeopleSoft Self-Service.