Master of Arts in Art Education


SAIC's Master of Arts (MA) in Art Education program educates exceptional artists, designers, teachers, curators, educators, and activists while contributing to the creation of a culture that values diversity, creativity, and social justice. 

Accepting Applications for Fall 2019

If you are ready to apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Master of Arts in Art Education, you will need to first submit SAIC's Graduate Application form and then a corresponding ePortfolio for the Art Education department. ePortfolios are required for each additional program to which you wish to apply. All submissions happen via the software SlideRoom. Admission to SAIC is for the Fall term only.

Completed Online Application

SAIC requires applicants to apply online. Filing an online application requires a valid credit card and a current email address. You may apply to up to three programs with one application and fee. If you are applying to either the MFA in Studio or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio you may select up to three departments of entry. Applications must be submitted prior to 11:00 p.m. (CST) on the appropriate deadline.

Start your application here: SAIC Graduate Application

Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at or 800.232.7242.

Nonrefundable Application Fee

When you click the "submit" button on your the Graduate Application form, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application form is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information. Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded. After you submit the application form you will be directed to a dashboard where you can begin working on your ePortfolio(s).

Application fee: $90

Application fees will be discounted by 50% through December 1.

Official College Transcripts

During the application process an unofficial transcript is acceptable for review pending an Admissions decision. Official transcripts are required upon admission. Include transcripts both official and unofficial from all universities/colleges from which a degree was obtained or prerequisites were fulfilled. You can attach unofficial transcripts as .pdf or .jpg files in the Educational History section of the application form. If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable.

Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the degree- or credit-granting institution to the SAIC Graduate Admissions Office. Hard copy transcripts are considered official if the documents remain in the registrar's original signed and sealed envelopes.

Official transcripts can be sent both in digital and hard-copy format. Digital transcripts can be sent from the degree- or credit-granting institution to Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:

SAIC Graduate Admissions 
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1201 
Chicago, IL 60603

Statements of Purpose

Applicants must submit two statements of 500- to 1,000-words each:

  1. An autobiographical statement describing formal and informal education in the arts; work experience in the arts; commitment to education, humanitarian, and/or arts advocacy; and artistic accomplishments.
  2. A statement of career goals and reasons for applying to the program.


Upload your statements of purpose to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio.

Letters of Recommendation

You are responsible for securing two letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of recommendation from current or former instructors. 

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via the References section of the application form. In this section you will be asked to provide an email address for each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent from SlideRoom to your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations online.

If your references are unable to provide an online recommendation please contact the Graduate Admissions office at


Applicants are required to submit an ePortfolio. You must submit a separate ePortfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an ePortfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard. 

Your portfolio should represent your area of highest achievement in an arts profession. For example, studio-based work accompanied by descriptions; creative or scholarly writing; or documentation of art education projects in schools, museums, or community-based settings. Your visual portfolio should consist of up to 20 images, or up to 10 minutes of time-based work, or a combination of the two in which one image is equivalent to approximately two minutes of time-based work.

  • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
  • Videos: .flv, .wv, .mov (up to 60 MB each)
  • Audio: .mp3 (up to 10 MB each)
  • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)


An interview is required. Candidates will be contacted by the Art Education department to schedule an interview.


A current résumé is optional. You may upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your ePortfolio.

International Applicants

International applicants are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. You are waived from this requirement if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your native language is English
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a U.S. accredited university
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a university whose primary language of instruction is English.

If you do not meet one of these conditions, you must submit official English language proficiency test scores. You are strongly encouraged to schedule a language proficiency test appointment as early as possible in order to receive official test scores prior to the application deadline. SAIC accepts official scores from both Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL Institution Code for SAIC is 1713. Please upload an unofficial copy of your test score results to the International Requirements section of the application form.

Minimum Required Scores

TOEFL: 100
IELTS: 7.0
For more information about the TOEFL, please click here.
For more information about the IELTS, please click here.

Official test scores that meet the minimum requirement must be received by the application deadline.

Academic Records

Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree completion. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word.


A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC.  

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Arts (MA) in Art Education program's innovative curriculum provides a foundation in educational theory and practice necessary for teaching and interpreting art and design in museums and community-based settings, developing curricula and designing cultural programming, curating, and conducting arts-based research. The MA in Art Education program also serves licensed art teachers seeking master's study for professional growth, further art and design specialization, or redirective career advancement.

MA in Art Education candidates self-design a curriculum, in consultation with the program director, that pertains to their area of emphasis. The program is divided into two main cores: educational and professional.

Educational Core

Situating an academically rigorous professional program within an art and design context gives students the freedom to enrich their curriculum with various studio-based practices. Students are encouraged to take electives in emphasis areas in architecture, interior architecture, designed objects, art history, arts administration, exhibition studies, fieldwork, historic preservation, liberal arts, visual and critical studies, and writing.

Professional Core

The professional core for the MA in Art Education degree requires essential fieldwork and/or internship that directly links to thesis research and project development, usually associated with one of the many distinguished cultural institutions or community-based organizations in the greater Chicago area. Sites where candidates have recently worked include: Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Field Museum, City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Park District, Chicago Children’s Museum, Project Onward, Street-Level Youth Media, Insight Arts, Rumble Arts Center, South Side Community Art Center, Young Chicago Authors, Louder Than A Bomb, and

Art Education Seminars  15  
  • ARTED 5103 Social Theory for Artists and Cultural Workers (3)
  • ARTED 5105 Ethical and Pedagogical Issues (3)

Choose 3 of the following:

  • ARTED 4045 Eco D: Designing Design Education
  • ARTED 5030 Museum as Critical Curriculum (3)
  • ARTED 5109 Dialectical Practices in Research & Cultural Production (3)
  • ARTED 5116 Interpretation: Exploring Meaning & Identifying Bias (3)
  • ARTED 5210 Cyberpedagogy Lab (3)
  • ARTED 6030 Museum Education: History, Theory, and Practice

Additional elective courses may be offered during the 2014–15 school year

Art History 3  
  • ARTHI 5002 Graduate Survey of Modern & Contemporary Art (3)
Emphasis Area Electives*
Choose three courses in any combination of:
  • Art Education
  • Art History, Theory, and Criticism 
  • Arts Administration and Policy
  • Designed Objects
  • Design Education
  • Exhibition Studies
  • Historic Preservation
  • Fieldwork/Co-op internship
  • Liberal Arts
  • Studio
  • Writing
Professional Core  9  
  • ARTED 6105 Fieldwork 
  • ARTED 6109 Thesis I: Research Methodologies 
  • ARTED 6110 Thesis II: MAAE 
Total Credit Hours 36  

* Emphasis area electives are chosen in consultation with the program director or faculty advisor. A minimum of six credits of electives must be at the graduate level.

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. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Curriculum: The Master of Art in Art Education program is designed to be a full-time program completed in three or four semesters.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 9 credit hours.

Our students pursue research and fieldwork in established art education settings as well as in fields such as environmentalism, social practice, science, health, human rights, and literacy.

2018-19 MAAE Flyer
MAAE-1 cover


Intersection of Research, Theory and Practice

The graduate program in art education is an individualized, 36-credit-hour program designed for those seeking skills to be effective art/design educators and agents of change. Courses engage such topics as social theory for artists, museum curriculum, ethical and pedagogical issues, and art history. Degree candidates supplement their research-based practices with electives in areas such as studio arts, design, exhibition studies, arts administration, art/design education, art history, writing, visual and critical studies, and professional experience in fieldwork and internships.

All MA in Art Education candidates are required to attend a thesis advisory committee review, publicly present their completed thesis project, and submit a final thesis to the library in order to graduate.

Critical Citizenship

A key concept in the MA in Art Education program is that of the critical citizen—an individual who is self-reflective, has a deep concern for the lives of others, and actively questions and challenges the social, political, and cultural structures and discourses that comprise everyday life. Critical citizenship constitutes the active, democratic engagement of educators and learners in the production and exchange of all forms of social and cultural communication.

Fieldwork, Practical Experience, and Outcomes

Students in the Art Education graduate program actively engage in professional practice during their course of study through a fieldwork component which may be located at a museum, community organization, arts education organization, nonprofit, or other site directly related to the individual student's career goals or interests.

Additionally, the program's location in Chicago offers myriad opportunities to interpret and teach art, design, and visual culture in diverse community settings. The accomplishments of our graduates are many. Recent MA in Art Education students have worked at the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Children's Museum; Chicago Park District; Chicago Public Schools; Street-Level Youth Media; Project Onward; Insight Arts; Rumble Arts Center; South Side Community Art Center; Young Chicago Authors; Louder Than A Bomb; the Resource Center; Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare; Harold Washington Library; Birmingham Southern College; Story Catchers Theatre; Batavia Artists Association; Hubbard Street Dance; Little Village High School; and