Master of Arts in Art Education

The Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) program prepares artists, educators, designers, curators, teachers, organizers, activists and other professionals seeking to be creative agents of change within a wide variety of cultural and educational contexts. MAAE program focuses include social justice pedagogical practices, socially engaged art, collaborative practices, curriculum and project design for school, museum and community settings, creative youth development, museum education, and design and environmental activism.

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.

Application Deadline: January 10

Priority Deadline: December 1 - $45 Application Fee

Apply online via Slideroom

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. When you click the "submit" button on 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).

A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC. Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. 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.

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
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1201
Chicago, IL 60603

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

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

A statement of intent is required for all graduate programs though the content varies by department. You will upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your E-Portfolio.

2 Letters of Reference are required.

You are responsible for securing 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

A current résumé is required.

A resume is required for all graduate programs. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your E-Portfolio.

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.

Applicants are required to submit an E-Portfolio, though the content varies by department. Please visit your individual program of interest to find details. You must submit a separate E-Portfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an E-Portfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard.

Submission specifications:

  • 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)

TOEFL: 100 



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 the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Duolingo. 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.

Following the application deadline, the Art Education Department will contact you to make an appointment for a personal interview. This interview will be conducted the weekend of February 15, 2020.

Meaningful Careers in the Expanded Field of Art and Design Education

The MAAE program reflects the expanded field of art and design education, preparing candidates for a range of careers in the arts including educational and social service institutions, museums, galleries, universities, cultural centers, community-based organizations, NGOs, and other learning sites. Students graduate from the MAAE program with a deep knowledge of critical theories related to practices of art education, developing and implementing cultural programming, experiences working in diverse communities, and a life-long extended network of SAIC Art Education alumni working throughout the world.

Flexible Curriculum Structure

The MAAE is an individualized 36-credit hour program that can be completed full or part-time in which students design a curriculum plan pertaining to their area of interest, career goals, and anticipated completion pace.

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.

2019-2020 MAAE Guide Cover Image
MAAE ISSU Cover Image


Chicago as Your Campus

The program’s location in Chicago offers myriad opportunities to interact with the city’s rich and diverse cultures of the arts and arts education. Students in the MAAE 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.

Sites at which recent MAAE students have worked:

Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Children's Museum
Chicago Park District
Chicago Public Art Group
Chicago Public Schools
Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Detroit Institute of the Arts
Harold Washington Library
Homan Square, SAIC
Hubbard Street Dance
Insight Arts
LGBTQ Center on Addison
Louder Than A Bomb                    
Milwaukee Art Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Project Onward
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Rumble Arts Center
South Side Community Art Center
Storycatchers Theatre: Youth Development Organization
Street-Level Youth Media
Young Chicago Authors