Master of Arts in Teaching

MAT students painting

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program educates graduate students to become teachers of art, design, and visual culture while strengthening their own artmaking practices. The SAIC Art Education community supports students in becoming engaged and reflective teachers/artists whose pedagogical work fosters the emergence of more just and joyous individuals and societies. The program fulfills requirements to become a licensed K-12 Visual Arts teacher in the State of Illinois. SAIC's teacher preparation coursework contributes to (and may meet) the teacher licensure requirements for other states and countries.

MAT students have a high rate of securing well-paying teaching jobs upon graduation. (Starting pay for an art teacher with an MAT in the Chicago Public Schools is $55,000+) We receive more requests for referrals of recent graduates than we can meet. Our graduates build art education careers in schools and other educational settings throughout the United States.

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 Teaching, you will need to first submit SAIC's Graduate Application form and then a corresponding ePortfolio for the Teaching Program. 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 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:

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.

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.


Master of Teaching Prerequisites

A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC. Admission to the MAT program requires that students have at least 33 hours of studio coursework demonstrating competency in a minimum of five artistic mediums. These 33 semester credits must include 12 semester credits of upper division (junior, senior, or graduate-level) studio coursework.

Applicants may be conditionally admitted to the program at the department’s discretion. After consultation with the MAT Program Director and the Teacher Education Committee, the conditionally admitted applicant will make a written agreement with the department, listing criteria and timelines to be met for full admission into the program. For example, a student may agree to meet requirements to demonstrate competency in the minimum five artistic mediums or may be requested to take a course to demonstrate adequate knowledge in art history.

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.

Teacher Preparation Core 24  
  • ARTED 5011 Understanding Curriculum: the Politics and Pedagogy of Curricula (3)
  • ARTED 5105 Ethical & Pedagogical Issues: Culture Workers and the Public Sphere (3)
  • ARTED 5120 Histories, Theories, and Philosophy of American Public Education (3)
  • ARTED 5125 Doing Democracy: Pedagogies of Critical Multiculturalism (3)
  • ARTED 5200 Cyberpedagogy (3)
  • ARTED 5211 Curriculum & Instruction: Resources and Methods (3)
  • ARTED 5220 Psychological, Sociological, and Phenomenological Approaches to Teaching (3)
Preclinical and Clinical Fieldwork 12  
  • ARTED 6190 Fieldwork: Elementary & Secondary Experiences (3)
  • ARTED 6290 Apprentice Teaching: Elementary & Secondary (9)
Thesis Research 6  
  • ARTED 5290 Graduate Art Education Thesis (3)
  • ARTED 6110 Thesis II: MAT (3)
Electives— (choose 2 courses from any of the following areas)
Studio, Design Education, Art Education, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Designed Objects, Arts Administration & Policy,  Exhibition Studies, Historical Preservation, Visual Critical Studies, Writing
Completion of the thesis  
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 three 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:


Date for Passing Score

Validity Period

Test 1:

ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (400)
ACT Plus Writing

To be completed and passed before the semester prior to begin Apprentice Teaching

(no later than July in the summer before the Fieldwork/Apprentice Teaching Sequence

Valid indefinitely

Test 2:

ILTS Visual Arts Content Area Test (145)

To be completed and passed before Nov 15 of the Fieldwork semester.

Test scores from this test may be not be more than 10 years old when applying for the Professional Educator License.

Test 3:

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, see the MAT Program Guide on this SAIC Art Education website or 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.


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.


MAT Flyer



Educating and Empowering through Art

The MAT program connects contemporary practices of art and design with contemporary education theory and practice. Interwoven throughout the program is the belief that the everyday experiences and concerns of youth and communities are the basis for identifying themes and subjects that can be explored through creative and critical artmaking. SAIC Art Education Department is committed to developing practices of art education that support community engagement and engage the complex work of fostering social justice.


Vibrant Curricular Structure

SAIC MAT core curriculum balances artmaking with learning and practicing teaching strategies. The program encourages critical reflection on traditional and cutting-edge theories and practices of art, design and education. MAT curriculum addresses aesthetic, technological, cultural, and political implications of schools and curriculum. Students choose electives to enrich their artistic and teaching practices in such areas as contemporary art, craft and design, new technologies, art history, and visual critical studies. Learning to be a teacher/artist at SAIC is greatly enhanced by participating in the exciting art and culture opportunities afforded by an internationally famous art school with a world class museum, located in a thriving and diverse city.


Apprentice Teaching in Schools with Inspiring Mentors

MAT students experience teaching in urban and suburban, public and private, elementary and secondary schools throughout the Chicago area. The Art Education Department identifies mentor teachers and placement schools whose teaching practices and educational climate exemplify innovative and effective learning environments. SAIC faculty supervisors and mentors work closely with apprentice teachers, providing one-on-one tutorials in developing a teaching style uniquely suited to each apprentice teacher and school situation.


Art Education as Research

Situated in a world-class art school, the curriculum of the MAT program is taught by a faculty of artists/educators whose own artistic practices and scholarly writing provide vivid examples of curriculum as imaginative research into new roles and possibilities for 21st century art and art education.

Each MAT student develops a curriculum project that connects learning artmaking techniques and approaches with investigating significant social and cultural concerns. This multi-week project is taught during apprentice teaching. MAT students write a thesis that combines their research into the thematic and artistic content of their curriculum project with documented experiences of implementing the project in a school setting, showcasing their students’ work. The elementary or high school students become co-researchers with their teacher, learning to use their artmaking and cultural investigations to engage big ideas, thus empowering students and teachers to use the arts as an avenue of meaningful participation in shaping democratic cultural communities.

See Title II Information