Master of Arts in Teaching

The Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching program nurtures a unique kind of art educator who is both professionally grounded in practice and engaged in the larger discourse around contemporary visual culture, social justice, and community-based change.

Chicago Graduate SAIC Day: 9/30

Meet one-on-one with key faculty members from our graduate departments, get feedback on your portfolio, and learn about our curricula and facilities.


Application Deadline: January 15

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.


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

Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching program prepares teacher candidates to become critical teachers of contemporary art and visual culture.

MA in Teaching teacher candidates at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) fulfill their degree requirements by applying the skills learned in the program to teaching experiences in Chicago’s public school system. Candidates are required to complete 550 hours of preclinical and clinical teaching experiences under the supervision of a cooperating teacher and Department of Art Education faculty member.

MA in Teaching students are encouraged to take electives in emphasis areas outside SAIC's Department of Art Education. Situating an academically rigorous professional program within a fine arts context gives students the freedom to enrich their learning experience with various studio-based practices. In addition, graduate students pursue relevant research and praxis that culminates in the production of a master's thesis.

Fieldwork Requirements

Master of Arts in Teaching candidates complete 90 hours of preclinical observations in diverse classroom settings. The preclinical observations are followed by 490 hours of student teaching in ARTED 6290 Apprentice Teaching, equal to 9 credits. Student teachers are placed in two public schools for 14 weeks and are supervised by SAIC faculty member and on-site cooperating teachers. Student teachers meet with faculty for a weekly seminar to review lesson plans, strategies, and experiences.

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.

Although SAIC's teacher preparation coursework often meets the teacher licensure requirements for other states and countries, SAIC cannot guarantee that an Illinois Professional Educator License will be honored outside of Illinois.

In order to qualify for teacher licensure in the State of Illinois, teacher candidates must pass three ILTS tests. The three tests are:

  1. ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (or Illinois State Board of Education approved equivalent);
  2. ILTS Visual Arts Content Area Test; and
  3. ILTS Pre-K through 12 Assessment of Professional Teaching Test (APT).

In addition to passing the three required ILTS tests, candidates must also pass the edTPA Clinical Practice Assessment in order to qualify for teacher licensure in Illinois.

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

Teacher Preparation Core 24  
  • ARTED 5011 Understanding Curriculum (3)
  • ARTED 5105 Ethical & Pedagogical Issues (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 (3)
  • ARTED 5220 Psychological, Sociological, and Phenomenological Approaches to Teaching (3)
  • ARTED 6100 Cultural Approaches to Production (3)
Preclinical and Clinical Fieldwork 12  
  • ARTED 6190 Fieldwork: Elementary & Secondary Experiences (3)
  • ARTED 6290 Apprentice Teaching (9)
Thesis Research 6  
  • ARTED 5290 Graduate Art Education Thesis (3)
  • ARTED 6110 Thesis II: MAT (3)
Electives—advanced art/design history, studio, or art/design analysis, chosen from the graduate areas, including studio areas, Art History, Exhibition Studies, or Arts Administration and Policy 6  
Completion of the thesis  
Total Credit Hours 48 

Degree requirements and specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Teacher candidates have a maximum of four years to complete the program. 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 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 at that time. NO transfer credit will be permitted after admission.
  4. Curriculum: The MAT is designed to be a full-time program completed in four semesters (two years). Applicants are required to complete all prerequisites before entering the program.
  5. Program Testing and Assessment Requirements:

    • Candidates are required to take and pass the ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (or Illinois State Board of Education approved equivalent) before enrolling in the teacher preparation sequence of classes.
    • Candidates are required to take and pass the ILTS Visual Arts Content Area Test before registering for ARTED 6290 Apprentice Teaching.
    • Candidates are required to take the ILTS Pre-K through 12 Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) Test during their senior year.
    • Candidates are also required to complete the edTPA Clinical Practice Assessment while enrolled in ARTED 6190 Fieldwork and ARTED 6290 Apprentice Teaching.

    Please note: Teacher candidates are required to take the APT test and/or the edTPA assessment while enrolled in the MAT program. Passing scores on the APT test and edTPA assessment are required for the State of Illinois Professional Educator License, but not the conferral of the MAT degree. Candidates who complete the degree requirements, but do not pass the APT test and/or edTPA assessment, will have the following qualifier posted on their transcript: "Candidate is not eligible for the State of Illinois Professional Educator License at this time". The qualifier will be removed after the candidate meets all current State of Illinois Professional Educator License requirements.

  6. Background Check: Teacher candidates must complete a fingerprint based background check at the beginning of the first semester of teacher preparation coursework and before the beginning of student teaching coursework. If the results of the teacher candidate’s background check do not meet Chicago Public School district’s standards, the candidate will not be able to continue in the teacher preparation program.
  7. Fees: Candidates are responsible for all fees related to testing, TPA assessment, and background checks. Candidates are also responsible for any TB tests, physical exams, etc. that may be required by school districts that the department is affiliated with.
  8. Thesis presentation: All MAT candidates are required to publicly present their completed thesis project to a thesis advisory committee in order to graduate.
  9. Full-time status minimum requirement: 12 credit hours

          Grad Brochure

The 48-credit graduate program in teaching prepares candidates to become informed, reflective instructors of contemporary art and culture while fulfilling the State of Illinois requirements for K–12 Visual Arts licensure. SAIC offers training in both elementary and secondary art education.

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is committed to a vision of art education that supports community engagement and social justice through the development of rigorously informed and engaged teachers. Candidates in the MA in Teaching program learn to interpret and teach art and visual culture while fostering empowerment and meaningful participation in a democratic environment for all students. Chicago, as the vibrant base of the program, offers opportunities to interpret and teach art and visual culture in diverse community settings, including schools, museums, and galleries.

The graduate curriculum is grounded in seminars that address ethical and pedagogical issues, the history and philosophy of public education, and cyber-pedagogy, which introduces the use of electronic imaging and communications technologies in cultural production and art education.

To complete their studies, MA in Teaching candidates present thesis topics emphasizing their areas of interest and academic and artistic strengths. Previous thesis topics have included self-representation through community mapping, disability studies and critical pedagogy, graffiti-based curriculum, and arts education for chronically ill children.

Fieldwork and Clinical Experience

MA in Teaching candidates complement their rigorous academic training with more than 550 hours of hands-on experience in Chicago classrooms. Pre-clinical fieldwork begins with an observation practice that focuses on classroom management, teacher feedback, curriculum development, and diversity issues. Faculty supervisors work closely with MA in Teaching candidates during their teaching apprenticeships by visiting their schools and offering extensive evaluations and one-on-one mentorship. This applied education offers candidates a direct view of contemporary public education, along with the experience to interpret and teach art and visual culture in a classroom setting.

MA in Teaching candidates enrich and deepen their academic and clinical practices by attending or participating in public educational events, including a yearly Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair, Chicago School Board meetings, community activist events, exhibitions, readings, and film screenings.

Critical Citizenship

A core aim of the MA in Teaching program is to teach degree candidates to respond to the needs of contemporary learners through active and reflective interactions with visual culture.

SAIC's interdisciplinary spirit is present in the MA in Teaching program; teacher candidates are encouraged to augment their critical and academic work with electives in other fine arts disciplines, such as painting and drawing, sculpture, performance, and filmmaking. SAIC understands that many of its future teachers are also artists and therefore encourages candidates to enrich their courses of study with foundational studio-based practices.

Please refer to our Conceptual Framework [PDF] for a complete description of the program's mission and vision.