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 each semester

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 Hours36  

* 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.

Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for more information on admissions requirements, MA in Art Education faculty, students and alumni, and more.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or