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 Hours48 

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


Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for more information on admissions requirements, Master of Arts in Teaching 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