Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Art Education

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The BFAAE (Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Art Education) program educates students to become teachers of art, design, and visual culture while continuing to strengthen their own artmaking practices. The SAIC Art Education community supports students in becoming engaged and reflective teacher 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.

BFAAE Program Guide Cover

BFAAE students have a high rate of securing well-paying teaching jobs upon graduation. (Starting pay for an art teacher in the Chicago Public Schools is $50,000+) The Art Education Department receives 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.


You must meet the following criteria to gain admission to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with an Emphasis in Art Education program:

  1. Admission to SAIC's undergraduate division
  2. Consultation and transcript analysis with the department's Licensure Specialist during the first semester of your sophomore year
  3. Submission of a departmental application during the first semester of junior year. Application packets are available at the Department of Art Education, Sharp Building, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 7th floor.
    • Application must be submitted by the first Monday in October for admission the following spring semester.
    • Recommendation from a faculty member, using the form included with the application
    • A 500- to 1,000-word Statement of Purpose explaining why you want to teach
    • Portfolio of art work/cultural production: (10 images showing work you are currently most excited about; 10 images showing a range of media, and SAIC coursework) 
    • A 350- to 500-word Artists' Statement that discusses the images you have included in your portfolio. Be sure to give the context in which the pieces were made and discuss the challenges and significant learning associated with various works. Include an analysis of references or influences, use of materials, processes, and common themes that relate to some or all of the works. Discuss social, political, or personal relevance as well as formal attributes of the work.
  4. Formal interview with the Director of the BFA with an Emphasis in Art Education program to be completed prior to application deadlines
  5. Teacher candidates begin the art education program during the second semester of their junior year. The BFA with an Emphasis in Art Education program is usually completed within three semesters. For a comprehensive list of program requirements, please refer to the: 

Note: Completion of art education program prerequisites does NOT guarantee admission to the teacher preparation program.