Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Art Education

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 before or during the first semester of sophomore year.
  3. Submission of a departmental application during the second semester of sophomore year. Application must be submitted by the first Monday in March for admission in the spring semester to begin coursework in the first semester of junior year. 
  4. Interview with the Director of the BFAAE program.
  5. Teacher candidates begin the art education program during the first semester of their junior year. The BFA with an Emphasis in Art Education program is a four-semester sequence. For a comprehensive list of program requirements, please refer to the BFAAE Program Guide.

BFAAE Application Requirements

  • BFAAE Application Form 
  • Resume (1-2 pages) Include teaching experiences, other work experiences, exhibitions and other art experiences, awards and honors, and list of competencies in media, equipment, and software. It will be reviewed during your interview with the BFAAE Director so you can receive feedback prior to submission by the application deadline. Contact SAIC CAPX for resume assistance.
  • Portfolio of 12-20 artworks in digital format (images of 2D and 3D work as well as time-based works). Some applicants may have fewer examples of artwork to include due to the timing of the application or if they are a transfer student. Images of 2D and 3D work as well as time-based work may be included. Examples of artwork should demonstrate proficiency in a range of different media and materials, including digital proficiency, as well as show the current focus of your artistic practice and conceptual interests. Prepare your portfolio as a sequence of images in a PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides file. Devote one slide to each artwork/video. If you need to include multiple images for the same piece of artwork you may fit them to one slide if possible. Otherwise, multiple slides may be included to show different features of the artwork if necessary. Each artwork should be labeled with the following information on the slide with the image: Title of work, Date of work, Medium, Materials used, Dimensions or duration.
  • Artist Statement (300-500 words) Provide context for the artwork included in your portfolio by discussing the themes and theories which inform your artistic practice. Elaborate upon the artistic, social, political, or personal relevance of your artwork as well as its material, conceptual and formal attributes.
  • Teacher Mission Statement (300-500 words) Explain why you want to teach art. 
  • One Recommendation: Use the Letter of Reference form included in Application & Instructions packet.  The Letter of Reference form must be submitted by email (by recommender) by the first Monday in March to the BFAAE Director. (See Letter of Reference Form for details.)

For a comprehensive list of program requirements, please refer to the BFAAE Program Guide - For BFAAE students who begin Art Education coursework in Fall 2021.

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

SAIC’s BFAAE (Bachelor of Fine Arts with Emphasis in Art Education)  program educates undergraduate students (teacher candidates) for teaching art, design, and new media in elementary and secondary schools. Through this 126-credit hour program (the same number required for other BFAs), students become creative, critical and reflective teachers of contemporary art and culture while fulfilling the current State of Illinois requirements for K–12 Visual Arts licensure. The BFAAE is designed to be a full-time program completed during the final two years of earning an undergraduate degree.

Coursework in the BFAAE 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. BFAAE teacher candidates continue to take Studio, Art History, and Liberal Arts courses while working toward their teaching degree.

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. BFAAE 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.

BFAAE Curriculum Overview

STUDIO 66 Credit Hours  
  • Contemporary Practices Core Studio Practice (6)
  • Contemporary Practices Research Studio I (3)
  • Contemporary Practices Research Studio II (3)
  • Drawing (6)
  • Painting (3)
  • Printmaking (3)
  • Ceramics or Sculpture (3)
  • Sophomore Seminar (SOPHSEM) (3)
  • Curriculum & Instruction: Resources and Methods (Professional Practice), ARTED 3900 (3)
  • Cultural Approaches to Production, ARTED 4100 (3)
  • Studio Electives* (30)

*Studio courses must include a minimum of 12 credits of 3000 or 4000 level courses.

  • ARTHI 1001 World Cultures and Civilizations: Pre-History to 19th (3)
  • ARTHI 1002 Survey of Modern to Contemporary Art and Architecture (3)
  • Art History or Visual and Critical Studies (VCS) course: Global/Comparative elective (3)
  • Art History or Visual and Critical Studies (VCS) course: Additional elective (3)
  • English (6)
  • Math or another Natural Science (3)
  • Natural Science (3)
  • Social Science (6)
  • Humanities (6)
  • Histories, Theories, and Philosophies of American Public Education, ARTED 3120 (3)
  • Psychological, Sociological, and Phenomenological Approaches to Teaching, ARTED 4220 (3)
  • Doing Democracy: Pedagogies of Critical Multiculturalism, ARTED 3125 (3)
  • Fieldwork: Elementary and Secondary Experiences, ARTED 4390 (3)
  • Apprentice Teaching, (Capstone) ARTED 4900 (12)

Note: The classes in italics constitutes the teacher preparation program (30 credits total)

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 BFAAE 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 BFAAE 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 their teacher preparation coursework (before visiting schools).

Teacher Licensure Requirements

SAIC's BFAAE teacher preparation program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The BFAAE 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. When requested, 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 two 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.

Test 1: ILTS Visual Arts Content Area Test (145) To be completed and passed before Nov 15 of the Fieldwork semester. Test scores are valid indefinitely.
Test 2: 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 BFAAE 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. The candidate cannot be recommended for licensure until receiving a passing score on the edTPA.

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 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.

BFAAE Program Guide 2021-2022

BFAAE 2020-21 Cover