Art Education (MAT)
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Visual Arts is an art education teacher preparation program. Upon completion of this master’s degree program, you’ll be eligible to earn certification from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education to teach art in grades PreK–12. Candidates for the MAT in Art Education program have completed undergraduate studies in the fine arts, either in illustration, painting, photography, ceramics, printmaking, graphic design or another area of study that is approved by the director of the program.
Teachers of art are, first and foremost, artists. University of the Arts’ Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Visual Arts Education program is a teacher preparation and certification program in which students pursue advancement in art and design education through the development of their practice as both educators and artists.
Mission Statement for Art & Design Education at University of the Arts
UArts aims to empower emerging artist-educators with the knowledge and skills to be inclusive and inspirational facilitators of active learning and nurturing change-agents through the arts.
Our MAT in Visual Arts Education program prepares you to
teach in grades PreK–12;
use reflective practices in teaching and learning;
use technology as a vehicle for advancing creativity, innovation and learning;
seek collaborations and connections among and across disciplines and diverse learning populations;
provide safe, supportive and inclusive environments for diverse learning communities, including students with special needs and English language learners; and
take the Praxis exams needed to earn the Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in PK–12 Art.
About the Curriculum
The MAT in Visual Arts program provides you with a thorough grounding in concepts and methodologies of art theory and education, as well as the practice of making art. In addition, program faculty are committed to supporting the development of your professional careers as researchers, innovators, design thinkers and education leaders.
Faculty also offer opportunities to co-present with students at a number of national conferences and workshops, such as at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Conference, the Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) Conference and the Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) Conference.
Most program candidates have completed undergraduate studies in the fine arts; however, students may simultaneously take corequisite coursework with program requirements, allowing flexibility for those who might have developed a passion for education later in their undergraduate careers, or after graduation.
From the program’s very first semester, you will be immersed in the practice of teaching, completing observations and fieldwork assignments in schools throughout the greater Philadelphia and tristate area. In addition, a service-learning component is incorporated into the program, allowing you to meet Pennsylvania certification requirements while you learn and apply the strategies needed to work successfully with students with special needs and English language learners.
The student-teaching practicum takes place during the last semester of the program and places students in schools for 14 weeks—seven weeks in an elementary school and another seven in a secondary school—so they can gain the breadth of experience necessary to make informed choices about post-graduation teaching placements.
Duration: four semesters (may be completed in three semesters based on previous coursework)
Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts: 42 credits
Note: Students might be required to complete specific prerequisite or co-requisite courses to supplement their undergraduate study, which fulfills certification requirements such as
Introduction to Visual Arts Education (2c)
Presentation Skills (1c)
Professional Writing Intensive (2c)
Aesthetics and Art Criticism (3c)
Other courses may be required to fill needs in Art History, Psychology, Sociology or Studio areas.
Semester 1 (9–14 credits)
Presentation Skills (1c)
Introduction to Visual Arts Ed (2c)
Professional Writing Intensive (2c)
Creative and Cognitive Development (3c)
Meeting Needs of ELL Learners (3c)
Program Design & Methods: Elementary (3c)
Semester 2 (11–14 credits)
Aesthetics & Art Criticism (3c)
Program Design & Methods: Secondary (3c)
History of Ideas in Art & Museum Education (3c)
Service Learning (2c)
Ed Media A: Teaching & Learning Online (3c)
Ed Media B: Planning & Mgmt Online (3c)
Interactive Media (3c)
Semester 3 (13 credits)
Art & Inclusionary Education (3c)
Service Learning (1c)
Saturday Practicum (3c)
Research in Education: Methods & Trends (3c)
The Art of Teaching (3c)
Semester 4 (9 credits)
Student Teaching: Elementary (4c)
Student Teaching: Secondary (4c)
Student Teaching Seminar: Elementary/Secondary (1c)
Explore the full curriculum
UArts is a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)–certified provider of teacher intern certificates.
Teacher Intern Certification Program
UArts is an approved provider of the teacher intern certification program. Pennsylvania’s teacher intern certification is a professional certificate that entitles the holder to fill a full-time professional teaching position during the student-teaching practicum. So if you are already employed as an art educator, you have the option to continue teaching in your respective school if all requirements are met—including passing the required Praxis test before student teaching.
For more information, see the FAQ below, or contact the MAT in Visual Arts program director.
MAT in Visual Arts Education faculty are nationally recognized leaders, passionate and celebrated educators and artists who work closely with students to foster a supportive and challenging learning environment.
BFA '15 (Illustration), MAT '19
BFA '18 (Painting & Drawing), MAT '19
"The MAT program highly prepares students to be true masters of art education by fully understanding psychology of individual students and in a group setting. It well prepared the importance of material management, lesson building and curriculum. It was highly effective in ensuring that all students have a well rounded art background before entering into the classroom."
The Art Education program sets graduates up for success in a range of professions and provides students with extensive hands-on experience. MAT graduates will have over 190 hours of experience with students in a wide variety of educational environments before completing their degree. Students completing a Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts degree are able to work at schools, museums, nonprofit organizations and healthcare institutions, and are qualified to teach in elementary, secondary, post-secondary education; community art and cultural centers; art galleries, nursing/drug/daycare centers; or weekend programs.
Other career paths for Art Education graduates include
- Art critic/writer
- Art teacher
- Arts administrator
- Freelance instructor
- Museum curator
- Postsecondary instructor
- Recreation specialist
- Teacher/instructor overseas
- Teacher of art and recreation
How to Apply
Fall 2023 priority deadline: Applications received by February 15 will be among the first considered for admission and scholarship. We will not accept any applications or materials after August 12.
$60 nonrefundable application fee
If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.
Official undergraduate transcript
Official transcripts must be sent directly from the college where you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service.
If you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree outside the U.S., see our transcript requirements for international graduate applicants below.
Two letters of recommendation
Two letters of recommendation from professors or professionals in your field, who are familiar with your capabilities, are required. In the case that these recommenders are not available, you may request letters from colleagues, collaborators or peers, if necessary.
Applicants must enter contact information for their recommenders on the application. An email will be sent to recommenders providing a link for them to upload their letter. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted by the recommender via email to email@example.com.
Statement of intent
Statements should be a minimum of one to two pages and detail your professional plans, interests and goals. What do you hope to gain in your studies at the graduate level?
Your statement of intent may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal.
Your résumé should highlight all your professional accomplishments, including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.
Your résumé may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal.
MAT applicants should include up to 10 to 15 examples of work that demonstrate the breadth of their studio experience with diverse media.
The portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission.
After your application has been processed, you will be contacted for a personal interview, conducted by the program director. Interviews may be conducted on campus, or by phone or Zoom.
In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit
Official undergraduate transcripts
Applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside the U.S. are required to provide original, attested or certified true copies of academic records from the institution where they have earned, or will earn, their undergraduate degree. These records should be in the original language in which they were issued.
For postsecondary school records that are not in English, applicants must also submit an official translation of all their academic documents. Translations must be a complete, literal, word-for-word translation in the same format of the original academic document. Transcripts cannot be translated by the student or any members of their family. Acceptable translators include English teachers or other school officials, professional translators, or a local EducationUSA office.
Admissions might request that students obtain a course-by-course credential evaluation if we are not able to confirm the equivalent level to a U.S. undergraduate degree.
Proof of English proficiency
For international applicants whose primary language is not English, and who have not completed two semesters of college-level English in a college/university where the language of instruction is English, proof of English proficiency is required.
Recommended minimums for English proficiency exams are as follows.
Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study might receive an offer of conditional admission that requires enrollment in the university’s English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies in the fall semester.
In special circumstances, applicants who do not have access to the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English tests can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and might require an interview.
I-20/F-1 international student visa information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by University of the Arts’ International Student Programs office, regarding visa counseling and all materials required to create an I-20 in order to obtain an F-1 visa. Contact Mara Flamm, director of international student programs, with any questions regarding your I-20 or F-1 visa.
The MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) in Visual Arts is a 42-credit program with a 14-week student-teaching practicum and leads to PK–12 certification. Graduates find the MAT in Visual Arts relevant to careers in teaching at public, private and charter school settings. This degree can be completed in 2 years.
The BFA/MAT program is for undergraduates applying to the university to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Art in Teaching in Visual Arts, which leads to art certification to teach grades PK–12 grade (and often, higher starting salaries). Undergraduates begin to take coursework toward an MAT degree in sophomore year and conclude the majority of the required courses in senior semester. In the fifth year, they complete the degree.
Classes are typically scheduled Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6:50 p.m. and 7 to 9:50 pm. Other classes might be held at other days or times.
It is best to submit a portfolio of 10–15 images that shows the depth and breadth of your art skills.
The MAT program requires 50 studio credits to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education and UArts requirements. An advisor will review transcripts to determine what studio classes are counted toward this requirement.
Pennsylvania’s teacher intern certification is a professional certificate that entitles the holder to fill a full-time professional teaching position. The teacher intern certification program is an alternate route to certification through an approved Pennsylvania program provider. To qualify, you must
Be of good moral character.
Be at least 18 years of age.
Be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident holding a valid green card.
Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Enroll in a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)–approved intern program (a minimum 3.0 GPA is required to enter the program).
Secure a full-time or long-term substitute position in your content area(s).
Meet all testing requirements.
Submit an online application through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). The PDE-approved intern program provider must then verify program enrollment through TIMS.
- Prerequisites are courses needed to be admitted into the MAT program. These courses can be completed simultaneously while taking program required courses if permitted by UArts advisor*.
- Co-requisites are additional courses that are completed simultaneously while taking program required courses. Students may be given credit for some of these courses if taken in undergraduate coursework.
In UArts’ MAT program, you will have over 190 hours of experience with students before student teaching. Your experience will be with a varied population of elementary, secondary, special needs and ELL (English language learners) students. The breakdown for each class is as follows.
- Elementary Methods = 24-hour field placement
- Secondary Methods = 24-hour field placement
- Saturday Practicum Internship (Elementary or Secondary) = 24-hour. field placement
- Service Learning (Special needs population) = 90-hour field placement
- Inclusionary Methods = 24-hour field placement
Service learning is a field experience during which you will work with students with special needs for a total of 90 hours over the course of your program.
Each one-credit is equal to 30 hours in the field, and three credits are required.
Saturday Arts Lab is part of a required course in Art Ed. The course is listed as Saturday Practicum and usually takes place prior to the student teaching in your last semester. For 8 weeks you will assist a lead teacher in one of the arts classes (K-8th grade) on Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon approximately. Lecture part of course is from 1 pm to 3:30pm approx.
All graduate coursework must be completed with a B or better, which assumes a 3.0 or better GPA each semester.
If you want another state certification to teach art (K-12) you would need to contact that state’s department of education to determine the requirements. Typically you would have the certification officer fill out that state’s form indicating you completed a teacher preparation program at UArts.
In order for you to participate in service learning, site visits and student teaching, you must have: FBI and Pennsylvannia criminal background clearance, a Pennsylvannia child abuse history clearance and a tuberculosis test.
Intern Certification Program
Students employed in full-time teaching positions may qualify for the Intern Certification Program, in which they can keep their teaching position throughout the program and serve as the “teacher of record“ (essentially, be their own cooperating teacher) for their student-teaching placement. This option allows students to complete their MAT and obtain certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education while maintaining employment in a teaching position. This option is ideal for those who are already teaching and need to obtain certification.
For any student to be the “teacher of record“ for their student teaching, the student must have or do the following.
Obtain a full time K–12 art teacher position in any kind of school, starting at least one semester prior to student teaching.
Be accepted into a PDE-accredited K–12 art education internship certification program at a college or university.
Pass all PRAXIS 2 tests before student teaching.
Apply to PDE for an internship certification before they begin their student-teaching semester, which will be approved through TIMS by the accredited college.
Obtain a letter of agreement between the cooperating school where the student teaches and the college who holds the accredited program.
A field supervisor must visit the student teacher a minimum of six times during their student-teaching experience and use the standard PDE forms for student teacher evaluation.
The cooperating school may require further monitoring and/or mentorship within their school.
If all of these are in place the student teacher is considered the “teacher of record.“
Rande Blank—associate professor and director of the MAT in Visual Arts Education program since 2012—teaches graduate courses, mentors students in their practica and is an undergraduate and graduate advisor.
When I am not lecturing here in the Art and Design Education Department, I teach art to students at Silver-Springs Martin Luther School in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. MLS is a small licensed private school that provides an individualized education program designed to meet the special education needs of emotionally disturbed students and students with autism in grades K-8. I hold an MFA degree in sculpture from UArts and a BFA in sculpture and painting from Ohio Wesleyan University. I received my teaching certification with a Focus on Special Populations from Moore College of Art and Design and it is truly a joy and a privilege to share what I know with aspiring Art educators at my alma mater.
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