The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Visual Arts is an art education teacher preparation program in Philadelphia. Upon completion of this master's degree program, you'll be eligible to receive certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Education to teach art in grades Pre K-12. Candidates for the MAT 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.

Read the important licensure disclosure.

Teachers of art are, first and foremost, artists. The 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 the field of art and design education through the development of their practice as both educators and artists. 
The MAT in Visual Arts Education program offers hands-on experience in teaching along with coursework in practice, current theory, and research—all within a supportive community of students and faculty who are nationally recognized leaders in the field.

Our MAT in Visual Arts Education program prepares you to: 

  • teach Pre-K–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 communities of learners including special needs and ELL
  • take the Praxis exams needed to earn the Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in PK-12 Art

Curriculum & Philosophy
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 a researchers, innovators, design thinkers and an 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 co-requisite coursework with program requirements, allowing flexibility for those who might have developed a passion for education later in their undergraduate careers, or even after graduation.

Mission State for Art + Design Education, The University of the Arts
To empower emerging artist-educators with the knowledge, skills, and sensibilities to be effective and inspirational facilitators of active learning in the arts.

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 ELL.

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 seven weeks in a secondary school—so you can gain the breadth of experience necessary to make informed choices regarding post-graduation teaching placements.

Sample Curriculum:

Duration: four semesters (may complete in three semesters based on previous coursework)

Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts 42 credits*

Note: Students may be required to complete specific prerequisite or co-requisite courses to supplement their prior 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 Psychology, Sociology, Art History, or Studio areas) 

Semester I (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 III (13 credits)

Art & Inclusionary Education (3c)
Service Learning (1c)
Saturday Practicum (3c)
Research in Education: Methods and Trends (3c)
The Art of Teaching (3c)

Semester II (11-14 credits)

Aesthetics & Art Criticism (3c)
Program Design & Methods: Secondary (3c)
History of Ideas in Art and Museum Education (3c)
Service Learning (2c)

*Choose One:
Ed Media A: Teaching & Learning Online (3c)
Ed Media B: Planning & Mgmt Online (3c)
Interactive Media (3c) 

Semester IV (9 credits)

Student Teaching: Elementary (4c)
Student Teaching: Secondary (4c)
Student Teaching Seminar: Elementary/Secondary (1c)

Explore the full curriculum

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. 

Featured Faculty

Rande Blank
Rande Blank

Art Education (MAT)
Director, Art Education (MAT)
Karen Bannett headshot
Karen Bannett

Art Education (MAT)
Sustainable Design teacher at Cherry Hill High School East
Robin Brewer headshot
Robin Brewer

Art Education (MAT)
Specializing in photography, film, and animation, she also teaches secondary art for the Garnet Valley School District in Philadelphia
A headshot of Claudia Eckel Buchanan
Claudia Eckel Buchanan

Art Education (MAT)
Art educator and artist who teaches at Garnet Valley High School
Leslie Marie Grace headshot
Leslie Marie Grace

Art Education (MAT)
PAEA 2016 Outstanding Elementary Art Educator of the Year award
Dianne Hricko headshot
Dianne Hricko

Art Education (MAT)
Delighted to being putting her thirty-five plus years of teaching art in the public schools into her own work
A headshot of Connie Koppe
Connie Koppe

Art Education (MAT)
Founder and CEO of COMMAND THE ROOM, empowering business professionals through their bodies and voices
Jessica Drass headshot
Jessica Masino Drass

Art Education (MAT)
Co-founder of Wise Mind Creations
Trish Maunder headshot
Trish Maunder

Art Education (MAT)
Founder and Creative Director of Philly Touch Tours, an organization that promotes cultural inclusion and accommodations for people with vision loss
Margo Wunder Headshot
Margo Wunder

Art Education (MAT)
Teaches art to students at Silver-Springs Martin Luther School in Plymouth Meeting

Rylee Cassel BFA '20 (Game Art), MAT '21
Rylee Cassel

BFA '20 (Game Art), MAT '21

Art Education (MAT)
Game artist
Abayomi Louard-Moore MAT '21
Abayomi Louard-Moore

MAT '21

Art Education (MAT)
Illustrator and cartoonist
Steven Mogck MAT '21
Steven Mogck

MAT '21

Art Education (MAT)
Multidisciplinary artist
A headshot of Brittany Tucker
Brittany Tucker

MAT '21

Art Education (MAT)

Alumni of the program currently teach in schools throughout the nation in settings such as; public, private, charter, cyber & museum schools., Elizabeth Giles, MAT '10 teaches art at William Penn Charter in Philadelphia, Andre Gonzalez, MAT '11 teaches Graphic Design and Web Design at the Franklin Learning Center, Allyson Gallagher, MAT '17 teaches art at Wayne Elementary School in Radnor and Noa Denmon, MAT '19 is the teaching artist in residence at a museum in Pittsburgh.

Some alumni have even founded their own schools. For example, Ginger Huebner MAT '03 is founding director at Roots + Wings School of Art and Design in Asheville, North Carolina, and is playing a key role in providing quality arts education to school-age children and adults in her community. She applied for the MAT because she “wanted to learn how to teach,” and throughout the program was able to hone her teaching ability while maintaining a prolific and successful career as a professional artist.

A headshot of Alejandro Camacho
Alejandro Camacho

BFA '15 (Illustration), MAT '19

Art Education (MAT)
Art teacher for Coopertown Elementary School
Alyssa Willgruber BFA '18, MAT '19
Alyssa Willgruber

BFA '18 (Painting & Drawing), MAT '19

Art Education (MAT)
Art teacher at the Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Alyssa Clinkscales MAT '16
Alyssa Clinkscales

MAT '16

Art Education (MAT)
Art teacher for a private Montessori school
A headshot of Andres Gonzalez
Andres Gonzalez

MAT '11

Art Education (MAT)
Graphic Design and Web Design teacher at Franklin Learning Center

How to Apply

Application Deadline 

Spring 2021: Applicants should submit the application form and all required supporting materials before the priority deadline of December 1, 2020. Students may continue to apply on a rolling basis after Dec. 1 and will be considered for admission and scholarships on a space-available basis.

Fall 2021: Applicants who submit the application form and all required supporting materials before February 1, 2021 will be prioritized for scholarship funding opportunities from the university. Students may continue to apply on a rolling basis after the Feb. 1 priority deadline and will be considered for admission and scholarships on a space-available basis.

Review graduate tuition, financial aid and scholarship information.

To apply, the following materials are required:

  • Application Fee of $60 (nonrefundable; submitted with your application)
  • Official Transcripts
    • Official transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate schools attended are required. Transcripts should be issued directly by the Registrar's Office at the college(s) attended and sent to the Office of Admissions, The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to For transcripts from outside the United States, please refer to the instructions provided below for international students.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation may either be requested through the online application form, or mailed to the Office of Admissions. At least two must come from professors or professional in your field familiar with your capabilities and credentials. The third may be from a colleague, collaborator or a peer.
  • Statement of Intent & Resume
    • Your Statement of Intent and your Resume are uploaded and submitted as part of your online application. Statements should be a minimum of one- to two-pages and detail your professional plans, interests and goals. What do you hope to gain by your studies at the graduate level? Your resume should highlight all of your professional accomplishments including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.
  • Creative Portfolio
    • A portfolio of professional work samples submitted through the UArts Graduate SlideRoom Portal is required for all applicants. Portfolios should consist of 12-16 images representing the breadth of your studio experience (diverse media). There is a $10 fee to submit a portfolio in addition to the $60 application fee.

      Access Slideroom Portal
  • Personal Interview
    • After the application has been processed, each applicant is contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program director. For applicants who cannot interview at the university, interviews can be conducted via telephone or Skype.

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit:

  • Official Transcripts
    • All transcripts from outside the United States must be in English and must be official. The Office of Admissions may request that international students obtain a transcript evaluation from a third-party credential evaluation service (such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators) in cases where further information is required to assess international credentials. 
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency
    • International students whose native language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test. A minimum TOEFL score of 79, IELTS score of 6.0, or Duolingo English Test score of 100 is required for admission. In lieu of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test, completion of Level 9 in the University of the Arts ESL Institute will be accepted.   

Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study may receive an offer of conditional admission that first requires enrollment in the University of the Arts' English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete Level 9 of ESL study in ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies.

In special circumstances, applicants who have not taken the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted in writing and include the reason for opting not to take the exams. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an interview. A waiver may be considered for those applicants who enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university in the U.S. and successfully completed two semesters of college-level English, not taken in conjunction with ESL study, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those classes.

I20/F-1 International Student Visa Information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by the 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.

University of the Arts
Art + Design Education-FAQ
What is the MAT in Visual Arts Education program?
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 have found 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.

What is the BFA/MAT 5 yr. program?
The newly designed BFA/MAT program is for undergraduates applying to the university to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters in the Art of Teaching-Visual Arts which leads to art certification to teach PK-12th grade. Undergraduates will begin to take coursework towards their MAT degree in their sophomore semester and conclude with the majority of the required courses in their senior semester. In the 5th year they will complete the degree.

Does the Graduate Programs in the Dept. of Art + Design require GRE’s for acceptance? 

What type of artwork is best to submit for my portfolio? 
It is best to submit a portfolio of 12 -16 images that shows the depth and breadth of your art skills.

How many studio classes do I need to be admitted?
The MAT program requires 50 studio credits to meet the PA Department of Education and UArts requirements. An advisor will review transcripts to determine what studio classes are counted towards this requirement.

What kind of jobs would I be qualified for after graduation?
Students that graduate from the Department of Art and Design Education are qualified to teach in elementary, secondary, post-secondary education; community art, cultural centers; art galleries, nursing/drug/daycare centers; or weekend programs. Other possible jobs include:

  • Art Critic/Writer
  • Art Teacher
  • Artist-in-Residence/Artist-in-the-Schools
  • Arts Administrator
  • Freelance Instructor
  • Postsecondary Instructor
  • Recreation Specialist
  • Teacher/Instructor Overseas
  • Teacher of Art and Recreation

What are pre-requisites and co-requisites? 

  • Pre-requisites 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.

How many contact hours with students will I have before student teaching? 
In the MAT program, students 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 hr. field placement
  • Secondary Methods = 24 hr. field placement
  • Saturday Practicum Internship (Elementary or Secondary) = 24 hr. field placement
  • Service Learning (Special needs population) = 90 hr. field placement
  • Inclusionary Methods = 24 hr. field placement

What is Service Learning? How many hours of field work will I need to do?
Service Learning is a field experience where students work with students with special needs for a total of 90 hours over the course of their program.
Each 1-credit is equal to 30 hours in the field, and 3 credits are required.

What is Saturday Arts Lab
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 10am to noon approximately. Lecture part of course is from 1pm to 3:30pm approx.

When do the majority of the Art Education courses take place?
Classes are typically scheduled Monday through Thursday from 4-6:50pm and 7-9:50pm. Other classes many vary in day/time. \

What GPA must I maintain?
All graduate coursework must be completed with a B or better, which assumes a 3.0 or better GPA each semester.

When should I take the Professional Writing Intensive course? Can I test out of Professional Writing course? 
This class should be taken prior to Research in Education: Methods and Trends (AEDU 606).
Yes. Students are given a written exam on the first day of class and must pass with a score of 80% or higher.

When should I take the PRAXIS II?
The UArts Department of Art + Design Education strongly suggests that the Praxis II be taken prior to student teaching.

If I want another state certification what are the requirements?
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 at UArts fill out that state’s form indicating you completed a teacher preparation program at UArts.

What specific clearances will I need upon acceptance to the program? How do I attain them?
In order for you to participate in Service Learning, site visits, and student teaching you must have: FBI, PA Criminal Background, PA Child Abuse History Clearance, and TB test. 

How do I get involved with the NAEA student chapter? 
Chapter meetings will be held at the beginning, middle and end of each semester to provide detailed information. Highlights include, graduate art exhibition, art auction, travel to national and local conferences, studio presentations & workshops.

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