Master of Arts in Art Education

Boston University’s online Master of Arts in Art Education degree program is designed for busy educators who love making and teaching art, and who want to enhance their practice, advance their careers, and change their student’s lives through the power of artistic expression. Students are guided by master teachers with years of experience in the studio and classroom. The online program allows our students to receive the highest caliber education without leaving their families, jobs, and communities. Most students complete the MA degree in 18 to 24 months.

At the center of our program is the belief that everyone, no matter their artistic ability, age, or economic status, is enriched by art and ought to have the opportunity to see and make it.

Though it is essential, art is not easy to teach. To unlock its power takes teachers who can utilize proven techniques informed by their own studio work. Our graduates revitalize their practice by learning to devise effective unit plans and master the latest techniques based on leading-edge theory and research. Their spoken and written communication is more focused and evidence-based. And because they know how and where to locate the latest research, our graduates stay current throughout their careers.

The program’s emphasis is on teaching but we haven’t forgotten that arts educators are artists. That may sound like a given, but we take it seriously. That’s why we created Summer Studios, where our students come to Boston for intensive, hands-on, process-oriented instruction within a supportive, intimate environment. At the conclusion of this optional component, students leave refreshed and inspired, their work invigorated. Online faculty and student colleagues become lifelong friends and contacts.

Awards & Accreditations

NASAD Accredited: Boston University holds accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), an organization of schools, colleges, and universities with 346 accredited institutional members.

Why Choose BU’s MA in Art Education Program?

  • Relevant Curriculum: Our program features a unique, contemporary approach to art education. Coursework includes Contemporary Issues in Art Education, Advocacy and Policy, and Special Populations, among others.
  • Choice: The program offers two faculty-designed focuses, giving students the ability to custom fit a degree tailored to their individual goals and professional needs. Focus on “Arts Education Leader,” “Artist Teacher,” or self-design the best fit for you.
  • Summer Studios: This hands-on, intensive, process-driven studio experience—led by BU faculty—allows teachers to re-acquaint themselves with their own practice, while simultaneously learning new techniques to bring back to their own classrooms.
  • Study Abroad: As an alternative to the Summer Studio program, Boston University Master of Arts in Art Education students have the opportunity to participate in an exciting study abroad program. The Venice Studio Arts Program now offers students an unparalleled opportunity to refine their skills and find inspiration during the summer term at Boston University’s new center near Campo Santa Margherita.


Cost per Credit

$768 per Credit

Cost of a Typical Course

$3,072 (4 credits)

Technology Fee

$60 per Credit

Student Services Fee

$60 per Semester

*See Tuition & Fees page for next year’s tuition rates.


Boston University’s online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) consists of 32 credits, which can be completed in under two years of study. The curriculum includes a master’s research project related to topics of interest in art education research and practice. Optional on-campus or study abroad experiences are available; however, the program may be completed 100% online.

Courses run in seven-week intensives where students take one course at a time. Students typically complete two courses per semester. An art elective may be substituted for the optional, on-campus Summer Studio. Learn more about the full breakdown of course requirements for this program from BU’s College of Fine Arts.

Attention Arkansas Residents, please note: Enrollment in the MA in Arts Education program offered by Boston University does not lead to public school (P–12) teacher licensure or a subject field endorsement (for public P–12 schools) in Arkansas.

CFAAR600 Contemporary Issues in Art Education (Online Only)

Examines current trends in practice and theory as well as artists of the past and present who express contemporary personal, social and global concerns in their work. Discussions are focused on how the course content can influence classroom curriculum and instruction. Students conduct library research to find related articles on a topic relative to the course content. Assignments are written, visual and digital. [4 credits]

CFAAR610 Teaching Art to Special Populations (Online Only)

Provides an examination of approaches to the education of children with special needs. Designed to help the art specialist integrate special youngsters into heterogeneous school settings; coursework includes the study of behavior, assessment, linguistic needs, classroom management, and different modes of interdisciplinary and intercultural learning. [4 credits]

CFAAR620 Art Curriculum Planning (Online Only)

The study of contemporary techniques for implementation of goals in planning curricula and programs of study for all levels Pre-K-8 and 5-12. Instruction includes consideration of scope and sequence in relation to stages of development, and community and individual needs. A substantial terminal written project is required. [4 credits]

CFAAR670 Advocacy and Policy in Arts Education (Online only)

This course is intended to address policy issues and advocacy strategies for leaders in the arts. Local, State and National Arts Education policies and advocacy programs will be addressed. Students will research agencies, partners and other organizations beyond the schools that serve as sources for advocacy and often influence policy. Students in this course should develop the knowledge and expertise in understanding needs for change and developing plans for advocacy. [4 credits]

CFAAR680 Insightful and Creative Leadership in Arts Education

This course is designed to acquaint and prepare in service art teachers with the basic skills and organizational strategies of leadership and management that are needed to serve within school systems and arts educational organizations. Our goal is to prepare in-service art teachers for insightful and strategic leadership within arts educational settings and to be effective agents of change along with being effective teachers and researchers. The course is grounded in theory as well as practice and brings together a community of art educators who will come together ' virtually' through collaborative exercises as well as will have opportunities to work with their own school leadership teams. This course will also bring in guest speakers, exemplary practitioners, researchers and policy makers from academia, public schools and school districts, charter schools and education management organizations, private and independent schools, business, and other organizations to share their experience, research, and insights about effective leadership practices. [4 credits]

CFAAR690 History of Art Education (Online Only)

This course is intended to enrich art educators' understanding of the origins and on-going development of Visual Arts education in the United States. It will acquaint students with the rich history of their field through discussion, research and writing a historical paper. Beginning with the emergence of art education through an early apprenticeship model and progressing through the centuries to a Contemporary understanding of what Visual Art Education means and is, grounds the content of this course. [4 credits]

CFAAR870 Summer Studios

The Summer Studio is an optional, week long residency during which morning and afternoon studio sessions will be attended in addition to trips to museums and social events. Students will be required to keep a visual journal-sketchbook and to complete a final assignment prior to Fall I semester. [4 credits]

CFAAR890 Masters Research Project

The purpose of the Master's Research Project is to demonstrate the research, scholarly writing skills and acquired knowledge necessary for the advanced professional degree. This project will provide students with an opportunity to utilize the information gained in graduate study to connect learning and theory to best practice. Students will focus on choosing a topic specifically applied to applied/action research. The final product will include the following components: a review of relevant literature, an appropriate research design, a methodology that defines techniques for data gathering, analysis of findings, conclusions and developing implications and suggestions for future research, as well as implementation of the results of the study in the classroom. [8 credits]

CFAPS630 Child Growth and Development in Art Education

This course employs personal art making, discussion, qualitative research, presentations and written reflections as the various forms students use to demonstrate their understanding of the psychological, cultural and artistic development of children and adolescents. The theories of foundational developmental psychologists Gardner, Piaget, and Vygotsky are considered as well as the theories of artistic development put forth by Burton and Lowenfeld, Hurwitz and others. The contributions of art educators Eisner and Malaguzzi are also discussed. Specifically, the course will examine the role of the senses, emotions and intellect in shaping artistic development, and of the layered integrations they form over time. Artists-teachers need carefully consider the nature of those who will learn; what is to be taught; and the values of the society in which education takes place. The course will offer opportunities to reflect on the various conceptions of the learner that will guide educational practices, from behavioral psychologists to artists and educators. [4 credits]

Summer Studio Program

The Summer Studio is an optional, week long residency during which morning and afternoon studio sessions will be attended in addition to trips to museums and social events. Students will be required to keep a visual journal-sketchbook and to complete a final assignment prior to Fall I semester.

An art elective may be substituted for the Summer Studio.

As an alternative to the Summer Studio program, Boston University Master of Arts in Art Education students have the opportunity to participate in the Venice Studio Arts Program, an exciting study abroad experience.

Venice Studio Arts Program

The Venice Studio Arts Program now offers students an unparalleled opportunity to refine their skills and find inspiration in a city whose name is synonymous with visual art. Offered during the summer term, the program is based at Boston University’s new center near Campo Santa Margherita, which includes studio space, classrooms, and administrative offices. Students also profit from art history lectures that are held on site in Venice’s grand piazzas, churches, and museums. During the six-week program, students in Venice will take two courses of their choice in painting, drawing, or Italian art history. No background in Italian language is required and all courses are taught in English.

Additional program information will be available at the time of enrollment.

Getting Started

Admissions deadlines are every seven weeks. Detailed program information can be found on the CFA program website. For assistance with your application or to ask questions, please contact our Manager of Online Admissions via email at, or by phone at 1-855-884-5636.