Art Education

The Art Education program is committed to preparing teaching artists who are passionate about both their own creative practice and their pedagogy. As part of a professionally oriented art school at a major research institution, the program is uniquely positioned to offer students an opportunity to engage in arts-based research as part of their education. BU School of Visual Arts offers flexible art education programs to prepare future artist-educators entry into the field, or to provide extended professional development through an advanced degree for those already practicing.

Whether a student is pursuing school licensure or planning to work as a teaching artist in a museum or community setting, our program offers a variety of innovative courses and degree programs on campus or online. Located in the heart of Boston, we value our long-standing connection to local schools and the vibrant new opportunities for collaboration in the Boston area, including across BU’s Charles River and Medical campuses. Through community partnerships and excellent student teaching placements, students in the Art Education programs develop unique connections, interests, and skills necessary to become dynamic and innovative twenty-first century teachers.

The Art Education Department offers several pathways to teaching licensure:

  1. A four-year BFA in Art Education
  2. A two-year MA in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching)
  3. A five-year combined undergraduate and graduate BFA/MA in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) , which offers a student an opportunity to major in one of the studio disciplines (Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture), complete all Art Education coursework during the BFA degree, and return for a fifth year to complete student teaching requirements.
  4. An MA in Art Education is also offered both on-campus and online for students who already have their initial teaching license and want to pursue a graduate degree for professional development. Others who do not wish to obtain licensure for teaching may enroll in this program to gain a foundation in art education, student development, and related studio education approaches.

All on-campus MA art education programs can be taken full-time or part-time.

Undergraduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions (on-campus programs)

Request More Graduate Information

Graduate Admissions (online program)

Degrees Offered

  • BFA
  • BFA/MA
  • MA

Average Class Size

Class sizes are small and generally range between 6 and 12 students, allowing individualized attention to each student.

Notable Graduates

  • Graduates from the Art Education program enjoy successful careers, teaching both in the greater Boston area and throughout the country.
  • Dawn Benski, Fine Arts Department Chair, Scituate Public Schools
  • Kristi Oliver, recipient of the Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year Award, President of the Massachusetts Art Education Association
  • George Ratkevich, Visual Arts Coordinator, Burlington Public School System
  • Lindsey Erben, Executive Director of the New Jersey Arts Council

Faculty Members

BFA in Art Education Curriculum Requirements

Prior to entering the BFA Art Education program, students must complete the Foundation program.

This major is designed for students who believe in the worth of visual arts as a component of the education of the whole child, who engage in sustained studio production, and who enjoy teaching children and adolescents. It provides students with the opportunity to become skilled artists as well as to prepare for teaching art in Pre-K–12 settings.  

In addition to the required studio, education, and liberal arts coursework, students complete two 300-hour practicums in the field with an Art Education Department-approved mentor. One field placement at the elementary level and one at the secondary level when successfully completed meets the Massachusetts Department of Education requirement for the initial Visual Arts Initial teaching license. In addition to formal placements, students complete pre-practicum experiences in diverse educational settings.

Curriculum requirements for the BFA Art Education program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.

Master of Arts in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) Curriculum Requirements

The Master of Arts in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) degree is designed for the student with an undergraduate studio art degree who wishes to teach in the public school system. Upon completion of all Boston University degree and practica requirements, students are eligible for initial licensure in Massachusetts.

Curriculum requirements for the MA Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.

Career Opportunities
Master of Arts in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) degree candidates complete one year of closely mentored practica at local public schools. Strong relationships with schools in the greater Boston area provide excellent placements for graduates. In the past eight years, the Boston University Art Education program has achieved a near 100% placement rate for both graduates who choose to stay in Massachusetts and for those who seek employment in other states.

Students in the Art Education and Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) programs concentrate on developing methods that teach children and adolescents to think visually and create art with personal meaning.

Master of Arts in Art Education Curriculum Requirements

The Art Education degree is designed for teachers who already have state licensure, or for individuals who are interested in the field of art education but do not require licensure. This program does not lead to an initial teaching license, but rather offers a terminal degree for public educators. The program is offered on campus and online.

Curriculum requirements for the MA Art Education program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.

Five-Year BFA/MA Program

In the Five-Year BFA/MA program, it is possible for serious, focused, and organized undergraduate students to combine the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (majoring in Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, or Graphic Design), with the Master of Arts in Art Education with Initial License (Studio Teaching) degree, completing both courses of study in five years.

Students who choose this option have the advantage of an exceptionally strong studio background, as well as a Master of Arts degree that includes all requirements for teaching certification.

Curriculum requirements for the Five-Year BFA/MA Art Education program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.