Art Education

As part of a professionally oriented art school at a major research institution, the Art Education program at BU School of Visual Arts is uniquely positioned to offer students a comprehensive preparation to a career in the discipline. Students engage in the study of the cultural, social, cognitive, emotional, and artistic dimensions of children and youth development with a focus on diversity and inclusion. They develop skills in applying innovative pedagogies that meet the demands of teaching and research in a global and contemporary environment.

Unique in its concept, the Art Education program offers students the opportunity of completing the coursework and internships that prepares them for endorsement in both Massachusetts licenses in the teaching of Visual Arts, Prek-8 and 5-12.

As a result, students enrolled in the BFA, the 4 +1 BFA/MA, and the MA with Initial License benefit from an outstanding teacher preparation program that results in one of the highest rates of placement in the state.

Boston University offers a number of programs that lead to a professional license or certification. Provided here is state-specific licensure information regarding the Master of Art in Art Education with Initial License degree program. This information also applies to the Bachelor of Fine Arts/Master of Art in Art Education 4+1 program.

For candidates not seeking licensure, MA in Art Education programs include on-campus and online delivery. These flexible modalities provide an extended professional development through an advanced degree for those already practicing or preparing to pursue doctoral research. Graduate students benefit from a choice of courses offering in-depth enrichment in both the historical roots of the discipline and critical perspectives afforded by contemporary theories and practices.

BU School of Visual Arts students prepare to be teaching artists by engaging in coursework and research that include interdisciplinary studies, collaboration with other programs and colleges, arts-based research methods, and immersive practice in PreK-12 schools, museums or in the community.

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
  3. A 4 + 1 combined BFA/MA in Art Education with Initial License, which offers a student an opportunity to major in one of the studio disciplines (Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture), completing 20 credits of the Art Education Masters coursework during the BFA degree and returning for a fifth year to complete licensure 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 select to complete one or two 300-hour practicums in the field. 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 two Visual Arts Initial teaching licenses (Prek-8 and 5-12).

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 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 practicum requirements, students are eligible for initial licensure in Massachusetts at two license levels. These teaching licenses benefit from a country-wide reciprocity agreement that allow students to apply to transfer their license to another state after their graduation and endorsement for certification are complete.

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 degree candidates complete one full year of supervised practicums at local public schools. Strong relationships with schools in the greater Boston area provide outstanding placement opportunities 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.

Boston University offers a number of programs that lead to a professional license or certification. Provided here is state-specific licensure information regarding the Master of Art in Art Education with Initial License degree program. This information also applies to the Bachelor of Fine Arts/Master of Art in Art Education 4+1 program.


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 pursuing research in the field of art education and do not require licensure. This program does not lead to an initial teaching license, but rather offers a terminal degree for art educators or an advance degree preparing for doctoral studies.  The program is offered on campus and online.

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


4+1 BFA/MA Program

In the 4+1 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 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.

Boston University offers a number of programs that lead to a professional license or certification. Provided here is state-specific licensure information regarding the Master of Art in Art Education with Initial License degree program. This information also applies to the Bachelor of Fine Arts/Master of Art in Art Education 4+1 program.