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.
Boston University offers competitive tuition rates that meet the needs of part-time students seeking an affordable education. These rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education. To learn more about current tuition rates, visit the Tuition & Fees page.
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 (4 credits)
With an arts-research approach, this course allows students to explore and respond to contemporary issues while developing their own craft and building a creative learning community. The course surveys the roots of contemporary art and pedagogy and the shift to postmodernism, including influential figures, theories, and trends and their impact on art education. A deep-dive investigation into masks as universal but complex, culturally-embedded phenomena provides students in the course with a unique lens. Students investigate the popularity of masks in global contemporary art and the roots of these masks that speak to culture, identity, privacy, and other issues of the moment. Responding to course content by creating art, students stretch and expand their knowledge of the mask form and use it as a tool to examine pressing issues in the contemporary art classroom. The in-depth focus enriches the background, ideas, and approaches teachers can bring to mask making, a valuable but often challenging project, but also use as a model. Through e-portfolio and online discussions, students create a community of learners. A culminating project, such as a unit plan or autoethnography, synthesizes traditional research methods with arts-research insights and tackles the complexities that arise in a multi-cultural curriculum, such as appropriation, transnationalism, and ahistoricism. [4 credits]
CFAAR610 Teaching Art to Special Populations (4 credits)
This course will introduce the historical, legal, and educational facets of special populations in the United States with a focus on art education. Special populations are people with needs that require individualized attention, awareness and considerations in an educational setting. The goal of this course is to introduce and explain characteristic behaviors, strengths and weaknesses of various disabilities and discuss strategies for instruction, classroom management, and accommodations for the art classroom. Existing and emerging technologies and pedagogical methods will be discussed in order to make the artistic process accessible and meaningful to all students regardless of their emotional, intellectual, or physical capacities. [4 credits]
CFAAR620 Curriculum Planning (4 credits)
This course offers the study of contemporary techniques for the implementation of goals and the use of essential questions when planning curricula and programs of education at all levels, such as PreK-8 and 5-12. The instruction includes consideration of enduring understandings and planning for knowledge transfer appropriate to students' stages of development, and community as well as individual needs. A substantial written curriculum document is submitted as a final requirement, at the completion of the course. [4 credits]
CFAAR630 Child Growth and Development in Art Education (4 credits)
This course will examine the cognitive and artistic development of children, specifically focusing on the role of environment and culture in shaping the child and 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 a child that will guide educational practices from behavioral psychologists to artists and educators. The learners will engage in discussions, critical reading and writing, visual presentations, and qualitative inquiry to demonstrate their understanding of the psychological, cultural, and artistic development of children and adolescents. The theories of foundational developmental psychologists Piaget and Vygotsky will be considered as well as the theories of artistic development put forth by Lowenfeld, Burton, Golomb, Wilson, and others. [4 credits]
CFAAR670 Advocacy & Policy in Arts Education (4 credits)
This course introduces issues of policy and advocacy that are relevant to arts education practitioners. We explore the nexus between problems in arts education and the systems that influence schools, cultural organizations, and society. We identify and analyze policies that shape our own professional settings as well as the agencies and partners involved. We research stakeholders, socio-political contexts, resources, and strategies for improving arts education with culturally relevant advocacy. The course centers on drafting a policy proposal and advocacy plan that empowers artist-teachers to take stock of their own leadership skills and apply them to contemporary issues. [4 credits]
CFAAR680 Insightful and Creative Leadership in Arts Education (4 credits)
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 (4 credits)
This course is intended to enrich art educators' understanding of the Western origins and on-going development of Visual Arts education in the United States, along with Invisible histories and Non-Western influences. It will acquaint students with the rich histories of their field through discussion, practical application, 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 post-modern understanding of what Visual Art Education means and is, grounds the content of this course. [4 credits]
CFAAR870 Summer Studios (4 credits)
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: Becoming a Practitioner-Researcher (8 credits)
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to teacher-led, classroom- based research as a means of addressing issues facing art teachers, artists and teaching artists in schools and other community-based settings and providing the tools to be a reflective practitioner. The course will introduce students to the conventions and practice of qualitative research in the context of art education and as a form of inquiry that is grounded in the theories, practices, and contexts used by art practitioners working in schools, museums, community agencies, etc. [8 credits]
CFAAR892 Masters Research Project: Arts-Based Research and Practices (8 credits)
The course introduces students to modes of inquiry focused on arts-based research methods that use the artistic process as the primary way of understanding and examining experience and the creation of knowledge. Students will be guided through the exploration of various approaches to arts-based research, allowing them to investigate the making of artistic expressions as an alternative way to engage in inquiry and scholarship. Students will pursue their own artistic investigation as research or engage in an art-based educational methodology that examines others' artwork and practices, the project will invite the creation of a definite method that will start with a question or goal, be explored contextually to then be implemented in such a way as to be relevant to other researchers. This course is taught over 14 weeks. [8 credits]
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.
Admission deadlines are four times per year. Please complete our inquiry form to receive more information. For assistance with your application or to ask questions, please contact our admissions team at 1-855-884-5636, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the CFA program website.