The Master of Art Education (MAE) program is dedicated to increasing your capacity to question issues related to teaching, thinking, learning, and producing in and through the visual arts. The program serves many interests and career goals. It provides educational opportunities for both experienced professionals and novices in art education and related fields.

The program is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to offer Initial and Professional Licensure.

MAE programs

33-credit MAE program

For those who already have an initial license, the MAE program offers flexible selections between research and practice orientations.

The program is structured to address the broadly conceived themes of human development and creative expression, curriculum and leadership, and community partnerships. Courses in art education, aesthetics/art history/criticism, and studio are enriched by unique experiences embedded in praxis. Toward the goal of advancing the reform of education through the arts, the graduate program requires all students to demonstrate off-site Partnership and Action Research Experiences. A written thesis, presentation, and oral defense are requirements for graduation.

54-credit Post-Baccalaureate & MAE program

For those seeking first-time post-baccalaureate initial licensure concurrently with the MAE degree:

  • 21 credits to be earned first in the post-baccalaureate Initial License
  • 33 credits to be earned in the Master of Art Education Professional License
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Practical, theoretical & studio-based

Through self-directed inquiry, gradate students can tailor curriculum to their individual interests, teaching and career goals. The MAE program provides the necessary experience, whether the objective is to teach in public or private schools or community settings—such as day care centers, hospitals, welfare agencies, museums, alternative schools, geriatric centers, or vocational rehabilitation centers. Opportunities for supervised fieldwork exist in each of these areas.

For those whose objective is to teach in public schools, the program provides theoretical and practical experience. Graduates may earn their post-baccalaureate initial license through the MAE Post Baccalaureate, and the professional license through the MAE program. This is in compliance with Massachusetts state licensure requirements.

The MAE program offers a sequence of practical, theoretical, and studio-based experiences through which students build on their knowledge, skills, and confidence as arts educators. Interstate recognition makes art teacher course work earned at UMass Dartmouth reciprocally valid in many other states. The program also emphasizes professional development and lifelong learning for teachers who already hold teaching licenses in the arts or related fields.

The overarching learning outcomes for this program of study were developed to meet the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) standards, by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the National Art Education Association (NAEA).


The MAE program goals are to better prepare teachers to use 21st-century technology, national standards and Massachusetts Curriculum Framework, and to teach in public or private schools or in community settings. Students will:

  • Develop reflective practices
  • Read and analyze literature in the field of art education
  • Translate aspects of important research into classroom practice
  • Align curriculum and meaningful assessment to the needs of K-12 learners
  • Implement research skills
  • Collect and analyze data to inform decision making about best practices in art teaching
  • Increase studio, art history, critical literacy and evaluation skills


Anna Dempsey

Professor / Chairperson
Art Education, Art History & Media Studies
College of Visual & Performing Arts 360A


Cathy Smilan

Professor / MAE Graduate Program Director
Art Education, Art History & Media Studies
College of Visual & Performing Arts 352A


Natalie Mendonca

Clerk IV
Art Education, Art History & Media Studies
College of Visual & Performing Arts 204A