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Department of Education

Art Education

Elementary student doing art

The 12-month Master of Arts in Teaching in Art Education program prepares artists to teach in elementary, middle, and high schools with a critical focus on both contemporary visual culture and traditional arts. The resources of the Department of Education and SMFA at Tufts combine to enhance your understanding of urban and multicultural education and to develop your capacity as a reflective studio artist. The M.A.T. program in Art Education is designed and approved to meet only the Massachusetts initial licensure requirements. For information on licensure in other states, see below. 

Students take courses in education, art education and studio art, taught by faculty at Tufts and SMFA at Tufts. The program combines student teaching in a Boston area PK-12 school with the unique opportunity to assist in children's art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This enables students to experience art education in both school and museum settings.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will explore all art making and works of art through a cultural, historical and socio-political contextual lens. The program emphasizes a highly collaborative environment that fosters social justice, creativity, deep thinking, and reflection around issues of teaching and learning.


The program is aimed at artists who want to teach in PK-12 schools, after-school programs, or museums. The requirements include student teaching internships at area public schools, fieldwork at the MFA, as well as coursework in studio art, education, and art education. It is a 12-15-month program for full time students, beginning with three courses at Tufts in the summer. During the fall and spring semesters, students take courses at the SMFA and work as interns in area schools, observing at first and working up to full-time student teaching in the spring. See the Course Requirements.

Job Placement

Graduates are eligible for a Massachusetts initial teaching license, and post-graduation, 88% of our alumni from the past three years are employed in art education. To learn more about licensure and career information, review the following document.

Field Placement

We help you find a school site placement that meets your pre-professional preparation needs and we solidify field sites by the end of June. We begin the process as soon as you enroll in our program.

  • Step 1. Think about what grade level you would like to teach and what type of school district interests you
  • Step 2. Once admitted and enrolled in the program, we discuss your thoughts about the field placement and potential supervising practitioner and school sites
  • Step 3. We schedule a visit with the agreed upon supervising practitioner. We recommend that you spend a day visiting the school in order to observe classes, meet with the supervising practitioner, and get a sense of the school culture. If you are not going to be in the Boston area until after the end of the school year, you will be introduced to the supervising practitioner by phone, email, or Zoom.

Disclosure on teacher initial licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Each state has its own requirements for licensure. It is our duty to disclose our approvals and requirements.

Our MAT program is an approved initial teacher licensure program by the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE). As such, the program requires that all required practicum hours for licensure be completed in person at a public or approved charter school in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  While the required course work is offered online, the program is limited to candidates who can commit to completing their practicum in Massachusetts.

If you intend to teach outside of Massachusetts once you complete the program, it is not determined whether this program meets your home state requirements for initial licensure. It is your responsibility to complete any due diligence for reciprocity with other state licensure requirements.  Please see the following table link for contact information for your home state’s licensure agency to confirm whether this program will meet your home state’s requirement for licensure. (Table)