Teaching + Learning in Art + Design


  • Programs: MAT | one-year and MA | one-year

    Graduate students choose between two degree program options in the department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design:
    • the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), an intensive, one-year (summer through spring) cohort teacher preparation program for artists and designers eligible to work in the US that culminates in recommendations for teacher certification in art in US-based pK–12 schools
    • the Master of Arts (MA) in Art + Design Education, a one-year (fall through spring) program for individuals seeking an advanced academic credential that furthers professional careers at the intersection of art, design and education.

  • International applicants

    Since the MAT program prepares candidates to earn art teacher certification for pK–12 schools in the US, enrollment is restricted to American citizens and permanent residents who hold a green card. International applicants interested in learning to teach at the pK–12 level are encouraged to apply to the MA in Art + Design Education program, which is not a teacher certification program but does accommodate individually tailored tracks of study.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Graduates of the MAT program are prepared to:

    • draw from their creative practice as artist and designers—along with their grounding in inquiry-based curriculum design—to inform, develop and implement high-quality pK–12 visual arts curricula

    • provide multiple forms of evidence of performance that meet or exceed Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS)

    • meet or exceed the passing score on the state-mandated Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test

    • meet or exceed the passing score on the state-mandated Art Content Knowledge test

    Graduates of the MA program are prepared to:

    • articulate key issues, trends and research questions emanating from diverse visual arts/art and design learning contexts, including at K-12 schools (both during and after school hours), colleges and universities, cultural institutions and community-based organizations

    • display competence in inquiry-based teaching and learning

    • construct high-quality visual arts/art and design learning experiences for diverse formal and informal educational contexts

    • display competence in researching, writing and presenting a personal investigation in visual arts/art and design teaching and learning that provides a platform for future professional practice and advocacy

  • Inspiring Community

    At RISD prospective educators craft the foundations of their pedagogical practice within a vibrant community of artists, designers and scholars. Each year approximately 12–20 degree candidates work closely with TLAD faculty, professionals in the field at partner organizations and a range of visiting lecturers. When the time comes, faculty take particular pride in helping each degree candidate with a job search, which has led to an extremely high placement rate and greater job satisfaction for graduates.

  • Learning Environment

    Our experiential learning environment supports strong connections between graduate students and faculty who value studio-based learning and recognize the unique power of art and design in a changing society. In the MAT program, theoretical concepts are interwoven with scaffolded practical experiences—providing students with opportunities to test out ideas in authentic learning environments throughout the year. MA candidates work with a faculty adviser to co-construct individual programs of study utilizing an array of offerings centered at RISD and radiating out to the learning community at Brown University and the city of Providence-known as “the cultural capital.” In short, TLAD candidates appreciate the flexibility of the program and the ability to tap into enormous expertise while making choices about their own education.

  • Project Open Door

    For almost 10 years TLAD has been fine-tuning Project Open Door—a pioneering program launched in 2005 to mentor underserved urban teens with a passion for art and help them prepare for and apply to college. TLAD graduate students and others from the RISD community have a unique opportunity get involved in what is essentially a non-profit youth-based program housed in a college’s academic department and established to literally envelop interested public high school students with intensive mentoring and other helpful resources at RISD.

  • MA Curriculum

    Through an individually designed sequence of courses, internships and independent study, the MA in Art + Design Education promotes rigorous inquiry coupled with an expansive breadth of discovery. Using RISD as an essential base, MA candidates customize their studies within our vibrant community, working in tandem with offerings at neighboring Brown University and in Providence’s diverse range of nonprofit cultural and educational institutions. 

    MA Curriculum

    • Fall
    • Critical Investigations in Arts Learning
    • Mapping for Visual Arts Learning
    • Electives
    • Wintersession
    • Electives
    • Spring
    • Colloquium: Contemporary Practices in Arts Learning
    • Thesis Research
    • Electives

  • MAT Curriculum

    RISD’s MAT program is approved by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a teacher preparation program and, as a result of the Interstate Compact, has reciprocity in at least 44 other states. It is, however, important for applicants to understand that while RISD awards the MAT degree and recommends its graduates for certification or licensure, the award of teacher certification is determined by individual states, each of which has its own specific requirements. In other words, candidates must pass any teacher-certification test(s) required by individual states.

    MAT Curriculum

    • Summer
    • Lifespan: Human Growth and Development
    • Documentation Design Studio
    • Fall
    • Mapping for Visual Arts Learning
    • Lab School: Learning Through Art + Design
    • Lifespan: Exceptionality
    • Context, Content, and Practices in Art + Design Education
    • Wintersesssion
    • Design Education Studio Workshop: Place-Based Learning
    • Studio or Liberal Arts elective
    • Spring
    • Student teaching | elementary school
    • Student teaching | secondary school
    • Degree Project

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. academic transcripts
    3. 3 letters of recommendation
    4. portfolio of work
      • Master of Arts in Teaching 
        Submit a portfolio consisting of 20 images which exhibit the depth and breadth of your studio experience: 10 images should represent work that reflects your investigations within a single medium; 7 images should represent your confidence in handling a variety of media; and 3 images need to be samples of drawings. 
      • Master of Arts in Art + Design Education
        Submit a portfolio of 20 images that most clearly represent your creative practice as an artist or designer. 
    5. statement of purpose
      • Master of Arts in Teaching 
        Submit a written statement (500–700 words) describing your work as an artist or designer - what is it about? How do you feel your academic, studio or work experience prepares you for entry to a graduate teacher education program? Discuss how, in your opinion, the quality of an educator's artistic practice contributes to high-quality arts learning for children and youth. The significance of arts education in K-12 schools is not fully recognized; provide a succinct argument for the inclusion of the visual arts as a required and core subject for all students in K–12 schools.
      • Master of Arts in Art + Design Education
        Submit a written statement (500–700 words) describing your interest in pursuing the MA. Describe how you might customize a program of study that maximizes the resources of RISD, Brown and the city in support of your particular interest in art and design education. In what ways do you, at this time, anticipate that earning an MA will advance your professional development and career aspirations?
    6. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
      • All MAT applicants must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 as an undergraduate and submit transcripts indicating a minimum of 39 credit hours earned in the following domains: literacy (12 credits), history of art/design (12 credits), humanities and sciences (9 credits), two additional courses selected from any domains.
      • For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.