MAT | 1-year program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is an intensive, one-year (summer through spring) cohort teacher preparation program for artists and designers* that culminates in the recommendation for teacher certification in Art (PK-12). The program interweaves theoretical concepts with scaffolded practical experiences, giving candidates opportunities to test out ideas in authentic learning environments throughout the year. 

Our MAT is approved by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 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. Candidates must pass any teacher-certification test(s) required by individual states.

*Candidates who are US citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply for the MAT.

MAT PROGRAM

Summer
Lifespan: Human Growth and Development
Design Education Workshop I
FALL
Curriculum Development for Secondary Visual Arts Learning
Curriculum Development for Elementary Visual Arts Learning
Studio or Liberal Arts elective
Context, Content, and Practices in Art + Design
Design Education Workshop II
WINTERSESSION
Lifespan: Exceptionality
SPRING
Student Teaching in Elementary School
Student Teaching in Secondary School

MA | 1-year program

The Master of Arts (MA) in Art + Design Education is a one-year (fall through spring) program for those interested in earning an advanced degree in art and design education outside the context of the traditional K-12 school art classroom (museums, community, nonprofit). This degree is ideal for those whose future goals meet at the intersection of art, design, education and community. 

The MA program of study is individualized for each graduate student, with a balance of required TLAD courses, studio and liberal arts electives, professional practice internships and independent study. The program promotes rigorous inquiry balanced with explorations in community-based art teaching and learning. Ideal candidates will come into the program with an area of interest and the desire to personalize their degree.  

A core component of the program is the completion of a research project and written thesis grounded in art and design education. MA candidates work with a faculty advisor to craft a program of study that circles around their research/thesis interests and utilizes the amazing art education programs that Providence and Rhode Island have to offer.

MA PROGRAM

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

Developing curricular and pedagogical practices

TLAD offers graduate students various opportunities to grow as art and design educators in both curriculum development (what you teach) and pedagogical practice (how you teach).

Students enrolled in either of our two curriculum development courses (required for MAT students and electives for those in the MA program) gain experience designing art curricula and lesson plans grounded in big ideas, issues of social and ecological justice, meaning making, play, and so on.

MAT candidates develop long-term relationships with art teachers and students at two different public or charter schools in Rhode Island. They engage at first as participant-observers and move gradually to complete teaching responsibilities. It is in these classrooms where graduate students are able to bring their curriculum to life.

For MA candidates, collaborations with Project Open Door, the RISD Museum and various other local community arts organizations offer opportunities in curricular planning and art teaching. These experiences are structured primarily through TLAD graduate assistantships, independent studies or professional practice internships (paid or credit bearing).

Contemporary perspectives in art and design education

TLAD graduate programs push beyond traditional ideas about art and education (such as teaching based on technique, formal principles of art, and copying works by well-known artists). Rather, we see art and design education as a socially engaged practice that intersects with broad and contemporary issues: social and ecological justice, racial equity, gender and sexuality, relational ethics, community based practices, educational theory and more.

Through research, practice and theory, our graduate students engage various issues through the lens of art and design education—teaching children, teens, adults and educators through their work.

Project Open Door

For over 10 years, TLAD has been fine-tuning Project Open Door—a pioneering program launched in 2005 to mentor under-resourced 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 to get involved in what is essentially a nonprofit, 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.

Learning outcomes

Graduates of the MAT program are required 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.

MAT accreditation

The MAT program is accredited by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). RIDE's Rhode Island Educator Preparation Index provides a summary of data related to RISD's MAT program, including the total number per year of people who have completed the program, the total number of those who have secured teacher certification in Rhode Island and who are employed in the state.

Title II federal reporting requires all teacher preparation programs to publish its program completion data as well the pass rate of its completers in the following state-required PRAXIS tests: Art: Content Knowledge and either Principles of Learning and Teaching (K–6) or Principles of Learning and Teaching (7–12).

Program completers

2019–20: 3
2018–19: 5
2017–18: 10

Institutional pass rate

2019–20: 100%
2018–19: 100%
2017–18: 100%

Application requirements

  1. Submit your RISD application form, and all other credentials, through the RISD Applicant Portal. The application fee is $60.

  2. Initially, you must provide unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited college or university. You can upload your unofficial transcripts within the RISD Applicant Portal. If your academic credentials are prepared in a language other than English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator before submitting. Enrolling students will later be required to submit official transcripts.

  3. Graduate applicants to studio programs are required to submit 10–20 examples of visual work, with certain programs suggesting more specific ideas or portfolio requirements.

    Use SlideRoom to submit your graduate portfolio here.

    Specific program instructions:

    Digital + Media | Your portfolio should contain 10 samples total, which can be a combination of media (e.g., images, video, sound). You may submit up to five videos as project documentation or excerpts of time-based media. In your portfolio you are encouraged to submit at least one video that clearly demonstrates your research and/or work process. Total runtime for all videos should be no more than five minutes.

    Please do not submit multi-page PDF files. Each sample should be accompanied by text identifying the medium and year, and a four-sentence description explaining the concepts that inform your work (50 words maximum). If collaborative projects are presented, you must clearly identify your individual contribution.

    Furniture Design | In the MFA programs, students make their own work as part of learning from, and with, materials. This applies to tests and models as well as to full-size objects at human scale. Material experimentation includes traditional, new and hybrid materials as appropriate to individual student interests.

    In addition to your portfolio materials uploaded to Slideroom, we invite you to include a self-made video no more than 20 seconds duration of you making something. We are not looking for video with professional production values; we are interested in seeing you making something – small, large, modest or complex, any making action can work, the choice is yours. This is an option you might enjoy adding to your submission for us to learn more about your interests. Finally, please title your video.

    Jewelry + Metalsmithing | The rigorous studio-based orientation of the graduate program leverages traditional skills and fabrication techniques to critically approach new territories and ways of making.

    In addition to your portfolio materials uploaded to SlideRoom, we invite you to include a self-made video no more than 20 seconds duration of you making something. We are not looking for video with professional production values; we are interested in seeing you making something – small, large, modest or complex, any making action can work, the choice is yours. This is an option you might enjoy adding to your submission for us to learn more about your interests. Finally, please title your video.

    Landscape Architecture | All applicants to the Master's of Landscape Architecture degree programs are required to submit a portfolio and an additional video essay. Your portfolio should contain 10 individually produced and carefully chosen images of work that reflects your interests in landscape and the discipline of landscape architecture. Applicants to the MLA-1 program who have no prior design training may include photographs, sketches or written work that conveys their ability to observe, identify and explore spatial conditions within the landscape. All other applicants should include a selection of work that best represents the development of their interest in this field of study. All work should be labeled to indicate if it is academic, professional or personal. If team projects are presented, your individual contribution must be clearly identified. The portfolio should include a minimal amount of text.

    Prepare a short video of yourself telling us:

    • The most important reason you are motivated to study landscape architecture
    • At least one goal you hope to achieve in your graduate education
    • Why you think RISD is the best place to achieve your goals

    You are encouraged to be authentic and heartfelt in your response. This essay will function as the beginning of a conversation you will continue to have if you enter the program at RISD and it does not have to be the same information provided in your written essay. Cell phone videos are accepted as well. Maximum length: 2 minutes.

    Master of Arts in Teaching | MAT | Your portfolio should consist of 20 images exhibiting the depth and breadth of your studio experience. Ten images should represent work that reflects your investigations within a single medium; seven images should represent your confidence in handling a variety of media; and three images need to be samples of drawings.

    Master of Arts in Art + Design Education | MA | Submit a portfolio of 20 images that most clearly represent your creative practice as an artist or designer

  4. Graduate applicants must submit a written statement (500–750 words) outlining their interest and goals in pursuing graduate study. Several programs suggest more specific ideas or written requirements as outlined below.

    Specific program instructions:

    Digital + Media | Within the statement of purpose, the committee seeks a clear explanation of the applicant’s goals for both their time in school and afterwards, and how the MFA in Digital + Media is specifically suited to support these goals. This statement should address the following questions: What are you interested in exploring conceptually? What outcomes do you hope to get from the degree? Where do you see yourself after graduation? In addition to the statement of purpose, applicants should outline their working methodology or practice from initial research to project realization.

    Global Arts and Cultures | Applicants to the master’s program in Global Arts and Cultures must submit an academic statement of purpose of 1,000–2,000 words. The object of your statement is to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee as a thinker, scholar and writer, and you should address in detail your intellectual interests and proposed topic(s) of graduate study. Be as specific as possible in describing your prior college-level experience in areas encompassed by Global Arts and Cultures and how this work has contributed to your professional and personal goals in pursuing a master’s degree. Your statement should also reflect your understanding of the contours and demands of graduate study in Global Arts and Cultures at RISD.

    Landscape Architecture | Your essay should describe how your interest in landscape developed, how the work in your portfolio is indicative of that development and why the landscape architecture program at RISD seems well suited to your goals.

    Master of Arts in Teaching | MAT | Submit a statement (500–700 words) describing why you desire to become a K-12 art educator and to enter the TLAD MAT program specifically. Please be sure to address the following questions within your statement:

    • Why do you want to become an art educator and enter the TLAD MAT program specifically?
    • How do you feel your academic, studio, and work experiences have prepared you for RISD’s graduate program in art teacher education? 
    • How will your own identity as an artist/designer contribute to your practice as an art educator in the classroom?
    • What, in your opinion, is the purpose of art education in K-12 schools?
    • What do you believe high-quality K-12 art education looks like?

    Master of Arts in Art + Design Education | MA | Submit a written statement (500-750 words) describing your interest in art and design education and your desire to enter the TLAD MA program specifically. Please be sure to address the following questions within your statement:

    • Why do you want to become an art educator and enter the TLAD MA program specifically (especially as opposed to a MFA program)?
    • What are your specific interests related to art and design education?
    • How might these specific interests contribute to the thesis research you would engage in within this program?
    • Our MA program is unique in that students customize a program of study. How you would customize your MA program to maximize the resources of RISD, Brown and Providence, and that would support your potential research interests at the same time?
    • How do you imagine the MA will support your future goals and interests after graduation (i.e., where do you see yourself in the future and how will this MA help)?

    Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies | Applicants to the master’s in Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies must submit an academic statement of purpose of 1,000–2,000 words. The object of your statement is to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee as a thinker, scholar and writer, and you should address in detail your intellectual interests and proposed topic(s) of graduate study. You should be as specific as possible in describing your prior college-level experience in the areas of Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies and how this work has contributed to your professional and personal goals in pursuing a master’s degree. Your statement should also reflect your understanding of the contours and demands of graduate study in Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies at RISD.

    Photography | In addition to a statement of purpose, applicants should send an artist’s statement describing the work included in their portfolio. In other words, the artist’s statement should be about the work submitted, while the statement of purpose should address why you are seeking a graduate degree.

  5. Applicants to the MA programs in Global Arts and Cultures and Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies are required to submit an example of critical and/or analytical writing. See below for all program-specific instructions.

    Global Arts and Cultures | Applicants are required to submit a writing sample that represents your strongest critical and/or analytical writing on a topic clearly related to Global Arts and Cultures. Please indicated if your writing sample is excerpted from a longer work. If it is, please make sure it forms a coherent argument and is framed such that the Admissions Committee understands its function as part of a longer work.

    Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies | Applicants are required to submit a writing sample that represents your strongest critical and/or analytical writing on a topic clearly related to Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies. Please indicated if your writing sample is excerpted from a longer work. If it is, please make sure it forms a coherent argument and is framed such that the Admissions Committee understands its function as part of a longer work.

  6. Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential for graduate study. You may invite your recommenders to upload their letters through your Applicant Portal. If your recommenders are unable to submit using this method, their letters may be emailed to admissions@risd.edu or mailed to the Graduate Admissions Office.

  7. English language proficiency test

    All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from any one of these three options: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or Duolingo (an online English test). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on their chosen test; RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL or a 6.5 on the IELTS.

    Duolingo is changing its scoring system beginning with tests completed on July 15, 2019 and beyond. If you took this test prior to the change, we require a minimum result of 63. Applicants who completed the Duolingo test on or after July 15, 2019 must achieve a minimum score of 115, which is the equivalent of 63 in their prior scoring system.

    Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take three weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD by the test agency. Duolingo test results may take up to four days to be received by RISD.

    The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who have studied in an institution where English is the language of instruction. You must contact the Admissions Office to explain your school history and determine if you are eligible.

    Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

    Results from the Graduate Record Examination are not required as part of the application process.

  8. Teaching + Learning in Art + Design specific requirements

  9. Master of Arts in Teaching | MAT | Submit a statement (500–700 words) describing why you desire to become a K-12 art educator and to enter the TLAD MAT program specifically. Please be sure to address the following questions within your statement:

    • Why do you want to become an art educator and enter the TLAD MAT program specifically?
    • How do you feel your academic, studio, and work experiences have prepared you for RISD’s graduate program in art teacher education? 
    • How will your own identity as an artist/designer contribute to your practice as an art educator in the classroom?
    • What, in your opinion, is the purpose of art education in K-12 schools?
    • What do you believe high-quality K-12 art education looks like?

    Master of Arts in Art + Design Education | MA | Submit a written statement (500-750 words) describing your interest in art and design education and your desire to enter the TLAD MA program specifically. Please be sure to address the following questions within your statement:

    • Why do you want to become an art educator and enter the TLAD MA program specifically (especially as opposed to a MFA program)?
    • What are your specific interests related to art and design education?
    • How might these specific interests contribute to the thesis research you would engage in within this program?
    • Our MA program is unique in that students customize a program of study. How you would customize your MA program to maximize the resources of RISD, Brown and Providence, and that would support your potential research interests at the same time?
    • How do you imagine the MA will support your future goals and interests after graduation (i.e., where do you see yourself in the future and how will this MA help)?
  10. Requirements:

    • A four-year undergraduate degree (BFA or BA with studio major) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 from an accredited college or university
    • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in the studio coursework
    • If applicant completed master’s degree, must show evidence of meeting these same cumulative GPA requirements
    • A minimum of 39 credit hours in the following domains: literacy (12 credits), history of art and design (12 credits), humanities/sciences (9 credits) and 2 courses (6 credits) from any of the domains
    • 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

    Please note: In order to fulfill degree requirements, MAT students are required to complete practicum and student teaching assignments in K–12 public schools at various points in the program. This will entail undergoing and successfully meeting the standards (or requirements) of one or more state or national background checks. Candidates who have any questions about this process may contact the Teaching + Learning in Art + Design department.