Master’s Programs

In either of TLAD's Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs, you acquire a strong foundation in the theoretical context of art education while enjoying meaningful opportunities for pedagogical practice in art and design.

MAT program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is an intensive, one-year (summer through spring) cohort teacher preparation program for artists and designers* culminating in the recommendation for teacher certification in Art (PK-12). The program interweaves theoretical concepts with scaffolded practical experiences, giving you 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.

View the master of arts in teaching curriculum

MA 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. Ideally you will come into the program with an area of interest and the desire to personalize your 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 your research/thesis interests and utilizes the amazing art education programs that Providence and Rhode Island have to offer.

View the master of arts curriculum

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.

Curricular and pedagogical practices

TLAD offers many 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. You engage at first as a participant-observer and move gradually to complete teaching responsibilities. It is in these classrooms where you can 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, you engage various issues through the lens of art and design education—teaching children, teens, adults and educators through their work.

Project Open Door

Since 2005, TLAD has been fine-tuning Project Open Door—a pioneering program that mentors under-resourced teens with a passion for art and helps 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 that envelops interested public high school students in intensive mentoring and other helpful resources at RISD.

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%