MA Art Education

The Corcoran College of Art and Design's art education programs offer students a distinctive opportunity to study in a museum environment and to engage with the Corcoran Gallery of Art as an integral part of their coursework and student experience. Rich in learning and teaching experiences, the art education programs have a special focus on community engagement and issues of social justice.

The Master of Arts in Art Education is a 33-credit degree program ideal for experienced teachers looking to expand and deepen their knowledge of art. In addition, the program helps sharpen teachers' educational abilities as a basis for their professional and personal development. The goal of the program is to create a community of colleagues engaged in active, shared learning for application in their teaching. The Master of Arts in Art Education curriculum assumes that students in the program either have already completed initial certification as teachers or do not intend this as a goal.

Distinct from the Corcoran's Master of Arts in Teaching program, the Master of Arts in Art Education program focuses on youth arts education in schools while, at the same time, making use of the Corcoran's resources for museum and community linkages. Ample latitude is provided for individual goals, and part-time and summer studies are common.


One of the Corcoran's primary goals is to develop leaders in education who are committed to continual assessment, improvement, and professional and personal development through self-reflection and research. The art education degree programs are structured around an interactive, tight-knit community of students and faculty. Approximately half of the courses in each program are open to students in both the Master of Arts in Teaching program and the Master of Arts in Art Education program. This design allows for a cross-fertilization of experiences and ideas and provides a forum for the concerns and interests of each group.

Required courses
  • Integrated Art Education
  • Museum Teaching Applications
  • Studio Capstone
  • Praxis Thesis

Sample Electives
  • Studio Based Teaching and Learning
  • Social Justice and Art Education
  • Art Therapy Orientation for Art Educators
  • Gallery-Based Teaching and Learning
  • Art, Science, and Creativity
  • Art and Math
  • Art across the Curriculum
  • Art and Life-Long Learners
  • Community-Based Teaching and Learning
  • Public Interpretation of the Arts
  • Curriculum and Long-Term Planning
  • Art, Character and Cultural Education


The main purposes of a final, independent project or thesis at the graduate level are to provide each candidate an opportunity to:

  • concentrate on a sustained, professional-quality project concerning a topic relating to and growing out of their graduate studies and/or professional praxis;
  • apply both theory and practice from their academic program and pre-program experiences to a final supervised, academic project;
  • exercise advanced skills of investigation and analysis in their field;
  • demonstrate their abilities through a focused, self-initiated project that makes a useful contribution to the field of art education in one or more settings.

Upon completion of graduate studies, a practicing art educator carries out a thesis project in the form of solid and systematic written research. The thesis project is expected to demonstrate that the student is prepared to contribute and communicate new knowledge to colleagues for advancement in their profession.

In addition to a written thesis, candidates in the Master of Arts in Art Education program are required to complete a studio capstone experience. The purpose of the capstone is to synthesize prior artistic experience with studio coursework completed in fulfillment of the degree.


The faculty in the graduate Art Education program is known for its exemplary instructional methodologies, contributions to public service, innovation in teaching, and its commitment to professional education.

Department Life

The Art Education program consists of three degree programs totaling more than 60 students from a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and experiences. This provides opportunities for students to learn as much from one another as they learn from their instructors. Additionally, art education students are actively involved in teaching learners of all ages in school, museum, and community settings, providing a wealth of rich experiences that effectively prepare them for careers across the field of art education.

Students work in close contact with museum educators in the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Public Education Department, supporting youth and family programs such as Camp Creativity, ArtReach, Aspiring Artists, and Community Days. Students also work with youth in Corcoran school partnerships with five Washington, D.C., public middle schools, one public charter elementary school, and the DiTondo Summer Art Camp. Corcoran art education students are in demand from institutions throughout the Washington, D.C., area for internships, after-school programs, and adult programs. Each year students elect to participate in a student exhibition, and graduating students present their theses as part of the annual NEXT at the Corcoran celebration.

A popular resource room houses books, DVDs, videos, curriculum materials, art supplies, computers, and space for students to meet, study, or conduct research. The department also maintains a blog for posting curriculum resources, art education events, and exhibition and job opportunities in the area. The Corcoran has a student chapter of the National Art Education Association with officers that organize social events for the group, bring in guest speakers, and attend local and national NAEA conferences.