Master of Arts in Art Education (MA AE)

The Master of Arts in Art Education is a new degree program at NSCAD University. It accepted its first cohort for the Fall (September) 2019 semester. NSCAD will be the only place east of Quebec where museum and curatorial studies are explored at the graduate level.

The Master of Arts in Art Education offers rigorous research training and hands-on experience to prepare students for careers in a variety of art education sectors. Students choose from three program streams that allow exploration within a vibrant research community focusing on current methodologies relevant to art education practices in culture and society. The three program streams are:

Applied Pedagogy in Art Education Stream: designed for those seeking advanced training in the teaching of art to specific age groups including children, youth, adults, and the elderly in a variety of contexts such as educational institutions, retirement homes, and youth facilities. This stream focuses on the development of best practices associated with human development and well-being.

Museum and Curatorial Stream: designed for those seeking advanced training in the delivery of art education programming in informal educational settings such as art museums, galleries, and other organizations that offer immersive visitor experiences. This stream expands on conventional approaches to public engagement with collections and emphasizes Indigenous and radical curatorial approaches intended to reach diverse groups of visitors.

Community-Based Practice: designed for those seeking advanced training in responsive art education pedagogy that is grounded in the needs and experiences of communities. This stream focuses on outreach, activism, and contextualized learning about art and culture in ways that support equitable access to educational opportunities and collaborative program development.

To help develop a unique philosophy of teaching in art, students are encouraged to consider their own life experiences and connect their art and teaching practices with pedagogical theory, conceptual understanding and critical reflection. Courses model and develop socially responsible, exemplary teaching practices in and across art education contexts. The program will educate innovative artists, designers, curators, and educators while contributing to the creation of a culture that values diverse and creative learners. Students in the MA ED program participate in practicum experiences during their course of study, which may be located at a museum, community organization, arts education organization, nonprofit, or other site directly related to the individual student’s academic, research and career goals. This rich programming will challenge the graduate student’s idea of art education and how they fit into it.

Graduate Research

Through comprehensive research and thesis components, this program will play an essential role in revitalizing scholarship in the area of art education. In turn, the information produced through graduate research and practice will help to inform regional arts teaching strategies (including development informed, community outreach, museum), professional development, and the activities of cultural and public institutions.

Thesis Component

A thesis is a substantive and independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. An MA thesis is a systematic inquiry into some theoretical, or practical issue in art education.

All students in the MAED program complete a merit-reviewed research-based thesis as part of their course of study. Students may choose from four types of theses:

1) scholarly thesis: a conventional monograph;

2) research-creation thesis: a significant, unified body of work with supporting written component that extends existing studio practice;

3) teaching-based thesis: an in-depth teaching project with supporting written component

4) curatorial-based thesis: an in-depth curatorial project with supporting written component.

Thesis Definition

The thesis is:

  • a document presenting original research;
  • a demonstration of familiarity with previous work in the field including theoretical constructs, paradigms and methodologies, the ability to carry out research, organize results or present conclusions, and the defense of the work or approach in accordance with scholarly and disciplinary norms.

A conventional Master’s thesis is usually between 80-100 pages in length, but not more than 150 pages (including title page, abstract, table of contents, contribution of authors/preface, acknowledgements, bibliography/reference list, and appendices). Typically, such a thesis involves the collection and analysis of empirical data and the use of secondary sources through appropriate scholarly methods.

Thesis Evaluation

To graduate, students must successfully defend their thesis projects before a committee of experts. The committee assesses the thesis project (including written, classroom-based, and exhibition components) according to the following criteria:

1) mastery of theories and concepts in the field of art education;

2) mastery of methods of inquiry;

3) quality of writing;

4) originality and potential contribution to the discipline.