student teacher giving drawing demo to young students

Art Education - M.A.

Elevate your art education career with our M.A. degree. Tailored for those with a background in art education, our program offers a focused competence in the visual arts, along with an in-depth understanding of the history and current issues of the field of art education. With a curriculum that includes quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, and arts-based research approaches, you'll develop the skills you need to become a leader in your field.

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Art educators who complete an Art Education master’s degree at Kent State University develop a focused competence in the visual arts and an intellectual understanding of the history and current issues of the field.

Students complete a course preparing them to complete a research study or curriculum project leading to their thesis or a master’s project work. The thesis culminates in a document based on scholarly research on an art education-related topic. The master’s project involves action research, focusing on curriculum, classroom settings, grant implementation, or community-based projects.

Also offered as 100% Online or Hybrid Degree
The online M.A. in Art Education provides the same rigorous curriculum as the campus-based program. Designed for Pre-K-12 art educators in public and private schools, museums, and enrichment classes, this program offers the choice of either 100 percent online coursework with no required campus attendance or a combination of online and in-person coursework.

Students have the choice of two capstone options:

  • Thesis – scholarly quantitative, qualitive, or mixed-methods research on an art education-related topic
  • Project – selected action research, curriculum work, community-based or grant projects based

Program highlights include courses in art education theory and practice, studio art, art history, and design education.

The Art Education M.A. program does NOT result in eligibility for the Ohio Multi-Age Visual Arts Education (PreK-12) teaching license. For initial licensure in Visual Arts Education, please refer to the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program offered through the College of Education, Health, and Human Services. 

Students earning the M.A.T. with an emphasis in Art Education receive a master’s degree and eligibility for pre-K-12 licensure in the visual arts from the State of Ohio. 


Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Master of Arts degree in Art Education provides opportunities for those with a background in art education to develop a focused competence in the visual arts, as well as an intellectual understanding of the history and current issues of the field of art education. Students study quantitative and qualitative approaches to research.


For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university1
  • Minimum 2.750 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000-point scale
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Goal statement that focuses on the philosophy of art education
  • Portfolio
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    • Minimum 550 TOEFL PBT score
    • Minimum 79 TOEFL IBT score
    • Minimum 77 MELAB score
    • Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
    • Minimum 58 PTE score
    • Minimum 110 Duolingo English score

Preference is given to the applicant holding a B.A., B.F.A. or B.S. degree in Art Education.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Application deadline: February 1

Applications submitted by this deadline will receive the strongest consideration for admission.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Understand the breadth of theoretical, philosophical, historical and pedagogical issues in visual arts education instruction and curriculum.
  2. Articulate how issues that foster positive social change are inherent in the field and are constructed within wider frameworks of culture and society.
  3. Understand the purposes, functions and value of teaching art and design in PreK-12 educational settings.
  4. Understand and refine the application of art and general education research methodology, methods and procedures.
  5. Demonstrate advanced comprehension of self-identified topics through conducting detailed research investigation.

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
Art History (ARTH) Elective 23
Studio Art (ARTS) Elective 23
Art History (ARTH) or Studio Art (ARTS) or Art Education ( ARTE) Electives 26
Culminating Requirement
Thesis or Capstone, choose from the following:6
ARTE 61399
and Guided Elective 4
ART 67199
Minimum Total Credit Hours:30

Students who completed ARTE 41004 as an undergraduate will consult with their faculty advisor on the elective course to take as a replacement for this requirement.


Students select elective courses in consultation with their program advisor based on research interests.


ARTE 61399 is appropriate for students in contexts in which research can be completed as part of their own practice, in most cases in their own art classrooms or other educational venues. The course involves research, which focuses on participant/researcher studies in curriculum, classroom settings, grant implementation and/or community-based projects. Students articulate and refine knowledge, reflective practice (including critical self-reflection) and develop goals to improve practice or further understanding of phenomena within the field of art education.


Students who select the project capstone as their culminating requirement will take an additional, guided elective, based on their research interest, to meet the 30 credit hours for the degree.


The thesis is a significant project or body of work done independently of other coursework. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to conduct research or produce a significant, original project in a discriminating and disciplined manner. The thesis topic should be one that will further the student’s knowledge and ability in the specialty by demonstrating skill as a researcher. The outcome should be an effort that serves as a foundation for the pursuit of independent work when the graduate program is completed. At this stage, students are expected to work in close consultation with their thesis advisor.

Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • Fully online
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus

National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

NAEA Student Chapter

Through our vibrant KSU Student Chapter of the National Art Education Association, you will have the opportunity to not only participate in both the national and the state annual conventions, but will also make friendships and establish mentoring relationships that can help in your career search as well as graduate school possibilities. The NAEA Student Chapter at KSU is known for its outreach activities, which include numerous opportunities to volunteer in the surrounding community, teaching art in both traditional and nontraditional contexts.

Art Education Faculty

As one of the largest art education programs in Ohio, we have four full-time faculty members. Therefore, you will learn under the direction and guidance of faculty with backgrounds in a variety of research areas in our field, providing you with the opportunity to develop your own personal teaching philosophy. Current faculty research interests range from design education, diversity, social justice education, gender studies, teaching art to students with autism, and local art education.

Linda Hoeptner Poling Headshot

Linda Hoeptner Poling
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator
Phone: 330-672-7895

Linda Hoeptner Poling, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Art Education at Kent State University and holds a certificate in Gerontology. She is past president of the National Art Education (NAEA), Association Women’s Caucus (now Coalition for Feminisms in Art Education), a Distinguished Fellow for the Ohio Art Education Association (OAEA), a member of the Kent State Brain Health Research Institute, the 2018 OAEA Ohio Art Teacher of the Year, and the 2021 recipient of the NAEA Women’s Caucus Maryl Fletcher De Jong Service Award. She was recognized at Kent State in 2022 with a Distinguished Teaching Award. Hoeptner Poling is a co-editor of the 2021 anthology, National Art Education Association Women’s Caucus Lobby Activism: Feminism(s) + Art Education (Taylor and Francis & NAEA), and is co-editor of the forthcoming Art Education and Creative Aging: Older Adults as Learners, Makers, and Teachers of Art (Routledge & NAEA). She co-authored four editions of the VSA Teacher Resource Guide: A Series of Visual Art Lesson Plans Designed to Engage Students with Disabilities (Kennedy Center) in addition to the Educator Resources for TEXTURES: The History and Art of Black Hair, focusing on equitable and inclusive art curricula for PreK-12. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) work centers Hoeptner Poling’s service and scholarship. She is a member of the Kent State/University of Akron Gerontology Certificate Advisory Council and served as a Provost Faculty Associate for the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at KSU for two years (2016-2018). Hoeptner Poling is also an HERS Institute Alum, class of 2018.

Koon-Hwee Kan

Koon-Hwee Kan
Associate Professor
Phone: 330-672-9508

Koon-Hwee Kan is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Kent State University School of Art. Koon earned her Doctor of Education and Master of Arts degrees in Art Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Her dissertation, an ethnographic case study entitled, A Story Told Visually: The Singapore Secondary School Art Style, won several awards. Her research interests include intercultural, distance, and continuing education through interactive technology and preservice art teacher education as well as qualitative methodology, especially visual narrative inquiry. 

Koon has published more than 20 articles in art education journals such as the Studies in Art Education, Journal of Museum Education, Art Education, Visual Arts Research, and International Journal of Education & the Arts. She has presented her scholarship locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Funding for Koon’s research has been provided by the Kent State University Research Council and Kent State University College of the Arts Catalyst Interdisciplinary Project Grants, as well as the University Moulton Scholar Program Scholarship, Marilyn Zurmuehlen Award for Distinguished Research in Art Education, and Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities Seminar Fellowships.

Her recent scholarship emphasizes the engagement of diverse, worldwide communities dedicated to successful global and local connections through the visual arts. In addition to teaching myriad graduate and undergraduate classes for the School of Art, Koon has served as coordinator for the KSU Art Enrichment for Young People program for 17 years. She regularly exhibits works in local and regional juried shows. Her favorite art medium include mixed medium watercolor and digital photo collage.

Robin Vande Zande

Robin Vande Zande
Professor and Division Coordinator
Phone: 330-672-7866

Robin Vande Zande has taught art in a variety of settings, including elementary, middle and high school as well as higher education at Kent State University. She received her Ph.D in urban education with a concentration in art education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research area is design education for K-12 students, with publications on teaching sustainable design and urban planning, design education and brain-based principles, design education as community outreach, the design process of problem-solving, and teaching aesthetics through everyday objects. She has been a guest speaker at national and state events, speaking on the advantages of teaching design as it relates to social responsibility and the economy.

Dr. Vande Zande is chair of the Design Issues Group of the National Art Education Association and a member of the Board of Trustees Education Committee of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.  She is a co-founder of the organization DESIGN-ED.  See link for more information.  She has been a consultant for the Frank Lloyd Wright Wescott House Museum, Springfield, Ohio, and the Design Lab Early College High School, a design-based Cleveland Public School.

Missy Higgins-Linder

Missy Higgins-Linder
Associate Lecturer - Art Education

Melissa (Missy) Higgins-Linder is passionately curious about the impact of the arts on how and why people learn, which has served her well throughout her career as an educator, leader, and advocate in arts and museums. She began her career as a K-12 art teacher in Akron Public Schools before shifting her focus to museum education. As Director of Education at the Akron Art Museum and Senior Director of Learning and Engagement at the Cleveland Museum of Art, she led teams of inspired colleagues guided by a unifying mission to use the transformative possibilities and power of art to instigate inquiry and discovery for learners of every age, stage, and ability. Her research experience includes studies of art museum-based professional development for K-12 art teachers and work as Project Manager for a national study on the impact of single-visit art museum programs on K-12 students co-sponsored by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and Association of Art Museum Directors.

In addition to her professional work, Missy has served as the Ohio Art Education Association’s (OAEA) Museum Division Chair; chair for OAEA’s statewide student writing competition, the Jerry Tollifson Art Criticism Open; and Coordinator for the NAEA Women’s Caucus annual, juried exhibition. She received the OAEA Museum Education award in 2011 and the NAEA Western Region Museum Education award in 2019. Missy is proud to be a Kent State University Alumni with a B.A. and M.A. in Art Education. Outside of work, you will find her making food and art with her two inquisitive kids, trying to convince her patient husband to adopt more pets, rearranging the house to make room for more books, or hanging out by the water in Northeast Ohio. 

Guidance and Support

Guidance through the entire process with several advisors from Art Education and the School of Art, an advisor at the College of the Arts and an advisor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services assist you in making choices that will help you reach your goals. At the completion of your course of study our Career Exploration and Development office will work with you to secure your first teaching position. The Center has a staff whose specific focus is on the placement of KSU education graduates. This support is available throughout your life as an alumna of KSU.

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary


faster than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Self-enrichment teachers


much faster than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Additional Careers
  • Visual arts teachers
  • Preschool, elementary, middle school and high school teachers in traditional, special needs and technical schools, in addition to museums and community and enrichment programs
Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.