University of Arizona College of Fine Arts

School of Art

MA in Art Education: Community & Museums Option

Students pursuing the Community emphasis of the AVCE program are given theoretical grounding in conjunction with practical experience. They learn about paradigms of practice such as Community-based Arts Education, Design Pedagogy, Civic Engagement and Social Practice.

Students interact with practitioners in the field through field trips and guest lecturers and get hands on experience through observations, internships, and real projects. Learning to design curriculum, facilitate arts programming, fundraising, and program management, our graduates can expect to get jobs as For-profit and Non-profit Arts and Education organizations; as Program Coordinators / Directors, Outreach Managers/ Coordinators, Teaching Artists; as Community Organizers and advocates in Education, Social Work or Activist organizations, as Gallery Managers, or freelance as Community Based Art Educators. Students choosing to focus on policy might also find employment in local or national Arts Councils and arts and culture branches of government. 

Museum Option graduates find employment in museum, galleries, or artist-run center settings. Positions may include museum education assistants/directors, museum education curators, school- museum partnership coordinators, community engagement specialists, arts administrators, visitor experience specialists, heritage interpreters, and gallery managers. Graduates also pursue jobs in local, national, or international museum education associations and governmental departments.

Required Coursework

  • ARE 520 Community, Culture, and Art Education
  • ARE 525 Theory and Practice in Art Museum Education
  • ARE 530 Research Methods in Art and Visual Culture Education
  • ARE 560 Curriculum Theory in Art and Visual Culture Education
  • ARE 630 Theoretical and Historical Foundations of Art and Visual Culture Education
  • ARE 633 Issues and Recent Research in Art and Visual Culture Education
  • ARE 593 Internship (3-6 units)
  • ARE 910 (Thesis) or ARE 909 (Master's Report), 3 units
  • 3-6 elective units, chosen in conjunction with the student's art and visual culture education advisor. 
    Please note: Students planning to do survey or statistical research are expected to take MUS 551, Behavioral Research in the Arts, as part of their elective credits.

A downloadable version of the MA in Art Education: Community and Museums Coursework Checklist/Plan of Study is available here.

For descriptions of these and other courses, please see the University of Arizona General Catalog.

Major Advisor

Each student will be advised by one major professor within the Art and Visual Culture Education Division. In cooperation with the major professor, each student will develop a proposed course of study leading to the MA degree. This major professor also holds primary responsibility for supervising the student's work on the thesis or research project. In conjunction with the advisor, students can select additional course work from art education, studio art, art history, education, or other related areas. Independent study and internships are also available. This coursework should support the student's proposed research direction.

Plan of Study

In the second semester, each student must file a Plan of Study with the School of Art Graduate Program Coordinator. The plan of study includes course work--both taken and projected--a thesis/project title, and identification of the major advisor. Please visit the Graduate College's Forms page to obtain the "Master's/ Specialist Plan of Study" form.


Upon completion of a maximum of 24 units of course work, each student must establish a Thesis or Research Project committee. The committee, chaired by the student's major professor, must include at least two faculty members from art and visual culture education (the major professor and one other faculty member). A third faculty member may be drawn from the art and visual culture education faculty or from other areas of the School of Art or the University, as appropriate to the thesis or research project topic.

Each student must discuss his/her committee choices with the major professor. The purpose of the thesis/project committee is to direct research, writing, and defense of the thesis or research project as well as course work leading towards the MA degree. The requirement to form a thesis or research project committee at the mid-point of the Master's Program signals an evaluation of a student's performance. The failure to find faculty willing to serve on the thesis/ project committee and/ or a recommendation of termination from the program from the Graduate Committee in Art and Visual Culture Education, that reviews student progress with the major professor, will result in an administrative drop from the program.

The thesis or research project must adhere to certain guidelines. These include a proposal approved by all members of the student's Thesis or Research Project committee, the written thesis or research project, and an oral examination defending the thesis or research project.

Please consult the Graduate College’s “Degree Certification” links to follow university requirements. Students should bring the "Master's/ Specialist Completion of Degree Requirements" form to their oral examination.

More detailed information on the Thesis, including guidelines, expectations, and requisite paperwork is available in the Graduate Handbook.

For additional information specific to the Graduate College and getting your degree, please visit their website at:

You are required to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 grade average in all MA and certification course work. It is the policy of the Division of Art and Visual Culture Education that any student receiving two non-passing grades in a course in their major (a grade of C or lower) will be administratively dropped from the program as a degree student.

Other Requirements 

Compliance with Interim Policy on Interaction with non-enrolled Minors: All students who might work with minors on campus (in museum/community/teaching practicum) must comply with procedures to safeguard the minors. More information on this is forthcoming. In the meantime, please speak to an AVCE faculty member regarding this policy.