Teaching Art - Initial Certification

Welcome to Art + Education at NYU!

At NYU Steinhardt's Art + Education program, you have access to:

  • The East Village and New York City, the cultural capital of the world, including world-renowned museums such as The New Museum, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum, along with nearby galleries in the Lower East Side and Chelsea
  • Carefully supervised teaching placements and internships in New York's finest schools and cultural institutions
  • An internationally renowned and dedicated faculty of artist/educators, many of whom are full time K-12 art teachers in schools across the city
  • Studio courses taught by leading contemporary artists
  • A comprehensive and balanced curriculum in visual art and pedagogy that combines theory with teaching practice
  • A richly diverse and multicultural community committed to social justice

Coursework in the initial certification program is designed for students who wish to pursue graduate-level professional training leading to initial certification as artist-teachers in public and private schools in New York City, nationally and internationally.

With a special focus on contemporary art and its social context, this program conceptualizes the artist-educator as cultural worker, intellectual, and activist. The program combines a strong foundation in critical pedagogy with a solid grounding in practice, including experience teaching in NYU Visionary Studio Saturday Workshop classes for high school students and two student teaching placements in elementary and secondary schools.

Through a sequence of core courses grounded in a progressive social justice approach, students examine the making and teaching of art as a social act, and consider its philosophical, historical, political, and sociological contexts. Students develop a pedagogical foundation through courses in education, art education, and research methodologies while continuing their work as artists in graduate-level studio courses.

Personal attention is given to each student throughout the duration of the program, from initial advisement through completion of the Masters final project. Classes are small, and Special Projects and Guest Speakers offer additional professional opportunities and experiences.

For students who have an undergraduate BA or BFA degree in studio art and wish to acquire teacher certification, the MA program in Teaching Art, All Grades, offers a curriculum that satisfies the academic requirements for New York State teacher certification. To fulfill New York State teacher certification requirements for initial certification, the candidate must enroll in the 33-credit MA program.

Note: The program begins in the Fall semester and can be completed in as little as 3 semesters or 12 months as a full-time student. The program can also be completed as a part-time student in two years.

The NYU Steinhardt Teacher Education Program is fully accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

Certification Requirements

In addition to completing all coursework, students must successfully complete all required New York State Teacher Certification Examinations and Assessments. Scores must be submitted to the New York State Education Department before it will consider issuing a certificate to teach in public schools in New York State.

Currently all candidates seeking certification in Visual Arts, All Grades (PreK-12) are required to take the following exams: LAST, Elem or Sec ATS-W (not both), Visual Arts Content Specialty Test.

The NYSED anticipates that candidates applying for certification on or after May 1, 2014 will be required to take new exams, please see details on the NYSED website and from the NYS Teacher Certification Examinations website.

For more information about the certification process please see the NYU Steinhardt Timetable for Certification.


Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds including studio art, community-based organizations, graphic design, and a variety of teaching experiences and contexts. Enrolled students are interested in working in the public sector in schools as well as community-based, non-profit, and for-profit educational contexts.

The initial certification program prepares teachers and curriculum specialists in visual art for positions in elementary, middle, and high schools in New York City, nationally, and internationally. Our graduates also work as educators in museums, community-based programs, and arts organizations, and some pursue doctoral study in art education, curriculum, and instruction.
Students can complete the Initial Certification program in as little as 3 semesters of full-time course work. Students begin the program in the Fall semester and complete their coursework the following Summer semester.  The initial and professional certificate programs enroll a total of 15-20 new students each year. Students may participate in the program on a full-time or part-time basis. 

For Examples of Student Work

See our Art + Education blog.

More Information

The Department of Art and Art Professions is currently in the process of researching state requirements for professional licensure and/or certification outside the State of New York, as it relates to Art + Education: Initial Certification. Please contact steinhardtarteducation@gmail.com for additional information.