The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Art Education Admission

Art Education prepares students for careers in college teaching, administration, research, public school art teaching, and art supervision.

Kimberly Powell, Graduate Coordinator in Art Education
168 Chambers

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S., M.P.S., Ph.D. and M.S. Dual Degrees in Art Education and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as African American and Diaspora Studies, Post-Baccalaureate

The Graduate Faculty

  • Booker Stephen Carpenter II, Ph.D. (PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY), Professor of Art Education and Postbaccaluareate Certification Officer in Art Education
  • Charles R. Garoian, Ph.D. (STANFORD UNIVERSITY), Professor of Art Education
  • Yvonne M. Gaudelius, Ph.D. (PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY), Professor of Art Education and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Associate Vice President & Senior Associate Dean Undergraduate Education
  • Karen Keifer-Boyd, Ph.D. (UNIVERSITY OF OREGON), Professor of Art Education and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Dana Carlisle Kletchka, Ph.D. (PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY), Curator of Museum Education
  • Wanda B. Knight, Ph.D. (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY), Associate Professor of Art Education Education and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Aaron Knochel, D. (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY), Assistant Professor of Art Education
  • Kimberly Powell, Ph.D. (STANFORD UNIVERSITY), Associate Professor of Education and Art Education
  • Christopher Schulte, Ph.D. (PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY), Assistant Professor of Art Education
  • Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Ph.D. (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY), Professor of Art Education
  • Graeme L. Sullivan, Ph.D. (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY), Professor of Art Education; Director, School of Visual Arts
  • Christine Marme Thompson, Ph.D. (UNIVERSITY OF IOWA), Professor of Art Education

Admission Requirements

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or (2) a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution. The School of Visual Arts requires a minimum of 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale) for admission to the program. Exceptions to the minimum 3.00 average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Students seeking admission to the graduate program in art education at the Penn State School of Visual Arts must do the following:

  1. Apply to the Graduate School at Penn State using the electronic application found at information about applying to the Graduate School at Penn State can be found at
  2. Letters of Recommendation: As part of the electronic application through the Graduate School Portal, applicants will be asked to provide names and email addresses of three people. Letters of recommendation should attest to scholarship and ability to work independently. References should be faculty or professional individuals who are acquainted with your academic qualifications and whom you feel are able to present an accurate evaluation of you. Each reference will be contacted by email only after your application has been submitted and will be asked to upload their letter at that time.
  3. International Students: The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, enrollment, and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. 

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

In addition to the above requirements, there are specific requirements for degree programs:

Ph.D. & M.S. Application Materials:

NOTE: Submit items one through five through the Graduate Application Portal at official Penn State Graduate School Application for Admission.

M.P.S. Application Materials:

NOTE: Submit items one through six through the Graduate Application Portal at

International applicants whose first language is not English or who have received a baccalaureate or master's degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is not English, please refer to the international students page for more information about language proficiency.

Post-Baccalaureate Application Materials:

Complete the Penn State application and enter "CERT" in the Graduate Degree Sought box on the application and enter "A ED" in the Graduate Major (Program) Sought box. Two copies of official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended should be sent to the Certification Office, 228 Chambers Building, University Park, P 16802-3205. Complete application instructions can be found online at the Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal.

In addition to the electronic application and two copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, Art Education requires the following supplementary materials for applications for those seeking Post-Baccalaureate Certification (submit to:

The Graduate School Application must be submitted in an on-line format as an Electronic Application. When you apply electronically (online), processing time is reduced and receipt of your application is assured. Please read the online directions carefully before you begin completing the application form. If you do not make an online payment, please download a copy of the Application Fee Form that can be accessed from the Electronic Application, and mail along with your payment of the non-refundable application fee to: Graduate Enrollment Services, The Pennsylvania State University, 114 Kern Building, University Park, PA  16802.

Contact Cori Donaghy in the SoVA Office at or call 814-865-0725 to arrange a transcript review with the Post-baccalaureate Certification Officer in Art Education.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Admission to Candidacy. Once admitted to the doctoral program, all students must take a candidacy examination, which is given during the first year that the student is in residence. During the candidacy examination there is a review of (1) the student's professional resume; (2) a statement regarding the general direction of the student's research interests and possible areas of thesis inquiry; (3) completed graduate courses; (4) proposed course of study for subsequent semesters; (5) selected graduate papers written by the student; (6) slides or original work if studio inquiry is part of the student's program of study.

English competence. At or before the candidacy exam, all candidates for doctoral degrees are required to demonstrate high-level competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking, as part of the requirement for the doctoral program. Competency must be formally attested to by the student's committee before the comprehensive examination is held.

Course requirements. All doctoral students are expected to complete the following 3-credit core courses:
A ED 502, 505, 536, 588; and
A ED 590 (1 credit for each two semesters enrolled in course work).

Additional Ph.D. requirements. All Ph.D. students must complete at least 2 continuous semesters of residency after being admitted to candidacy. Although not required by the program, Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to complete a minor area of study. A foreign language is not required of Ph.D. candidates. Instead, the inquiry and foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. is met through 12 credits of graduate-level course work in a related discipline as determined by the student's committee. All Ph.D. students are required to complete 18 credits of course work in art education. These 18 credits comprise the core courses plus two other courses in art education at the 400-level or above.

Comprehensive examination. Ph.D. candidates are required to take a written and oral comprehensive examination once their course work is substantially completed. The examination, prepared by the student's doctoral committee, covers all phases of the student's doctoral work both inside and outside the field of art education.

Doctoral dissertation. Ph.D. candidates are required to complete a dissertation on a topic of research approved by the student's doctoral committee. The dissertation must be defended before the academic community at a final oral examination.

Masters Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required for the M.S. and M.P.S. degrees. Students must take a minimum of 15 credits in art education. Of those, M.S. candidates are expected to complete the following 3-credit core: A ED 502, 505; 536 or 588; and A ED 590 (1 credit for each two semesters enrolled in course work). Students must take additional credits to total a minimum of 15 credits. All master's degree candidates must also complete 6 credits of foundational studies at the 400 level or above in areas such as art history, studio, philosophy, educational theory and policy, educational psychology, psychology, and anthropology. The remaining 9 credits are made up of elective studies.

Additional M.S. requirements. For M.S. candidates, 18 credits of course work must be at the 500 level or above. M.S. candidates must prepare and orally defend a thesis. Requirements include 6 credits of thesis research within the 30 credits.

Additional M.P.S. requirements. Students who seek admission to the M.P.S. in Art Education program should have current or recent teaching positions in a school, museum, cultural institution, or other community site at the time of application, with the expectation that the student continue to teach art in schools, museum, or other sites throughout the M.P.S. program. Applicants admitted to the degree that have accumulated credits as non-degree graduate students may have up to 15 credits of coursework accumulated in non-degree status applied to their degree, with approval of the program.

For the M.P.S. in Art Education program, a minimum of 30 graduate credits is required. Students must complete 18 credits in 500-level courses and above, with a minimum of 6 credits at the 500-level. A minimum of 18 credits in art education includes the following Internet-based 3-credit courses: A ED 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, and A ED 594. Selecting from World Campus offering in other programs, students must take an additional 6 credits of Foundational courses at the 400 level or above in art history, studio, philosophy, educational theory and policy, educational psychology, psychology, and/or anthropology, and 6 credits of Elective courses.

M.P.S. in Art Education program participants can start in any semester, taking one online art education course and one or more foundation or elective courses in other programs per semester. A ED 594 is the culminating experience for the program with an action research project in one's teaching context.

Post-Baccalaureate Certification Requirements

Degrees and Certification
Post-baccalaureate Certification candidates must have qualifications equivalent to students at the undergraduate level who complete the baccalaureate degree in art education. Students with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree will have fulfilled all studio requirements.

The Penn State University Instructional I Certificate recognizes no differences between baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate candidates. To receive the certificate you must be qualified. Candidates who have degrees outside the field of art education may find they must make up courses in areas where they have not had appropriate course work. For example, students holding degrees in art history may find they do not have an equivalent to the studio art courses required. Students from some studio art programs may not have sufficient course work in philosophy, psychology, or art history.

Transcript Reviews
Post-baccalaureate Certification candidates may do a preliminary review of their previous course work using the Art Education Post-baccalaureate Certification Advising Worksheet. Checking previous transcripts and transposing these to the course requirements in the certification option at Penn State will assist in the admission process. An official transcript review and a grade point average of 3.0 are essential for admission.

The Post-baccalaureate Certification Officer in art education reviews candidates’ transcripts. During this review any additional course requirements will be recommended. Reviews do not become official until the student is accepted into the Post-Baccalaureate Certification program. For further information contact the Post-baccalaureate Certification Officer.

Length Of Study
It generally takes two years to obtain Art Teacher Certification at Penn State. Courses available during summer session at University Park may help reduce slightly the number of courses needed each semester, but you should count on at least three full regular semesters of course work to complete the program. The final semester involves student teaching in Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Certification Courses
Note: Graduate level substitutions depend on the Post-baccalaureate Certification Officer’s approval and availability of course.

Undergraduate Level


Graduate Level Substitutions


3 credits

ED PSY 421


3 credits


A ED 101S

3 credits


A ED 201W

3 credits

A ED 588

A ED 211 & 212

3 + 1 credits

A ED 541

A ED 225 (GI)

3 credits

A ED 812 Web

A ED 322

3 credits

A ED 811 Web

A ED 323

3 credits

A ED 813 Web

A ED 401

3 credits


A ED 489

4 credits


A ED 490

2 credits


A ED 495A & 495B

15 credits


Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

ART EDUCATION (A ED) course list

Last Revised by the Department: Summer Semester 2013


Application Requirements for Ph.D. in Art Education.

  1. Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are required for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the Graduate Bulletin.
  2. Submit a one- to two-page Statement of Professional Intent which includes: (a) professional objectives, (b) how these objectives would be furthered by graduate study, (c) the areas in which research and creative work are planned, (d) what the applicant hopes to do with the graduate degree he or she is seeking to attain, and (e) evidence that the applicant is prepared to undertake graduate level work. Indicate if you would like to be considered for an Assistantship/Fellowship.
  3. Submit an example of scholarly writing (these may be papers from college courses, a professional report, or other documents that demonstrate the applicant’s ability to write effectively.
  4. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should attest to the applicant’s scholarship and ability to work independently.
  5. Submit two (2) official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended. NOTE: International applicants must submit official or attested university records, with certified translations if the records are not in English. Notarized copies are not acceptable.
  6. Submit a Portfolio (optional) of creative works using the Slideroom web application at

Application Requirements for M.P.S. in Art Education.

  1. Completed official Penn State Graduate School Application for Admission.
  2. Statement of purpose in pursuing the M.P.S. in Art Education.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.  Letters of recommendation should attest to the applicant’s scholarship and ability to work independently.
  4. Teaching portfolio to include teaching philosophy and a sample of curricular materials developed by the applicant.
  5. A critical reflective written response to an article provided in the GRADS application site. The response should outline the key arguments made by the author(s), a critical evaluation of the logic and assumptions in the article, and a connection to the applicant's own instructional or professional experience.
  6. Curriculum vitae with evidence of professional leadership and service.
  7. Two official transcripts from all institutions attended, including official military transcripts (if applicable). (All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended.)