Arts Education

Our Arts Education programs offer students opportunities to explore creativity and meaning-making through the arts, through investigation of arts practices, pedagogy and ways of being in inquiry. Students will engage in arts explorations and scholarship in a community of artists, creatives, and arts educators.

Master's Programs

The Arts Education MEd program is a course work only degree culminating in a portfolio/interview examination. All students enter graduate work in Arts Education through the MEd route.

The Master of Education (MEd) in Arts Education explores the relationship between arts theory, inquiry, learning, and practice and its application in our lives, community, and in a variety of educational settings. Our goal is learning and teaching across a range of arts disciplines, creating a language of advocacy for the arts.  This program is suitable for those working in schools and other educational, arts-based contexts.

The Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Education involves the completion and examination of an academic thesis. Students may apply to the MA after completing four required courses, the submission of a research proposal, and with approval of the arts faculty team. Applicants to the MA are highly advised to complete all six courses required for the M.Ed. The MA allows for further research in an individual’s area of interest and is a suitable foundation for doctoral study.

The MEd and MA in Arts Education does not result in a certified teaching credential in Canada. Learn more about our teacher education programs here.

How to Transfer from MEd to MA Degree?

Students wishing to transfer from the MEd to the MA degree may apply after four core courses are completed (students must complete five core courses in total for the MA plus a Master’s Thesis). In order to be accepted into the MA program students must demonstrate a strong writing ability, a clear research plan, and committed advisement from a senior supervisor.

Students should follow the procedure outlined below: 

1. Students will have completed four core courses before applying to transfer from the MEd to the MA.  At this point they must consult a prospective advisor for the thesis. If this faculty member is other than the pro-tem advisor, the pro-tem advisor is to be informed.

2. In consultation with the prospective thesis advisor, the student will then prepare a written thesis proposal. This will be a minimum of ten pages in length, and will include a) research question(s), b) context for the research, c) objectives, d) methodology, e) contribution to the advancement of knowledge and/or educational practice, f) student's special interest in the proposed area of research.

These questions can help to guide your research proposal preparation:

  1. What is your question/inquiry? (i.e., paragraph overview of your question or inquiry focus)
  2. What brings you to it? (a brief statement regarding what brings you to the question, i.e., what is the spark for this interest/why is this topic of importance/significance to you)
  3. How are proposing to approach this inquiry (i.e., what are your methods, and what methodology might be the overarching thread for these methods; what ethical or other requirements or implications do you need to bear in mind in conducting this research?)
  4. Who are the key thinkers you are drawing on, what are the key concepts, theories, ideas embedded in this area of inquiry?
  5. What educational significance do you feel this inquiry has or might have (and by 'educational', that might be everything from specific pedagogical or curricular or policy implications, or a broader philosophical and/or sociological significance).

3. The thesis proposal must be approved by your prospective supervisor before it is submitted to Graduate Programs office together with 1) Faculty of Education Change Degree, Program or Specialization Application form, 2) approval of supervisory committee form, and 3) required documentation as follows:

  • A letter/email from the faculty member who agrees to serve as the Senior Supervisor indicating that he or she has approved the thesis proposal
  • A thesis proposal (minimum ten pages as outlined above)
  • An annotated bibliography for the proposed thesis (minimum of 20 references to include current journal articles, books/chapters, and relevant online resources, etc.)
  • A copy of a written assignment undertaken for the MEd

If any of the above conditions are not met, the change of degree route will not be approved.

Your senior supervisor may recommend other course(s) for you to take related to your masters thesis research.

Doctoral Programs

The Arts Education (PhD) program explores the relationship between arts theory, inquiry, and practice in a variety of social and education settings. Central to our program, is a commitment to the theoretical, historical and philosophical foundations of arts in society and in community. Attention is given to diverse forms of research through the arts: Arts-based methodologies including embodied inquiry, performative inquiry, poetic inquiry, a/r/tography, research-based theatre. We celebrate individual artistic journeys and arts practices enacted throughout the degree. A variety of perspectives and ways of being in the world are welcomed (e.g. arts for social change, Indigenous, ecological, phenomenological).  Doctoral students come from a variety of artistic backgrounds: dancers, artists, media artists, musicians, theatre artists, writers, curators and creatives, who work in a variety of contexts, such as post-secondary, K-12, cultural and arts institutions, consultants, and the film, theatre, music, and visual arts communities.

The program is firmly grounded in the interstices between one’s scholarship, artistic practice and pedagogy. Students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary knowledge across the arts, while allowing for specialization in a particular arts area. The non-departmental structure of this faculty is conducive for students to take advantage of a wide variety of faculty expertise and courses to complement the core courses required.

This program has a biennial intake.

Arts Education Community

Academic Coordinator

Teaching Faculty

Students and Alumni Experiences

Arts Education (MA, MEd)

  • Bonnie Nish MA alumnus and PhD student at European Graduate School, Switzerland

  • Thea Rutherford MA alumnus, writer, teacher and former journalist.

Arts Education (PhD)

  • Sheinagh Anderson PhD alumnus, artist, researcher, teacher, mentor, and designer of Contemplative Artist Praxis as...

  • Shannon Leddy PhD alumnus, mother, writer, artist and former Vancouver Arts and Social Studies teacher.

  • Julia Lane PhD alumnus, studied clowns and clowning (as ‘researcher’ and ‘performer’).