Master of Arts, Master of Education

MA, MEd in Arts Education

Method of delivery:
Applications open:
October 17, 2022
Applications close:
December 20, 2022
Next start date:
September 2023

Our master's programs in Arts Education 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. These explorations can be implemented in a variety of traditional and non-traditional educative environments.

Program Overview

Designed For

The Master of Education (MEd) in Arts Education is suitable for those working in schools and other educational, arts-based contexts.

The Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Education prepares students for work in various arts educational contexts and is a suitable foundation for doctoral study.

Program Format

  • Complete an MEd or ladder to an MA (with faculty approval)
  • In-person classes typically at the Burnaby campus
  • Designed for working professionals with classes held in the late afternoon/early eveninglate afternoons/early evenings

Intake Schedule

Next Start Terms
Fall 2023

Program Design & Courses

Program Design

Designed to offer flexibility for students by holding most classes in the late afternoon/evenings.

The Master of Education (MEd) program develops critical knowledge of arts theory and practice related to education, program development, and learning and teaching across a range of arts disciplines.  

The Master of Arts (MA) program requires fewer courses than the MEd, but involves the completion and examination of an academic thesis. Students may be admitted to the MA after completing four courses and with approval of the arts faculty team. A total of five courses will have been completed upon acceptance into the MA program. Students however are encouraged to complete all six courses to deepen understanding and knowledge for thesis research and writing.

Transfer from MEd to MA

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:

  • What is your question/inquiry? (i.e., paragraph overview of your question or inquiry focus)
  • 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)
  • 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?)
  • Who are the key thinkers you are drawing on, what are the key concepts, theories, ideas embedded in this area of inquiry?
  • 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.


MEd students complete 30 units as listed below and as scheduled. The comprehensive examination is required for MEd students.

Once MEd students are accepted to the MA program a minimum of 25 units of course work must be completed as listed below, as scheduled. Additional courses may be completed, dependent on student interests. Other courses may be required depending on thesis subject. A thesis is required for MA students.

MEd students complete these six courses and MA students complete five of:


The scholarship on embodiment and its implications for the body as a site for knowledge and its relationship to contemporary curriculum inquiry will be studied with specific emphasis on the area of performative and narrative inquiry and arts education. Central to this course will be the investigation of embodiment from both a philosophical perspective and a literary/poetic perspective. Equivalent Courses: EDUC712


This course relates critical ideas in aesthetics to questions concerning the nature, purpose, and provision of the arts (visual art, music, drama, dance, literature) in education.


A major survey of the educational theories and practices of musicians and artists generally from medieval times to the present. The special focus will be on modern responses of musicians and artists to modern demands for mass arts education. Material will be drawn from Europe, North America, Asia, and other parts of the world where mass arts education provision occurs.


This course involves an exploration of basic issues and questions which underlie the nature and provision of drama education in the schools. It includes a critical examination of the claims made in the theoretical literature regarding the nature and aims of drama education and an exploration of the implications for drama education curriculum and pedagogy. Equivalent Courses: EDUC721


The course examines and relates conceptions of creativity and response in the visual arts to the fundamental questions of curriculum theory.


This course presents the theory and practice of music education based on theories of auditory perception, musical theory, and various cross-cultural perspectives on musical behavior.

MEd students also complete:


The examination is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

MA students also complete:


The thesis is a research investigation designed to generate and/or examine critically new knowledge in the theory and/or practice of education. The thesis should normally be completed and approved in three terms.

Program courses and order of delivery subject to change.


At SFU, campus life is rich with opportunities to engage with people, ideas and activities that contribute to personal development and a better world.


Perched atop Burnaby Mountain, Simon Fraser University's original Arthur Erickson-designed campus includes more than three dozen academic buildings and a flourishing sustainable residential community.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, on which SFU Burnaby is located.


Our Surrey campus is a vibrant community hub in the heart of one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. With easy access to transit, the modern campus is conveniently situated between Metro Vancouver and communities south of the Fraser River.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories, including the Semiahmoo, Katzie, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen Nations, on which SFU Surrey is located.


Our Vancouver campus transformed the landscape of urban education in downtown Vancouver. The campus comprises multiple facilities clustered in the core of one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories including, the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, on which SFU Vancouver is located.


The non-departmental structure of our Faculty makes it relatively easy for students to take advantage of a wide variety of faculty expertise. Meet some of the faculty members teaching in this program.

Future Pathways

Where can this program take you? The world is changing rapidly and so is the full range of career and academic opportunities that await.


  • Faculty members at universities and colleges
  • District arts leaders
  • Community arts workers
  • Performers and artists
  • Educational consultants
  • Researchers

Further Studies

Student Experiences

Meet some Arts Education MA, MEd students and alumni.

  • "Why Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Education at SFU? "For the dynamic, engaging courses SFU offered."

  • "I knew that the Faculty of Education at SFU was the place for me after reading several of Dr. Lynn Fels’ academic papers online."

"I knew that the Faculty of Education at SFU was the place for me after reading several of Dr. Lynn Fels’ academic papers online." 

Thea Saunders, 2016 MA Graduate


Curious to know more about the program?