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School of Education

Overview: Art Education

The program in art education prepares students to teach art in elementary and secondary schools and also for education-related roles in other institutions such as museums. Graduates are eligible for licensure in the State of Wisconsin in art education at both the elementary and secondary levels.

All first-year art students begin with the Foundations Program, a series of related studio and lecture courses to prepare them for further study in studio art and design. They learn the fundamentals of art through investigation of formal, technical, and conceptual issues. These interrelated classes are designed to be taken concurrently. Through these shared experiences, first-year students form a peer community that often continues throughout their undergraduate careers.

Freshmen majoring in art enroll in two foundational studio courses and one lecture course for each of their first two semesters. The lecture classes expose, broaden, and challenge students' understanding of contemporary art production. The Foundations of Contemporary Art and Current Directions in Contemporary Art courses introduce students to historical, thematic, critical, and theoretical issues, contextualizing and augmenting their studio assignments and expanding their verbal and visual vocabulary.

Degree Program Components

The Art Education program is divided into four areas of study: 

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines.
  • Aesthetics coursework gives students an opportunity to study both the history of art and contemporary developments in the visual arts.
  • Major requirements offer an in-depth study of studio art.
  • Professional education coursework includes a three-semester sequence of art education coursework.

Program Admission

New freshmen and transfer students are admitted directly to the School of Education with a “pre-Art Ed” classification of PAED. This classification indicates that a student is interested in Art Education, but hasn't completed the eligibility requirements for admission into the professional part of the program.  

On-campus students wishing to be admitted to the School of Education while working on the program’s eligibility requirements can apply for admission to the School of Education by completing a pre-professional application form. A minimum gpa of 2.5 is required, based on UW-Madison coursework. However, it is not necessary to be a "pre" before applying to any of the School of Education's professional programs.

Prospective Art Education majors should meet with the art education program coordinator, Mary Hoefferle, 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, hoefferle@wisc.edu; 608-772-7016.

Undergraduate Art Education students generally apply to the professional part of the Art Education certification program in their sophomore year. Students who already possess a B.S., B.F.A., or advanced degree in visual arts and seek certification in Art Education follow the same application procedures. See the Application and Admission section of the Art Education requirements for specific eligibility criteria and application deadline.

The Art Education program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison follows admission procedures intended to result in an academically qualified student body as varied as possible in terms of academic strengths, life experiences, and professional experiences. As the population of our nation's public schools becomes increasingly multicultural, there is a growing need for teachers from diverse backgrounds. The art education faculty encourages qualified applicants from underrepresented groups to apply for admission to the art education program. In addition, the faculty wish to broaden the field of art education; individuals representing a wide range of visual arts and design are encouraged to apply. A diverse cohort of students enriches the Art Education teacher certification program as well as the profession.

Prospective Transfer Students. Prospective transfer students should meet as early as possible with the Art Education program coordinator and with an advisor at Education Academic Services (see contact information under "Advising" below). Studio and aesthetics coursework taken at another institution may need to be evaluated by the Art department advisor or a faculty member in the art department. Because students interested in Art Education must meet minimum eligibility requirements and apply within strict deadlines, prospective transfer students should meet with an Education Academic Services advisor as soon as possible.


Pre-admission advising is handled by professional staff at Education Academic Services (EAS) and by the art department. Students should consult the Art Education program coordinator, Mary Hoefferle, 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, hoefferle@wisc.edu; 608-772-7016. The undergraduate art program advisor is Julie Ganser, 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, 608-262-1660, ganser@education.wisc.edu. Appointments can be made with an EAS advisor by calling 608-262-1651, or in Room 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall—phone appointments are available. It is strongly recommended that students meet with an EAS advisor at least once before applying for admission.