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Art Education

About the Program

The art education program at SUNY Buffalo State, established in 1930, is among the oldest state-sponsored preparatory programs for art teachers in the United States. 

Because art education majors take fine arts and design courses in addition to art education courses, students develop a broad, diverse understanding of both art and the theory and practice of art education. School districts across the United States value SUNY Buffalo State art education graduates for the scope and depth of their education.

The art education program prepares students for initial certification to teach pre-kindergarten through grade 12 art in New York State schools.

  • The program develops art education professionals who are knowledgeable about the subject of art;
  • who think systematically about the act of teaching;
  • who are committed to teaching students about art in meaningful and critical ways;
  • who consider teaching to be a dynamic and continuing process of development and growth;
  • who recognize and respect individual differences in their students and adapt their teaching strategies to fit individual student needs;
  • who are sensitive to issues related to diversity in class, ethnicity, and gender in contemporary society;
  • who are active in the professional, cultural, and art communities; who understand and are prepared to utilize current technology and media in the public school art programs;
  • who understand and promote the value of art in contemporary cultures;
  • who are prepared to address the unique learning needs of pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in an urban, suburban, and rural environments.

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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education

Graduates of the art education program are awarded a bachelor of fine arts degree, which is considered a liberal arts degree with a studio/art history concentration by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The B.F.A. degree provides the credentials for NYS Initial Certification to teach art, Pre-K–12.

Postbaccalaureate Program

For students who have completed degrees in art or design and want to teach in America’s PreK-12 schools, completing the 36 credit hour postbaccalaureate teacher certification program means the student has met all educational requirements for initial teaching certification from the New York State Education Department, including student teaching experiences.

The student must then meet additional certification requirements, including passing the NYS Teacher Certification Examinations. Teaching certificates are issued by New York State. The AED coursework taken in the postbaccalaureate program is the same as in the undergraduate B.A. program, however, application for the post-bac program is managed through the Graduate School (Cleveland Hall 204; 716-878-5601).

Art Therapy (Minor)

The art therapy minor introduces students to the use of art as a way for people with exceptional needs to express themselves, and for art therapists to promote the individual growth and development of their clients.

Master of Science in Art Education

The 30-credit-hour master of science in education (M.S.Ed.) program expands upon and strengthens the undergraduate program in art education. Students may gain more extensive experience in a studio area or hone skills in areas such as curriculum and assessment, aesthetics, youth cultures, feminism and art, or museum education. Courses in content specialties are combined with core courses, which culminate in a project or thesis.


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Art & Design Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Upton Hall 402 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-6032 •  Fax: (716) 878-4231