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Art and Design Education, Undergraduate

two students in an art studio room, with an abstract painting behind them
Victoria Forbes, BFA Art and Design Education, 2024

The Program’s Structure

First-year students take the Foundation Studio Core curriculum, along with core Art History (AH) and Liberal Arts (LAS) courses, and begin the major curriculum in the fall of the second year. While continuing with their required AH and LAS coursework, second-year students pursue more focused courses in art and design education, as well as in their chosen studio-cores, whether Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, or Communication Design.

Within the BFA in Art and Design Education, students can opt to pursue two different paths: one in art and design education with New York State certification and one in community art and design education. In the spring of their senior year, students in the BFA who did not enter the BFA/MA in their first-year have the option of applying to enter the BFA/MA program. All programs provide the following core learning experiences:

Studio Core

All students including those in the BFA/MA take a sequence of a minimum of 18 studio credits in an art or design discipline beginning in their sophomore year. 

Teaching Experience

Students pursuing both degree paths—certification and community art and design education—and students in the BFA/MA take courses that immerse them in fieldwork and student teaching in K-12 public schools and other settings. In their junior year, students decide which path they want to pursue. Students who choose the certification path fulfill their additional student teaching requirements in public schools, and students in the community art and design education track fulfill their student teaching requirements in community-based settings. 

Community Engagement

All students teach in Saturday Art School, a laboratory school for children ages 6-18 from Brooklyn’s many neighborhoods. For over a century, Saturday Art School has provided neighborhood children and adolescents with a quality art and design program, taught by students in the Department of Art and Design Education. 

Students holding a poster of work produced by a child they taught in Saturday Art School.
Students holding a poster of work produced by a child they taught in Saturday Art School.

Integrative Capstone

All BFA students and students in the BFA portion of the BFA/MA program complete a capstone course that supports stu­dents as they integrate their studio core with their teach­ing experi­ences through reflection and research in art and design education. The capstone course in students’ senior year provides a space for students to reflect and build on their learning by investigating a topic in art and design education and developing a senior exhibition and catalog.


Our undergraduate program – BFA in Art and Design Education (with initial teacher certification) – is recognized by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as an “approved teacher preparation program.” In addition to completing an approved program, students must also pass the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and a number of non-curricular requirements in order to become eligible to apply for Initial Teacher Certification in New York State in Visual Art (all grades). Visit our Teacher Certification page for more information.

Project Example

All students learn to teach through making Project Examples. A Project Example is an example of the project the teacher plans to teach to children and is an important instructional strategy in art teacher education. It is the first step in developing a lesson(s) idea. This is not a personal work of art by the student-teacher, but rather a practice work that is created to illuminate and refine the main learning, skills and experiences embedded in the project. ADE students document (in video and/or in writing) their own physical and mental processes as they make their project examples. They then reflect upon their documentation with the goal of understanding the learning potential, challenges, required skills, and areas for possible misunderstandings for the children they will teach.  

Project Example and supporting project example made by a student-teacher in the public schools.
Project Example and supporting project example made by a student-teacher in the public schools.
A Project Example made by a student teacher in the Saturday Art School
A Project Example made by a student-teacher in the Saturday Art School.
Project Example made by a student-teacher in the public schools.
Project Example made by a student-teacher in the public schools.

Our integrated program intertwines studio thinking with learning theories and current research in the field. You’ll develop a firm grounding in the arts and design disciplines with expertise in pedagogical strategies and teaching techniques. Conceptual innovation in education design—from lessons to curricula, projects, and programs—are combined with students’ own interests and experiences.