MAT Program

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Master of Arts in Teaching: Start Here/Go Anywhere

Maine College of Art’s ten-month Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program prepares artists to become effective art educators who learn to translate their unique qualities into creative teaching practices. The program blends theory with practical, action-based learning in hands-on settings that enrich both creativity and critical thinking. Field work and community engagement are essential components of the program. Like most students at MECA, the MAT candidates can be seen working in a variety of settings across the greater Portland area, including schools, museums, and community-based learning centers.

The MAT is divided into three phases: a one-month summer intensive where theory-based courses are taught in an institute-like setting with field experiences beginning on the very first day; a fall semester of courses that include studio art, teaching methods & curriculum building, work in alternative settings, and a consideration of how to manage a classroom for all students; and a spring semester that culminates with a 15-week student teaching experience, enhanced by an action research seminar.

While in the program, you will:

• apply your artistic creativity to inspire PK-12 students

• continue your work as an artist

• acquire the skills and dispositions needed to form your own educational philosophy to be successful with a culturally and economically diverse group of students

• work with children and youth in alternative settings such as The Telling Room, LearningWorks, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, SPACE Gallery, the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Portland Museum of Art

Once core courses have been completed, candidates may intern for student teaching in Maine or any other qualified setting across the US or around the world. MECA is also listed as a participating college with the Department of Defense Schools (DoDEA) for placement of student teachers. 

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to apply for certification in Maine as well as other US states, territories, the DoDEA, and the District of Columbia under their Interstate Reciprocity Agreements. Most international schools accept US certifications as well.

Our priority application deadline is March 1, 2015.

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We Want to Inspire

"We’re the ones who someday will be the art teacher in high school that you all loved. We're the ones who might be the middle school art teacher whom you don't really remember, but somehow it was still your favorite class. Or the art teacher in elementary school who first introduced you to clay. We’re the ones who want to tell the schools, the parents, the community, how important the arts are." — Ceri Nichols, Graduation Speaker 2015. IB Art Teacher, Greely HIgh School, Cumberland, ME


For an art educator, the classroom becomes another type of studio where artistic inspirations translate into engaged learning and expressive art making. MAT classes are held in spaces that lend themselves to working with children and youth, at MECA or on location in schools or community-based organizations. Teacher candidates are required to continue their own art making in the Fall Term by enrolling in studio courses or Continuing Studies classes


Meaningful collective inquiry is a key to learning. Candidates participate in reflection and critique of works-in-progress for their lesson plans, papers, and their own studio artwork. In turn, they also learn to instill a positive sense of reflection and critique in their students, selecting age-appropriate techniques to foster discussion and the realization of artistic visions. Likewise, we collaborate with school and community partners to offer dynamic and engaging art experiences.


\e-klek-tik, i-\  deriving ideas, styles or methods from a variety of sources.

Effective teaching requires the ability to apply or adapt a wide variety of strategies to address student learning needs and interests just as a wide palette gives a painter many choices for expression. Our coursework offers teaching opportunities to explore and experiment with the best contemporary practices in art education. When existing techniques do not work, teachers need to invent new methods to engage students. That’s where teaching artistry becomes play!

Benefits to Program Participants

Intimate Community

Our setting in the small, yet artistically vibrant town of Portland, Maine adds to the close-knit feeling found among candidates, faculty and our community partners. Candidates benefit from working closely with peers who have very different backgrounds and ideas to share.  The small class size and dedicated faculty insure individualized attention, and positive peer interactions help to develop bonds that support each other’s goals.

Experience-based Learning

The MAT program at MECA emphasizes learning by doing. Our connections with the Greater Portland community of public and private schools, galleries, professional artists and community centers, coupled with MECA’s own resources – a vibrant visiting artist program, the Joanne Waxman Library, the Institute of Contemporary Art – make our program an exceptional pathway to a teaching career in visual art.

Rigorous Program

Teacher candidates carry a full course load with extensive observation hours and formal readings to connect theory to practice.  Demanding, real world deadlines and extensive practice writing lessons and improving upon them through detailed feedback prepare candidates to meet our expectations for creatively incorporating and interpreting state and national standards. Online portfolios document the progress being made toward reaching these high expectations for teacher preparation.

Career Preparation

Ten months of dedicated, full-time learning allows candidates to complete the MAT in time for Spring and Summer employment opportunities and job interviews. As a 2015 graduate wrote in May, “I had my first interview today. It was actually kind of fun and as I was driving home I realized how prepared I was for this. I just want to thank you both so much for that. There wasn't a question that I didn't feel ready for. It helped so much to be interviewing fresh out of school, having just shared my philosophy, action research etc. during our exit interviews. In the interview I even got to explain my action research Impressionist lesson and showed them my presentation with the different results!”


Become an art educator in a place that offers an exceptional program for artists who wish to teach. MECA’s 10-month program in Art Education (MAT) prepares you to apply for certification in all the states and Canadian provinces that participate in the Interstate Teaching Compact. The Art Ed (MAT) program includes student teaching and classes in community based collaborative art and museum education—as well as education theory, history and methods.

Maine College of Art - Art Education Program from Maine College of Art on Vimeo.



Classes for the 2015-2016 academic year will begin with an orientation on July 31, 2015.


2015-2016 Academic Year Fees

  Semester Year
Tuition $9,155 $18,310
College Service $90 $180
Lab $50 $100
Mandatory Health Insurance  - $1950 (est)
Trasnscript (one-time charge) - $50

How to Apply

Art Education (MAT) Application [PDF]

Students who withdraw from the college during a semester may be eligible for a refund. A refund is a reduction in the original tuition and housing charges, rather than a portion of the amount already paid to the college. The withdrawal date is established by the receipt of a written withdrawal notice by the Registrar's Office. 

  Fall Spring    Percentage of Refund                         
Withdraw by                       7.31.15 1.02.16                     100%  
Exit form filed by        8.10.15 1.11.16  75%  
Exit form filed by  8.17.15 1.19.16  40%  
No refund after 8.17.15 1.19.16  0%