BFA in Art Education

The BFA in Art Education program is currently accepting applications to the 2024-25 Pre-Art Education cohort. 
Please submit the following materials:
1) Application form: Click Here
2) Portfolio
3) Writing Sample/Essay (1-2 pages)
     Essay prompt: Why do you want to become a high school art teacher? 
4) Your Current Resume
Find more information about the BFA in Art Education program and Portfolio Guidelines below.
Program Description

The BFA in Art Education program provides the requirements for Illinois State teacher licensure and the experiences needed for students to become art teachers in Chicago’s diverse public schools and communities. The program cultivates the study and making of art in a variety of ways that are rooted in local cultures and histories of activism and democratic participation in the public sphere. BFA in Art Education students will develop their own artistic practice and learn how a rigorous process of art making can be shared with their students. 

The BFA in Art Education curriculum is grounded in the understanding that an engaged and engaging art education links students' life experiences to traditional and contemporary art, media, and cultural forms. In addition to taking courses in studio art, students will complete coursework in art education to foster an awareness of collaborative strategies of teaching, learning, and art making. Student teachers gain rich experience and mentorship working with licensed art teachers in Chicago Public Schools. 

As the only public university in the city of Chicago offering a dedicated pathway into art teaching, UIC's BFA in Art Education program is committed to creating models of art education curricula that address inequality and open pathways for students to analyze and create contemporary culture.

Upon completion of all UIC program requirements, and all Illinois State Board of Education licensure requirements, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education students are eligible to be recommended for a secondary teaching license endorsed in visual arts for grades 9-12 (Type 09) and grades K-12. Graduates of UIC's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education program will be qualified to teach visual arts in grades K-12.

Questions about the BFA in Art Education program? Please email us at

Find out more about the program in our BFA in Art Education handbook.

UIC Council on Teacher Education (CTE)
The CTE oversees the programs that prepare students for licensure in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade school settings by the Illinois State Board of Education.
All University of Illinois at Chicago students pursuing Educator Preparation Programs are required to complete academic and non-academic requirements. For more information, visit the CTE Milestones 
Portfolio Guidelines for Pre-Art Education and the BFA in Art Education

We are looking at whether you are developing the artistic range necessary to be a dynamic, engaging art teacher who can teach a range of media and contemporary art practices. For instance, if you are primarily a painter, you will want to show examples of your paintings AND your work in photography and/or digital media. We are also looking at your ability to articulate what your art practice is about. What themes and/or issues are you exploring? What personal, social, and/or cultural connections are you making? What do you want other people to see or experience in your work?

In your portfolio, include examples of your abilities in at least three of the following areas: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, digital media, time-based work, performance, artist- in-residence, etc. Please include examples of artworks you created in your UIC courses. You are also welcome to show examples of your creative practice outside of your course work, such as pages from artist journals, zines, or protest signs. Examples of your creative practice on social media can include blogging, creating Snapchat Geofilters, developing code, and/or curating YouTube channels or Instagram feeds.

Present a portfolio that shows depth as well as breadth of knowledge.

Include samples showing your full range of art making skills and your conceptual focus. 

We want to see more than just a demonstration of skills in various areas. We are assessing the depth of your understanding of committed, contemporary artistic practice. We also want to see examples of artworks that demonstrate your ability to investigate significant themes and ideas that matter to you. Examples should demonstrate how you are making personal and cultural connections through your art practice; for instance, works that touch on cultural heritage or contemporary social issues. If applicable, you may include documentation of art education projects you have been involved with in public space, or in schools or communities.

Earning a Subsequent Endorsement in the Visual Arts

To earn a visual arts subsequent endorsement, educators must complete 18 semester hours of visual arts coursework (at the 100 level or higher and with a grade of C or better) and pass the Visual Arts Content Area Test (214):

ISBE accepts the following areas of coursework to be used toward a visual arts subsequent endorsement:

Art, art appreciation, art education, art history, drawing, fiber arts, painting (watercolors, pastels, etc.), photography, pottery, printmaking, sculpture, typography, and art methods.
*Coursework does not have to be completed in any particular order.

Non-Art or Art Education majors can register for any open 100-level ART course in UIC’s School of Art & Art History (besides ART 101) or any 200-level ART course (with instructor permission). Art History courses are also an option.

Recommended courses in Studio Art, Social Context of Art & Art Education, and Art History:

Studio Art:
Any 100-level (or higher) course in Art (4 credit hours)
*Students may choose 1 or 2 courses in this category.

Social Context of Art & Art Education:
ART 110: Introduction to Art Education (4 credit hours)
IDEA 120: Digital Practices in Design and the Arts (4 credit hours)
ART 190: Introduction to Socially Engaged Art (4 credit hours)
ART 280: Collaborative Resistance Printshop (4 credit hours - offered in summer session)
ART 290: Art and Resistance: Socially Engaged Art (4 credit hours)
*Students may choose 1 or 2 courses in this category

Art History:
AH 100: Introduction to Art and Art History (3 credit hours)
AH 110: World History of Art and the Built Environment I (4 credit hours)
AH 111: World History of Art and the Built Environment II (4 credit hours)
AH 130: Photography in History (3 credit hours)
AH 172: Visual Culture of the Ancient Americas (3 credit hours)
AH 263: Latin American Colonial Art (same as LALS 263) (3 credit hours)
AH 264: African American Art (3 credit hours)
AH 271: Native American Art (3 credit hours)
*Students should choose 2 courses in this category.

Information about the visual arts subsequent endorsement is at the bottom of the Special PK-12 section on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) website:

Download our flyer for more information »

Contact Us

Questions about the Art Education program? Please email us at