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M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License in Arts and Education


Earn a license to teach PreK-12 visual arts, dance, or theatre arts in Minnesota classrooms. Our license is highly transferable to other states. This is a post-baccalaureate, full-time, 13-month program integrating educational theory with classroom practice. Beginning teachers will be ready to implement a contemporary, comprehensive art education program based on current theory and practice in the field.

After successfully completing licensure requirements, students are recommended for state teaching licensure in one or more of the following licensure specialty areas:

  • Dance
  • Visual Arts
  • Theatre Arts

Master of Education

This program includes two components: initial teaching licensure and M.Ed. degree. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers our teacher preparation programs at the graduate level because it affords you the opportunity to master your content knowledge through your undergraduate degree before being placed in a real classroom for an optimal learning experience.

This model offers the following advantages:

  • Teachers with a master's degree are regarded as experts in their field, making you a more competitive job candidate with an M.Ed.
  • Teachers who have a master's degree will see a roughly $7,000 annual salary increase [].
  • Though the salary increase with a master's degree will vary by district and state, Minnesota teachers are on the higher end of the payscale.
  • Once a teacher is employed, there is much more mobility that comes with a master's degree. Teachers with advanced degrees can be promoted to school administration positions and become mentors to other teachers based upon their graduate training.

Complete your M.Ed. by taking 3 credits (typically one course) during your licensure program, or complete the final course after you start working. With faculty advisor approval obtained before registration, students choose graduate-level courses from art education, studio art, art history, or general education courses as appropriate.


The initial licensure coursework is offered in a full-time, twelve-month format. Courses start in the mid-June and finish the following summer. See the curriculum below for more details.

Students earning their M.Ed. along with their initial teaching license (which we highly recommend) will complete one additional course (3 credits) after the initial licensure coursework is completed.


All graduate arts education coursework includes student teaching at both the elementary and secondary level and meets Minnesota Board of Teaching discipline-specific requirements for K-12 theatre, visual arts, or dance. This amounts to seven required courses (or 24 credits). Our program is sequential and each required course is offered once per academic year, beginning in the summer semester, and can be completed by the end of the second summer. Summer semester courses are offered in shorter two to three week overlapping intervals meeting in both the morning and afternoon. Each of our three fall courses meets once a week from 4:40-7:20 p.m. for 15 weeks. Six weeks of student teaching at the elementary level and six weeks in middle or high school is usually completed in the Spring semester (with summer semester in year-round schools being a possibility for working teachers).

To view required courses, visit the graduate course catalog and look under the subplan "Arts in Education."

In order to be recommend for your Minnesota k-12 Dance, Theatre, and/or Visual Arts License (s), you must successfully complete these licensure requirements required by the state of Minnesota.

Unique Cohort and Co-Teaching Model

You will be placed in a classroom with an experienced teacher as part of your educational experience. With ample opportunity to co-teach with a master teacher, you'll merge the theory of your coursework with the complex and compelling realities of the classroom to enter your career with confidence and experience in the field. Learn more about the co-teaching experience.

Our graduate program is designed to foster a community of support. You will join a cohort of candidates who want to become social studies teachers and be paired with experienced teachers to complete your fieldwork, entering the classroom prepared to teach.

"The strength of the cohort model is in the relationships that are built ... people from my cohort are still close friends and professional resources for me."

— Reid Anderson, M.Ed. 2013

Teacher Scholars of Color program

Do you identify, or are you identified, as a non-majority racial group? Consider participating in the Teacher Scholars of Color program. Students admitted to the M.Ed. and initial teaching license have the opportunity to join a community of prospective teachers of color and get paired with a faculty mentor. International students are also welcome to this program. Find out more about the TSoC program.

Career Outlook

Licensed teachers in visual arts, dance, and theatre are in high demand. Our program is the only one for dance and theatre teacher licensure in Minnesota and 100 percent of the 2017-2018 arts-in-education cohort found teaching jobs within a year of graduation.

The annual mean salary for Minnesota teachers in 2019 was $63,250 for elementary school teachers, $64,790 for middle school teachers, and $64,960 for high school teachers [Bureau of Labor Statistics].

Admissions Information

Priority deadline for application: December 15

If you already have earned your initial teaching license, we offer an additional teaching license in visual arts, theatre and dance education.

To ensure you have the required prerequisites to enter the program, please get your transcript prechecked by an academic advisor before applying.

DirecTrack to Teaching: For current freshmen and sophomores at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, DirecTrack to Teaching offers a preferred admission to the M.Ed. and Initial licensure program. If you are a freshman or sophomore interested in teaching, visit the DirecTrack page.

For more detailed admissions information, visit the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License Admissions page.

Kate Drakulic, University of Minnesota

"I was looking into different pathways to receive my teaching license in Visual Arts as well as my master’s degree, and nothing compared to this program's 13-month, accelerated timeframe."

Kate Drakulic, M.Ed. 2020