Ph.D. Art and Design Education

Our doctoral program in art education will help you hone your skills as a researcher and theorist. You'll be prepared to become a teacher or scholar at a college or university. You'll also be ready for leadership positions in a variety of art education settings.

The program will enable you to conduct research on teaching and learning in fine arts and other forms of visual culture. You'll have opportunities to contribute substantial knowledge and exhibit original scholarship.

You'll benefit from:

  • Financial support, such as scholarships and assistantships.
  • Opportunities to conduct and present research.
  • Our strong local community and extended network.
  • Access to rich art and design education resources.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in art and design education requires 60 semester hours beyond a master's degree. The program emphasizes research, theory and philosophical development. It also focuses on the application of new knowledge in the visual arts and design education.

Course Requirements

  • Core courses: 15 semester hours
  • Research methodology: nine semester hours
  • Cognate courses: 12-15 semester hours
  • Elective courses: 12-15 semester hours

Please note: Some courses are offered online. Contact the doctoral program coordinator for more information.

Other Requirements

  • Successful completion of a candidacy examination.
  • Completion of a dissertation of original research.
  • Successful oral defense of the dissertation.

Read more about program requirements.

Program Highlights

You can apply for scholarships, travel funding, tuition waivers and assistantships. A teaching assistantship will give you experience working with undergraduates. A research assistantship will give you a wide range of experience, from managerial work in a higher education program to providing assistance on a faculty research project.

You can apply for an assistantship by filling out a form when you apply to the program.

You'll have many opportunities to conduct and present your research. Our art and design faculty members will mentor you along the way. They are known around the world for their excellence in scholarship, as well as teaching and service. They will also guide your learning in areas such as conference planning, editorial experience and program planning.

Our program has a reputation for building a sense of community among students. We're also known for our networking with potential employers. Our faculty will work with you to ensure both collegiality during the program and employment after graduation.

You'll have opportunities to build your network by attending and presenting at conferences. Some of the conferences our students have been involved with include:

You'll have access to resources at NIU that support study and research in art and design education. These include extensive library facilities and the NIU Art Museum. Due to our close proximity to Chicago, you can also make use of major museums and other resources in the area.

You'll have many chances to interact with the extended art education community and build your professional network. For example, we offer a scholar/speaker series that brings national and international leaders in the field to campus.

You'll work closely with our accomplished faculty members. They have published widely and received major awards and grants.

Douglas Boughton
Professor of art education
Area of focus: Assessment and curriculum

Kerry Freedman
Professor of art education
Area of focus: Visual culture and curriculum

Kelly Gross
Assistant professor of art education
Area of focus: Disability studies and technology

Kryssi Staikidis
Professor of art education
Area of Focus: Multiculturalism

Shei-Chau Wang
Professor of art education
Area of focus: Studio pedagogy/cross-cultural curriculum

How to Apply

We welcome you to apply for admission. You can find admission requirements and application deadlines on the Graduate School website.

View Application Instructions