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How to Know if the UOnline Master of Arts Teaching—Fine Arts Program is For You

Are you looking for a master’s program that would allow you to not only keep working, but gives you immediate tools you can utilize in your classroom? What would a magical program like that look like?

Let me introduce you to that exact program: UOnline’s Master of Arts in Teaching—Fine Arts (MAT-FA). Do you want to know if this program is right for you?

Read on to get the inside scoop and see!

Summer Intensive group of students

What is the Master of Arts Teaching- Fine Arts?

The MAT-FA is a two-year, 30-credit, primarily online program, with a short on-campus residency each summer. It is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares and trains educators to work authentically alongside children, youth, and adults in a variety of educational, community, and artistic contexts. It emphasizes research and methods-based arts teaching techniques across the fine arts.

This unique program brings all the art forms together. Students within the program, as well as the faculty, have a variety of artistic backgrounds across the fine arts. This includes music, theater, dance (movement), visual arts, and film and media. Students can learn both from each other and from the expert faculty working in the same medium. This broad spectrum of expertise is used to build the curriculum, implement it, and support students as they complete the program.

The curriculum of the MAT-FA was meant to be utilized immediately and in real-time by students as they work on both their degree and their real-life jobs. With this goal in mind, it’s been refined and polished down to the essentials without fluff or filler so that students can get the highest quality information and have the best experience in the most efficient time possible.

A lot of online programs were created with the in-person experience in mind and then, when the pandemic hit, there was a scramble to create an online version. That isn’t the case with the MAT-FA program. It was envisioned as a hybrid online course from the beginning and created to take advantage of that platform while still creating a community among the students enrolled. This hybrid format allows students all over the country to enroll and fit it in around their current jobs.

“The MAT-FA program allows practicing artists and teachers, like me, the flexibility to complete a graduate degree while continuing to do the work we love. With the support of committed faculty and classmates from each of the fine arts disciplines, my education in this program has helped me articulate, refine, and build beyond my professionalization to improve the quality of my student’s learning in more meaningful and empowering ways.”
--Kelly, MAT-FA student

Who is MAT-FA meant for?

The short answer: anyone with a background in the arts who has a passion for students, teaching, and the arts!

The longer answer is, well a little longer. You’ll need at least one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a specific art form.
  • A state arts endorsement in theatre, dance, visual arts, film, or music.
  • A cognate education degree suitable to the study of arts teaching; or
  • Commensurate arts teaching experience (meaning you’ve taught in the field and gotten real-world experience!)

If you have one of the above, the next thing you need is a commitment to the demands required of a graduate program. One of the benefits of the MAT-FA is that you can utilize everything you’re learning in your classroom immediately. You don’t need to be a licensed teacher or even a full-time educator to be accepted to the program.

It helps if you want to find a community of like-minded people; the friends, mentors, and colleagues you’ll come across in the MAT-FA program will support you while you’re taking the classes and long after. Speaking of mentors, do you want to learn from the best of the best in fine arts that the University of Utah has to offer? This program has tenured faculty that are still active in their field and from a variety of backgrounds.

This program is meant for you if you’re ready to dig a little bit deeper and build yourself. Who are you as an educator and a creator? You’ll find that out as you actively participate in the curriculum and implement it. This isn’t sitting behind a desk and watching, this is getting your hands dirty and learning.

So, is the MAT-FA meant for you? If you’re a seasoned artist and teacher and you’re ready for a new adventure of self-discovery to expand your skills, then the answer is a resounding YES!

“I would say, well, to do it... it's already helped me reinvigorate my own outlook, my own motivation.”
--Nick, MAT-FA student

What does the application process look like?

Ready to apply? Applications for UOnline’s MAT-FA program are accepted between August and March (for exact dates please visit the UOnline Master of Teaching—Fine Arts webpage) with an application fee of $55. To apply you need to go to this webpage to fill out the information and send your application materials.

The application materials required for UOnline’s MAT-FA program are:

  1. Statement of Purpose: a written statement where you describe your background, interests, and goals in the study of arts education. This is where you let the program know why you want to be there and why you belong.
  2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae: listing your educational background and experience within the arts.
  3. Letter(s) of Recommendation: one letter of recommendation is required, with a second one being optional. This letter will be requested by the MAT-FA program after you supply their information and they’ll submit the letter directly to the program.
  4. Arts Teaching Portfolio: this includes three lesson plans, a 5- to 8-minute video of you teaching within your medium, images of youth work and/or performances conducted alongside various community members, and (optionally) any other creative work that you want to include that relates to your teaching in the arts.
  5. Current Background Check: students must submit documentation of a cleared background check prior to recommendation for admission into the program.

After submitting everything via the application website above, top applicants will be interviewed by the Arts Education Committee.

Putting everything together for this application can feel a little daunting. But if you infuse it with your passion for your art, the passion for teaching, and show that you know what you’re doing, you’re sure to create something spectacular.

Teacher standing next to a student and guiding her in doing art

What are you waiting for?

If you’re looking for a way to move up in your career, become a better teacher, and find a community of fellow artists then UOnline’s Master of Arts in Teaching—Fine Arts could be exactly what you need! Check out the website and start working on your application today.

Questions? Reach out to the UOnline team at

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Last Updated: 12/21/23