Art Education/Art Therapy (AET) major

What you will study

Alverno College is the only college or university in Wisconsin that offers this unique dual major, which results in licensure to teach in Art Education (550) and a supplemental license in Adaptive Education (859) with an emphasis on Art. Students are engaged in art educational and therapeutic approaches, working with students in the PreK-12th grade population in addition to learning how to teach and adapt art for children and adults. Students learn the pedagogical theory of art education, the wellness and therapeutic models of art therapy and expressive arts, and they implement their learning in educational and non-educational settings, engaging their students and participants in rich, accessible art experiences.  

In order to teach art effectively, you first need to develop a solid base in studio art. Your studies focus on both the meaning and form of art. By actively creating works of your own, you are able to engage fully with aesthetic experience. By working with various media, you expand your ability to invent and experiment. Your program of studies includes an introduction to drawing and 2D and 3Ddesign and color theories. You learn the processes of ceramics, painting, metals, fibers, photography, computer graphics, printmaking, and sculpture, and other media to support your ability to create effective lessons and develop your own artmaking knowledge, skills, and abilities.

You also study art history and art from other cultures, as by studying the legacy of the past you come to better understand yourself and the work of contemporary artists. You analyze art in historical context, considering how factors such as politics, economics, religion, education, and technology impact the arts. You learn to make informed artistic judgments and to recognize the artistic relationships necessary to produce art. In addition, you learn about the cultural and artistic influences of historically underrepresented and disenfranchised groups.

In order to develop and refine your teaching ability, you take courses in psychology and art education, integrated with the liberal arts curriculum. As an Art Education/Art Therapy double major, you take additional courses to expand your expertise in Abnormal Psychology (PSY 250), understanding the Exceptional Learner (ED396), working with Expressive Arts (A492), and Art Therapy processes (AE285).  You learn to analyze the general and specific needs of particular age groups, and to relate these needs to artistic  forms, manipulation of materials, and behavioral characteristics. Your art education fieldwork includes classroom observations and practices in regular and inclusive art settings. 

The culmination of the art education/art therapy major lies in successful completion of two nine-week Student Teaching experiences in PreK-12th grade art education, and an additional semester Student Teaching Practicum in adaptive education in art, working with students with exceptional needs in an art education setting. These experiences are required by the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for licensure. Upon graduation, you can be licensed as a PK-12 art educator (550) and PK-12 adaptive art specialist (859).  Students are confident and highly qualified art educators who can flexibly and creatively meet the needs of all of their students after completing this unique program.

Beginning Requirements
A-100Community Art/Design Midsemester0
A-121Analytic Drawing3
A-122Expressive Drawing3
AE-130Aesthetic Engagement Ext Assessmnt Lev 10
A-1342-D Design3
A-189SForm and Space4
A-193CArt in the Professions2
AHS-210Ancient to Byzantine Art (Course offered fall term only)2
A-221Beginning Figure Drawing3
AE-230Aesthetic Engagement Ext Assessmnt Lev 20
A-2343-D Design3
AHS-252Medieval to Modern Art4
AE-222Principles of Art Education3
AE-285Art Therapy3
AE-330Aesthetic Engagement Ext Assessmnt Lev 30
PSY-110Life Span Development4
Intermediate Requirements
A-100Community Art/Design Midsemester 10
ED-116Relational Competence Workshop3
A-147Grant Writing for Artists & Educators1
A-262Graphic Design & Illustration3
A-399Formal Introduction to Advanced Work0
A ElectiveArt (A) Elective, 300 or 400 level15
AE-386Media & Methods in Art Therapy3
AE-387Adaptive Field Experience1
AE-392Art in Early Childhood & Elementary Sch4
AE-393Art in the Secondary School4
AE-395Ext Assessmnt Aesthetic Engagement Lev 40
ED-220Interview Assessment0
ED-396Introduction to Exceptional Learner4
HS-312Lives of First People2
PSY-250Abnormal Psychology4
PST 329 Praxis II Completed
PST 406 Praxis II Completed
Advanced Requirements
A-100Community Art/Design Midsemester0
AHS ElectiveArt History (AHS) Elective2
AHS-409Modern & Contemporary Art3
A-491Senior Art Seminar1
A-492Expressive Arts Seminar3
AE-400Ext Assessmnt Aesthetic Engagement Lev 50
AE-450Ext Assessmnt Aesthetic Engagement Lev 60
AE-482Ext Assessmnt Effective Citizenship Lev40
ED-475Student Teaching Seminar0
Direct Observ & Teaching Art/Elem Sch
and Direct Obs & Teaching Art/Secondary Sch
AE-481Directed Observ/Teaching in Art Therapy6

Take this mid-semester assessment for each semester 3, 4, 5.


3 credits must be at 400 level.

This major does not require a minor and follows the general education requirements for mega majors-not science related.