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Master's Programs

Arts in Education

In the Arts in Education (AIE) Program, you will learn how to harness the extraordinary power of the arts to raise educational outcomes for learners and enrich overall quality of life for communities. Because the AIE Program is flexible, you have the freedom to design an individualized course of study that explores new ways of reaching students in and through the arts.

In the AIE Program, you will join a diverse cohort of visual artists, musicians, museum educators, nonprofit arts advocates, actors, teachers, and writers who believe that the arts not only have intrinsic societal value, but also multiple roles in youth education and healthy development. You will acquire new analytical skills, forge powerful creative partnerships, and explore the relationship of the arts to other sectors in education.

Faculty Director Steve Seidel on the AIE Program:

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Arts in Education Program's website. We hope you will find here a useful array of information and features about the program. Whether you are considering applying to the program or are simply interested in the roles of the arts in education, we hope this website provides you with insights and provokes your interest.

Our focus in this program is intentionally broad. We aim to explore both the current realities and the rich possibilities that exist for including the arts in all kinds of educational settings with a wide range of students — across age levels, in and outside of schools, across diverse cultural contexts, and across all artistic domains. We believe the field of arts education is growing and developing and that this development will be well served by educators who have a "big picture" of the field and a vision of how it can — and should — further evolve. In the program, we both study and conduct our own research into the history, policies, practices, philosophies, conditions, and learning theories of the arts in education.

We also believe that the arts have a powerful role to play in envisioning and creating a more equitable and just society. Both in schools and community settings, learning in and through the arts helps to create ethically and aesthetically rich environments for living and learning. By analyzing and addressing issues of equity and social justice, we believe artists and arts educators can make unique contributions to education and social change.

Further, we believe that the traditional "silos" of art forms, age levels, and settings — all of which tend to divide and isolate those in the arts sector — should be questioned and challenged. Indeed, we aim, through the variety of students in the program, to establish a foundation for a new definition of the arts sector in education, moving from "arts education" to the more inclusive, boundary-crossing "arts in education."

In addition to directing the Arts in Education Program, I am also a senior research associate at Project Zero (PZ), a research organization here at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I was director of Project Zero for eight years (2001-2009), but handed over those responsibilities to Shari Tishman, a long-time senior research associate at PZ and a member of the Arts in Education Program faculty, five years ago. Just this past February, Shari handed the leadership of PZ to Daniel Wilson, another senior research associate at PZ and also a HGSE faculty member.

Project Zero has been conducting research on learning in and through the arts since 1967, and I invite you to visit the PZ website, if you have further interest in this field. Please note, as well, Howard Gardner's essay on "Project Zero and the Arts in Education Program: Passion Tempered by Discipline" on this website. As Gardner's essay describes, the Arts in Education Program has a long history of close ties with Project Zero. Indeed, Jessica Hoffmann Davis, the founder and former director of the Arts in Education Program, was a researcher at Project Zero for many years before serving as the first director of AIE.

Further, many of AIE's "arts related" faculty members (e.g., Howard Gardner, David Perkins, and Shari Tishman) have done research at Project Zero and much of that research is included in the program's core course. David Perkins and Howard Gardner, each with many years as HGSE faculty, were founding members of Project Zero and shared the director role at PZ for over 30 years. HGSE students and AIE students, in particular, participate in Project Zero research studies and we are always looking for ways to expand those opportunities.

In addition to the invaluable affiliation with Project Zero, I have the wonderful guidance and support of the AIE Advisory Council to thank for the success of the program. Consisting of several new faces as well as loyal supporters from the original founding of the program in the 1990s, this Council counts among its members active artists, cultural philanthropists, and arts educators who put civic engagement and arts education advocacy among their highest priorities. I would like to name them here: Joan Abrahamson, Giselle "Gigi" Antoni, Richard Bell, Melanie Brown, Naomi Cohen, David Dik, Sarah Hancock, John Humphrey, Wendy Tarlow Kaplan, Susan Miller-Havens, Karen Rotenberg, Jane Forbes Saltonstall, and Jeannette Taylor.

Having started as faculty director of the Arts in Education Program in 2004, I’ve learned so much from from the hundreds of students I’ve worked with, and I continue to be inspired by their brilliance and dedication.  Indeed, it is an honor and privilege to contribute to the education and development of outstanding cohorts of emerging and established leaders and innovators in the field of arts education. That is why it gives me such special pleasure to be here as the program celebrates its 20th anniversary in the spring of 2017.

Whatever your interest in this program, please feel free to contact us. We want to hear your thoughts and questions. And please come visit, if you can.

Steve Seidel
Program Director, Arts in Education Program
Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Senior Lecturer in Arts in Education
Senior Research Associate and Director Emeritus, Project Zero

Program Highlights

The one-year, full-time AIE Program is ideal for self-directed learners who want to leverage the remarkable breadth of HGSE course offerings to become effective advocates for arts-based education initiatives, both in and out of schools. Here are a few of the reasons why this program is so strong:

  • Foundational education – Whatever career path you pursue, an AIE education will give you the theoretical foundation to push your practice to new levels of effectiveness and impact.
  • Individualized curriculum – AIE students are given great freedom to choose their own academic pathway, studying topics as varied as universal design and technology, learning in museums, leadership in social-change organizations, gender and sexuality in schools, politics and educational policy, adolescent development, neuroscience, and more. This interdisciplinary approach prepares you to be an “education entrepreneur,” making new connections between the arts and education at the classroom, school, and community level.
  • Field experience – There are many progressive arts in education organizations and advocacy groups in the Cambridge and Boston area. For-credit internships through the Field Experience Program are one cornerstone of the AIE experience, offering hands-on opportunities to work with local artists and youth in school and after-school settings.
  • Cohort community – You will form strong bonds with the other members of your cohort through a year-long seminar exclusively for AIE students. Outside of class, students share their artistic work during AIE Cabaret nights, concerts, film screenings, and campus art gallery expositions. It is energizing and inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative artists and educators working together to make an impact in the lives of young people.

The AIE Program is one of the most flexible and self-directed graduate programs at HGSE. Apart from two required seminars — one each semester — you are given full freedom to design your own unique academic pathway based on previous work experience, creative interests, and professional goals. 


You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in the following categories:

Arts-Related Courses

View all courses in the Academic Catalogue.


In addition to taking arts-related courses at HGSE, you are free to cross-register for classes at all Harvard graduate schools and MIT. Recent AIE students have taken classes in the following schools and departments:

Internships and Fieldwork

Many AIE students take advantage of hands-on, for-credit internships through the Field Experience Program. An internship with an arts-related organization can also count toward your requirement of three (3) arts-related courses. Examples of recent internship sites include:

Student Pathways

There are so many different ways to customize an AIE education that no two transcripts are alike. To better understand what an individualized AIE program looks like — courses, internships, and extracurricular activities — read through some of our student pathways from recent years:


The core AIE faculty consists of individuals with deep experience in both the research and practice of arts-based education. We have experts in museum learning who have served as consultants to MoMA and the Tate Museums, MacArthur Prize recipients, philosophers who study the connection between art and understanding, media scholars who double as TV producers, and a performing musician who studies group learning. Several of our faculty members are principal investigators with Project Zero, a landmark research initiative into the arts and education for more than 35 years.


Because the AIE Program is intentionally broad in its focus, we attract a remarkably diverse mix of students. Many AIE students are working artists or have trained in the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, creative writing, and other art forms. Some are experienced educators who want to incorporate the arts more effectively into their students’ learning experiences. Others come with specific academic or professional interests: using the arts as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients, arts integration, the design of after-school arts programs, the use of the arts with incarcerated populations, or promoting intercultural understanding through the arts.

A passion for issues of equity and social justice is a hallmark of HGSE and is shared by students in AIE, where we explore the particular ways in which the arts can help help address these issues. AIE students want to learn to analyze issues of access and quality in all kinds of schools and community settings and how to design and manage arts programs in these settings. They also want to learn how innovative arts-based interventions can be used to address inequities in society. Most of all, they want to become informed and empowered advocates for the use of art and imagination in conceptualizing and building a more just society.


AIE alumni are making an impact as leaders, educators, and social entrepreneurs in communities across the U.S. and the world. Roughly one-third of AIE alumni work in nonprofit arts organizations as directors, program developers, and researchers. Another quarter of alumni advocate for the arts within schools as teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers. A significant number of graduates pursue doctoral degrees and work in higher education as researchers and professors of arts education. Many AIE alumni work in museums as curators and education specialists, while others work for private arts foundations and grantmaking organizations.

Recent AIE graduates are working in the following organizations: 

HGSE Arts in Education Alumni Networking

Several years ago, a few HGSE Arts in Education program alumni, lamenting the separation from classmates and other like-minded arts educators, initiated an alumni-networking group called Continuing the Conversation (CtC). The mission of Continuing the Conversation is to promote and advance dialogue in order to identify and work on urgent issues in the Arts in Education sector and to inspire those involved to lead and create change in this sector and beyond through expanding the place of the arts in education and in society. To provide opportunity and inspiration for substantive dialogue on the issues facing the arts in education community, CtC brings together professionals and supporters of the field from all over the world for regional meetings around the U.S. and larger conferences on the HGSE campus. Please see the CtC website, for information about the next gathering on the HGSE campus, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, 2018.

See a bibliograpy of books and other publications students, faculty, and staff in the HGSE Arts in Education program:

  • Nicole Agois, and Kati Blair, both Ed.M.’06, have worked together at VSA of Massachusetts for many years — in recent years along with Aysha Upchurch, Ed.M.’15, director of the COOL Schools projects; Willa Peragine, Ed.M.’13; and others. They have contributed to the following volumes of for educators interested in using the arts for students with various disabilities.
  • Dana Frantz Bentley, Ed.M.’05, a preschool teacher at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, is the author of Everyday Artists: Inquiry and Creativity in the Early Childhood Classroom (New York: Teachers College Press, 2013) and of a wide range of articles on the arts, pedagogy, and teacher research in the early childhood classroom.                                       
  • In 2013, Ellen Berrahmoun, Ed.M.’01, arts education director of the Arts Council for Monterey County, California, published a book of poems and photographs, The Secret Life of the City: Street Portraits of Grace and Beauty, with Blurb Books. 
  • In his day-job as Principal Investigator at Harvard Project Zero, Edward Clapp, Ed.M.’07, co-directs the Agency Design project with Shari Tishman. His most recent solo-authored book is Participatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom (New York and London: Routledge, 2017). With fellow PZ researchers Jessica Ross, Jennifer O. Ryan (Ed.M.’07), and Shari Tishman, Edward has co-edited Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2017). With former Harvard Educational Review board member Laura Edwards he co-edited a special HER arts-education issue, Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2013), that featured work by AIE grads Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, Ed.M.’02; Marit Dewhurst, Ed.M.’03; Lauren M. Jobson-Ahmed, Nicholas Monzi, and Sara Straubel, all Ed.M.’13; AIE faculty director Steve Seidel; and AIE program administrator Scott Ruescher. It all began, though, when he edited 20UNDER40: Re-inventing the arts and arts education for the 21st century (Bloomington, IN: Author House; 2010), a volume that includes contributions by AIE graduates Danielle LaSenna, Ed.M.’07, and Eric Oberstein, Ed.M.’10.
  • Gemma Cooper-Novack, Ed.M.’10, a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University, published a collection of poems, We Might As Well Be Underwater, with Unsolicited Press in 2017.
  • Afton Cyrus, Ed.M.’12, formerly in the Arts Expansion Initiative office in the Boston Public Schools, contributed to the book Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, & More in 2016 for America’s Test Kitchen.
  • Back home — and almost DownEast, in Portland, Maine — Chelsea H.B. DeLorme, Ed.M.’12, has contributed two “guided journals” — Q&A a Day for Writers: 1-Year Journal and Q&A a Day for Moms: A 5-Year Journal.
  • Jim Daichendt, Ed.M.’03, a/k/a G. James Daichendt, dean of arts and humanities and professor of art history at Point Loma Nazarene University in Southern California, has written a number of books about contemporary art, especially street art, including Kenny Scharf: In Absence of Myth (Flexibound, 2016); Shepard Fairey, Inc.: Artist/Professional/Vandal (2013); Stay Up!: Los Angeles Street Art (Cameron, 2012); and Artist-teacher: A Philosophy for Creating and Teaching. (Blackwell, 2011).
  • Marit Dewhurst, Ed.M.’03, the director of art education an assistant professor in art and museum education at City College of New York (CUNY), where she also directs City Art Lab, a community art education program, published her book, Social Justice Art: A Framework for Activist Art Pedagogy, with Harvard Education Press in 2014. She has contributed articles to such collections as Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice (co-edited by Mary Stone Hanley and others), Studies in Art Education, and the article, Ka ulana ‘ana i ka piko (In Weaving You Begin at the Center), in the special spring 2013 arts-education issue of the Harvard Educational Review.
  • Lynn Ditchfield, Ed.M.’03, an adult-ed theater artist on Martha’s Vineyard, has published three narratives inspired by her work as an interpreter, in 2014, with a pro-bono immigration lawyer at a Detention Center for Women and Children in Artesia, New Mexico: Leaving Home – Guatemala (poems); Afortunada/ The Lucky One – El Salvador; and The Final Goodbye – Honduras.
  • Rachelle Doorley, Ed.M.'04, is the author of Tinker Lab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors (Roost Books, 2014), a book for families and educators who care about raising creative thinkers.
  • Annie Gaughen, Ed.M.’14, has been publishing a popular and well-received new YA novel, under the name AC Gaughen, every other year or so. Her novels include Scarlet (Walker and Co., 2012), Lady Thief (Walker and Co. 2014), and Lion Heart (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 2015). Her new one, Reign the Earth, is scheduled for publication in January 2018. 
  • Lisa Hiton, Ed.M.’13, is the author of a chapbook of poetry, Variation on Testimony (CutBank Literary); a contributor to Poets on Growth: An Anthology of Poetry and Craft, edited by Peter LaBerge and Talin Talajian; and the author of educational materials for Cavendish Square Publishing, including The Theory of Relativity; Inventions in Music: From Monochords to MP3s; Inventions in Fashion: From Rawhide to Rayon; and Gravity, Orbiting Objects, and Planetary Motion.
  • Jeff Hopkins, Ed.M.’05, a museum educator in New York who is known for doing interactive drawing sessions for young people, has illustrated a number of children’s books for Wilkinson Studios, Inc., including The Only One Club, A Rainy Day, Jack and Jill, and Loni's Town.
  • Christie Jackson, Ed.M.'01, senior curator for the Trustees of Reservations, co-authored (with Brock Jobe and Clark Pearce) Crafting Excellence: The Furniture of Nathan Lumbard and His Circle (Yale University Press, 2017).
  • Meredith Eppel Jylkka, Ed.M.’97, who more recently has been working in Boston foundations, co-authored three studies during her time as a researcher in Project Zero: Arts Survive: The Sustainability of Arts Education Partnerships, with Maria Martiniello and Steve Seidel, in 2001; Another Safe Haven: Portraits of Boulevard Art Center, with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, in 1996; and The Wheel in Motion: Co-Arts Assessment Plan from Theory to Practice, with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, also in 1996.
  • Srivi Kalyan, Ed.M.’07, a writer, illustrator, and educator in Chennai, India, and the founder of Fooniferse Arts, has published a number of books in recent years, including Coming home to earth: Space, Line, Form (co-authored with A.V. Ilango; Chennai: Fooniferse Arts, 2015); Run Ranga! Run! (illustrated by Srivi Kalyan: New Delhi: Katha, 2014); Tales of Love and Adventure (illustrated by Srivi Kalyan: Scholastic, 2016; My Special Heart (As part of Heart and Human Body Kit — designed and illustrated by Srivi Kalyan: Sesame Workshop India, 2010); Heart Kit Storybook 2 —designed and illustrated by Srivi Kalyan: Sesame Workshop India, 2010).
  • Felicia Khoja, Ed.M.’14, co-authored App Inventor 2 Essentials, an introductory guide to developing mobile apps, with Krishnendu Roy. 
  • Since publishing Awe with Wave Books the year she graduated from the AIE program, Dorothea “Dottie” Lasky, Ed.M.’07, has published a new collection every two or three years, including two more with Wave (Black Life in 2010 and Thunderbird in 2012) and Rome: Poems with Norton in 2014. She is a professor in the creative program at Columbia University.
  • Wendy Mages, Ed.D.'08, who took Jessica Davis’s two courses during the late 1990s, in 2017 contributed an article, “Drama-based Interventions and Narrative,” to The Routledge International Handbook of Early Literacy Education: A Contemporary Guide to Literacy Teaching and Interventions in a Global Context, published in New York by the Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Clare McFadden, Ed.M.’13, wrote and illustrated The Flying Orchestra for publication by Queensland Press, in Australia, in 2010. With literacy-education colleague Liza Cochran she co-edited Write the World: Young Voices Across the Globe (Best of 2016) — published in Cambridge by Write the World, 2016.
  • Caleb Neelon, Ed.M.’04, a Boston-based public artist who has painted walls all over the world, co-authored WALL WRITERS: Graffiti in its Innocence, with Roger Gastman, Trina Calderon, and Chris Pape (Gingko Press, 2016); History of American Graffiti, with Roger Gastman (HarperCollins, 2011); and Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980s, with Roger Gastman, Iley Brown, and Joseph Pattisal (R77, 2013).
  • Diana Norma Szokolyai, Ed.M.’09, the executive artistic director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, has published two chapbooks of poems in recent years, Roses in the Snow (poems and photographs) (Boston: Imaginary Cottage Press, 2008) and Parallel Sparrows (Georgetown, Kentucky: Finishing Line Press, 2012).
  • Alison Forbes Van Hook, Ed.M.’02, co-authored The Peaceful Nursery: Preparing a Home for Your Baby with Feng Shui, with Laura Forbes Carlin — and published the book in New York with Bantam Dell in 2006.  
  • In 2014, Courtney Weida, Ed.M.’04, an associate professor of art education and the director of graduate art education at Adelphi University, co-authored The South Station Hoard: Imagining, Creating and Empowering Violent Remains and edited Crafting Creativity and Creating Craft: Craftivism, Art Education, and Contemporary Craft CultureShe has contributed articles on a variety of art-education topics to the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, the Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, the Journal of Visual Culture and Gender, and other publications.
  • Lisa Wong, M.D., an AIE-sponsored visiting scholar in 2014 and a classical musician, published Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine (New York: Pegasus Books, 2012). 
  • Jessica Hoffmann Davis, founding former director of the HGSE Arts in Education program, has published a great deal of work since stepping down from her job in 2004. She started with Framing Education as Art: The Octopus Has a Good Day (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005); continued soon thereafter with Why Our Schools Need the Arts (New York: Teachers College Press, 2008), Ordinary Gifted Children: The Power and Promise of Individual Attention (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010), and Why Our High Schools Need the Arts (New York: Teachers College Press, 2012). More recently she has edited Discourse and Disjuncture Between the Arts and Higher Education (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), a collection that includes contributions by her former AIE teaching fellows Tiffanie Ting, Ed.M.'02, and Adriana KatzewRubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, Ed.M.’00, Rhoda Bernard, Ed.M.’99; James G. Daichendt, Ed.M.’03; Marit Dewhurst, Ed.M.’03; Courtney Lee Weida, Ed.M.'03, and Steve Seidel, AIE faculty director.
  • Steve Seidel, has been the AIE faculty director since 2004 and a principal investigator in Project Zero on projects that study the use of reflective practices in schools, the close examination of student work, and documentation of learning since long before that. Among his many co-edited and co-authored books are Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners (Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children, 2001) and The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education.
  • Shari Tishman, a lecturer in the AIE program, a senior research associate at Harvard Project Zero, and an advisory to many AIE students over the years, expects her book on Slow Looking: The Art and Practice of Learning Through Observation to be released by Routledge in November of 2017.
  • Scott Ruescher, AIE program administrator since 2002, published his first full-length collection of poems, Waiting for the Light to Change, with Prolific Press in 2017.

Visit HGSE admissions to learn more about application requirements and deadlines, and to get important information about financial aid. Applications are due in January of the academic year you plan to enroll. Please note that the AIE program is not a teacher licensure program. If you are seeking certification as a K-12 teacher, please visit the Teacher Education Program.


If you have questions about the admissions process or want to learn more about the benefits of the AIE Program, please contact our admissions liaison Margaret Okada-Scheck at or 617-495-3414. If you have specific questions about AIE Program requirements, please contact program coordinator Scott Ruescher at or 617-495-9068.