Art Education

What is Art Education?

The Art Education program at Western will provide you with the credentials and knowledge you'll need to become an elementary classroom teacher or an art specialist who teaches art only. These programs will provide you with a strong foundation and an understanding of art studio practices, history, aesthetics, and criticism.

Start Your Career at Western

Art Education Degrees

Art—Elementary, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

Western's Elementary Art program prepares students to teach at the elementary grade level. The program introduces curricular design in the arts and the four components of Discipline Based Art Education—criticism, history, aesthetics, and art studio.


Art Major Information, | 360-650-3660

Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education | 360-650-3313

Art—P-12, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

Western’s Art P-12 program prepares students to teach pre-school through 12th grades, providing them with a strong understanding of the history, traditions, and conventions of art and art criticism.


Art Major Information, | 360-650-3660

Secondary Education Information, Woodring College of Education | 360-650-3347

Art Education at Western

The broad instructional concept of Art Education at Western is to integrate the components of art history, art criticism, and studio art courses, university courses, and Western's Gallery Exhibition Program and permanent collection. Students learn to interpret, analyze, and make intelligent judgments about art, and the skills and concepts of the studio. A grasp of the dynamic nature of a culture and the continuing extension of its visual language is a fundamental objective.

Student Experiences

Internships and Scholarships

Beyond the Classroom

Art students have unique opportunities to gain hands-on, practical experience for a future career in the art world. Faculty assist students in handling and installing artworks, learning and expanding research skills, or improving critical analysis and essay-writing abilities.

Western Art Galleries

Students play an active role in the operations of Western’s three galleries, including the Western Gallery and two student run galleries—the Viking Union and B galleries. 


Art Faculty encourage students to explore the academic world through research assistantships—an invaluable experience for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field.

Study Abroad

The Department of Art offers many opportunities to travel abroad and domestically. Students participate in unique, life-changing encounters with art and art history.


The Art & Art History Department offers more than a dozen scholarships, including awards that are awarded based on merit, financial need, the department's commitment to recruiting/retaining members of historically underrepresented and systemically oppressed, racialized, and marginalized communities inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities.

For more information, please visit the Art & Art History Scholarships page.

Organizations and Clubs

  • Art Club - A friendly place to do art and receive feedback on your work from fellow artists. The Art Club provides space and materials for all skill levels.

  • Ceramics Club - This is a forum for anyone interested in ceramics or pottery to create and share knowledge together.

  • Life Drawing Club - An inclusive space for anyone who wants to connect with fellow students and draw together. The club currently meets via Discord and draws photos of the human body.

  • Western Washington Photography Club - A group of students who are interested in expanding their knowledge of photography.

  • WWU B Gallery - This is a student-run, safe, professional, and supportive space for students to independently and creatively exhibit their work. It is an ideal space for artists to organize what is often their first exhibition.

I couldn’t have asked for better experiences in teaching students and creating work. The authentic instruction in art taught at Western will keep graduates in the forefront of the job market.

Mariah Klemens

What can you do with?

Interaction with a faculty of practicing artists, visiting artists, professional and student exhibitions, international study, as well as the resources of the larger university, foster informed, engaged, and creative graduates, preparing them for professional careers and graduate studies.

Art Education careers

  • Art Educator
  • Art Therapy
  • Elementary School Teacher

Western Art alumni have gone on to pursue their passions, including:

  • Robert McCauley: National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient and professional painter
  • Eugenie Tung: Head teacher for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Education Program
  • Jim Goldberg: Author of seven books, National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and professional photographer
  • Virginia Troy: Associate professor of Art History at Berry College