Program Features


The M.A.T. degree emphasizes the importance of the arts, humanities and ethnic studies, informed civic participation, and the commitment to human rights in developing skilled practitioners adept at teaching, leadership, and public advocacy. Candidates work closely with faculty mentors and with other members of the Bard community in Los Angeles to gain experience, knowledge and skill needed and become confident, informed, critical, and reflective educators.

Evening and weekend courses focus on developing critical reading and writing skills, supporting ongoing fieldwork, developing and practice teaching skills, and acquiring foundational methods for the independent research project. Courses are shared in a small community cohort.
The academic experience centers around three interdisciplinary seminars to orient their research (HUM 523 Art, Education, Activism and the Making of Modern Los Angeles, HUM 516 Transnational Los Angeles and ED 515 Research Methods Seminar). Students also complete courses that explore the foundations of education (ED 513 Historical and Social Contexts of Education ), recognize the needs and experiences of learners (ED 512 Identity, Culture and Public Education), and develop an instructional practice (ED 522 Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines and ED 524 Literacy, Language, and Learning).

Candidates complete four single-credit community education electives designed by faculty with cohort input. These practice-based courses are open to educators throughout Los Angeles (earning LAUSD salary points) and typically require a small curriculum development project or action research in collaboration with other educators.

Candidates are required to formalize a fieldwork experience in a local educational setting. These settings can include ongoing employment in public, private, independent or alternative schools, after-school programs, museums, tutoring or mentoring programs, educational non-profits, or any education-focused community, public policy, or student advocacy organization. Interested applicants should contact the Bard MAT office to determine whether current employment meets fieldwork requirements or to request assistance in applying for qualifying employment with our partner organizations/schools.

Applicants considering career paths that benefit from substitute, temporary, or preliminary teaching credentials should consult with our office to discuss employment options now widely available due teacher shortages. Click here for more on the role of teacher credentialing and intern programs for schools with a declared need for fully qualified educators.

The Independent Research Project (IRP) provides a opportunity for enrollees to explore new and ongoing educational questions. During the first semester, candidates complete a methods course and formally propose their year-long project. Proposals are reviewed by a faculty committee for recommendations, revisions, final approval, and the assignment of a faculty advisor. The candidate will coordinate this research project with ongoing courses and, as relevant, with their field experience. Topics for the IRP vary but follow one of two general themes:
  1. Subject matter topics. Interdisciplinary research specific to content taught in educational settings.
  2. Social, historical, political contexts of education. Action research exploring a specific institution or an investigation into the broader foundations of education.
The IRP requires candidates to investigate and write about the subject matter, purpose, and practice of education in a democratic society, with particular attention to public education in Los Angeles. Work with project faculty, and the extended Bard Network, can include topics on school curriculum, educational policy, history of education, immigration and human rights, arts education, music education, restorative justice, education for adjudicated youth, environmental education, and academic support for first-generation college students.