As a leader in art education for over 150 years, SAIC provides the inspiration for those who grasp the complexity of our culture and strive to make a contribution of their own. Our students, faculty, and alumni are the makers of images, words, objects, and sounds that forever shape and alter our world.
Leading art and design institution
Ranked in the top four graduate art and design institutions by U.S. News & World Report, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) provides a leading global vision for the education of artists, designers, and scholars who shape contemporary art practice. Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s primary purpose is to foster the conceptual and technical education of artists, designers, and scholars in a highly professional, studio-oriented, and academically rigorous environment, encouraging excellence, critical inquiry, and experimentation.
SAIC is distinguished from other art and design schools in the breadth and depth of its curriculum in both studio and academic areas, with more than 900 courses offered each semester. SAIC is committed to interdisciplinary exploration and the awareness that the boundaries between artistic fields are not always easily defined. Students are encouraged to experience the full range of studio practices and academic approaches; they do not declare a major but are free to design a path of study that best suits their creative development. Students may choose to do all of their course work in one area of study or amongst multiple department areas.
SAIC’s faculty are hired through an extensive international search process, are world renowned, and have demonstrated commitment to the role of teacher and mentor. They are diverse in their backgrounds and areas of interest, providing our students the opportunity to pick and choose from a great range of talent in order to personalize their educational experience.
Students are provided with the latest tools and cutting-edge resources in our state-of-the-art facilities. With laptops and a host of modern and traditional tools, facilities, and support, students are encouraged and well equipped to learn and grow as 21st-century artists, designers, and scholars.
Students have access to unique resources, beginning with the premier collection of SAIC’s sister institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, and its Ryerson Library and Burnham Library of Architecture, the largest art and architecture research libraries in the country. The Gene Siskel Film Center presents significant programs of world cinema and presentations by an international array of film and video artists. SAIC’s Video Data Bank houses more than 6,000 titles and is the leading resource in the United States for videotapes by and about contemporary artists.
Chicago—socially and culturally diverse
The School of the Art Institute of
Chicago is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, home to world-class museums, galleries, alternative spaces, and organizations that support the arts. Chicago is a vital part of SAIC’s campus as a source of social and cultural activities and the stimulus for ideas and attitudes ultimately expressed through art.
Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own atmosphere, customs, and cuisine. Additionally, students have a wide variety of cultural and recreational resources at their disposal, including ballet, opera, theater, orchestra halls, cinemas, libraries, architecture, blues and jazz clubs, parks, ethnic restaurants, a variety of world-class sports venues, and street festivals.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has one of the most successful arts-related internship programs in the country. Students earn course credit and refine their career objectives while establishing a strong employment history and references for future work experiences. Opportunities exist with employers throughout Chicago and worldwide with individual artists; museums; galleries; multimedia firms; film, video, and animation production houses; interior architecture firms; fashion designers; and community service organizations.
Applicants are required to submit the Common Application and a portfolio consisting of 10–15 examples of recent work or a minimum of five minutes of time-based work; an Artist’s Statement; transcript(s) from high school(s) or an official copy of the high school equivalency certificate; transcript(s) from any college(s) previously attended; and one letter of recommendation. All international undergraduate students who are not US citizens or permanent residents or are non-native English speakers are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS.
Chicago, Illinois, is one of the world’s great cities. It is defined by its extraordinary and rich diversity. For artists, Chicago is irresistible: a city of unparalled architecture and innovative public art, world-class museums and galleries, and vibrant communities of working artists, designers, and scholars.
Type of SCHOOL: Founded in 1866, SAIC is a private, coeducational, regionally and nationally accredited four-year art and design college granting undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Size of Campus: SAIC’s urban campus is housed in Chicago’s vibrant downtown.
Number of Students:
Undergraduate students: 2,848
Graduate students: 721
Undergraduate international population: 32%
Number of Faculty: More than 600 full- and part-time faculty
Colleges, Programs, and Degrees:
BA in Art History; BA in Visual and Critical Studies; BFA; BFA with an emphasis in Art Education; BFA with an emphasis in Writing
Areas of Undergraduate Study:
Animation; Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects; Art and Technology; Art Education; Art History; Ceramics; Fashion Design; Fiber and Material Studies; Film, Video, and New Media; Painting and Drawing; Performance; Photography; Printmedia; Sculpture; Sound; Visual and Critical Studies; Visual Communication Design; Writing
15 graduate degrees and two post-baccalaureate certificates
Geographic Diversity: Students from 49 states and 54 countries
International Student Services: Specialized programming, immigration advising, and support services for students from outside the United States; international student orientations are held prior to fall and spring terms.
International Student Budget: (2017–2018)
Room (on Campus) $11,900
Required Fees $635
Financial Aid: Merit-based scholarships are available based on a review of a student’s portfolio and application materials. Need-based aid is available for eligible US citizens and permanent residents.
Test Score Requirements:
TOEFL score minimum: 82 Internet based (For the BA in Art History degree, a 96 TOEFL is required.)
IELTS band score minimum: 6.5
PTE academic exam minimum: 55
Students attending US accredited high schools abroad are encouraged to submit SAT scores in lieu of TOEFL/IELTS/PTE.
Application Deadlines and Fees:
Early Action/priority merit scholarship: November 15
Freshman final merit scholarship: January 15
Freshman final: April 15
Transfer priority: March 15
Transfer final: June 15
Priority: November 1
Final: January 1