The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago

The School's long excellence in arts production has propelled it from its Chicago origins to world-class status. Founded as the Chicago Academy of Design in 1866 by a collective of studio artists, the institution went through many changes before the turn of the century, some necessitated by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The collecting arm of the School was founded in 1872, and The Art Institute of Chicago was born in 1882 to accommodate a distinct museum and school. The Art Institute moved to its current iconic location on Michigan Avenue after the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and it remains the largest museum-school partnership in the country.
The School taught primarily classical fine art and architectural design in the first half of the last century. After WWII, its enrollment increased significantly to make it one of the largest art academies in the country. The post-war years saw an explosion in experimental techniques and new artistic tools for individual expression. During this period, the trans-disciplinary focus was solidified, and liberal arts and design classes expanded to complement the fine arts focus... [ Read All ]


United States

37 South Wabash Avenue
Phone: 312 629 6100

College Photos (10)

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Our Aims

To provide excellence in the delivery of a global education in visual, design, media and related arts, with attendant studies in the history and theory of those disciplines set within a broad-based humanistic curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences. To provide instruction for this education in a range if formats: written, spoken, media and exhibition-based.

Excerpted from The Art Institute of Chicago's Corporate Charter, originally obtained from the State of Illinois in 1879, and revised in 2004.  

Location and Getting there  

Academic Staff and Description  

News and Events  

Information For  Undergraduates

At the heart of the SAIC undergraduate education is a commitment to interdisciplinary study and the awareness that the boundaries between artistic fields are surprisingly porous. Many of the most interesting developments in the arts occur in cultural spaces where previously only borders existed. We encourage our students to experience first-hand, early in their study at SAIC, the full range of studio practices and academic approaches.  

Information For  Postgraduates

It is exciting to contemplate the serious concentrated time graduate school affords. It is a chance for students to further develop a sense of purpose in their work and in their lives, a time when professional friendships and mentor relationships are formed-relationships that often continue to influence a person's development for decades to come.  

Information For  International Students

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago welcomes applications from international students. Interested applicants to SAIC's degree programs should review the appropriate How To Apply section presented under the respective program area to which you are applying (i.e. undergraduate or graduate), paying close attention to the portfolio requirements for each program.
Students whose native language is not English are required to submit evidence of language proficiency. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) results should be submitted with your application to SAIC. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based) or 80 (internet-based), or a minimum IELTS band score of 7.0 is required before admission to SAIC can be granted.
To obtain an F-1 student visa to enter and study in the U.S., you must have an authorized I-20 form. The form is issued only after an applicant has been admitted to a degree program as a full-time student, has demonstrated financial responsibility, and proficiency in English. Students who will be receiving support from their own ...  [ Read All ]


We invite you to visit us regularly for news from your SAIC friends and family and to learn about upcoming SAIC exhibitions, events, and programming. There is so much going on here at the School, we want to be sure you are in-the-Loop. If you need to update your contact information or wish to receive our alumni e-newsletter please complete our Stay Connected form!  

Student Facilities  

Student Life

Whether you are a prospective student exploring your options or a continuing student interested in learning more about student life at the School, you will be amazed at the diversity and depth of programs and services offered through the departments housed within the Office of Student Affairs. In partnership with the students and faculty of the School, the staff of Student Affairs encourage active participation in all campus planning efforts as we strive to build a community in which essential values and commitments are shared. Welcome to the School! Be sure to visit the green student life links provided under "Life at SAIC" in the left menu to learn more.  


Chicago offers a wide variety of housing choices to serve the diverse needs of students at SAIC. Many students often spend their first few years at the School living in one of our two residence facilities, the Chicago Building and the 162 North State Street Residences. As a resident, you can truly immerse yourself in a community of fellow artists, live right in the heart of Chicago's loop, and enjoy conveniences you won't find in most student apartments. Both halls of residence are just minutes away from classes, have controlled access into the buildings, and have 24-hour security staff in each facility.  

How To Apply  

Visit us (open days)

Tours of the School and admissions counselor appointments are available Monday, Thursday, and Friday year-round. Please call the Admissions office to schedule an appointment at 312.629-6100. Please note that on-campus admissions events often include tours of the School as well.  

Request a prospectus (Number, e-mail or follow link)