Graduate Overview

Faculty and students in the Art and Technology Studies (ATS) department are pioneers and innovators who create new aesthetic experiences and invent the very tools and processes needed for their realization.

Graduate Programs Meet and Greet at the Art Institute of Chicago

Thursday, November 21
5:30 p.m.
Join us to learn more about our graduate degrees.


ATS students create and manipulate objects, images, sound, text,
 music, voice, light and movement with custom-written software, newly fabricated materials, unconventional processes, and new methods of integrating other technologies—in addition to traditional fabrication techniques. They may study virtual reality, mixed and augmented reality, mobile applications, kinetics and robotics, networked objects, wearables, and soft computing, bioart, data-driven live performance, digital sound, neon, holography, light arts, light performance, performative sculptural objects, and game spaces and environments. Students also have the opportunity to study the history and theory of art and technology.

A World-Class Community of Faculty

Art and Technology Studies faculty are artists with national and international reputations with backgrounds in multiple disciplines, including computer science, engineering, machining, sound, light, musical composition, poetry, biology, performance, philosophy and contemporary theory. They teach the complexities of programming, electronics, fabrication, neon, holography, bio art and other practices in ways that take full advantage of the freedom inherent in an interdisciplinary environment. Students gain an understanding of the aesthetic, social, political, and economic forces that drive the development and utilization of technology.

Cutting-Edge Curriculum

In the Art and Technology Studies department, new technologies are invented, subverted, hacked, questioned, co-opted, demystified, hybridized, and shared. In addition to selecting and working closely with graduate advisors in Graduate Projects, students in the Art and Technology Studies department may take graduate courses on topics relevant to the discipline. Recent examples include: Art and Biotechnology, Performing Interactivity, Experimental Media, Creative Coding, Grad Critique Seminar, and Philosophy of Technology. Department courses provide opportunities for the study of virtual reality, mixed and augmented reality, games, bio art, kinetics, pneumatics, electronics, olfactory art, wearables, soft computing, data-driven live performance, digital sound, neon, coding, holography, and retro media.

The department offers a number of jobs for graduate students which include the following:

  • Departmental Assistants
  • Lab Technicians
  • Techroom Technicians
  • Teaching Assistants (TAs)
  • Special Project Positions


Graduate Projects

The cornerstone of SAIC's graduate studio program is its focus on tutorially guided studio practice. Each semester in addition to selecting from graduate advisors in the department, you will select from more than 100 graduate faculty advisors at SAIC, representing myriad disciplines, approaches, and intellectual positions. Ultimately, it is the student’s work that drives the choice of advisor, and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary work is supported and advanced. Faculty from the academic programs in Art History, Arts Administration and Policy, Art Education, and Visual and Critical Studies also serve as graduate advisors, providing yet more expertise in support of SAIC Graduate Projects.

Critique Week

Critique Week, one of the principle means of assessment each semester, is a week-long schedule of critiques during which classes are suspended and the entire faculty and invited visiting artists and designers assemble into panels that conduct intensive studio critiques with all studio and writing graduate students.

Fall semester critiques are organized by department, with panels representing the discipline. They provide you an opportunity to have your work evaluated by the department, look at your work from a disciplinary point of view, and reinforce the expectations for your graduate study.

Spring semester critiques are interdisciplinary, with panel members of faculty, visiting artists, and peers from across SAIC departments. Interdisciplinary critiques in the spring semesters allow for a broader range of responses to the work, and are intended to assess the success of your work for a more general, yet highly informed, audience.

Studio critiques are required of every full-time graduate student pursuing an MFA in Studio or Writing degree. Typically, SAIC graduate students have at least four critique panels throughout their studies at SAIC, augmenting biweekly tutorials with their graduate advisors.