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Arts Administration and Policy: Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy

SAIC’s Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy prepares students to actively and creatively respond to the highly complex environments that impact the production, reception, and circulation of the arts.

Application Deadline: January 15

The Department of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago requires an online application for its full-time, 48 credit hour Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy program. 

You will need a valid credit card and current email address in order to complete the form. Please review the following requirements carefully before submitting your application:

  • Applications for the fall semester must be submitted no later than January 15. No applications are accepted for spring semester.
  • There is an $80 nonrefundable application fee ($100 for international applications). The application fee is discounted by 50 percent through December 1.
  • You must upload one 500- to 750-word statement of purpose that responds to the following questions:
    • What do you see as the most pressing issues for the arts today, both locally and globally?
    • What is the most significant experience you have had working in the arts, and why was it important?
    • What do you admire in the people you have worked with, and why?
    • What specific skills do you wish to develop, and why?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • In addition to your application, you must submit an ePortfolio (critical writing sample) by 11:59 p.m. (CST) on January 16. Submit a sample of your critical writing up to 2,000 words in length. This can be either an essay assignment from a previous course of study, an excerpt from a longer research paper, or a recently published article.
  • small number of candidates will be invited to interview. Interviews are normally conducted by telephone, but some candidates may use Skype or interview in person.
  • You must upload a current résumé via the ePortfolio.

You also must submit an official college transcript and three letters of reference for admission into the program. You can ask your references to upload their letter to your online application or mail them directly to the school. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended, but not required.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Administration and Policy program provides an academic structure within which students can master specific sets of skills while at the same time building a critical perspective toward issues of contemporary arts administration. The following requirements are in effect from academic year 2014–15.

Critical and Cultural Policy Studies 15
  • ARTSAD 5005 Arts Organizations in Society (3)
  • ARTSAD 5100 ProSeminar 1: Foundation (3)

Choose either:

  • ARTSAD 5505 Law, Politics, & the Arts (3)
    or ARTSAD 6018 Art Economies (3)

Each semester, the department provides a list of courses that fulfill the following requirements:

  • Narratives/presentations (3)
  • Contemporary Theory/Philosophy (3)
Management Studies 12
  • ARTSAD 5054 Management Studio (3)
  • ARTSAD 5055 Management Studio II (3)
  • ARTSAD 5056 Management Studio III (3)
  • ARTSAD 5017 Financial Management (3)
Research and Professional Practice 9
  • ARTSAD ProSeminar 2: Research (3)
  • ARTSAD 6058 Thesis I (3)
  • ARTSAD 6095 Thesis II (3)
Electives 12
Completion of thesis  
Total Credit Hours 48


Degree requirements and specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence. Thesis in Progress: Students who have not submitted a finished thesis for review and approval by the end of the final semester of enrollment are given a Thesis in Progress grade (IP). All students with a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) will be charged the Thesis in Progress Fee in each subsequent full semester until the thesis is completed and approved and the grade is changed to Credit (CR). If the statute of limitations is reached without an approved thesis, the grade will be changed to No Credit (NCR).
  2. Critical and Policy Studies courses: Each semester, a list of courses that satisfy the requirements for Narratives/Presentation and Contemporary Theory/Philosophy is available from the Arts Administration and Policy administrative office.
  3. ProSeminars and Thesis: Taken in the first two semesters, ProSeminars are a two-course sequence designed to support students' progress through the degree by providing exposure to a wide variety of professional practices and instruction in research and practice methodologies. The thesis courses are completed in the final year of study.
  4. Internships: Students without solid professional experience are strongly encouraged to do internship placements, whether for credit or not. AAP Department faculty are available to advise and assist in identifying and securing placements.
  5. Transfer credits: A minimum of 42 credit hours must be completed in residence at SAIC. Up to six transfer credits may be requested at the time of application for admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  6. Curriculum: The program requires 48 credit hours; electives, internships, and thesis are subject to the approval of the Arts Administration Program advisor.
  7. Enrollment: Nine credit hours constitutes full-time enrollment, although as many as 15 credit hours may be earned in any semester. Two semesters of full-time status are required of all students when they begin the program; thereafter a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester are required for continued enrollment in the program.
  8. Full-time Status Minimum Requirement: 9 credit hours.

Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for more information on admissions requirements, MA in Arts Administration and Policy faculty, students and alumni, and more.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or

Application Deadline: January 15

If you are ready to apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Art in Arts Administration and Policy, you will need to build a portfolio, gather all of your application materials, and complete the electronic application by January 15 for the fall semester (spring admissions are not accepted).

Completed Online Application

SAIC requires applicants to apply online. Filing an online application requires a valid credit card and a current email address. You may apply to up to three programs with one application and fee. If you are applying to either the MFA in Studio or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio you may select up to three departments of entry. Applications must be submitted prior to 11:00 p.m. (CST) on the appropriate deadline.

Start your application here: Graduate Online Application.

Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at or 800.232.7242.

Nonrefundable Application Fee

When you click the "submit" button on your online application, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information. Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded.

Domestic application fee: $80
International application fee: $100

Application fees will be discounted by 50 percent through December 1.

Official College Transcripts

Submit one official transcript from each college you have attended. If transcripts are issued directly to you, forward them to SAIC with the seal unbroken and the registrar's signature intact. A transcript request form is available for download from the online application, but is not required. If you are in possession of unofficial copies of your transcripts you are welcome to upload them to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio, but you are not required to do so.

If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable. If admitted to SAIC, you must submit a final, official transcript verifying the completion and award of your degree directly to SAIC's admissions office prior to your matriculation.

Address transcripts to:
SAIC Graduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201 
Chicago, IL 60603

Students admitted to a graduate program who have not received a high school diploma, GED or equivalent are not eligible for federal Title IV financial aid funds.

Statement of Purpose

Please respond to the following questions (500-750 words):

  • What do you see as the most pressing issues for the arts today, both locally and globally?
  • What is the most significant experience you have had working in the arts, and why was it important?
  • What do you admire in the people you have worked with, and why?
  • What specific skills do you wish to develop, and why?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Letters of Recommendation

You are responsible for securing three letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of reference from current or former instructors. 

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via SAIC's ePortfolio. When completing the References section in your ePortfolio, you will be asked to provide the names and other information associated with each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent to each of your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations through the ePortfolio.

If your recommenders prefer they may submit recommendations by mail. Be sure to supply your recommenders with addressed, stamped envelopes and ask them to sign across the seal.

Address recommendations to:
SAIC Graduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201  
Chicago, IL 60603


The Admissions Committee reviews portfolios for clear direction and potential for development. Applicants are required to submit an ePortfolio. You must submit a separate ePortfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. Instructions for submitting ePortfolios will be sent either to the email address associated with your SAIC application, or to the email address associated with your ePortfolio account, if you already have one. You will receive the link to your ePortfolio 24 to 48 hours after you save the first page of the online application.

Submit a sample of your critical writing up to 2,000 words in length. This can be either an essay assignment from a previous course of study, an excerpt from a longer research paper, or a recently published article.

  • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
  • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)

Direct all inquiries regarding the ePortfolio to, 800.232.7242, or 312.629.6100.


A small number of applicants will be invited to participate in an interview by Skype. Alternative arrangements can be made if you are unable to arrange for access.


A current résumé is required. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your ePortfolio.

International students

Students whose native language is not English, or who do not have a degree conferred by a U.S.-accredited university, are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. Submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) results with your application. The Institution Code for SAIC is 1713.

Minimum required scores

TOEFL: 100
IELTS: 7.0
For more information about the TOEFL, please visit here.
For more information about the IELTS, please visit here.

Academic Records

Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word.


A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC.

The Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy (MAAAP) is a two-year, 48-credit program that focuses on the critical explorations and skills relevant to contemporary cultural management. The department’s mission is to educate emerging professionals in the arts to become the leaders of the next generation of arts and culture organizations and to develop an ongoing, dynamic vision of the role of the arts in the life of our society. We believe that arts administration is an arena of knowledge, discourse, and discovery that is also accountable for the improvement of the civic and cultural spheres.


Our Goals Are

- To help students develop professional practices that are based on a commitment to and knowledge of the arts

- To work as a community to develop practices and paradigms that re-envision the types of organizations that suit 21st-century needs and realities

- To train students to think critically and politically, so that they are able not only to operate within the complex environment within which contemporary culture operates, but to actively imagine and foster its betterment

- To develop ongoing individual and collaborative approaches to learning that will enhance the specific intellectual and career goals of each student

- To educate students in ways that stress an underlying commitment to ethics as a social baseline and as a professional value

- To actively participate, as part of the SAIC community, in developing practices that expand the contributions that art and design make to local, national, and global cultural life

Engagement in the SAIC Community 

SAIC was the first art school to develop an in-house arts administration department, and it continues to be rare in that regard. This unique placement has enabled students to forge interdisciplinary and collaborative projects that break down barriers between artists and administrators.

Professionally active faculty teach courses across a broad spectrum of topics and skill sets, many of them housed in project-based environments. Students also choose electives from across the SAIC curriculum to support their areas of interest and professional goals and forge connections across SAIC’s renowned graduate student community.

Hands-On Experience

The MAAAP program emphasizes hands-on work in professional settings. Students individualize their curricular paths to suit their own professional goals, interacting with a broad selection of cultural organizations, including museums, galleries, artist-run organizations, and nonprofit cultural organizations in Chicago and internationally. Our Management Studio immerses student teams in some of the most vibrant and forward-thinking projects and institutions in the city, spanning media, genre, and aesthetic borders. Proseminar 1 brings a series of distinguished guest lecturers to the department on a weekly basis.

MAAAP alumni enjoy a high rate of post-graduation success. Previous students have gone on to professional positions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Block Museum at Northwestern University, the Chicago Humanities Festival, Field Museum, Joffrey Ballet, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Creative Time, Kickstarter, Columbia University, the Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Seattle Art Museum, Peabody Essex Museum Boston, Sundance Film Festival, the U.S. State Department, and to museums, archives, foundations, galleries, theaters, orchestras, festivals, biennials, universities and other organizations in Toronto, Mexico City, Rome, Basel, Dubai, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Taiwan, Singapore and other locations. Dual degree graduates have entered doctoral programs in the US and abroad.


Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website, contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or