International students are vital to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). They bring diverse experiences and perspectives that encourage us all to question our assumptions, imagine new possibilities, and embrace change. Some undergraduate international students take English for International Students (EIS) classes before starting their Liberal Arts and Art History classes. EIS classes are designed to help you raise your English language proficiency to an academic level.

International graduate students in the Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts programs may take advantage of free, individual English tutoring offered through the EIS program as well.

Who Is Required to Take EIS Classes?

If you have been accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) (see admissions requirements for international students) and speak English as a second language, you may need to take EIS classes before starting art history and liberal arts classes.

You will not need to take EIS if:

If you are a resident alien, permanent resident, or naturalized citizen of the United States whose native language is not English, you may be placed into Academic Access Program courses instead of EIS. If you are an international student who has lived and studied in an English speaking country or school for 5+ years, you may find AAP a better fit for you.

EIS Courses

At SAIC, the EIS curriculum focuses on developing fluency as it relates to the arts. Classes are divided into the following categories:

Sequence of Courses

There are two semesters of fluency and one semester of critique classes. These courses must be completed before you may enter the full degree program. After completing both semesters of fluency, you may enroll in art history and liberal arts classes. At this time, you will also take two semesters of EIS Tutorials. A typical schedule looks like this:

Credits toward Graduation

Each English Language Fluency and Critique course earns 3 general elective credit hours toward graduation. Each EIS Tutorial earns 1.5 general elective credit hours toward graduation. Some transfer students may need to repeat 12 general elective credits.


Classes are sequential, and you must successfully complete one before moving to the next. That means you must earn a grade of Credit (CR). You will start your EIS classes your first term on campus and must continue to take EIS classes until the sequence is completed.

If you earn a No Credit (NCR) or Withdraw (W), you must repeat the class until you earn credit for it. If this happens, we encourage you to seek assistance through Academic Advising, Counseling Services, or the Writing Center.

Skipping a Level Before the Course Sequence is Complete

If you are an exceptional student who consistently performs at a high level during the first term of a course, the instructor may recommend that you submit an academic portfolio of work completed in the class to be reviewed by a committee composed of the EIS faculty and the EIS Director for the possibility of skipping a level.

The following rules apply:

If the committee recommends that you skip a class, you are promoted to the next higher class. If the committee feels you are not ready to skip a course, you will continue on to the next class in the sequence.


If you wish to appeal an EIS policy decision, contact the following people in this order:

For more information about the program, contact the EIS office at 312.345.3785.

Summer Language Classes for International Students

If you wish, you may start your English for International Students (EIS) classes during the summer session. You will not only begin your language requirement, but will also have time to get to know the city, SAIC, and future classmates before fall classes begin.

All international students admitted for fall are welcome to start in summer. Students with TOEFL scores below 85 (iBT) or IELTS score of 6.5, and all transfer students are especially encouraged to take advantage of these early summer classes.

To start your EIS classes during summer, you will need to get a Form I-20 AB with a program start date of July.

Please contact the Office of International Affairs at 312.629.6830 or email Your term of admission will be changed to summer and you will be issued an I-20 form to begin your degree program in summer instead of fall, starting with EIS classes. For questions about the EIS program itself, please contact Sonia da Silva at 312.345.3785 (

English Placement Test

When you first arrive, we will give you a test of English reading and writing. This test will confirm your placement into EIS Fluency and Critique classes. Students who do not need EIS classes will take an Art History class and a Liberal Art class along with an EIS Tutorial.

For more information about your language requirements and EIS classes, please review the information at the top of this page.

For questions about EIS classes, please contact Sonia da Silva at 312.345.3785 or

EIS Summer Important Dates to Remember

$300 tuition deposit due Friday, May 1, 2015
Cancelations Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Move into the Residence Hall Tuesday, June 30, 2015
International Student Orientation Wednesday, July 1, 2015
EIS English Placement Test (optional) Thursday, July 2, 2015
Classes begin Monday, July 6, 2015
Classes end Friday, August 14, 2015
Fall 2015 International Student Orientation Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Fall 2015 classes begin Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Please note: You are required to attend both International Student Orientation and New Student Orientation which are scheduled for the end of August for all incoming international students.

EIS Summer Schedule

The summer session starts July 6, and ends August 14, 2015. Each class will meet three days a week for six weeks, for a total of 45 hours. Each class counts as three, general elective credit hours toward graduation.

Students who do not need EIS classes may take studio or Liberal Arts classes along with an EIS Tutorial.

For more information about your language requirements and the EIS classes, please visit the EIS Courses section of this site. For questions about the EIS classes, please contact Sonia da Silva at 312.345.3785 or

EIS Summer Tuition and Fees

Summer EIS 2015 tuition and fees charges are separate from Fall 2015 tuition and fees charges.

EIS Summer Tuition (2 three-credit hour classes): $8,286
EIS Summer Housing fee ($150 prepayment due with contract): $1,782
EIS Summer Health Insurance: $603
Total cost for EIS Summer: $10,671

Full payment of your balance is due no later than Monday, July 6, 2015.

Your summer bill will be available in Student Financial Services (Sullivan Center) upon your arrival. If you wish to know your balance prior to that time, please contact Student Financial Services at

Note: Bills reflecting Fall 2015 activity will be mailed at the end of July 2015.

EIS Summer Tuition

The summer tuition rate is lower than the rate for fall semester. You save by starting your English language courses early. Additional cost for books or art supplies is not included in the cost of tuition.

Please note: International students that have been awarded a Merit Scholarship by the Admissions Department will not be able to use the awards until Fall 2015.

EIS Summer Housing

All first-time freshmen are required to live in the School's beautiful residence hall located at 162 North State Street. Chicago's numerous museums, galleries, theaters, and places for musical entertainment are within easy walking distance of the School. Food services are not provided by the residence hall. Students prepare their own meals in the kitchen facilities provided in their rooms and supply their own cooking utensils, including pots and pans. Residents must also supply their own linens, including towels, pillows, blankets, and sheets.

Living in the residence hall gives you a chance to interact with other students in an informal setting The Residence Life staff also plans many activities and programs to foster a sense of community and to help you get to know each other, the city, and SAIC.

Students may move into the residence hall beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2015. If you have a room reserved for the Fall semester, you may remain on campus after the program ends; however, you will be required to move rooms. If you do not have a fall room reservation, you must move out of the residence hall on Friday, August 14, 2015.

For more information about your room go to this page.

EIS Summer Health Insurance

All international students must have health insurance coverage while participating in the school's programs. You may purchase the school's health insurance plan, or you may select another insurance plan that offers the same or better coverage. If you choose a health insurance plan other than the one offered by SAIC, you will be required to submit proof of your health insurance coverage and a completed Student Health Insurance Waiver Form to the Student Financial Services Office no later than July 6, 2015.

SAIC's health insurance program may be waived by printing, completing, and submitting a health insurance waiver form per the link below.

Note: The summer waiver form is for the summer term only. Students wishing to waive insurance for the fall and spring semesters must complete a separate online waiver in SAIC Self-Service. Questions regarding all waiver processes can be directed to Student Financial Services, Sullivan Center, 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1218.

Summer Health Insurance Waiver Form

English Tutoring for International Graduate Students

International Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts students can take advantage of free, individual English tutoring located in the MacLean Center, 112 South Michigan Avenue, room B1-05. Tutors will help you:

Schedule your tutoring appointment online. For questions, contact 312.345.3585 or