International students are vital to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). You bring diverse experiences and perspectives that encourage us all to question our assumptions, imagine new possibilities, and embrace a global outlook. Some undergraduate international students take English for International Students (EIS) classes before starting their Liberal Arts and Art History classes. EIS classes focus on developing academic English proficiency and fluency as it relates to the arts.

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?

Some international students who speak English as a second language will need to take EIS classes before they starting Art History and Liberal Arts classes.

To be accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), see admissions requirements for international students.

Your application materials will be evaluated to determine placement into EIS classes. This may include your school transcripts, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation etc.

You may 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. Tutorials are best taken during the same semesters as FYS: English I and FYS: English II. A typical schedule looks like this:

Credits toward Graduation

EIS classes earn college credit. Fluency I and Critique classes earn 3 general elective credit hours toward graduation. Starting in Fall 2015, Fluency II earns 3 credits of Liberal Arts elective credit. Each Tutorial earns 1.5 Liberal Arts elective credits.

Some transfer students may need to repeat 6 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.

SAIC expects students to complete their EIS Fluency 1 and 2 classes within 3 semesters so that they can begin the full complement of liberal arts and art history courses required for their Bachelor's degree. If a student does not receive Credit in an EIS course, then the student must repeat that course the following semester. If a student does not earn Credit for a third time, then the student will be suspended from SAIC, regardless of performance in studio courses.

Skipping a Level Before the Course Sequence is Complete

If you are an exceptional student who consistently performs at a high level in Fluency I, 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 Fluency II.

The following rules apply:

If the committee recommends that you skip Fluency II, you are promoted to the next higher art history and liberal arts classes. If the committee feels you are not ready to skip the course, you will continue to take Fluency II the following term.


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 a TOEFL scores below 85 (iBT) or an 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 in July, please contact the Director of EIS. Starting your EIS classes in summer is optional and spaces are limited.

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 (

EIS Summer Important Dates to Remember

$300 tuition deposit due Monday, May 2, 2016
Cancellations Wednesday, June 30, 2016
Move into the Residence Hall Wednesday, July 6, 2016
International Student Orientation Thursday, July 7, 2016
EIS English Placement Test (optional) Friday, July 8, 2016
Classes begin Monday, July 11, 2016
Classes end Friday, August 19, 2016
Fall 2016 International Student Orientation Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Fall 2016 classes begin Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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 11, and ends August 19, 2016. 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 2016 tuition and fees charges are separate from Fall 2016 tuition and fees charges.

EIS Summer Tuition (2 three-credit hour classes): $8,628
EIS Summer Housing fee (includes $150 prepayment due with contract): $1,830
EIS Summer Health Insurance: $668
Total cost for EIS Summer: $11,126

Full payment of your balance is due no later than Monday, July 11, 2016.

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 2016 activity will be mailed at the end of July 2016.

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 2016.

EIS Summer Housing

On-line Applications for Summer 2016 housing will be available in March 2016.

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 6, 2016. 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 to a new room. If you do not have a fall room reservation, you must move out of the residence hall on Friday, August 19, 2016.

For more information about your room go to the Summer Housing Information 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 11, 2016.

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 2016 Health Insurance Waiver [PDF]

EIS Confirmation Test (optional)

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.

The EIS Confirmation Test is optional. You are not required to take it.
You must reserve a seat to take the test. Contact the Director of EIS to reserve your seat.

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

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