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New Arts Journalism: Graduate Overview

The Master of Arts in New Arts Journalism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) reinterprets and transforms the largely textual skills of traditional journalism into the multifaceted demands of contemporary arts journalism, where text and image are interwoven and responsive to one another and media platforms are continually evolving.

Priority Application Deadline: 12/1

SAIC offers a priority application deadline and reduced application fee for students submitting their graduate application and payment by December 1.

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The program both focuses on traditional modes of journalism that discuss art and other aspects of culture, and the ways in which journalism can itself take on forms of artistic expression. 

In support of these multivalent demands, the program curriculum includes courses in production and design in print and publication design, photography and video, and the web and various media platforms. These skills involve instruction in Illustrator, InDesign and basic HTML/CSS coding, as well as blog platforms and content management systems. 

The program helps aspiring journalists to refine their writing of reviews, essays, interviews, and feature stories, and examine the contexts of investigative reporting, the opinion piece, the documentary, and the critical essay in the context of art.

Every student participates in at least one internship, which offers a valuable hands-on experience working at a Chicago media venue. The concluding thesis may comprise a publication or zine, investigative journalism, an extended narrative, or original research.

Writing-Intensive Curriculum

Courses offered in the MANAJ program teach students how to design and maintain a website and blog, the theory behind how the web interfaces with communication, and also how print, photography, and video design principles impact journalism today. Students engage multiple structures of critical essays, reviews, interviews, think pieces, editorials, documentaries, and beat reporting, and their writing is repeatedly assessed in peer-group analyses.

In the second and third semesters of the program, students begin to take electives that address their areas of interest and may include criticism and theory, studio work, liberal arts seminars, or study trips. The final semester is dedicated to thesis work.

Professional Opportunities After Graduation

MANAJ graduates have applied their education in a variety of ways. There are alumni working at VH1 in New York, in public relations in Chicago, running the social media program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, managing internal publications at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, editing their own zine in Los Angeles, working at Contratiempo Publications (Spanish publication in Chicago) and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago, stringing for newspapers in Ohio and Kentucky, and working in marketing at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. Others are freelancing for a wide range of publications and media outlets such as Gapers Block and ArtSlant.

Thesis Abstracts

Each year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates the culmination and closure of students' studies at the masters level. In studio areas, the celebration takes place in the form of the thesis exhibitions. The academic areas complement this with the publication of students' theses.

The SAIC Thesis Repository contains theses submitted since November 2013.

Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are listed in the Flaxman Library catalog.

Continue to explore the Department of New Arts Journalism’s website to learn more about graduate curricular offerings, faculty, students, alumni and more or schedule a tour.

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