Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Writing

The BFAW at SAIC emphasizes a process-based approach to writing—one in which students experience writing across genre and in interdisciplinary, hybrid, and hypertextual modes. Our rich, creative curriculum encourages exploration of the many intersections between visual art and language, such as comics, artists’ books, sound art, film and performance.

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

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To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you will need to fill out an application and submit your standardized test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. And most importantly, we require a portfolio of your best and most recent work—work that will give us a sense of you, your interests, and your willingness to explore, experiment, and think beyond technical art, design, and writing skills.

In order to apply, we must have the following items:

View our Portfolio Requirements by Degree Program for more detailed information regarding portfolios

The portfolio for the Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Writing may consist of one or a combination of the following:

  • 10 pages of poetry
  • 20 pages of prose (fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama)
  • 10 pages of a graphic novel
  • Optional visual portfolio if you also engage in studio practices (5 digital images)

Curriculum Requirements

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with an Emphasis in Writing students follow an individualized curricular pathway that allows them to explore a wide range of possibilities for writing and integrating text with the visual arts. Here are the requirements you must meet to earn a BFA with an Emphasis in Writing.

PROFPRAC and CAPSTONE are now required for new incoming students beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

Total Credit Hours  126
Writing Core Curriculum 24 
  • HUM 2001 Literature Survey I (3)
  • HUM 3002 Literature Survey II (3)
  • WRIT 1101, 1102, or 1103 Contemporary Practices (3)
  • WRIT 2040 Writing Workshop (3)
  • WRIT 3140 Advanced Writing Workshop (3)
  • WRIT 4001 Generative Seminar (6)
  • CAPSTONE 4900 Undergraduate Thesis for BFAW Seminar (3)
Studio  39
  • CP 1010 Core Studio Practice I (3)
  • CP 1011 Core Studio Practice II (3)
  • CP 1020 Research Studio I (3)
  • CP 1022 Research Studio II (3)
  • SOPHSEM 2900 (Writing) (3)
  • PROFPRAC 3900 (3)
  • Studio Electives—May include additional Writing courses (21)
Liberal Arts  39
  • ENGLISH 1001 First Year Seminar I (3)
  • ENGLISH 1005 First Year Seminar II (3)
  • Humanities (12)
  • Social Sciences (9)
  • Natural Sciences (6)
  • Liberal Arts Electives (6)
Art History   12
  • ARTHI 1001 World Cultures/Civilizations: Pre-History to 19th Century Art and Architecture (3)
  • Art History Elective at 1000 level (3)
  • Art History Electives (6)
General Electives—Studio, Liberal Arts, Art History, and/or BFAW courses  12

Transfer Students

Total credits required for minimum residency: 66
Minimum Writing Studio credit: 42


Core curriculum includes:

  • Contemporary Practice (First Year) sequence
  • Introduction to Writing as Art
  • Two-semester Literature Survey
  • Beginning and Advanced Writing Workshops that explore process, genre and theme, such as Literary Modes; Walking: A Poetics; and Cabaret.
  • Generative Seminars that connect to interdisciplinary fields, such as Engineering Comics; Electronic Writing; and Aloud.
  • Undergraduate Thesis Seminar

BFAW students participate in the BFAW Thesis Reading in their final spring semester; those students who demonstrate a visual art practice may also apply to exhibit in the fall semester BFA Thesis Exhibition. BFAW students collaboratively conceptualize, edit and produce an annual publication in the Writing Program’s own BookLab, in addition to producing many other independent print, web and performance-based projects.