In a rapidly changing and globalizing society, arts organizations are being called on to respond to new art forms and ideas, audiences, ethical challenges, and political and economic difficulties. The Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) prepares you to meet these demands as a critically engaged and proactive arts administrator and manager.

Program Philosophy

This interdisciplinary program invites extended and focused theoretical and practical explorations into culture, policy, institutions, and their practice. Our approach studies the role institutions and policies play in shaping culture, through a grounded analysis of concrete practices and examples.

The MA in Arts Administration and Policy program strongly encourages you to think beyond existing institutional and policy structures and assumptions and to work flexibly in a dynamic cultural and institutional landscape.

The program emanates from a conviction that neither the short-term interests of policymakers nor the theoretical debates of the academy should circumscribe cultural policy studies, and that neither should exist absent from considerations of and interaction with artistic practice and public debate.

Coursework and Fieldwork

The SAIC Arts Administration and Policy program strongly encourages interaction with current debates and professional situations. Students plan their studies around their research needs that culminate in a thesis.

Interactions and practical experiences are actively encouraged and are facilitated through the arts administration fieldwork and internship program, participation in SAIC Study Trips, the international field study class, and the departmental colloquium with a series of invited, distinguished guest lecturers.

Previous International Field Study destinations:
2010—Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
2011—Shanghai and Hong Kong, China
2012—St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden
2013—Havana, Cuba

Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for information on admissions and curriculum requirements, MAAAP 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 gradmiss@saic.edu.

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

The 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 based on a commitment to and knowledge of the arts
  • Work as a community to develop practices and paradigms that re-envision the types of organizations that suit 21st-century needs and realities
  • 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
  • Develop ongoing individual and collaborative approaches to learning that will enhance the specific intellectual and career goals of each student
  • Educate students in ways that stress an underlying commitment to ethics as a social baseline and as a professional value
  • 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.

Coursework and Fieldwork

The SAIC Arts Administration and Policy program strongly encourages interaction with current debates and professional situations. Students plan their studies around their research needs that culminate in a thesis.

Interactions and practical experiences are actively encouraged and are facilitated through the coursework and participation in SAIC Study Trips.

Previous Arts Administration and Policy Study Trip destinations include:

  • 2010—Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2011—Shanghai and Hong Kong, China
  • 2012—St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2013—Havana, Cuba

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. The Departmental Colloquium 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, Creative Time, Chicago Humanities Festival, Field Museum, Joffrey Ballet, Sundance Film Festival, U.S. State Department, MAXXI/Rome, Chiang Mai Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Interested in learning more?

Explore information on admissions and curriculum 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 gradmiss@saic.edu.