Undergraduate Experience: Liberal Arts and Art History
SAIC students visit the Art Institute of Chicago Prints and Drawings room to view original works of art by world famous artists and designers.
Before you have the capacity to create truly meaningful work, you need the proper foundation to build on. At SAIC the foundation is structured with numerous courses in liberal arts and art/design history and theory. These classes give you context and background. They give you a basis on which you can think about and choose to disagree with, build upon, or create something entirely new.
Liberal Arts at SAIC
At SAIC, you will receive a liberal arts education with studio practice at its core in order to produce well-informed work that engages the social, philosophical, and scientific aspects of our complex world. We believe that meaning and making go hand-in-hand. Liberal arts courses comprise 25% of your degree requirements. You will be completing coursework in English, natural science, social science, and the humanities. Our offerings run the gamut from traditional coursework to art and design-centered classes like Art and Economics, Geometry of Art & Nature, and Psychology of Art and the Artist.
As an undergraduate student you will participate in undergraduate first-year seminars. First-year seminars are not your typical freshman English class. They’re about mining ideas, talking about them, reading about them, and writing fearlessly about them. First-year seminars prepare you to handle concepts with greater sophistication. They are writing classes poised in the context of ideas. Examples of current seminars include Social Space and the Artist; Philosophy of Sex; American Writers in Paris; Memory and Imagination; and Dangerous Ideas. From there you will be able to select from a large and diverse selection of courses in English, natural science, social science, and the humanities.
Art History at SAIC
You will be taking at least 18 hours of art history credits—the equivalent of a minor at most other universities— to learn how ideas, materials and techniques, even from ancient times, may be used now, and how each movement in the arts is dependent on those that have came before.
Our curriculum is the most extensive of its kind in the country. We offer more than 100 courses each semester on topics ranging from History of Graffiti to History & Technique: The Old Masters Drawings and Photography in Africa.