For more than 140 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been committed to providing the best and most innovative art education possible. In keeping with this commitment SAIC has developed a curriculum makes sure that our graduates are fully conversant with the tools that technology can provide. To ensure integrated curricular technology and equal access to a wide range of software, technical support and training, SAIC has instituted a technology requirement consisting of two parts: a school-wide laptop requirement and a technology fee.

Technology Fee

All students enrolled for 6 or more degree credit hours are charged a technology fee. This fee helps provide access to wireless and wired networking, curricular software in computer classrooms and labs, and Student Computing Help Desk support and training. In addition, students with a qualifying laptop computer can access curricular software both on and off campus, along with Student Computing Help Desk support.

For information about the technology fee visit the Technology Fee section.

Laptop Recommendation

All incoming undergraduate students, with the exception of second-degree students, are recommended to own an Apple laptop computer purchased through the school. The specific laptop package is selected and purchased by SAIC to best meet the curricular and student-life needs.

Learn More

Visit the Laptop Recommendation page for more detailed information or contact 312.345.3535 or

Technology Support for Students

SAIC also offers the following technology support to students:

General Access Computer Lab 

The General Access (GA) Computer Lab acts as the general computing facility for the SAIC community. Users have access to Apple, Intel, Mac Pro, and iMac workstations equipped with the SAIC instructional software template. The template includes current versions of software for digital video, desktop publishing, 3D rendering, website authoring, animation, multimedia, graphic, and audio applications. The GA Lab is also equipped with flatbed, negative, and slide scanners, CD and DVD burners, and digital video editing stations. All workstations provide Internet connectivity via SAIC’s high-speed network. There are also dedicated stations where laptop users can connect to flatbed scanners, widescreen LCD monitors, and the SAIC network. Printing is available to black-and-white and color laser printers, as well as medium-format inkjet printers. The GA Lab has 24-hour access and during business hours offers authorizations and training for specialized equipment and task-specific software support.

Departmental Computer Labs

In addition to the GA computer lab, numerous academic departments have labs and equipment for specialized needs such as large-format printing and scanning, video editing, 3D output, and other advanced processes. In the past few years, SAIC has expanded its already extensive departmental resources to include a computerized Jacquard loom in the Fiber and Materials Studies department and CNC routers in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects. SAIC is continually adding and upgrading peripherals to enhance its work environment and ensure student access to the latest technologies.

Digital Output Centers

Service Bureau
37 S. Wabash, suite 1111

The Service Bureau is SAIC’s on-campus professional digital output center, specializing in laser printing and large format ink-jet printing. Facilities include wide-format Epson printers that can produce archival prints up to 64” wide. Printing services are available to all SAIC students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We also provide binding, folding, button-making, vinyl cutting, bulk paper cutting, laptop monitor calibration, laminating, CD and DVD duplication and printing, and other services. Whether you work with text, print, paint, photo, video, sculpture, design, fiber, or fashion, the Service Bureau can help you integrate digital imaging into your work.

Learn More

For more information about computing in general at SAIC, please visit the computing webpage.

Media Centers

MacLean Center
112 S. Michigan Ave., suite 801

Columbus Building
280 S. Columbus Dr., suite 233

Sharp Building
37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 307

The Media Center is a central component of SAIC’s capability to provide a truly interdisciplinary educational experience at SAIC. The ability of every student to create, document, and present artwork of varying media is greatly enhanced by the availability of the latest media tools throughout the school. Gaining access to equipment and services from any of our three locations on campus is as easy as presenting a valid student ID.

The Media Centers support a variety of formats, from analog to digital, and our pool of equipment is constantly changing as new technology is developed. In addition, we offer free daily workshops to individually instruct students on advanced equipment as well as on digital content creation. To assist us in equipment circulation, we are one of the largest employers of student workers on campus. Our goal is to cultivate student leaders and provide skills useful in all future job endeavors.