History and Quick Facts

SAIC Accolades

Ranked #8 art and design program in the world by QS World University Rankings.

“The most influential art school in the United States”—Columbia University’s Art Critics National Arts Journalism Survey

A top producer of Fulbright Scholars among all art and design schools

Consistently ranks among the top of 220 fine arts graduate programs U.S. News and World Report Six graduate disciplines (Fiber Arts, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Time-Based Media/New Media) ranked in the top five.

Awarded the Active Minds Healthy Campus Award in 2016 - Active Minds

Honored with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for four consecutive years (2014–17) Insight Into Diversity magazine

SAIC #1 in top 25 animation schools in the Midwest in 2017Animation Career Review 

Fashion Design Program in the top 50 internationally in 2013Fashionista 

Graduate Interior Design Program #6 in the United States in 2013Design Intelligence

SAIC is a top graphic design school in 2017Graphic Design USA 

Art Institute of Chicago named among best museums in the world in 2017TripAdvisor  

SAIC is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country.

Founded as the Chicago Academy of Design in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) provides a challenging education in the studio arts and exhibition opportunities for its students. The school incorporated as the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1879, and changed its name to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1882. The museum and school moved into a building designed and built for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Throughout the history of SAIC, alumni have played central roles in important art movements. It was SAIC that provided the impetus for two significant schools of American painting—the Regionalists of the 1930s, and the Imagists of the 1960s. Some of the most notable names in the arts received their early training at SAIC, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, H.C. Westermann, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Ivan Albright, Ed Paschke, Roger Brown, Halston, LeRoy Neiman, Elizabeth Murray, Cynthia Rowley, David Sedaris, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Sarah Vowell.

SAIC has the largest school-museum campus in the United States.

Since 1976, SAIC has occupied its own cutting-edge facilities adjoining the museum and the heralded Modern Wing overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan with additional buildings throughout an urban campus at the heart of the Chicago Loop.

SAIC Today: Art and Design in the 21st Century

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the largest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Providing degrees at the undergraduatepost-baccalaureate, and graduate levels, SAIC offers a broad and dynamic spectrum of study, including Art and Technology Studies; Arts Administration and Policy; Art History, Theory, and Criticism; Art Education and Art Therapy; Fashion Design; Film, Video, New Media, and Animation; Architecture, Historic Preservation, and Interior Architecture; Ceramics; Fiber and Material Studies; Painting and Drawing; Performance; Photography; Printmaking; Sculpture; Sound; Visual Communication; Visual and Critical Studies; and Writing. A comprehensive program in Liberal Arts emphasizes the critical role that humanities, mathematics, and sciences play in artists' development.