The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Bulletin provides students with important information about programs of study, academic departments and programs, academic support programs, co-curricular programs and rules, and regulations and policies of the school. We encourage you to review this document on a regular basis.
2022-23 SAIC Bulletin [PDF]
The Student Handbook includes information about the SAIC's policies, residence halls, student rights, responsibilities, and procedures, as well as a guide to Chicago. We encourage students to review the handbook at least once a year.
Student Handbook [PDF]
Understanding Your Grades
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has a Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) grading system. In most classes, if you received the equivalent of a "C" or higher, you will receive Credit (CR) for that class. Be sure to check your syllabus and talk to your faculty members to make sure you understand what equates to Credit for any given class. If your performance in a class does not meet the standards spelled out in the syllabus, you may receive No Credit (NCR).
A "W" on your transcript notes a voluntary Withdrawal. If you decide to leave a class past the end of Add/Drop, this is the grade you will get. You should talk to your advisor about withdrawing before doing it. Grades of “W” will not negatively impact your Academic Standing or any SAIC Merit Scholarships; however, grades of “W” do impact federal aid. Please contact Student Financial Services prior to making a decision about withdrawing from a class.
On rare occasions (usually involving extenuating circumstances), some faculty members may agree to give a student a grade of Incomplete (INC), which provides extra time to finish work that will complete class requirements. Talk to your academic advisor if you feel you want to request an INC for a class, and they can give you more information on how to ask for one.
Class Progress Reports
Faculty communicate with students in a variety of ways. Class Progress Reports (CPRs) are a specific type of email communication that faculty use to give students feedback about their class performance. These communications give an update of class progress and can help you understand what you need to do to stay on track or get back on track.
Reasons you may receive a CPR:
- Absences and/or tardiness (arriving late to class)
- Missing assignments or exams
- Class participation concerns
- Overall class performance
- Referrals to campus resources
It is important for you to login to Navigate when you receive a notification via email that you received a Progress Report. In Navigate, you can view the individualized message from your instructor who will note the concerns. It is essential to then speak with your instructor directly to resolve the concern(s).
Sometimes your advisor may contact you because they are concerned and want to help with the issues listed in the CPR. If you’re not sure how to respond to your instructor or uncertain about next steps, your advisor can talk through the situation with you and help you make a plan.
You are responsible for knowing how you are doing in each class. CPRs are just one possible way faculty may communicate with you about your status in class, and not all faculty use CPRs. Advising encourages you to talk to your faculty so you always know how you’re doing in each of your classes.
Though it is true that SAIC does not have a GPA system, you receive credit hours that indicate positive performance. Academic standing is based on passing two-thirds of your classes each semester as well as passing all first-year required courses. After grades are submitted following the fall and spring semesters, your Academic Standing will be processed by Academic Standing. Students whose standing has changed, will receive an official letter via email which explains the change.
It is important that all students are familiar with the guidelines for Academic Standing as well as those for Financial Aid Satisfactory AcademicProgress (FASAP). Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FASAP) is calculated separately from Academic Standing. Please be sure you are familiar with both of these policies.
For further information about Academic Standing and Financial Aid Satisfactory AcademicProgress (FASAP), a detailed explanation of each policy can be found in the
2022-23 SAIC Bulletin [PDF]. Questions can also be directed to Academic Advising or Student Financial Services, as applicable.
Permission to Take Classes Outside of SAIC
SAIC is currently not accepting requests for Permission to Take Classes Outside of SAIC; however, students may appeal to request to take classes outside of SAIC under extenuating circumstances. Please contact Academic Advising at 312.629.6800 or email@example.com with any questions.
The process to request permission to take classes outside of SAIC begins with the Appeal to Take Classes Outside of SAIC Request form. Enrolled degree-seeking students who wish to take courses at another school (other than through SAIC Off-Campus Study Programs) and subsequently have that credit transferred to SAIC, MUST complete this form in order to receive prior approval from the appropriate departments. Review all of the requirements below and have selected the courses you complete the form:
- Course(s) must be taken through a regionally accredited college of university.
- Course(s) cannot duplicate any offered at SAIC.
- A maximum of 15 credits may be approved via Permission towards any undergraduate SAIC degree.
- Students must have completed their 6-credit First Year Seminar requirement to potentially receive approval for any other Liberal Arts credits to SAIC and can only request up to 3 credits of non-language Liberal Arts classes (EXCEPTION: Students may potentially receive permission to take 6 additional credits of foreign language courses if the language is not offered at SAIC).
- Students must have completed their 6-credit Art History survey requirement to potentially receive approval for any Art History credits to SAIC and can only request up to 3 credits of Art History during the course of their SAIC degree.
- Students must have completed all Contemporary Practices requirements..
- Students may not exceed the maximum total number of transfer credits towards their degree.
- Students must be in good or warning academic standing.
- Course(s) must be at a high academic level (e.g. no remedial or college prep courses).
- International Students (F-1 or J-1) seeking fall or spring credits off-campus must maintain their Visa status and obtain approval from the International Affairs office.
If you would like to proceed with requesting permission to take classes outside of SAIC, please make an appointment with an Academic Advisor via Navigate.
Leave of Absence (LOA)
Students who completely withdraw from courses, or who complete a major academic semester or term but voluntarily choose not to enroll in the next major academic semester (fall/spring), can request to take a Leave of Absence from SAIC. Undergraduate students need to meet with an Academic Advisor and Graduate students need to meet with their Chair or Graduate Director/Coordinator to submit a Leave of Absence form. A student who completes the LOA process is eligible to re-enroll at SAIC within one (graduate students) or five (undergraduate students) years of the date that they began their Leave. Please see Undergraduate or Graduate for more information regarding the process for Leave of Absence and Return from a Leave of Absence.
Any new student leaving before the end of the add/drop period during their first semester should contact the Admissions office for assistance. Academic Advising will also help connect such students to Admissions when appropriate.
An undergraduate student who voluntarily leaves SAIC, either during the semester or between semesters, but does not return for the next major academic semester, may request to be placed on a Leave of Absence (LOA). This will allow the student to return to SAIC without appealing to the Academic Review Board, or reapplying for admission. To take an LOA, the student needs to meet with an Academic Advisor for an exit interview and to complete an LOA form.
An undergraduate student on LOA may return within five years of their last date of attendance. In order to return, the student must begin a reinstatement process by filling out the reinstatement form here: Return from Leave of Absence Request. After the student completes the Return from Leave of Absence Request, Academic Advising staff will review the request, and the student will receive a follow-up response to their SAIC email address within five business days.
Students must complete their reinstatement request a minimum of two weeks before the first day of classes for the desired return term. No request for reinstatement will be considered if it is not received by Academic Advising by that deadline.
Students may take multiple LOAs during their career, however, the total time spent on LOAs may not exceed five years. If the student seeks to re-enroll five years or longer after the last date attended, they must re-apply through the Admissions office.
A graduate student who voluntarily leaves SAIC, either during the semester or between semesters, but does not return for the next major academic semester, may request to be placed on Leave of Absence. This will enable the student to return to SAIC without appealing to the Academic Review Board or reapplying for admission. To take a Leave of Absence, the student needs to meet, in person or on the telephone, with a representative of their department (Graduate Coordinator, Graduate Director, Department Chair, as appropriate) for an exit interview and to complete the Graduate Leave of Absence form. Once the student has completed their form and has received the appropriate department signature on the form, they must submit the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A graduate student on Leave of Absence may return within one year of their last date of attendance. A graduate student should contact a representative of their department (Graduate Coordinator, Graduate Director, Department Chair, as appropriate) at least six months prior to the requested date of re-enrollment so that the department can determine whether adequate studio space, equipment, and facilities are available. In situations in which a student is not permitted to return to SAIC because of a lack of space or other resources, enrollment may be deferred until the resources become available and the statute of limitations may be extended by that same period of time.
When the graduate student is ready to return from Leave of Absence and seek reinstatement to SAIC, the student should first contact email@example.com and share which semester they are interested in returning. The student will then be connected to the proper Departmental Representative (Graduate Coordinator, Graduate Director, Department Chair, as appropriate), if they have not already done so, who will assist them in their reinstatement process. Once the departmental approves the reinstatement, they will contact firstname.lastname@example.org and the student will then be officially reinstated. The student will receive an email notification when they are reinstated and eligible to register for classes, or if there are other items the student needs to resolve prior to enrolling for classes.