Graduate Overview

SAIC has long been distinguished by its innovative and extensive curriculum in modern and contemporary topics. Our Master of Arts (MA) programs draw on the institution's setting in Chicago with its wealth of historic architecture, public sculpture, museums, libraries, cultural facilities, and lively gallery scene.

The program's curriculum incorporates historical, theoretical, and critical perspectives on art, design, and contemporary visual cultures. Fifteen full-time faculty teach modern and contemporary art from diverse scholarly perspectives in a global context. Graduate students in Art History join a vibrant art/design school community engaged with contemporary visual practices. Our graduate students have gone on to be curators, professors, writers, critics, publishers, gallerists, arts administrators, and activists.

Visiting Scholars

The department supports an active research culture with frequent lectures by visiting scholars, critics, and curators. Most important of these is the annual Lifton Memorial Lecture and seminar that brings a significant figure engaged with modern and contemporary art to campus. Recent speakers have included Ming Tiampo, Adrienne Brown and Rashad Shabazz, Saloni Mathur, Hannah B Higgins and Deborah Willis. In addition, graduate students annually select an Art History End-of-Year Lecturer to speak every spring and have recently invited Amanda Boetzkes, Jessica L. Horton and Luis Castañeda, among many others. Across SAIC, contemporary artists give talks every week through studio departments and the Visiting Artists Program.

Thesis Abstracts

Each year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates the culmination and closure of students' studies at the masters level. In studio areas, the celebration takes place in the form of the thesis exhibitions. The academic areas complement this with the publication of students' theses.

The SAIC Thesis Repository contains theses for the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History and the Dual Degree submitted since November 2013.

Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are listed in the Flaxman Library catalog.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or