Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy

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Application Deadline: January 10 - $90 Application Fee
Priority Deadline: December 1 - $45 Application Fee
Apply online via Slideroom

If you are also interested in applying to the Modern & Contemporary Art History program, please ONLY submit a single application to the Dual Degree: Modern & Contemporary Art History AND Arts Administration and Policy.

SAIC requires applicants to apply online. Filing an online application requires a valid credit card and a current email address. You may apply to up to three programs with one application and fee. If you are applying to either the MFA in Studio or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio you may select up to three departments of entry.

Applications must be submitted prior to 11:00 p.m. (CST) on the appropriate deadline. When you click the "submit" button on the Graduate Application form, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application form is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information.

Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded. After you submit the application form you will be directed to a dashboard where you can begin working on your ePortfolio(s).

A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC. Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word.

During the application process an unofficial transcript is acceptable for review pending an Admissions decision. Official transcripts are required upon admission. Include transcripts both official and unofficial from all universities/colleges from which a degree was obtained or prerequisites were fulfilled. You can attach unofficial transcripts as .pdf or .jpg files in the Educational History section of the application form. If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable.

Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the degree- or credit-granting institution to the SAIC Graduate Admissions Office. Hard copy transcripts are considered official if the documents remain in the registrar's original signed and sealed envelopes. Official transcripts can be sent both in digital and hard-copy format. Digital transcripts can be sent from the degree- or credit-granting institution to gradmiss@saic.edu. Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:

SAIC Graduate
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1201
Chicago, IL 60603

Students admitted to a graduate program who have not received a high school diploma, GED or equivalent are not eligible for federal Title IV financial aid funds. 

Write a 500 to 700 word statement of purpose that describes the history of your interests and experiences in Arts Administration, your personal and professional motivations and goals, and your reasons for pursuing graduate study at SAIC, and thoughts on potential future directions.

A statement of intent is required for all graduate programs though the content varies by department. You will upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your E-Portfolio.

3 Letters of Reference are required.

You are responsible for securing letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of recommendation from current or former instructors.

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via the References section of the application form. In this section you will be asked to provide an email address for each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent from SlideRoom to your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations online.

If your references are unable to provide an online recommendation please contact the Graduate Admissions office at gradmiss@saic.edu.

A current résumé is required.

A resume is required for all graduate programs. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your E-Portfolio.

Submit a sample of your critical writing, up to 2,000 words in length. This can be either an essay assignment from a previous course of study, an excerpt from a longer research paper, or a recently published article. Text documents must be in .pdf format (up to 10MB each).

Applicants are required to submit an E-Portfolio, though the content varies by department. Please visit your individual program of interest to find details. You must submit a separate E-Portfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an E-Portfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard.

Submission specifications:

  • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
  • Videos: .flv, .wv, .mov (up to 60 MB each)
  • Audio: .mp3 (up to 10 MB each)
  • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)

TOEFL: 100 

IELTS: 7

DUOLINGO: 120

International applicants are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. You are waived from this requirement if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your native language is English
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a U.S. accredited university
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a university whose primary language of instruction is English

If you do not meet one of these conditions, you must submit official English language proficiency test scores. You are strongly encouraged to schedule a language proficiency test appointment as early as possible in order to receive official test scores prior to the application deadline.

SAIC accepts official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Duolingo. The TOEFL Institution Code for SAIC is 1713. Please upload an unofficial copy of your test score results to the International Requirements section of the application form.

The department conducts interviews by invitation only. Applicants who pass the preliminary review will be invited to schedule an interview in Mid-February. Notification will be sent by late January. For students at a distance or unable to travel, interviews may be conducted remotely.

Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy Brochure Cover

View Grad Brochure

The true art of Arts Administration is an intelligent elasticity: an ability to respond to art, artist, and intention; to adjust platforms for expression as needs outgrow and circumvent them; and to remain always nimble, ethical, conversational, and visionary enough to navigate the frontiers where status quo meets change. 

Our Students:

  • Have hailed (to date) from North America, South America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
  • Arrive with backgrounds in visual arts; dance; music; theater; cultural studies; art history; social sciences; law; philosophy; political science; education; social services; hospitality; urban studies; youth activism; social justice; social entrepreneurship; and more.
  • Often work full-time jobs during their studies. They can be found at arts and cultural institutions throughout Chicago, and in leadership positions across the school, including the Office of Civic Engagement; the Sullivan Galleries; and Special Collections. To facilitate students' learning alongside work lives and cultural engagement, we schedule as many required classes and activities as possible in the evening.
  • Have created projects to explore everything from Working at the Line: Three Studies of Arts Administration at the U.S.-Mexico Border and A Love Letter to Community: A Manifesto in Five Suggestions to Racing Culture: Exploring Race, Inclusion and Equity in Arts Institutions, A Parallel World: Hip Hop Dance in China, and Rethinking Radio: Storytelling as Civic Activism, leaving a wealth of trailblazing theses behind them in the MAAAP Thesis Archive.
  • Have graduated to become Directors, Curators, Leaders, and Managers of Education, Programs, Planning, Events, Community Interaction, Public Engagement, Development and Major Gifts, Marketing and Communications, Preservation, Operations, Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship, Legislation, and more—in addition to curating, directing, and managing the collections of renowned galleries, art centers, and museums quite literally around the globe.
  • Can be found in professional positions everywhere from Country Music Television to the J Paul Getty Museum; from the Brain Research Foundation to the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy; not to mention Christie’s, Artforum Magazine, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival, Public Design Commission of the City of New York, Peabody Essex Museum, Northwestern University, Reykjavik Art Museum, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Shenzen Biennial, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Smithsonian Institution, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, The Field Museum, Young Chicago Authors, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, The Obama Foundation, Venice Architecture Biennale, and countless others.

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 gradmiss@saic.edu.