The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual and Critical Studies degree program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) allows you to pursue in-depth academic study in the creative environment of an art school. During your work, you will draw connections between the visual arts and history, philosophy, psychology, and the natural sciences.
SAIC Admissions Counselors give you the inside scoop on how to approach assignment-based work so you can include it in your portfolio.
To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you will need to fill out an application and submit your transcripts and letters of recommendation. And most importantly, we require a portfolio of your best and most recent work—work that will give us a sense of you, your interests, and your willingness to explore, experiment, and think beyond technical art, design, and writing skills.
In order to apply, we must have the following items:
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual and Critical Studies students follow a curricular pathway that shares many classes with Bachelor of Fine Arts students before diverging into a unique course of study. Here are the requirements you must meet to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies.
Total Credit Hours
VCS 2001 Issues in Visual and Critical Studies (3)
VCS 3010 Tutorial in Visual and Critical Studies (3)
VCS 4800 Undergraduate Thesis Seminar I: Research & Writing (3)
CAPSTONE 4900 VCS Undergraduate Thesis Seminar II: Research and Writing (3)
PROFPRAC and CAPSTONE are now required for new incoming students beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.
CP 1010 Core Studio Practice I (3)
CP 1011 Core Studio Practice II (3)
CP 1020 Research Studio I (3)
CP 1022 Research Studio II (3)
Studio Electives (27)
ENGLISH 1001 First Year Seminar I (3)
ENGLISH 1005 First Year Seminar II (3)
Social Science (6)
Natural Science (6)
Liberal Arts Elective (3)
ARTHI 1001 World Cultures/Civilizations: Pre-History to 19th-Century Art and Architecture (3)
Art History Elective at 1000 level (3)
Art History Elective (3)
Transfer students must complete at least 66 credit hours of coursework at the SAIC in order to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies degree here. Please look at the breakdown of credits required for minimum residency below:
Total credits required for minimum residency
Minimum Studio credit
Minimum Visual and Critical Studies Core Curriculum
Alumni of this program go on to graduate work in the humanities, museum studies, arts administration, art-related law, or pursue careers in communications, teaching, public service, social activism, media production, or journalism.
You will share most classes, including a minimum of 39 hours of studio courses, with students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, yet also follow a distinct sequence of courses, seminars, and personal research. Core courses provide you with diverse critical methods for exploring the cultural meanings of visual phenomena as they relate to social, economic, and material circumstances. You may choose from a variety of courses in studio practice, art history, writing, and the liberal arts and sciences, with special attention to topics such as visual and media literacy, cultural history and theory, and global studies.
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman.