Opportunities and Grants

Opportunities for the 2019-2020 Academic Year


Graduate Dean Professional Development Award

Graduate students who have been invited by recognized organizations or conferences to present their work may apply for partial travel assistance from the Graduate Dean.

Average awards are $400–700.


There are four deadlines annually. Decisions are made within five weeks of each deadline.

2019–20 Timeline
Deadline Grantees Notified
October 1 October 31
December 2 January 10
February 21 March 20
April 10 May 8

Grant payments reimburse eligible travel expenses. To collect payment, grantees submit receipts showing proof of purchase to the Graduate Division offices. Grantees receive reimbursement checks approximately six weeks after submitting receipts.


Graduate students in any year of study, enrolled in any program at SAIC are eligible to receive the Graduate Dean Professional Development Award.

Students may submit more than one application each year, and more than one application per deadline.

Students working together on the same presentation or exhibition must apply as a team. The collaborative team should select one representative student to submit the proposal on behalf of the team. If the grant is awarded, the lead student will be the sole recipient of the grant payment.

Students are not eligible to receive the Graduate Dean Professional Development Award if any of the following conditions are true:

  • They will have graduated at the time of travel.
  • They are on a leave of absence at the time of applying or at the time of travel.
  • They are not in good academic standing.
  • They have received a Graduate Dean Professional Development Award in the current academic year.
  • They have received World Less Traveled or SAIC Travel Grants in the current academic year.

All students on a collaborative team must be eligible for the team to be considered.

Graduate Dean Professional Development Awards do not support any of the following:

  • Travel for any purpose other than presentation or exhibition of student work.
  • Honoraria, materials, shipping, or residency tuition.
  • Travel occurring before the date of the application deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

Graduate Dean Professional Development Award funds are limited, and grants are highly competitive. Each year, the Graduate Dean receives far more requests than can be honored. Often, extremely worthy applicants cannot be supported.

The Graduate Dean considers the following criteria when evaluating proposals:

  • The significance of the travel opportunity.
  • The relationship of the travel opportunity to the student's studies at SAIC.
  • The relationship of the opportunity to SAIC's Core Values.

Optional Faculty Endorsement

The Graduate Dean requests that faculty assist applicants in expressing the worth of the travel opportunity and the suitability of the opportunity for the student. By endorsing a proposal, a graduate coordinator, faculty advisor, or instructor certifies the importance of the opportunity at this time in the student's professional development. Students should attach a brief endorsement letter or email from an instructor to the application.

Application Form:

Clay Morrison Scholarship

The Clay Morrison Scholarship was established in 2011 in memory of SAIC alumnus Thomas Clay Morrison (1948-2007), who studied at SAIC (1975-77) and received his MFA in 1977. At SAIC, Morrison was deeply involved in studying art originating from beyond the academic mainstream, which can be traced to the teaching legacies of Helen Gardner, Kathleen Blackshear, Whitney Halstead, Ray Yoshida, and is ongoing. The Clay Morrison Scholarship for graduate students was established in 2011 to encourage and support SAIC graduate students from any department or program who are studying art created independently from the academic mainstream, including self-taught art, “outsider art,” popular culture, and/or international folk art. One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to a student based on an outstanding statement of interest and purpose in the area(s) described above. The award will apply to tuition for the following semester.

Graduate students in any program at SAIC entering their second year of study in the following semester or Arts Admin/Art History dual degree grads entering their third year of study in the following semester may apply. Students apply through an open call and complete an application in SlideRoom. Professors who recently taught classes specifically related to the scope of the Clay Morrison Scholarship are contacted to encourage students to apply. Student submit either work samples or work of the artist(s) they are studying, an artist statement that outlines the student’s interest in self- taught art, “outsider art,” popular culture, and/or international folk art. The statement should describe any previous research or study, and any plans or goals for future study in any of the above-mentioned genres. 

Applications have closed for 2019.


Plus One Grant

Plus One Grants afford the opportunity to program additional events at SAIC by speakers whose travel to Chicago has been hosted by other organizations. Proposals can be generated by both faculty and graduate students, but all must be formally sponsored by at least two different SAIC departments. 


The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Education Graduate Scholars Program

The AIC MEGSP is a joint venture between the Department of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Graduate Division of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The MEGSP hinges on a recurring year-long, three credit/semester seminar and accompanying internship for SAIC Graduate students. The program is designed to provide practical experience and theoretical grounding in Museum Education for students enrolled in any graduate program at the School. Aimed at both artists and arts professional in-training, this program emphasizes object-based research and teaching. It builds upon the unique collaboration of a world-class encyclopedic museum and a major art school that comprises a range of studio, design, scholarly, and professional graduate degrees. This will be the first sustained partnership of this level between the two sister institutions. The program is open to first year graduate students (and will occur during their second year of study).

Applications for the 2019-20 year are now closed. Applications for the 2020-21 academic year will launch Spring 2020.


SAIC Berlin Residency

The SAIC Berlin Residency is awarded to up to two graduating MFA students annually through an open competition. In 2019 one residency period will take place during August and September, while a second will take place during September and October. All applicants must confirm their availability for these months before applying. Awarded MFA students spend two months in Berlin at the Institut für Alles Mögliche. SAIC pays for the awarded student's residency fee and round-trip travel, as well as tuition for supplementary workshops. Studio space and basic accommodations are included in the residency.  No special accommodations can be made. Awardees are responsible for their own travel documentation and visas. Upon completion of the residency, awardees must submit a summary report.  General questions can be addressed to graddivision@saic.edu.

Application deadline is April 1, 2020 


AICAD Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship

As a member of the Associated Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), SAIC participates in the AICAD Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship, which provides significant professional practice opportunities to high-achieving recent graduate alumni who are underrepresented in higher education. The fellowship consists of a one-year full-time (or near full-time) teaching load at an AICAD institution, salary commensurate with starting salary for full-time faculty, mentorship, and professional development support. Graduating MFA students and recent alumni are nominated by the departments for eligibility to apply.

Applications for the 2018–19 AICAD Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship will be announced soon. These deadlines are set by the administrators of the AICAD Teaching Fellowship program.


World Less Traveled and SAIC Summer Travel Grants

The World Less Traveled Grant was endowed by a gift from Marion Parry, and the SAIC Summer Travel Grants were endowed by a gift from Edward L. Ryerson. The grants were created to provide funds for thesis research, conference attendance, travel for exhibitions, and self-initiated study trips (not SAIC study trips) available to both undergraduate and graduate students. The Office of the Dean of Faculty is pleased to announce that this fund will be made available annually for use in the subsequent semester or Summer thereafter. World Less Traveled Grants are awarded with a maximum amount of $1,500 and the SAIC Summer Travel Grants are awarded with a maximum amount of $1,000.

Degree students in good academic standing may apply for the WLT and the SAIC Summer Travel Grants. Students apply through an open call and complete their application in SlideRoom link per below. Students submit a project description, artist statement, one-page resume, and a budget. Members of the Dean’s Office jury the awards to both undergraduate and graduate students. Students graduating in Spring 2020 will be eligible for consideration for travel grants (World Less Traveled Grant or SAIC Summer Travel Grant) for trips taking place in the Summer of 2020 (commencing shortly after graduation), as long as they submit completed application, fit all other criteria, and graduate in good academic standing.

Applications for the 2019–2020 academic year will open on October 3rd, with an application deadline of November 1, 2019 via the link below:


SAIC x ACRE Alumni Scholarship

ACRE has partnered with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to create a scholarship opportunity to accepted residents who are also Master’s level graduates from SAIC. We are excited to work with SAIC to further support the careers of their alumni and provide free services to their artists. Eligibility for the SAIC Alumni Scholarship will be based on successful completion of an SAIC Graduate Program within 12 months of the start date of the summer residency (July 1, 2019). Both traditional and Low Residency MFA candidates are eligible.

To qualify you must have completed an SAIC Graduate Program between July 2018–July 2019. Applications closed March 11, 2019.


Nominated Fellowships

Explore additional fellowships for graduating students based on annual departmental nominations: Graduate Division Scholarships and Fellowships [PDF].