Opportunities and Grants

Opportunities for the 2021-2022 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 or related expenses from the Graduate Dean.

Average awards are $400–700.


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

2021–22 Timeline
Deadline Grantees Notified
October 1 October 25
December 1 December 17
February 21
March 18
April 11
May 6

Grant payments will reimburse various expenses based on the proposal. 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.
  • 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 or exhibition opportunity.
  • The relationship of the 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 for graduate students was established in 2011 to support SAIC graduate students from any department or program who are studying art created independently from the academic mainstream, including self-taught or non-mainstream art, popular culture, and/or folk art from any culture(s). The winning student receives a $1,500 scholarship toward tuition in the fall of their final year of study.

Continuing Graduate Students are invited to apply via SlideRoom
Application deadline is Friday, April 29th.

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).

The MEGS Program is on hiatus for the 2021-2022 academic year, please check back during the 2022-2023 school year for updates.

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.

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. Both traditional and Low Residency MFA candidates are eligible. Questitons can be directed to info@acreresidency.org

Acre Residency Program Application

James Nelson Raymond Fellowship
Two $10,000 fellowships will be awarded to graduating MFA students of exceptional promise. These awards are to support the artist’s career and travel in the year following graduation.

Graduating Students are invited to apply via SlideRoom. A selection committee will choose 6-8 finalists who are then offered in-person visits in early May. A professional panel will conduct these visits before making final award decisions. Application deadline is Friday, April 29th.

Municipal Art League
The Municipal Art League of Chicago Award for Excellence provides $4,000 for a graduating Grad student. The Municipal Art League is awarded to a graduating Grad student whose work is concentrated in drawing, illustration, painting or sculpture on the basis of merit.

Graduating Students are invited to apply via SlideRoom. A selection committee will choose 6-8 finalists who are then offered in-person visits in early May. A professional panel will conduct these visits before making final award decisions. Application deadline is Friday, April 29th.