Personal Vision, Expansive Pursuit
SAIC's graduate program gives you the freedom and the structure to pursue your vision in expansive ways—across disciplines and through rigorous critique. As you choose among a variety of seminars, courses, and graduate advisors to design your study path, you’ll advance your practice and evolve your interests.
Graduate Degrees and Certificates
SAIC offers graduate pathways in studio, design, and academic fields, along with post baccalaureate certificates and a low-residency MFA.
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Studio Tour: Mac Pierce
The Graduate Experience
Four Things You Should Know
Making Begins and Ends With Meaning
At SAIC, we believe that meaning and making are inseparable. As artists, designers, and scholars, we are driven by ideas—our responses to the worlds of art and science, to social justice issues, to personal identity and community. As we research and refine our ideas in the process of making, we also discover new ways of making. Every aspect of life and learning here is informed by this basic truth.
We Cross Disciplines
You can focus on one medium, but at SAIC you have the freedom to explore outside of your department as you identify how you want to make meaning, and to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration with peers and faculty to advance your research.
Rigorous Critique Is Key
SAIC emphasizes critique as a way to develop a critical eye, gain confidence, and better understand your practice. You'll have opportunities to participate in several crit sessions, culminating in Critique Week, where interdisciplinary panels assess student work.
Creative Kinship Is Your Future
SAIC offers intimate settings for building connections with students from around the world that spark new insights and perspectives. You'll bond with artists, designers, writers, scholars, and curators, and become part of a legacy of alums who’ve formed fruitful collaborations.
Our Faculty Are Practitioners and Mentors
SAIC’s professors are acclaimed artists, designers, and scholars who are both your mentors and your partners. They offer one-on-one mentorship as you develop your projects. They connect you with opportunities and help guide your journey. From thesis coursework to collaborations beyond SAIC, you'll benefit from their experience, guidance, and critique.
Photo by Grace DuVal
Our Facilities Are Metal
SAIC's facilities are unmatched, providing you with access to world-class resources for creating work. From advanced technology labs to interdisciplinary maker spaces and multiple galleries, our facilities support your creative exploration and experimentation.
"SAIC is like a theme park for artists! I've used the 280 Wood Shop, Printmedia Lab, and the Flaxman Library, where I was able to see a 16mm Ed Ruscha film projected just for me." - Daniel Salamanca (MFA 2019)
Libraries and Special Collections
Students have access to the rich collections of both the Art Institute museum and the School. Our collections include traditional library and archival collections along with nontraditional, interdisciplinary, multimedia, and site-specific resources.
The John M. Flaxman Library is the ultimate campus study hub. You have access to hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, movies, and sound recordings that illuminate contemporary and historic art and design practices. Our staff provides personalized research support.
This is a house museum where you can dive into a rare collection of objects assembled by SAIC alum Roger Brown. An intimate place of wonder, the museum features works by Chicago Imagists, folk and tribal art, objects from popular culture, textiles, furniture, travel souvenirs, and even a Ford Mustang in the garage.
Explore a collection of more than 11,000 artists' publications, ranging from books and zines to digital works and audio recordings, created by local, national, and international artists. With collections dating back to the 1960s, the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection offers an unparalleled resource for in-depth research.
Immerse yourself in the center's extensive visual, print, and fabric libraries, holding physical garments and accessories. Explore innovative designs from the late 20th and 21st centuries and engage with the most exciting achievements in the field.
Founded at SAIC in 1976, this is the leading resource in the US for video by and about contemporary artists. You'll have access to more than 6,000 titles by more than 600 video artists, all available for research and study—a rare opportunity to discover the spectrum of video as a contemporary art form.
Angel Otero Defies Definition
“Painter” is the description that Angel Otero (BFA 2007, MFA 2009) identifies with most, but using that title has the unintended effect of singling him out. Though Otero has exhibited at museums like the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is featured in the permanent collection at the Guggenheim, and has earned the attention of the New York Times, when it comes to his accolades, he’s both humble and occasionally exasperated by the art world’s insistence on categorizing creators.
Greg Stephen Reigh (BFA 2013)
Image Credit: Greg Stephen Reigh (BFA 2013)
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Otero first encountered the work of Arnaldo Roche Rabell (MFA 1984) at the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Otero began imitating what he saw from Rabell, and he discovered later that the artist served as an example in more ways than one: both artists' journeys brought them to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Angel Otero, The Golden Vase, 2009, oil, spray paint, and silicone on canvas, 84" x 72"
Otero’s interest in unorthodox materials—those oil paint skins for starters, but also resin, caulk, tar, and linen—comes from a place of challenging himself. “It's this sort of interesting way of self-exploring,” he said. “I think that's stayed with me even now.”
Angel Otero, Everything and Nothing, 2011, collaged oil paint skins on canvas
Much of Otero’s work stems from his own memories and experiences. “I always have tried to be, in a sort of way, biographical,” Otero said. “At the same time, I always have my hand [held out] to art history or painting history, and how I can keep that dialogue.”
Angel Otero, Spitting Sun, oil skins on fabric, 2018