• To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, please submit your application online through the common application. You will also need to provide:

    • a portfolio of work
    • an artist's statement
    • transcripts
    • one letter of recommendation
    • an English Proficiency test, if English is not your first language.

    ACT and/or SAT scores are optional, but if you believe your scores provide additional insight into your academic abilities, please feel free to submit them.

    Learn more at https://www.saic.edu/admissions/undergraduate/how-apply-freshman 

  • SAIC offers the following undergraduate degrees:

    • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio (BFA)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Art History (BAAH)
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing (BFAW)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies (BAVCS)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Art Education (BAAE)

    Within the Common App, you will choose which program you'd like to apply to. Remember that SAIC has an interdisciplinary curriculum, which means that even if you are not officially admitted to a particular bachelor's degree program, you are still able to take courses in that area!

  • Generally, about 6,500 students apply to our undergraduate program, and around 3,600 are admitted annually. Our acceptance rate is approximately 57 percent.

    See www.saic.edu/consumer-information for the most up-to-date stats on our student body.

  • An average of 650 undergraduate students graduate each year. 

  • Students must submit the Common Application, a portfolio consisting of 10–15 of their best works, an artist's statement, transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. International students must show English proficiency by submitting either TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo English test scores. Portfolio requirements can vary by department, and we encourage students to meet with us to learn more, or see our portfolio requirements by degree page.

  • Yes! Admissions counselors are happy to meet with students one-on-one to help you craft a merit scholarship-winning portfolio. Additionally, we host events throughout the year where students can meet with faculty and staff to get individualized feedback on their work.

    See all events and sign up here.

  • Show us your 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.

    Learn more about what we look for in a portfolio or view our portfolio preparation brochure.

  • The answer is that there is no right or wrong answer! Your portfolio should be individual to you and should showcase the work you are passionate about. While we don’t require a variety of media, we also don’t restrict you to just one. You are welcome to submit work in only one media or several. Go with whichever option best represents your ideas!

  • Early Action applicants and students who apply by our published deadlines will typically be notified by mail and email within 3–5 weeks of the deadline.

  • Students are selected for our incoming class based on a holistic view of their application, portfolio, artist's statement, and supplemental materials. Learn more about crafting a competitive application and portfolio. Admission and selection for merit scholarships is need-blind, meaning a student's financial situation is not considered when awarding or admitting students.

  • Yes! Please contact us at admiss@saic.edu to arrange a classroom visit. Additionally, we host events throughout the year where prospective students can meet and talk with current students.

    Visit the Undergrad Events Page to see a list of our current events.

  • Yes! We host a variety of events throughout the year where current students share their experiences at SAIC. You can see a list of our events and RSVP at the Undergrad Events Page.

  • For Freshmen, SAIC accepts up to a maximum of 12 credit hours—the equivalent of four courses—for any combination of the following: 

    • Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: three college credit hours for each Advanced Placement (AP) score of 3-5 in ALL academic areas (priority) or studio arts. 
    • International Baccalaureate (IB): six college credits for any International Baccalaureate (IB) score of 4-7 at the Higher Level (HL) only up to a maximum total of 12 credit hours.
    • College Level Examination Program (CLEP): 3 credit hours per subject area up to a maximum of 12 credit hours. For each subject area exam, students must earn a score of 50 for that subject. CLEP credits are considered transfer credits and must be submitted prior to the start of the semester.
    • College Credits (earned in high school): Includes early/pre-college programs or dual enrollment courses with the equivalent of a grade "C" or better. For Transfer students, we will accept up to a maximum of 60 transfer credits for courses in which you have received a grade of "C" or better from an accredited university or college.

    Learn more about applying as a transfer student.


  • Yes. All domestic students will be considered for financial aid as long as they submit a FAFSA. See saic.edu/cost-financial-aid for more info on filing your FAFSA by the appropriate deadline.

  • Current tuition rates can be found at saic.edu/cost-financial-aid/costs-fees.

  • Yes. All students are considered for SAIC's merit scholarships at the time of admission based on a holistic review of their portfolio, artist's statement, and other application materials. No separate application is necessary. You can learn more about crafting a merit scholarship-winning application and portfolio.

    Additionally, students are considered for a variety of other scholarships and grants at the time of admission, and a list of outside scholarships researched by SAIC staff to which you can apply can be found at saic.edu/outsidescholarships.

  • International students are eligible for merit-based scholarships, which are awarded during the admission process. Unfortunately, the US Government does not provide funding for foreign nationals to study in the US Most grants, scholarships and loans from public and private sources within the United States are also restricted to US citizens or permanent residents. Students should make every effort to identify potential funding sources (national, provincial or private) in your home country.

  • Current on-campus housing costs can be found at saic.edu/tuition/housing-costs

  • No, all students are charged the same tuition amount regardless of where they live in the world.

  • SAIC's undergraduate degree program requires completion of 120 credit hours, which is normally completed in four years with a full-time course load. A full-time course load is 15 credits per semester, but students may take up to 18 credits per semester or choose to study in our winter or summer interim sessions, or take a study trip or internship for credit. Part-time study is also available, and students are welcome to take classes as a Student-At-Large (non-degree student), or work towards a degree part-time.

  • In addition to the annual BFA show, SAIC offers numerous opportunities for students to show their work across campus in both traditional galleries and alternative exhibition spaces, and in venues throughout Chicago. A list of calls for work for SAIC's galleries can be found at saic.edu/public-programs/exhibitions. In addition, departments frequently share external calls for work with students throughout the year.

  • With one of the oldest and most successful art-related internship programs in the country, you can fill your resume with meaningful job experience while earning credit before you graduate. Learn more at saic.edu/capx.

  • Some of SAIC's many strengths include our interdisciplinary curriculum; award-winning faculty who are also practicing artists, designers, and scholars; one of the oldest and most successful art-related internship programs in the country; numerous student exhibition opportunities; world-class facilities and resources; a strong liberal arts program, a diverse and worldwide network of successful peers and alumni, and our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Yes. Founded in 1868, our Visiting Artists Program is one of the oldest public programs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has featured more than 1,000 international artists, designers, and scholars representing more than 70 countries through a diverse mix of lectures, screenings, conversations, and readings. In addition to public lectures, visitors directly engage with SAIC students through studio critiques and roundtable discussions, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture.

  • Students at SAIC have access to an extraordinary array of facilities and resources not available at any other college, including our Libraries and Special Collections; media centers equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment; gallery spaces that allow students to showcase their art across multiple exhibition venues; public lectures by world-renowned visiting artists through our Visiting Artists Program; instructional shops equipped with a wide range of hand, power, and stationary tools to help you realize your projects; facilities for laser cutting, moldmaking, and 3D printing; a foundry for metal work; three Jaquard looms; Blaauw computer controlled kilns; labs for bio-art, kinetics, neon, electronics, and audio art; professional printing, binding, and finishing via our Service Bureau; access to the latest design software; individual graduate studios; and much more. 

    In addition, the city of Chicago is home to world-class museums and galleries including our Art Institute of Chicago museum, unparalleled public art and architecture, and diverse and historic neighborhoods linked by an extensive public transit system.

  • SAIC has an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio to ensure you receive individual attention from any of our nearly 850 world-renowned practicing painters, filmmakers, historians, sculptors, animators, web artists, graphic designers, theorists, sound artists, fashion designers, architects, philosophers, performance artists, photographers, and writers. Most classes have an average of 12 students.

  • SAIC's undergraduate program is interdisciplinary, meaning you won’t declare a major, and are free to choose from a range of media to fulfill your artistic vision. You are able to combine sculpture, ceramics and film, or concentrate on painting only if you wish. We teach you a way of thinking that is not bound to one medium and gives you the freedom to explore across all our departments.

  • There are a wealth of career opportunities in art and design, and it is one of the fastest growing industries. We invite you to learn more by viewing our Career and Professional Experience brochure or visiting saic.edu/capx.

  • Here’s a list of notable SAIC alums. And in addition to the world-famous alums, there are countless others who are impacting the global landscape—check out SAIC News for stories about alums and how they are impacting their communities and the world.

  • Yes. Most undergraduate students (85 percent) elect to live in one of our residence halls for at least their first year. Living on-campus introduces you to new friends, and provides programming to get you adjusted to the ins and outs of SAIC. Our residence halls are conveniently located just minutes from classes, and feature loft or apartment-style spaces containing:

    • Private bathrooms
    • A kitchenette with stove,
    • Full-size refrigerator, and microwave
    • Wireless Internet
    • Full-time, live-in professional staff and student resident advisors
    • 24-hour studio spaces
    • Lounge facilities
    • 24-hour security & ID card access

    If you are interested in living on campus, learn more at saic.edu/housing-residential-life or contact Residence Life for more information at 312.629.6870.

  • View school-wide online and in-person events at the Undergrad Events Page!

  • Submitting the Fee Waiver via the Common Application

    1. DO NOT click "YES" to the fee waiver application question in the Profile section of the Common Application. Doing so will indicate that you wish to waive the fee to all institutions to which you are applying.
    2. In the "General" section of "Member Questions" in the Common Application, answer, "Yes, I have already been granted an application fee waiver from SAIC" for the "Have you been granted an SAIC Application Fee Waiver?" question. When you submit your application, you will indicate that you qualify for SAIC's application waiver. You will then be able to submit without paying a fee.  

      Go to Application

  • SAIC's Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) was created to support a universally accessible educational community that fosters full participation and contribution of every member. The DLRC delivers innovative and high-quality services to SAIC students with disabilities and facilitates and advocates for reasonable accommodations so that students have equal access to all programs, activities, and services of the institution.

    Learn more at saic.edu/wellness/disability-learning-resource-center.

  • SAIC is committed to an equitable, just environment where the voices of all our students, faculty, and staff are valued and respected. View our diversity mission statement.

  • No. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, is not closing. You may have read reports that the Art Institutes––a system of private schools with locations across the US––has closed several locations, including campuses in Illinois. SAIC and the Art Institute of Chicago museum are not, and have never been, affiliated with this organization.