Master of Arts in Arts Administration Application and Admissions Information

  • Priority Deadline: December 1 - $45 Application Fee 
    Application Deadline: Accepting Applications - $90 Application Fee 
    Apply online via SlideRoom 

    If you are also interested in applying to the Modern & Contemporary Art History program, please ONLY submit a single application to the Dual Degree: Modern & Contemporary Art History AND Arts Administration and Policy. 

    Additional Application Details

  • A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC. Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

    Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word. 

    During the application process an unofficial transcript is acceptable for review pending an Admissions decision. Official transcripts are required upon admission. Include transcripts both official and unofficial from all universities/colleges from which a degree was obtained or prerequisites were fulfilled. You can attach unofficial transcripts as .pdf or .jpg files in the Educational History section of the application form. If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable.

    Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the degree- or credit-granting institution to the SAIC Graduate Admissions Office. Hard copy transcripts are considered official if the documents remain in the registrar's original signed and sealed envelopes. Official transcripts can be sent both in digital and hard-copy format. Digital transcripts can be sent from the degree- or credit-granting institution to 

    Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:
    SAIC Graduate
    36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1201
    Chicago, IL 60603

    Students admitted to a graduate program who have not received a high school diploma, GED or equivalent are not eligible for federal Title IV financial aid funds. 

  • Write a 500 to 700 word statement of purpose that describes the history of your interests and experiences in Arts Administration, your personal and professional motivations and goals, and your reasons for pursuing graduate study at SAIC, and thoughts on potential future directions.

    Additional Statement Details

    A statement of intent is required for all graduate programs though the content varies by department. You will upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your E-Portfolio.

  • 3 Letters of Reference are required

    Additional Reference Details

    You are responsible for securing letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of recommendation from current or former instructors.

    Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via the References section of the application form. In this section you will be asked to provide an email address for each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent from SlideRoom to your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations online.

    If your references are unable to provide an online recommendation please contact the Graduate Admissions office at

  • A current résumé is required.

    A resume is required for all graduate programs. Upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your E-Portfolio.

  • Submit a sample of your critical writing, up to 2,000 words in length. This can be either an essay assignment from a previous course of study, a well-considered response to hot topics in the field, an excerpt from a longer research paper, or a recently published article. Text documents must be in .pdf format (up to 10MB each).

    Applicants are required to submit an E-Portfolio, though the content varies by department. Please visit your individual program of interest to find details. You must submit a separate E-Portfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an E-Portfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard.

    Submission specifications:

    • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
    • Videos: .flv, .wv, .mov (up to 60 MB each)
    • Audio: .mp3 (up to 10 MB each)
    • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)

  • TOEFL: 100 
    IELTS: 7
    DUOLINGO: 120

    International applicants are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. You are waived from this requirement if you meet any of the following conditions:

    • Your native language is English
    • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a U.S. accredited university
    • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a university whose primary language of instruction is English

    If you do not meet one of these conditions, you must submit official English language proficiency test scores. You are strongly encouraged to schedule a language proficiency test appointment as early as possible in order to receive official test scores prior to the application deadline.

    SAIC accepts official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Duolingo. The TOEFL Institution Code for SAIC is 1713. Please upload an unofficial copy of your test score results to the International Requirements section of the application form.

  • The department conducts interviews by invitation only. Applicants who pass the preliminary review will be invited to schedule an interview in Mid-February. Notification will be sent by late January. For students at a distance or unable to travel, interviews may be conducted remotely.

MA Arts Administration

The true art of arts administration is an intelligent elasticity: an ability to respond to art, artist, and intention; to adjust platforms for expression as needs outgrow and circumvent them; and to remain always nimble, ethical, conversational, and visionary enough to navigate the frontiers where status quo meets change.

 Our Students:
  • Have hailed (to date) from North America, South America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
  • Arrive with backgrounds in visual arts; dance; music; theater; cultural studies; art history; social sciences; law; philosophy; political science; education; social services; hospitality; urban studies; youth activism; social justice; social entrepreneurship; and more.
  • Often work full-time jobs during their studies. They can be found at arts and cultural institutions throughout Chicago, and in leadership positions across the school and the museum, including the Office of Civic Engagement; the Sullivan Galleries; and Special Collections. To facilitate students' learning alongside work lives and cultural engagement, we schedule as many required classes and activities as possible in the evening.
  • Have created wide ranging theses and thesis projects, such as “Adaptive Capacity: Necessary Components & Strategies for Contemporary Non-Profit Arts and Cultural Organizations”, “New Imaginations for the Role of the Museum Trustee”, “Following the Crowd: Understanding Donors Through Virtual Fundraising“, “Working at the Line: Three Studies of Arts Administration at the U.S.-Mexico Border”, “Balancing Dichotomies: Visioning an art administration paradigm for India”, “Racing Culture: Exploring Race, Inclusion and Equity in Arts Institutions”, “A Parallel World: Hip Hop Dance in China”, “Transferability of East Asian Arts Festivals in Rural Areas: Community Revitalization Through Creative Placemaking in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan”, “Creative Social Enterprise in Scotland: An Exploration of how Glasgow's Creative Social Enterprises Contribute to the Social Economy”, and “Rethinking Radio: Storytelling as Civic Activism”.  

Curriculum Overview

Critical and Cultural Policy Studies


  • ARTSAD 5005 Activating Arts Admin.: Key Frameworks (3)
  • ARTSAD 6018 Spheres of Cultural Valuation (3)

Choose either:

  • ARTSAD 5505 Law, Politics, & the Arts (3)
    or ARTSAD 5510 Topics in Digital Arts Administration (3)


Management Studies


  • ARTSAD 5100 ProSeminar: Leadership Talks (3)
  • ARTSAD 5054 Management Studio I (3)
  • ARTSAD 5055 Management Studio II (3)
  • ARTSAD 5017 Financial Management (3)
  • ARTSAD 6040 Communicating for Cultural Change (3)


Research and Professional Practice


  • ARTSAD 5200 Research Studio (3)
  • ARTSAD 6095 Thesis (3)




Completion of thesis


Total Credit Hours


Degree requirements and specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence. Thesis in Progress: Students who have not submitted a finished thesis for review and approval by the end of the final semester of enrollment are given a Thesis in Progress grade (IP). All students with a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) will be charged the Thesis in Progress Fee in each subsequent full semester until the thesis is completed and approved and the grade is changed to Credit (CR). If the statute of limitations is reached without an approved thesis, the grade will be changed to No Credit (NCR).
  2. Internships: Students without solid professional experience are strongly encouraged to do internship placements, whether for credit or not. AAP Department faculty are available to advise and assist in identifying and securing placements.
  3. Transfer credits: A minimum of 36 credit hours must be completed in residence at SAIC. Up to six transfer credits may be requested at the time of application for admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  4. Curriculum: The program requires 42 credit hours.
  5. Enrollment: Nine credit hours constitutes full-time enrollment, although as many as 15 credit hours may be earned in any semester. Two semesters of full-time status are required of all students when they begin the program; thereafter a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester are required for continued enrollment in the program.
  6. Full-time Status Minimum Requirement: 9 credit hours.


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Take the Next Step

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or

Arts Admin students listening to instructor in gallery space while looking at large, brightly colored tiles on floor.

MA Arts Administration & Policy Program Brochure