An image of a backyard with projections on multiple white sheets that have been hung around the space.

Ruby Que, "Ghost Trains"

Graduate Curriculum & Courses

Graduate Curriculum & Courses

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is designed to offer maximum flexibility in addressing your individual needs as a student. Following admission through a department, you will design your two-year plan of study based on optimizing the offerings and opportunities available throughout SAIC. You are encouraged to seek out curricular advising as needed from a variety of available sources including the dean, graduate dean, graduate division chair, department heads, academic advising, the graduate admissions office, and your peers.

Studio—MFA 6009 Graduate Projects, Seminars and/or maximum of 12 credits of 3000-level and above studios

39  

Art History

12  

  • ARTHI 5002 Graduate Survey of Modern and Contemporary Art OR ARTHI 5120 Survey of Modern and Contemporary Architecture and Design(3)
  • Art History Courses, 4000-level or above (9)

 

Electives—any course in any area at 3000 level or above

9  

Participation in four graduate critiques

 

Participation in ONE of the following as appropriate to artistic practice:* Graduate Exhibition, AIADO or Fashion Exhibition, Graduate Performance Event, Graduate Screenings

 

Total Credit Hours

60 

* Students who wish to use an alternative venue or presentation outside of these options must receive permission from the Dean of Graduate Studies. The AIADO Department encourages students in their MFA design programs to participate in the AIADO and Fashion Graduate Exhibition.

Degree Requirements and Specifications

  • Completion schedule: You have a maximum of four years to complete your MFA in Studio degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence. Students will have access to studios for four semesters only.
  • Transfer credits: You must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours in residence at SAIC. You can request up to 15 transfer credits at the time of application for admission, which are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credits are permitted after a student is admitted.
  • Art History requirement: MFA students are required to take ARTHII 5002 Graduate Survey of Modern and Contemporary Art OR ARTHI 5120 Survey of Modern and Contemporary Architecture and Design. Art History courses must be at the 4000-level and above.
  • Undergraduate studio courses: Graduate students are permitted no more than one undergraduate studio course (3000-level and above) per semester without permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Courses at the 1000 and 2000-level are allowed only with permission.
  • Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 12 credit hours

MFA 6009 Graduate Projects

MFA 6009 Graduate Projects advising, an ongoing individual dialogue with a wide range of full-time and part-time faculty advisors, is at the heart of the MFA program at SAIC, encouraging interdisciplinary study across the curriculum. You are required to register for one MFA 6009 Graduate Projects advisor each semester, and we highly recommend you register for two.

In the registration process, you may elect to earn 3 or 6 hours of credit with each advisor. This option is designed to allow for maximum flexibility in designing your program. You can earn as few as 3 and as many as 6 credits with each advisor each semester, thus dedicating a maximum of 12 credit hours to your studio activity. The number of credits you earn has no correlation with the length or frequency of the advising sessions or to faculty assessment of student work.

The remaining credits required for the full-time 15-credit hour load may include graduate seminars and academic or studio electives. MFA students are urged to take graduate seminars, and an introductory seminar in their department of admission is highly recommended. In addition, the MFA student may choose from all the art history, studio, and academic offerings across the curriculum (including undergraduate offerings above 3000 level) in any given semester to customize their degree experience.

Graduate Critiques

As one of the principle means of assessment each semester, you will be required to participate in Critique Week, a week-long schedule of critiques during which classes are suspended.

Fall semester critiques are organized by department with panels representing the discipline. This provides you with an opportunity to understand the department’s expectations, have your work reviewed from a disciplinary point of view, and to reiterate the expectations for graduate study.

Spring semester critiques are interdisciplinary, with panel members and students from across SAIC disciplines. Interdisciplinary critiques allow for a broad range of responses to your work, and are intended to assess the success of your work for a more general, albeit highly informed audience. Critique panels include faculty, visiting artists, and fellow graduate students.

Graduate Exhibition or Equivalent

At the conclusion of your studies, you will present work in the SAIC Graduate Thesis Exhibition, other end-of-year events at SAIC, or the Gene Siskel Film Center—or arrange with the graduate dean or division chair for an alternative thesis of equal professional quality. Each year more than 200 graduate students exhibit work, screen videos and films, and present time-based works, writings, and performance to a collective audience of 30,000 people.

Students wishing to install work around prevalent themes, strategies or stylistic affinities can participate in a juried and curated section of the SAIC Graduate Thesis Exhibition. A faculty and staff committee conducts extensive studio visits and, as a collaborative project with student participants, organizes and installs the show in designated space at the exhibition.

Undergraduate Courses

MFA students are advised to understand the expectations of their faculty when enrolled in undergraduate studio classes. Although graduate students are an asset to the group dynamic, faculty requirements for graduate students in undergraduate classes are variable. The student is responsible for understanding the faculty member's expectations about completion of assignments, attendance, and any other criteria for earning credit. To assure that graduate students are working at degree level, they are permitted no more than one undergraduate studio course (3000 level and above) per semester without permission of the dean of graduate studies. Courses at the 1000 and 2000 level are allowed only with permission.

Course Listing

Title Catalog Instructor Schedule

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1208

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1208

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1209

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1209

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1234

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1234

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1999

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

Form and Meaning is a rigorous investigation of the art of moving image editing and provides a historical and theoretical understanding of both classical film editing and newer modes and models of editing and perception. The course provides a working foundation and framework. A close reading of films will train the student in the core aesthetic decisions, structures, strategies and demands of editing cinematic works. In addition, we will look at examples and discuss how editing functions for the installation artist, and further, how the Internet, New Media, television and video art have made an impact on concepts surrounding editing. Weekly readings will expand on the work presented in class. Students should expect to research and write both a midterm and final papers as well as a few short responses to works presented in class. Form and Meaning is a theory-based seminar and is not designed to offer critique for works in progress.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1210

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Public Space, Site, Landscape, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 517

Description

Form and Meaning is a rigorous investigation of the art of moving image editing and provides a historical and theoretical understanding of both classical film editing and newer modes and models of editing and perception. The course provides a working foundation and framework. A close reading of films will train the student in the core aesthetic decisions, structures, strategies and demands of editing cinematic works. In addition, we will look at examples and discuss how editing functions for the installation artist, and further, how the Internet, New Media, television and video art have made an impact on concepts surrounding editing. Weekly readings will expand on the work presented in class. Students should expect to research and write both a midterm and final papers as well as a few short responses to works presented in class. Form and Meaning is a theory-based seminar and is not designed to offer critique for works in progress.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1221

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Public Space, Site, Landscape, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 517

Description

Sonics and Optics is an intensive study of lenses, optics, sensors, stocks, materials, laboratory processes, microphones, and recorders as essential tools in film/video making. Throughout the semester students will learn the fundamentals of a lens (focal length, aperture), its relationship to the camera (shutter, ISO), and aesthetic options available. The course will offer the same immersive perspective of sound technologies; including choosing microphones (stereo, cardioid, shotgun, contact, etc), recording options (sound device, field recorder, mixing board), and methods of field recording. This course is an essential technical base for all advanced moving image work. In-class screenings of films and videos and weekly readings will expand on the technical workshops at the core of the course. Students should expect to complete a series of quick technical exercises as well as a more in depth final project.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1211

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Game Design

Location

MacLean 1304

Description

Sonics and Optics is an intensive study of lenses, optics, sensors, stocks, materials, laboratory processes, microphones, and recorders as essential tools in film/video making. Throughout the semester students will learn the fundamentals of a lens (focal length, aperture), its relationship to the camera (shutter, ISO), and aesthetic options available. The course will offer the same immersive perspective of sound technologies; including choosing microphones (stereo, cardioid, shotgun, contact, etc), recording options (sound device, field recorder, mixing board), and methods of field recording. This course is an essential technical base for all advanced moving image work. In-class screenings of films and videos and weekly readings will expand on the technical workshops at the core of the course. Students should expect to complete a series of quick technical exercises as well as a more in depth final project.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1229

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Game Design

Location

MacLean 1304

Description

This class is inspired by Johannes Itten?s radical early twentieth-century basic art course developed for the Weimar Bauhaus School of Art, but here using the Maya 3D software, typically used for commercial productions by the entertainment industry. Students will solve a series of formal problems, introduced in increasing levels of complexity. Moving from the 2-dimensional to the 3-dimensional and ultimately to the four-dimensional or time-based, students will evolve their abilities to utilize aspects of light and dark, form, rhythm, color, proportion and volume but in terms of a post photographic discourse, with the intention of advancing a new virtual cinema.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1220

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 519

Description

This class is inspired by Johannes Itten?s radical early twentieth-century basic art course developed for the Weimar Bauhaus School of Art, but here using the Maya 3D software, typically used for commercial productions by the entertainment industry. Students will solve a series of formal problems, introduced in increasing levels of complexity. Moving from the 2-dimensional to the 3-dimensional and ultimately to the four-dimensional or time-based, students will evolve their abilities to utilize aspects of light and dark, form, rhythm, color, proportion and volume but in terms of a post photographic discourse, with the intention of advancing a new virtual cinema.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1232

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 519

Description

This introductory studio course focuses on screen-based new media works, their historical contexts, their specific aesthetics and theoretical concerns. Students gain an understanding of the emerging culture and historical antecedents of new media. Interactive, network and web based technologies are introduced from the perspective of media art making. Students will be exposed to relevant theoretical texts. Historical and contemporary new media works are screened, demonstrated and discussed. Through a series of workshops, assignments and a final project, students will gain a general understanding of how to read and write new media using various techniques such as HTML ++ CSS, JavaScript, Realtime systems, Generative systems, and Art Games.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1212

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Digital Communication, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 807

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1213

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1214

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1470

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

as we continue to digitize our world, the chorus of techno-optimists singing technology’s praises is louder than ever. but...are our expansive networks and digital tools truly enlightening us? or are they in fact working to obscure, impede, and deny us the very things they are said to provide? this seminar will confront the dark cloud looming over our digital domains. we will examine how advances in information technology have generated a growing set of unintended consequences that hinder our view of the world, and diminish our agency within it. we will reflect on various topics including technology and power, complex uncertainty, perpetual surveillance, archival viability, and eroding empathy. selected readings, screenings, assignments, and critiques will map out lines of inquiry for students to consider and apply to their research + studio practices. a significant amount of class time will be spent in critique + conversation offering students feedback and mentorship throughout the semester.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Must be a sophomore to enroll.

Class Number

2229

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Location

MacLean 517

Description

How do environments influence art, and how can we extract imagery, sound and ideas from these places to create work and develop our artistic voices? Through location exploration, image/sound/object collection, experimentation, research and writing we can discover connections between ourselves, our environment, and the artmaking that will shape our creative practices. What are the concerns that drive one?s creative practice? How does one set the terms for its future development? Sophomore Seminar offers interdisciplinary strategies for the evaluation and communication of students? individual practice as artists, designers, and/or scholars. Through essential readings, studio projects, and writing, students will generate narratives about how and why they make art. Works by video artists, visual artists, and filmmakers are also viewed and discussed.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Must be a sophomore to enroll.

Class Number

2230

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Location

MacLean 517

Description

This course introduces video as a medium for artistic expression and social inquiry. Students gain an understanding of the video image-making process and develop proficiency with video equipment, including portable and studio production and editing systems. Strategies for the use of video as an art-making tool are explored. Works by video artists are viewed and discussed.

Prerequisites

FVNM 2000 or FVNM 5020

Class Number

1227

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Digital Communication, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 518

Take the Next Step

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242, or gradmiss@saic.edu.