Early College Program Summer Institute

Registration Is Open

Merit Scholarships and Financial Aid are Available

Summer 2024 Session Dates:   
Session 1: 2 weeks, June 17–28   
Session 2: 2 weeks, July 1–12   
Session 3: 2 weeks, July 15–26     
Session 4: 4 weeks, July 1–26   
Session 5: 1-week, July 29–August 2

View all courses and register today! 

Watch an Informational Webinar About the Early College Program Summer Institute

Learn more about the curriculum, faculty, college credit, special programming, student benefits, living in Chicago, and much more! 


Intense. Rigorous. Life Changing.

Enroll in the Early College Program Summer Institute (ECPSI) for ages 15–18 at the nation's most influential art and design school! 

Students must have completed their sophomore year of high school by the time of the program.

A group of students interacting with a large hanging piece of art.

Why Early College Program Summer Institute (ECPSI)?

One of the key things that distinguishes SAIC from other art and design schools is our belief that meaning and making are inseparable. That means you begin with an idea and choose the media that best helps you realize your vision. Students are free to combine materials and disciplines or focus on a single medium. 

Study with our amazing faculty, passionate teachers, and acclaimed practicing artists, designers, and scholars, many of whom teach in the undergraduate program.

Make use of our state-of-the-art facilities and resources including our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the third-largest collection of art in the world.

Live in our incomparable residence halls in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Explore Chicago in the summer—a city that’s vibrant, exciting, and friendly.

Continuing Studies students stand in studio and draw at easels

Ideal Preparation for a Creative Future

Earn college credit (1 credit hour for 1-week session; 2 credit hours for 2-week session; 4 credits hours for 4-week session) that may transfer to any college you attend.

Prepare a competitive portfolio for college admission and receive expert guidance from our undergraduate degree program admissions counselors.

Successful completion of the program waives the portfolio requirement for admission to SAIC's undergraduate program

A large number of ECPSI students receive top merit scholarships to our undergraduate degree program.

Students work on art project

Ideas Matter Here

Which is why we empower you with the freedom to work in multiple media. With us, you can incorporate text into paintings, combine performance and sculpture, and explore the relationship of sound to architecture. The possibilities are truly limitless. And, you will leave our program with higher confidence and innovative, portfolio-quality work.

"We want our students to be able to master not just one medium, but to have the freedom to move and explore throughout different disciplines; to experiment; to take risks; to find the right solution for each individual problem. Our interdisciplinary philosophy, accomplished by excellent, enthusiastic faculty, the third-largest collection of art in the world, and one of the most exciting cities in the country, make SAIC the whole package." —Rafael Vera, ECPSI instructor

Two people holding up a framed piece of art.

Faculty and Instructional Support

SAIC is known for its faculty, and many of our ECP Summer Institute instructors also teach in the undergraduate program. Our instructors are teaching artists, designers, writers, and scholars who are passionate about art making and will challenge you to think, question, and discover. In addition, each ECPSI class has at least one SAIC undergraduate or graduate student teaching assistant (TA) working with our faculty. With an average class size of 12–18 students, this allows for an average teacher/student ratio of 1:8.

A student using a brayer.

Rigorous Classroom Experience

Like our undergraduate degree programs, you will be working in the studio all day—allowing you to really experience what it is like to be a practicing artist, designer, or writer. Classes meet from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. And, of course, there is time for lunch and breaks.

Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00–8:00 p.m., you will participate in exciting workshops designed to help you gain new skills and explore new ideas. A few examples of previous workshops are: a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA), a photo studio lighting tutorial, 3D printing and laser cutting instruction, working as part of a video crew, building and stretching canvases, and collaborative projects between students. All workshops are created for each specific class and are run by the teaching assistant(s).

A person working on a project on a large studio.

Critique-Based Assessment

SAIC's credit/no credit grading system demands self-motivation and self-direction and encourages exploration, experimentation, and risk-taking. This doesn't mean we are not rigorous—our expectations are high and our faculty will motivate you to excel.

Two people standing together in a crowd.

Our Community

Enrollment: Approximately 150 students per session
Students living on campus: 90%
International students: 17%
Countries represented: Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Mexico, Russian Federation, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela
Instructional staff-to-student ratio 1:8

A group of international students giving high fives to SAIC team members.

International Students

SAIC welcomes international students from abroad and those already in the United States with a student visa to enroll in all of our Continuing Studies programs including ECP and ECP Summer Institute (ECPSI). However, SAIC is not certified to issue immigration documents for international students participating in Continuing Education programs except for our ECPSI program.

Continuing Studies-International Students

View program brochure.

ECP Summer Institute 2024 At-a-Glance


Course Dates

Move In

Exhibition & Move Out


Housing & Meals

Incidentals & Supplies

Session 1: Two Weeks

June 17-June 28, 2024

Move In: 
Sunday, June 16


Exhibition: Friday, June 28, at 2:00 p.m. CT

Move out: Saturday, June 29, by noon

$3,570*—two college credits


approx. $300

approx. $200

Session 2: Two Weeks

July 1-12, 2024

Move In: 
Sunday, June 30

Exhibition: Friday, July 12, at 2:00 p.m. CT

Move out: Saturday, July 13, by noon

$3,570*—two college credits


approx. $300

approx. $200

Session 3: Two Weeks

July 15-26, 2024

Move In: 
Sunday, July 14

Exhibition: Friday, July 26, at 2:00 p.m. CT

Move out: Saturday, July 27, by noon

$3,570*—two college credits


approx. $300

approx. $200

Session 4: Four Weeks

July 1-26, 2024

Move In: 
Sunday, June 30

Exhibition: Friday, July 26, at 2:00 p.m. CT

Move out: Saturday, July 27, by noon

$7,140*—four college credits


approx. $450

approx. $350


NEW! Session 5: One Week  


July 29-August 2, 2024

Move In: 
Sunday, July 28

Open Studio: Friday, August 2, at 3:00-4:00 p.m. CT

Move out: Saturday, August 3, by noon

$1,785*—one college credit


approx. $150

approx. $100

Note: *Includes $100 nonrefundable tuition deposit. Supply costs and incidentals are projected and will vary for each student determined in part by individual projects, material choices, and personal spending.

Classes are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Contact Us

Continuing Studies staff members are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CT at 312.629.6170 or cs@saic.edu to answer your questions. We are here to help!