A sculpture student working in the metal shop

Undergraduate Overview

Undergraduate Overview

SAIC’s undergraduate sculpture curriculum is designed to offer a rigorous mix of conceptual, spatial, material, and process-based challenges through which students learn to understand, negotiate, and contribute to the changing cultural landscape. Students explore and incorporate a wide range of emerging technologies and traditional skills in their practice, including:

  • Woodworking
  • Mold-Making and Casting
  • Foundry
  • Glass Casting
  • Welding and Blacksmithing
  • Installation Art
  • Socially Engaged Art
  • Experimental Media 
  • Sustainable Practices

BFA students interested in Sculpture are encouraged to combine their sculptural work with departments across the school including fiber, ceramics, designed objects, fashion, and more. Introductory sculpture courses are recommended for all entering students, as they provide an introduction to the field, its methodologies and current ideas. Students who choose to concentrate their undergraduate in Sculpture will move from introductory, to intermediate and then advanced studio courses. We also offer a number of undergraduate seminars in Sculpture from Sophomore Seminar to Professional Practices and finally our Senior Capstone. The department also offers a unique opportunity for accomplished and committed undergraduate students in our Advanced Sculptural Practices Studio. This application-based course offers studio space in which to work and learn in close consultation with two faculty instructors and in a small community of dedicated peers.

Sculpture BFA Learning Goals

  • Students will create sculptural works that demonstrate a broad-based awareness of the field. 
  • Students will learn to experiment in order to gain knowledge and acquire technical proficiency. 
  • Students will engage material and process towards an outcome.
  • Students will develop an appreciation of the complexity of sculptural meaning. 
  • Students will formulate, present and defend their ideas towards an independent criticality.

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements & Curriculum Overview

  • To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you will need to fill out an application and submit your transcripts, artist's statement, and letters of recommendation. And most importantly, we require a portfolio of your best and 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.

    In order to apply, please submit the following items:  

    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Portfolio

    Submit 10–15 pieces of your best and most recent work. We will review your portfolio and application materials for merit scholarship once you have been admitted to SAIC.

    When compiling a portfolio, you may concentrate your work in a single discipline or show work in a breadth of media. The portfolio may include drawings, prints, photographs, paintings, film, video, audio recordings, sculpture, ceramics, fashion designs, graphic design, furniture, objects, architectural designs, websites, video games, sketchbooks, scripts, storyboards, screenplays, zines, or any combination of the above.

    Learn more about applying to SAIC's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio, or view our portfolio preparation guide for more information.

  • Studio


    • CP 1010 Core Studio Practice I (3)
    • CP 1011 Core Studio Practice II (3)
    • CP 1020 Research Studio I (3)
    • CP 1022 Research Studio II (3)
    • SOPHSEM 2900 (3)
    • PROFPRAC 3900 (3)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 (3)
    • Studio Electives (48)

    PROFPRAC and CAPSTONE are now required for new incoming students beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.


    Art History


    • ARTHI 1001 World Cultures/Civilizations: Pre-History—19th Century Art and Architecture (3)
    • Art History Elective at 1000 level (3)
    • Art History Electives (9)


    Liberal Arts


    • ENGLISH 1001 First Year Seminar I (3)
    • ENGLISH 1005 First Year Seminar II (3)
    • Natural Science (6)
    • Social Science (6)
    • Humanities (6)
    • Liberal Arts Electives (6)


    General Electives


    • Studio, Art History, Liberal Arts, AAP, or EIS


    Total Credit Hours


    * BFA students must complete at least 6 credit hours in a class designated as “off campus study.” These credits can also fulfill any of the requirements listed above and be from any of the divisions (Art History, Studio, Liberal Arts, or General Electives).

    BFA With Distinction—SAIC Scholars Program: The SAIC Scholars program is a learning community of BFA students pursuing rigorous study in both their academic coursework and their studio pathways. There are two opportunities for interested students to apply to the SAIC Scholars Program: at the time of admission to the school, and after they have completed 30 credits of study at SAIC. Students pursuing the latter option are required to formally submit an application to the Undergraduate Division. Once admitted to the SAIC Scholars Program, students are required to successfully complete a minimum of six designated scholars courses. Students who complete the program will graduate with distinction.

    BFA in Studio with Thesis Option (Liberal Arts or Visual Critical Studies): BFA students may complete a nine-credit, research-based academic thesis as part of their studies within the 120 credits for the BFA in Studio degree. BFA with Thesis course sequences are offered over 3 semesters through the departments of Liberal Arts or Visual and Critical Studies (VCS). Students who are interested in one of the thesis options should follow the steps outlined below in the beginning of the junior year.

    Requirements for the BFA: Studio Art with Liberal Arts Thesis

    Step One: Students are required to meet with the Chair of the Liberal Arts department in the beginning of their junior year. 

    Step Two: With the Department Chair’s approval, the student enrolls in the following courses beginning in the spring term of their junior year:

    • SOCSCI or HUMANITY 3900 Academic Research and Writing (3 credits)
    • LIBARTS 4800 Undergraduate Thesis: Research/Writing I (3 credits)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 Liberal Arts Undergraduate Thesis: Research/Writing II (3 credits)

    Step Three: The completed thesis must be approved by both the Thesis II instructor and the Chair of Liberal Arts. Students must make a formal presentation and participate in the Undergraduate Thesis Symposium in their senior year. 

    Requirements for the BFA: Studio Art with Visual and Critical Studies (VCS) Thesis

    Step One: Students are required to meet with the Visual and Critical Studies Undergraduate Coordinator in or by the beginning of their junior year.

    Step Two: With the VCS Coordinator’s approval, the student enrolls in the first of the three-course sequence beginning in the spring term of their junior year:

    • VCS 3010 Tutorial in Visual & Critical Studies (3 credits)
    • VCS 4800 Undergraduate Thesis Seminar: Research & Writing I (3 credits)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 VCS Undergraduate Thesis Seminar: Research & Writing II (3 credits)

    Step Three: Completion of thesis must be approved by both the Thesis II instructor and the VCS Undergraduate Coordinator. Students must make a formal presentation and participate in the Undergraduate VCS Thesis Symposium in the senior year.

    Total credits required for minimum residency


    Minimum Studio credit


Course Listing

Title Catalog Instructor Schedule


This course offers instruction in various methods of casting, including simple plaster molds, hydrocal-cement casts, simple body casts, thermal-setting rubber molds, wax, terra cotta, and paper casting. Students are advised to bring objects they desire to cast. (No hot metal casting in this course.)

Class Number







280 Building Rm 030


This course introduces students to the basics of sculpture fabrication and production. Students of this course will become authorized to use the department's facilities through a series of material projects and assignments that enable safe and competent work in three areas: Moldmaking, Metal Fabrication and Woodworking. The class will design and make molds suitable for casting models from simple and complex patterns in the mold-making studio. The class will use cutting, bending, rolling, welding and finishing techniques in the Metal Fabrication Studio to produce a project in steel. In the Woodshop, the class will learn to design a project in wood using the following machine tools: table saw, dado blades, jointer, planer, band saw, router, pneumatic brad nailer, and sanders. Upon completing Sculpture Bootcamp, students will have the authorizations and experience they need to take full advantage of the sculpture department open shop facilities.

Class Number







280 Building Rm 015, 280 Building Rm 127A

Upcoming Admissions Events


We invite you to join us on campus for an informative and fun day featuring our "Art School 101" presentation, one-on-one meetings with our faculty and admissions counselors, a guided tour of our state-of-the-art campus and our loft-style residence halls, and a Chicago style lunch for you and your guests!

Saturday, July 27 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. CDT at 280 South Columbus Drive Chicago, IL 60603