Bachelor of Arts in Visual & Critical Studies
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual and Critical Studies degree program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) allows you to pursue in-depth academic study in the creative environment of an art school. During your work, you will draw connections between the visual arts and history, philosophy, psychology, and the natural sciences.
Alumni of this program go on to graduate work in the humanities, museum studies, arts administration, art-related law, or pursue careers in communications, teaching, public service, social activism, media production, or journalism.
You will share most classes, including a minimum of 39 hours of studio courses, with students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, yet also follow a distinct sequence of courses, seminars, and personal research. Core courses provide you with diverse critical methods for exploring the cultural meanings of visual phenomena as they relate to social, economic, and material circumstances. You may choose from a variety of courses in studio practice, art history, writing, and the liberal arts and sciences, with special attention to topics such as visual and media literacy, cultural history and theory, and global studies.
Admissions Requirements and Curriculum
Use the accordions (+) below to learn more about the admissions requirements and curriculum.
To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you must fill out an application and submit your transcripts 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.
To apply, we must have the following items:
- Online application
- Artist’s Statement
- Letter of Recommendation
- Test Scores
View our Portfolio Requirements by Degree Program for more detailed information regarding portfolios.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual and Critical Studies students follow a curricular pathway that shares many classes with Bachelor of Fine Arts students before diverging into a unique course of study. Here are the requirements you must meet to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies.
Transfer students must complete at least 66 credit hours of coursework at the SAIC in order to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies degree here. Please look at the breakdown of credits required for minimum residency below.