Writing Department: Undergrad & Graduate Writing Programs

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Department of Writing brings together a community of writers and artists at one of the nation’s most influential colleges of art and design. We seek students who thrive in a challenging, self-directed, and experimental environment, in which the literary arts are a living and open field. SAIC’s Writing program is distinct from more conventional programs and writing schools in that it brings together a community of writers and artists and draws on a distinguished faculty with diverse artistic and intellectual concerns.

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At SAIC, students in the undergraduate and graduate writing programs have a unique opportunity to explore writing both within and between genres, and to creatively connect with visual art practices throughout SAIC. We welcome students from all programs across SAIC’s diverse, interdisciplinary community who wish to pursue writing as part of their education and creative practice.

Writing Courses & Curriculum

The Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Writing (BFAW) program emphasizes a process-based approach to creative writing—one in which students experience writing across genres and in interdisciplinary and hybrid modes. Fully integrated into SAIC’s studio departments, you will explore the relationship between language and visual art by connecting writing to comics, graphic novels, artist’s books, painting, performance, film, sound, and gallery installations. The BFA with an emphasis in Writing program’s curriculum includes courses such as:

  • Introduction to Writing as Art
  • Two-semester literature survey
  • Writing workshops for prose, poetry, comics, plays, and hybrid projects
  • Generative seminars with multi-genre topics such as: artist books, literary monsters, and electronic writing
  • Undergraduate thesis workshop—a small, intensive class in which students conceive, generate, and revise a creative project of their choice

The Master of Fine Arts in Writing (MFAW) welcomes writers of all genres—fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting—and visual artists who work with language as an integral component of their practice. The two-year writing program provides a rigorous yet flexible curriculum to challenge and accommodate individual explorations of process and form. Students in the graduate writing program are encouraged to work with their advisors to develop a plan that takes advantage of adjacent fields of study, such as performance, film, sculpture, arts journalism and art history, as well as many other possibilities, to best support their continued growth and writing journey.

Learn more about the Writing Department's undergraduate and graduate programs. 

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Alumni Accomplishments

Our distinguished alumni are widely published and cultivate the literary landscape.

Department of Writing

Lakeview Building

116 S. Michigan Ave., 

Chicago, IL 60603


Mark Booth mbooth2@saic.edu

MFA in Writing Graduate Coordinator

Ruth Margraff rmargr@saic.edu

BFA in Writing Undergraduate Coordinator

Sara Levine slevine1@saic.edu

Senior Administrative Director

Amber Da ada@saic.edu

Administrative Assistant

Richard Gessert rgessert@saic.edu