School of the Art Institute of Chicago


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the largest accredited independent schools of art and design in the United States. Associated with the Art Institute of Chicago, or Chicago Art Institute, it is recognized as the most influential art school in the States by Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism survey. It has an enrollment of about 3,098 students at present.

The school was established in 1866 as the Chicago Academy of Design on Clark Street, Chicago, and moved to the Adams Street building four years later. In 1878, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts was founded, and renamed the Art Institute of Chicago in 1882. Its main campus is located in downtown Chicago, which is known as the Loop. Three buildings are mainly used by the school, namely the Michigan, the Sharp and the Columbus. Besides, some other buildings are also used as student galleries or investments.

The school offers degrees in bachelor’s, post-bachelor’s certificate, and master’s programs. Classes in art and technology, arts administration, art history, theory, ceramics, historic preservation, architecture, performance, photography, time arts, etc. are offered at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which also works as a resource for issues related to the position and importance of the arts in society.

The mission of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is:

To provide excellence in the delivery of a global education in visual, design, media, and related arts, with attendant studies in the history and theory of those disciplines set within a broad-based humanistic curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences. To provide instruction for this education in a range of formats: written, spoken, media, and exhibition-based.


The School of the Arts Institute of Chicago has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1936, and has been a charter member by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design since 1944.


The school comprises 24 departments, from art education, art therapy to sculpture and liberal arts.

The school is recognized by US News & World Report as one of the top graduate art programs in the United States, and viewed as the most influential art school in the country by Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism survey.

The Visiting Artists Program (VAP), is one of the oldest programs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As an eclectic program showcasing artists’ working in all media, the program hosts public presentations by designers, scholars and artists every year.


The school is a selective one, requiring a minimum paper TPFEL 550 and minimum computer TOFEL 213 on freshmen. Applicants are required to submit their online application, statement of purpose, high school transcripts, college transcripts, letter of recommendation, a portfolio of the best work created by the past two years, and the application fee before the deadline.


The annual tuition is USD 34,200. The room and board may cost about USD 9,200, and the book expense is about USD 2,560 on average.

Various financial aids are offered at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, including student employment and loans, scholarships and grants, veteran’s benefits, and financial aids for international students. About 57 percent freshmen and 54 undergraduates receive certain kind of scholarships or grant aids.

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