Arts Administration and Policy

← Back to All Programs

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This interdisciplinary program invites extended and focused theoretical and hands-on explorations into culture, policy, institutions, and their practices. Our approach is centered on the Management Studio course sequence, in which students work with project partners in Chicago and beyond.

Goals and Objectives

The arts have always been at the vanguard of negotiating the most challenging cultural questions of the day. Exhibitions, performances, concerts, festivals, public art, social-practice projects, and countless other cultural experiences—both within and outside the walls of formal arts institutions—have informed and engaged populations; sparked transformational conversations; and catalyzed untold historic change.

Not mere conduits through which art must pass between artist and audience, Arts Administrators are charged and entrusted with shaping, maintaining, re-envisioning, and even revolutionizing the very platforms and organizational mechanisms through which arts-inspired conversation and change can occur. As such, they must be responsive, dialogic problem-solvers and re-imaginers whose work with art and artists is, by nature, mutually creative.

The true art of Arts Administration is an intelligent elasticity: an ability to respond to art, artist, and intention; to adjust platforms for expression as needs outgrow and circumvent them; and to remain always nimble, ethical, conversational, and visionary enough to navigate the frontiers where status quo meets change.


The MAAAP curriculum is built around four areas of study: Critical and Cultural Policy Studies; Management Studies; Research and Professional Practice; and, Electives. Interactions and practical experiences are a core feature of our curriculum, and are facilitated through the Management Studio course sequence. The department also hosts distinguished guest lecturers on a weekly basis through our ProSeminar: Leadership Talks series, and through special programs initiated and organized by our students.


The Department of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) requires an online application for its full-time, 42-credit hour Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy program. Applications for the fall semester must be submitted no later than January 10. No applications are accepted for spring semester. Full application information and instructions are available on our website.