The Art Institutes ( Chicago/Vancouver) Info


Art Institutes are accredited.


I met an AI (Santa Monica) graduate last Tuesday who is having problems being accepted into a Master’s program at Cal State Fullerton, because they won’t recognize his degree.


I believe AI also offers certificate programs, I know 8 or 9 years ago that’s mostly all they offered. I have a full blown BS degree from AI, they are most definitely accredited.


Most(all?) of them are not regionally accredited, which is probably why Cal State isn’t recognizing it for their masters.


Are you 100% percent that this is not accredited.I spoke to a representative at length and she said that they are accredited.Is it just a situation that the BFA is not recognised. I stepped away from gnomon because if i got a certificate there i would not be able to stay in the USA or get work in other countries. Is it the same with the chicago school?


Are you talking about the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, or are you talking about the chain of schools referred to as the Art Institutes? These are very different schools. The former, SAIC, is very prestigious primarily for Fine Arts. The latter, the chain of schools known as the Art Institutes, is nationally accredited, but not regionally accredited in the Western part of the US which includes California (it’s not WASC accredited). WASC accreditation is an assurance to the public about the quality of a school. The Art Institutes chain of schools does not meet that criteria at least in the Western US.

 The reason why the person I met with a degree from the Art Institutes - Los Angeles is having difficulty being accepted into a California graduate school is because the [b]chain of schools called the [Art Institutes]([/b] are not regionally (WASC) accredited. So that means that despite having spent $80,000 on a degree, he may have to repeat his studies at an undergraduate school that IS WASC accredited in order for him to enter graduate school in the Western US.
 What this boils down to for you is that, should you decide to attend a school that is part of the Art Institutes chain of schools ([b]of which SAIC is NOT a part [/b]- it is a reputable school) - you might (or will most probably) experience difficulty having your credits accepted by a graduate school to which you might want to apply, should you ever wish to do so.

Whether or not a degree from the chain of schools known as the Art Institutes will be acceptable for visa purposes is beyond my knowlege of the visa system.

FYI, I have known of several international students who have studied at Gnomon and have had to return to their home countries after graduation, since they did not have a BFA (Bachelor’s of Fine Arts) or other type of Bachelor’s degree. You need to do research (not by calling the Art Institutes chain itself, they will give you whatever information you want to hear) to determine if an AI degree will be acceptable as a bachelor’s degree for visa status.



I’m talking about the Art Institues (AI) in chicago.Thanks for the info. I really like the idea of gnomon but if i study there and go back home the only choice i will have is to work for myself. Its risky and since im already working here and getting good salary for my qualifications this could be a real problem. Im leaning towards a good 4 year college so that if I pay that much money I have a accredited degree that I can use in addition to my skills. Well now I’m back to square one really to see where i can go to for a good art education and a accredited degree because I will need one.


I thought it was a no no to assess or discuss schools like this? There’s a thread that blew up into a ton of arguing which is this:


If thats the case my apologies I will remember in the future. I have no intention of flaming the school I just want to know as much as I can. Thanks for the information everyone.


They did mention, I think, at one point that if you want information that you should do this through pm. So I think it would be best to continue your conversation with the other users using the pm system.


I am discussing facts, not my personal opinions, regarding the Art Institutes (the chain). The fact is that it is not WASC accredited. Whether or not it’s a good option for someone for whom this kind of accreditation is not important is not something I’m here to offer my opinion on.

The other thread you posted (which I haven't read in its entirety because it doesn't interest me) seems to have 'blown up' because of a person's rant against a particular school based on their opinion. You should also note that that thread is still open.

Accreditation is a matter of fact and not opinion. It would be silly to not be able to discuss facts and opinions about schools (within reason) in a forum dedicated to Courses and Schools. If someone comes here and asks if a business school teaches art or not, I don't think that answers to these kinds of questions need be confined to pm, that's ridiculous.

To the OP - it is a catch 22 for many students these days - places like Gnomon offer the best in terms of up to the minute technical training, but without being accredited, international students are often in a bind if they do not have a degree. Please note that I have no visa expertise but do know that to be sponsored by a company to gain visa status you must have a bachelor’s degree of some kind. I am fully aware that in very rare cases there are exceptions, but these are the exception and not the rule. If you want proof of that I can put you in touch with 2-3 Gnomon graduates with excellent reels and qualifications who are all back in their home countries now because they could not get visa sponsorship without a degree. Please note that I have no idea if an AI degree will count toward a visa - you need to figure that out by doing your research. It is not an impossibilty, just something about which I am unsure, and it’s worth finding out a definitive answer before plunking down money for the school.

In the US, some of the better 4 year schools which offer programs of study in CG are SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design, in Georgia) and Ringling College of Art (in Florida). Out here on the West Coast, there’s AAU (Art Academy San Francisco - research this forum to see a whole thread on the pros and cons there) and I teach at Otis College of Art, which has a strong traditional (drawing) Foundation program as well as a strong Digital Media program. I’m never an advocate of a particular school, I am always more interested in the best match for a student. I think you ought to check out SCAD and Ringling. VFS I don’t know anything about in terms of their offering a degree, although I do believe it’s only a 1 year certificate program. Canada’s system is an entirely different story about which I have no knowlege.


Agreed, I have no idea what exactly is allowed here in the Courses and Schools forum anymore. I thought at first that you were freely able to discuss schools, but then personal assessments of schools seemed to bring up a ton of controversy. And it isn’t my place to say what can or cannot be discussed, but I did have good intentions in mind for the OP (trying to possibly avoid any trouble for the discussion).


To salopla but relating to what Rebeccak said,

After speaking to people around my school one student said that the diploma from AI Vancouver is enough to get into the States and that is according to an American company that he spoke to. When Sony ImageWorks gave a presentation at our school they said more or less the same thing but I still question whether this is accurate. I know that if you have years of experience in the industry it will make it much easier for international students to stay in Canada or for Canadian/International students enter the States after finishing school but I question whether AI Vancouver’s diploma is enough by itself unless you are prodigiously skilled.

As for whether you’ll be able to stay in Vancouver or Canada after you finish your studies I’ve met a number of international students at my school that have had different results.

One friend of mine is more than likely going to be able to stay but he worked in India’s CG industry for years and held a very high position prior to entering this school. From what I recall he’s applying for permanent residency. If you would like to stay in Canada I would suggest checking out where you fall on the immigration points system and see what you can do to improve your standing before coming here. If you also know French it should help.

Other international students and graduates are facing much more difficulty staying here. Part of it is because of the economy, limitations of the diploma itself, and a lack of prior work experience in the field. If you want I’ll try to find out more.


Thanks tbone, keep trying if you can. The more info i get the better :).


It’s true the no Art Institutes are accredited by the WASC but almost all Art Institutes are accredited by other agencies. The Art Institute of Philadelphia and AI of Pittsburgh are accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education. Many other Art Institutes including Fort Lauderdale are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools which is recognized by the US Secretary of Education.

I figured I would add this simply because I am a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Animation, who was able to use his degree credits towards an art history doctoral (which I’m sadly still working on).


Pertaining to this post the Art Institute of Vancouver is accredited by the Private Postsecondary Education Commission of British Columbia. I think the the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was misidentified as part of the Art Institute private schools, which it is not.

The ACISC also accredits the Art Institutes of Tuscon, Phoenix, CA/LA, CA/Orange County, CA/Sacramento, CA-Sunnyvale, CA/San Francisco, CA/Hollywood, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minnesota, Las Vegas, New York, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Philadelphia, York-Pennsylvania, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Tuscon.

I only add this because misinformation like saying so and so school is unaccredited is just as bad as flat out saying the school is a money making scam.


You may have seen this from Gamasutra already, but the Princeton Review has listed the Art Institute of Vancouver as the sixth best game design undergraduate program in America. I add this since salopla mentioned it as one of the schools they were interested in. Check out the list because it will probably give you some ideas for game design programs.\

Here is the Princeton Review site.


I’ll give it a check out to see.


At first I did think the AI was unaccredited, but if you read through my posts you will see that I corrected myself and noted that the AI is unaccredited by WASC. It is nationally accredited.

In the last 2 weeks I have run across two more people who attended AI and who feel that they wasted their money there, as they did not end up with a (WASC) accredited degree. An adult in my class has a daughter who went through AI only to discover that she could not get accepted to grad school here in Southern California due to the fact that they would not accept her credits. A student of mine that I talked to today also went through AI and transferred as she was unsatisfied with the program - she’s now $70,000 in debt and starting over to get a degree in a new school.

I’m not saying AI isn’t a good school for some people, but I think the smart person will attend an accredited school (both regionally and nationally) as AI costs the same amount of money and takes the same amount of time to matriculate through as does a completely accredited school (such as SCAD and Ringling).

I’ve run into one person who attended AI and was happy with their experience there, but the vast majority of people who I’ve run into who have attended there have either transferred or left the school with a massive amount of debt and no degree (or no WASC accredited degree) to show for it.

Even the figure drawing models who work for me say that they don’t recommend the school…


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.