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Admissions . Apply . For Transfer Students 

For Transfer Students

Transfer your creativity to CIA

If you have earned credit or a degree from any other accredited two- or four-year college, university, or post-secondary professional school, we encourage you to apply to the Cleveland Institute of Art as a transfer student. 

Transferring to a new college can be overwhelming and intimidating. But at CIA, we do our best to personally ease you through the process. Take a moment to review this page for information on our application and credit transfer processes and financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

Transfer student application process

Transfer candidates are accepted at CIA based on artistic and academic qualifications as well as available space. To be considered for admission, you must follow the application procedures and criteria below. 

  1. Complete the online application and submit the $40 application fee.

  2. Complete a personal statement describing your purpose for attending a college of art and design, what led you to this decision, and why you have chosen to apply at CIA. This glossary of art terminology may help you in crafting your statement.

  3. Arrange to have official transcripts sent to us from all colleges, universities, and post-secondary schools attended.
    • If you have completed fewer than 12 college credits, you must request your SAT or ACT test results to be sent to CIA. Our identification numbers are SAT-1152 and ACT-3243.
    • If you have completed fewer than 24 college credits, you must submit your official high school transcripts.
    • If you have completed more than 24 college credits or attended a regionally accredited college or university full time for a year, you do not need to send your high school transcripts.
  4. Have one letter of recommendation forwarded to us. The letter should come from a faculty member or counselor who knows your artistic and academic work well and understands your desire to become a working artist. 

  5. If you are a transfer international student and English is not your native language, you also must demonstrate proof of English language proficiency with one of the following: 
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 550 PBT (paper-based test), 213 CBT (computer-based test), or 80 IBT (Internet-based test)
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) band score of 6.0 or higher
    • SAT or ACT test scores
    • Completion of Level 112 ESL coursework 
  6. Submit your portfolio of artwork online at or mail in a CD or DVD. Your portfolio should consist of 12-20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow all of our portfolio guidelines, and make sure to provide the specific elements required of transfer students. If you choose to mail your application materials, please send to

    Office of Admissions
    Cleveland Institute of Art
    11610 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Transfer credits 

Once you have submitted your official transcripts from any colleges attended, we will evaluate all transcripts to determine which courses will transfer into CIA's undergraduate program.  

Transfer credit is divided into two categories: 

  • Academic credit: Generally, academic credit earned at another accredited institution will transfer as long as you earned a C or higher. 
  • Studio Credit: Credits for studio coursework are reviewed based on transcript, rigor of program from the transferring institution, and portfolio review. 

Before submitting a final application, we encourage you to meet with one of our admissions counselors to discuss which classes will most likely transfer and where your accepted coursework would place you in our program.

Transfer student financial aid and scholarships

To be considered for financial aid, we will need to review your FAFSA Student Aid Report. CIA’s FAFSA code is 003928. Review our financial aid tips included in our application checklist and learn more about financing your education here.

In addition to financial aid, upon completion of your application, you will be automatically entered into CIA’s Transfer Merit Scholarship Competition. You do not need to apply for this scholarship. To be considered, complete your transfer student application by June 1 for the fall semester or November 15 for the spring semester.

Second time around

May 22, 2017

Second time around

Psych major makes his art-school dream happen at CIA more

Application timeline

We strongly encourage you to meet the following deadlines to ensure admission to CIA and eligibility for the highest amounts of portfolio scholarships and institutional financial aid. However, you may submit an application for admission any time before the first day of classes on a “rolling basis” and will be considered as long as space is available. Please note that only transfer student who qualify for advanced standing with at least 9 college studio credits are eligible for spring admission.

Fall application deadline

June 1: 
Regular decision deadline  

Spring application deadline

November 15: 
Regular decision deadline

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Support CIA

Show the world creativity matters: make a gift to the annual fund.

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2017 Student Summer Show

See the best student artwork in Reinberger Gallery through August 18.

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