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Admissions . Apply . For Transfer Students 

For Transfer Students

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 and submit the application and $40 application fee. Fee is waived if you apply online here.
  2. Arrange to have official transcripts sent to us from all colleges, universities, and post-secondary schools attended. If you have completed fewer than 24 college credits, you must submit your official high school transcripts with proof of graduation or GED equivalent. 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. Transcripts must be sent directly from the schools.
  3. Have one letter of recommendation forwarded to CIA. We suggest this letter be from an art teacher. We also will accept this letter from a counselor or someone who understands your desire to pursue an arts education. You may request a recommendation from a teacher or counselor from within the online application. Letter must be received directly from the recommender.
  4. Submit your portfolio of artwork. We highly recommend that you submit your work through our online application. You may, however, create an account at and submit your work using that site. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow our portfolio guidelines, and make sure to provide the specific elements required of transfer students if you are seeking advanced placement.

Any printed application materials should be sent 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. 

Articulation Agreements

CIA partners with educational instutions regionally and internationally. Specific agreements with institutions are available here.

Central Academy of Art

CIA partners in an articulation agreement with the Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA), located in Beijing, China.

In this relationship, some graduates of the CAFA International Foundation Course (IFC) matriculate into the BFA program at CIA. All CAFA candidates submit a portfolio for review as well as transcripts from the IFC as part of their application to CIA.

The right time is now for Marine Corps vet's art career

February 13, 2020

The right time is now for Marine Corps vet's art career

Painting major Liane Engstrom transferred to CIA with credits from other schools and lots of experience in the real world. more

Animation major follows passion 800 miles to Cleveland

February 20, 2020

Animation major follows passion 800 miles to Cleveland

Kailen Dean, who started college in Alabama, took a few minutes with us to explain why she hit the re-set button and transferred to 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 students 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