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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, please follow the application procedures and criteria below.

  1. Complete and submit an online application. It is free to apply! You can complete our internal application exclusively for CIA or apply through the Common Application, an external application that allows you to apply to many schools, including CIA. We recommend that you apply early, and work with our admissions counselors who can answer questions and review your work to help you create a successful application.
  2. As part of the online application, you will need to provide a personal statement that discusses why you wish to attend a college of art and design. You may also share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
  3. 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, also 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.
  4. OPTIONAL: 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 education in art and design. You may request a recommendation from a teacher or counselor from within the online application. The letter must be received directly from the recommender.
  5. Submit your portfolio of artwork. You will submit your work through our Applicant Status Page or through SlideRoom. You can upload your portfolio and submit it when you complete your internal application. Or, if you choose to apply through the Common Application, you will receive instructions on uploading your portfolio shortly after submission. Please carefully follow all of our portfolio guidelines.

Any printed application materials should be sent to:

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

Transfer credits 

Once we have received official transcripts from any colleges you've attended, we will review your transcripts to determine which courses will transfer into CIA's 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

Cuyahoga Community College

CIA partners in an articulation agreement with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Through this new partnership, Tri-C students who complete a specified curriculum and are admitted to CIA will transfer with 30 semester units of transferable credit. Students would enter CIA as sophomores and directly begin their degree program in one of CIA’s 13 majors in visual arts, craft, integrated media, and design.

More information is available here.

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.

Transfer application deadlines

Fall semester transfer (Priority Decision): April 1

Fall semester transfer (Regular Decision): June 1

Spring semester transfer: November 15