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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 the online applicationIt is free to apply! 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. 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.
  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 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.
  4. Submit your portfolio of artwork. We highly recommend that you submit your work through our online application. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. 

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

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

Central Academy of Fine 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.

For more information:

Thomas Green
Associate Director, Admissions
216.421.7491 | Contact

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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: April 1

Spring semester transfer: December 1