From the School

Cleveland Institute of Art is a premier college of art and design offering 15 BFA majors.

Cleveland Institute of Art is one of the nation’s leading accredited independent colleges of art and design. For 135 years, the college has been an educational cornerstone in Cleveland, Ohio, producing competitive graduates who enter the workforce as studio artists, designers, photographers, contemporary craftsmen, and educators.


From The School

To be considered for admission, you must follow the application procedures and criteria below.

  1. Complete the application online at
  2. Submit the $40 application fee. Make checks payable to the Cleveland Institute of Art.
  3. Complete a personal statement, in which you describe 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.
  4. Arrange to have your high school transcript sent to the Office of Admissions. If you have successfully completed 24 college credits and attended a regionally accredited college or university full time for a year or more, you do not need to submit a high school transcript.
  5. 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.
  6. Request that SAT or ACT test results be sent to CIA. Our identification numbers are SAT-1152 and ACT-3243. International students whose first language is not English must submit the TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 PBT (paper-based test) or equivalent 213 CBT (computer-based test) or 79 IBT (Internet-based test). We also accept a band score of at least 6.0 on the IELTS or completion of Level 112 of ESL coursework.
  7. Submit your portfolio of artwork. All work can be submitted online ( or in CD or DVD form. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow all our portfolio guidelines.

    Send all application materials to:
    The Office of Admissions
    Cleveland Institute of Art
    11610 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Applications can be submitted at any time before the first day of classes and will be considered as long as space is available. However, candidates are encouraged to follow application deadlines to ensure admission to CIA and eligibility for merit scholarships and institutional financial aid. Dates and deadlines can be viewed at

Applications are welcome from all qualified students. The admissions committee bases its decisions on a careful review of all credentials submitted by the applicant. Acceptance decisions are made without regard to race, color, sex, marital status, age, ethnic or national origin, religion, creed, veteran status, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.

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Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49
3.00 - 3.24
2.50 - 2.99
2.00 - 2.49
1.00 - 1.99

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SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
520 - 620
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
490 - 600
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
490 - 580

ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
20 - 26

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with or without Writing accepted

SAT Essay Policy
SAT with or without Writing accepted


Early Action — December 1

Other Admission Factors


Talent / Ability

Selectivity Rating

Get a personalized plan for a competitive application from an admissions expert.

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From The School

Academic Programs

Cleveland Institute of Art offers 15 majors in art, design, craft, and digital media. You enter your major as a sophomore and spend three intense years building skills and mastering techniques. CIA faculty will encourage you to develop a wider perspective by experimenting with media outside your major through interdisciplinary study.

Majors and Degrees Offered

At CIA, we’ve made an academic commitment to helping students build better futures by engaging them in community-based learning, real-world projects, and social practices. We call this commitment Cores + Connections, and it informs our curriculum across all 15 majors. At the core of CIA are academic and studio rigor and an energetic culture of world-class faculty mentorship. Add to that more than 600 connections to external partners and you have a set of collaborative, innovative, and imaginative educational opportunities that you will not find anywhere else.

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
10 - 19

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services

  • Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects

  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences

  • Medical Illustration/Medical Illustrator

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Ceramic Arts and Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other
  • Game and Interactive Media Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design
  • Metal and Jewelry Arts
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Students Say

If you dream of “becoming a more thoughtful and skillful artist or designer,” you’ll find a good match at Cleveland Institute of Art, a tiny urban school with more than 100 years in operation. Students come to CIA for its “wonderful art programs” and reputed design departments, but also note that there is “flexibility in exploring other fields of study while pursuing a focused major.” Academically, liberal arts are emphasized, especially in the first year, and even fine art majors are expected to take “academic courses and a lot of art history.” Across all nineteen major disciplines, students “learn through hands-on experience, experimentation, and self exploration,” and they are expected to put serious time into their creative projects. A signature of the program is the “availability of personal studio space” for undergraduates—every student gets their own private workspace after the first year. In terms of classroom experience, “professors vary widely,” but most are “actual working professionals” who are capable of “teaching you skills to apply to life after graduation, no matter which route you choose to take.” With just 500 undergraduates, “The student to faculty ratio is surprisingly low, which allows for a large amount of input from staff.” In the classroom or during critiques, “Discussion is always encouraged.”



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

Prominent Alumni

Marc Brown
Illustrator - Creator of

Viktor Schreckengost
Designer/Fine Artist

Dana Schutz
Painter/Gallery Artist

Derek Hess
Illustrator-Poster, CD Cover Designer

Eric Stoddard
Industrial Designer

George Bowes

David Deming
CIA President Emeritus/Sculptor

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes


From The School

Tuition, Room, Board and Fees

Estimated full-time tuition is US$37,980. Estimated fees are $2,681. Housing for incoming first-year students is $8,150 for our Uptown apartment-style Residence Hall, and $4,020 for meal plan.

Financial Aid

Cleveland Institute of Art offers merit and need-based financial aid, as well as federal and state financial aid. 88% of incoming first-year students enrolling for 2015-16 received scholarships. Average financial aid package for 2015-16 was $36,833.

CIA’s Office of Financial Aid is committed to helping students find ways to fund their education. Financial aid officers work with students to craft a personalized financial aid package that combines merit and need-based scholarships, federal loans and grants, scholarships, loans, and work study programs.


Application Deadlines

Required Forms


Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology

Scholarships and Grants


Academic Merit-based scholarships from CIA funds
Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Other
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid is available

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender


From The School

With approximately 625 students from around the country and the world, CIA offers a personal educational experience with the benefits of a larger institution. Surrounded by creative-minded friends and mentors, CIA students find inspiration inside and outside of the studio. Students also experience a community full of cultural energy, ethnic neighborhoods, and an accessible downtown, all accessible by public transportation.

When not in the studio, CIA students can enjoy organized activities, annual campus traditions, and various student groups that specialize in topics from academics to religion. Some favorite traditions include late-night breakfasts during finals, the wildly creative Halloween costume party, and the year-end school-wide picnic.

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented



58% female
42% male
36% are out of state
95% are full time
5% are part time

Students Say

Within CIA’s “eclectic” student body, you’ll find “diversity in terms of personalities and interests,” from “geeky” animation designers to “smart dressers” in the industrial design program to the stereotypical “hipster” in the painting studio. Appearances aside, CIA students are generally “friendly, outspoken, and imaginative,” united by a “strong drive and enthusiasm towards their work.” A student elaborates, “The common denominator is an interest in art, but the student body varies so much I couldn’t even begin to describe a typical student.” With a lot of social diversity, “Birds of a feather flock together” at CIA, and “Each department is like a clique.” At the same time, “Most students here are open to each others opinions,” and are usually “very accepting and eager to help you grow as an artist and as a person.”


From The School


Cleveland Institute of Art is located in University Circle, recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the most beautiful communities in the country. The neighborhood is home to world-renowned cultural, educational, and healthcare institutions and more than 8,000 students.

Campus Facilities & Equipment

The state-of-the-art facilities at the Cleveland Institute of Art provide students with space designed specifically for studying, living, and exhibiting art and design.

CIA’s campus is home to the Reinberger Gallery, a gallery space that presents exhibitions, events, and lectures; the Peter B. Lewis Theater, home of CIA’s nationally acclaimed Cinematheque film program; the Jessica R. Gund Memorial Library, which has collections specifically developed for the visual artist, designer, and craftsperson; and individual studio spaces for all students once they enter their major during their sophomore year.

CIA’s Uptown Residence Hall, home to first-year students, features suites with kitchenettes and two bedrooms connected by a shared workspace. Beyond the suite, students enjoy an onsite print center, free laundry facilities, workout machines, lounges, decks, street-level retail, and fabulous views of MOCA Cleveland, the downtown skyline, and Lake Erie.

Our campus is a creative, friendly environment that allows students to pursue their dreams. Visit our campus and see for yourself.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Cleveland Institute of Art’s campus is less than five miles from downtown Cleveland, where you can sample the city’s hottest restaurants, take in a music or comedy show, tour independent galleries, take art walks, and visit community festivals. If you’re a sports fan, plan on cheering on the Cleveland Indians, Cavaliers, or Browns at their downtown venues.

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Large Urban

Housing Options

Apartment Single
Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Frat Sorority
Wellness Housing

Students Say

There are no sports teams, no Greek organizations, and no student clubs at CIA. Art and design are the number one priority for this school’s serious undergraduates, who spend as much time in the studio as they do eating, sleeping, or socializing. A student describes the typical routine like so: “You wake up, go to class, go to the studios, go home to sleep, and then wake up and start again.” In fact, many students are “used to staying up all night some nights to go the extra mile and get work done.” When they do find a spare moment, “There are some great places on the West Side of Cleveland, and there are usually events or parties going on somewhere.” As one student explains, “We all work pretty hard, so plenty of us don’t feel guilty about taking some time to party.” In addition to the party scene, you’ll find CIA students at the movies, at museums, and at “gallery openings almost every weekend” in Cleveland.

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations

2% join a sorority


Athletic Division

Student Services

Womens Center
LGBT Support Groups
Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: John Carroll University
Navy ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: The Ohio State University
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Kent State University



Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Dell through STA (Strategic Tech Alliance) Apple GovConnection for other brands

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Arlene Thomas
Admissions Office

11610 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
University Coffee Shop
Frank Gehry and Peter B. Lewis Building
Live music at Barking Spider
Cleveland Museum of Art
Reinberger Galleries
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Cleveland Botanical Gardens
Crawford Auto Museum
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland Institute of Music Gund School of Law Cleveland Clinic Severence Hall (home of the Cleveland Orchestra) Coventry Shopping District/Neighborhood Rock and Roll Hall of Fame House of Blues Browns/Indians Stadium CAVS/Arena Legacy Village Shopping Center Nottingham Spirk Design Firm Playhouse Square East 4th Corneralley CIA is located in the University Circle area of Cleveland. The nation's most concentrated cultural district after NYC.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: Varies

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available

Contact Admissions Office


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Closest airport - Cleveland Hopkins Taxis and shuttles available from airport Buses and rapid transit available from downtown to campus

Driving Instructions to Campus
From Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport take I-71 North to I-90 East. Follow the directions from I-90 East and West. Or take the RTA Red Line Rapid Transit to University Circle stop. Take a free University Circle LINK bus to the Institute of Art. A taxi from the airport is also an option. It will cost approximately $60. From downtown Cleveland follow Chester Avenue east for three miles to University Circle. Turn left on Euclid Avenue. Turn left on East Boulevard.

Local Accommodations
The Glidden House The Intercontinental Hotel Marriott Hotel

Articles & Advice