The college has a selective admissions process whereby each candidate is evaluated individually. The basic requirements are as follows:
- Students must have met all the requirements for a high school diploma or have a GED credential
- A medical exam
A complete medical examination is required within one year of the student's entry date. An exam form is supplied by the CIA (and is available from CIA Main Menu, the student web portal) for this purpose and must be completed and returned to Student Health Services for review by the school's medical staff. There are no exceptions to this requirement.
Admissions Requirements for Homeschooled Students
Homeschooled students are welcome to apply to CIA. The following two requirements must be met as part of their application process:
- Proof of requirements met for a high school diploma. The following two documents must be submitted to fulfill this requirement:
- Transcripts or the equivalent, signed by the parent, guardian, or homeschool instructor, that lists the secondary school courses completed by the applicant for grades 9-12 and the student’s performance in each course.
- An official document that attests that the homeschooled education meets the equivalency to what is taught in the high school district. This document may be provided by the state Department of Education (if provided by that state), the homeschool liaison within the student's school district, or from a school official in the high school district.
- Official scores from either the SAT or ACT exams.
In lieu of these requirements, homeschooled students are welcome to submit official scores from the GED (General Education Diploma) or any other State approved equivalency assessment through TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion).
The CIA reserves the right to request any additional information or requirement as part of the application process.
The steps to apply for admission to the degree programs are as follows:
- Complete the CIA application or Common Application
- Read the application carefully and complete all sections. The CIA application is available at www.ciachef.edu/applynow.
- Applicants with significant experience in the foodservice industry or who are career changers should consider including a copy of their résumé.
- Submit a personal statement (no less than 200 words, no more than 500) The applicant must describe why they are passionate about the food and hospitality industry, what experiences they have, and how they feel that those experiences have prepared them for The Culinary Institute of America.
- Pay the nonrefundable application fee Submit payment of $50 to The Culinary Institute of America.
- Ask for a recommendation. One character recommendation is required. It should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry. In addition, the recommendation should address the applicant's commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics. The applicant must ask the recommender to complete this recommendation by:
Or, the applicant can provide CIA Admissions with the recommender's contact information so that they can contact them for a verbal recommendation.
- Request official transcripts Applicants should ask all secondary and postsecondary schools they've attended to send the student's official transcripts (not a student copy) directly to CIA Admissions. Official e-transcripts can be e-mailed directly from the school to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via an electronic database such as Parchment, Scribbles, eScript, and CommonApp. Official transcripts can also be mailed to: Admissions Department, The Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499.
- For applicants who hold an equivalency diploma, the official test scores must be submitted.
- For high school students, the transcript must be complete through the 11th grade, and indicate what courses they'll take in the 12th grade or show their marks for the 12th grade. Applicants must have met all the requirements for a high school diploma or have received an equivalency diploma to enroll at the CIA.
- Applicants who have matriculated in a college-level degree program and have completed the equivalent of 24 or more college credits are not required to submit a high school transcript. Academic transcripts are required for all colleges attended.
- Submit SAT and/or ACT scores The college strongly recommends that students who have taken the SAT and/or ACT include their scores, as they may help students qualify for one or more scholarships.
- Submit the required application materials to CIA Admissions Materials can be submitted through the student's online application profile; via an electronic database such as Parchment, Scribbles, eScript, and CommonApp; or by mail to: Admissions Department, The Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499.
Most CIA students will have had some experience in food—including culinary classes during high school or college, work in the food industry, or extensive personal cooking or baking activities. If the applicant needs to confirm their interest in a food career or their choice of major at the CIA, the CIA recommends that the applicant gain hands-on experience in a classroom, work, or volunteer setting prior to enrolling at the college.
CIA associate degree program students
CIA associate degree students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree program should contact the Center for Career and Academic Advising for the appropriate form.
After completion of the AOS or AAS course work, students who are accepted into the bachelor's degree program may enroll with two outstanding grades from the final AOS or AAS semester. Passing grades and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for the associate degree program must be verified during the student's first bachelor's semester in order to continue into the second bachelor's semester.
CIA associate degree graduates
CIA graduates interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree program at the CIA should contact the Center for Career and Academic Advising for the appropriate form. Graduates who are applying for admission should note that they may need to complete any associate-level courses that have been added to the curriculum since they graduated.
All Applicants—Points to Remember:
- The Admissions Committee reviews all applications, which are valid for 18 months. Please note that the CIA does not return any materials sent as part of the admissions review process. Do not submit original diplomas and certificates, as they will not be returned.
- Students accepted to the New York or California campuses for the bachelor's or associate degree may choose to defer their enrollment for personal reasons. The CIA will honor first requests as long as the student's new start date is within 12 months of their original entry date. All subsequent requests for deferment beyond 12 months will require the student to reapply for admission.
- The applicant's prior educational record will be evaluated according to the difficulty of the program undertaken, class rank, and grade point average. Applicants who have vocational training in culinary arts and related disciplines are expected to have strong marks in these areas.
- The application is seen as a direct reflection of a student and the student's interest, motivation, confidence, and academic ability. The CIA will note the student's initiative in expressing and documenting these areas in the application materials.
- All prospective students must demonstrate their proficiency in the English language at a level adequate for success at the CIA. If a student's primary spoken language is other than English, the submission of TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores is required as part of the student's application. Please see International Students for details.
A student can be awarded credit for Mathematical Foundations by demonstrating knowledge of the course content acquired prior to enrolling at the CIA. This is achieved by earning a passing score on a challenge exam. The math challenge exam tests the concepts that are taught in Mathematical Foundations.
The math challenge exam is recommended for students who:
- Have proven proficiency by having earned an AP math score of 3 or higher,
- Have taken a college-level math course but did not receive credit, or
- Feel confident that prior training or experience in math can fulfill the course requirement.
To receive credit for the Mathematical Foundations course, a score of at least 72% on the math challenge exam is required.
It is highly recommended that students discuss their options with an advisor/counselor in the Admissions Office or Education Department.
For More Information
Please see General Admissions Information.