General Admissions Information—All Programs

Campus Visits

Prospective students are encouraged to come see the CIA firsthand. Admissions Information Sessions and Open Houses are scheduled throughout the year, giving prospective students a chance to talk with admissions representatives, faculty, and current students. Call 1-800-CULINARY or visit www.ciachef.edu for session dates.

Catalog and Enrollment Agreement

Prospective students are encouraged to review the CIA Academic Catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement.

California Campus

Students are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to the student prior to their signing an enrollment agreement.

Technical Standards

In order to reflect the requirements and standards of the foodservice and hospitality industry, The Culinary Institute of America requires all students to meet certain essential functions/technical standards needed for successful completion of all phases of the education programs. To participate in and successfully complete the CIA's degree and certificate programs, each student, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to meet these standards.

CIA Learning Strategies/Library Learning Commons staff members are also available to assist students with a disability in determining if their documentation is appropriate and current, and to answer any additional questions. For further information about disability services, visit www.ciachef.edu or call 845-451-1219 or 845-451-1288 (NY), 707-967-2406 (CA), or 210-554-6465 (TX).

Withdrawal of Application

Applicants who have not visited the school prior to enrollment will have the opportunity to withdraw without penalty within three business days following either the regularly scheduled orientation procedures or following a tour of the facilities and inspection of equipment where training and services are provided.

Articulation Agreements

The CIA has articulation agreements in place with other educational organizations, including high schools and National Student Organizations (NSOs). The college also has articulation agreements with Orange County Community College and Rockland Community College, both in New York State. Visit the CIA website to view the complete list of participating organizations.

Transfer Credit

The CIA may allow individuals who have earned college credits at an accredited college and/or university and/or through select examinations and/or through the military and/or through life achievement to be awarded up to 60 credits towards a CIA undergraduate degree, or up to six credits towards the Master of Professional Studies degree. Because of the unique nature of the CIA's curricula, only select course work can be considered for transfer credit. The CIA does not accept transfer credits for laboratory courses (unless specifically negotiated under an articulation agreement or approved by the CIA as an elective) in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, or hospitality and service management courses. Course work evaluated and deemed acceptable based on its content and comparability relative to standard college/university curricula will be awarded college transfer credit consistent with the CIA's Transfer Credit Policy.

Transfer credit requests are reviewed by the appropriate dean/associate dean to determine the equivalency in content and level to CIA courses or categories. Transfer credit assignment to a particular major is dependent on the specific courses and distribution requirements deemed appropriate for transfer into that major.

Questions about transfer credit should be directed to the Center for Career and Academic Advising at transfercredits@culinary.edu.

Approval Criteria

The following parameters must be met to transfer credit:

  • A student may be eligible to receive up to 60 credits toward a degree for prior course work, certain examinations, military experience, and/or life achievement.
  • Any course from another higher education institution for which transfer credit is requested should normally be from an accredited college and/or university as relevant to a particular major.
  • A student must have completed the course to be transferred from another institution with a grade of "C" or better for undergraduate courses, and a grade of "B" or better for graduate courses.
  • Transferred courses are not calculated into a student's overall grade point average.

The following additional parameters also apply, as relevant:

  • A student took the College Board AP exam and received a "4" or higher.
    • The CIA will accept AP Calculus and AP Statistics if the student received a "3" or higher.
  • A student took selected CLEP exams or DSST exams with qualifying scores as determined by the grading authority.
  • A student took International Baccalaureate (IB) courses with qualifying scores as determined by the grading authority.
  • A student will receive credit if the student successfully completes the CIA Math Challenge Exam.
  • A student may receive college credit for military courses evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE). The student may also receive college credit for military experience through the Life Achievement Portfolio.
  • A student may receive credit for life achievement for experiences outside traditional college courses that meet the learning objectives of those courses. The student will be charged according to the fee listed in Fees That May Be Assessed.
  • Culinary arts and baking and pastry arts students may be eligible to receive externship credit based on work experience.
  • Non-credit-bearing in-class or online courses will be considered only as part of a Life Achievement Portfolio.
Please note:
  • Credits accepted for transfer may count toward the completion of degree requirements but are not calculated in a student's grade point average at the college.
  • Tuition charges are assessed based on full-time study, with each semester ranging between 12–18 credits. Students who take fewer or more than the full-time course load will be charged according to the fee listed in Fees That May Be Assessed.
  • Students who receive transfer credit and wish to supplement their semester courses may take an Independent Study course or elective with the permission of the appropriate academic dean.
  • The transferability of credits earned at the CIA is at the complete discretion of an institution to which the student seeks to transfer.

Appeal Process

The transfer credit appeal process must be in accordance with the following procedures:

  1. The student must review the transfer credit evaluation with the transfer credit coordinator.
  2. The student must submit a written statement outlining the reasons the student should be awarded credit (one page maximum).
  3. The student must provide a detailed course guide or syllabus and course description from the catalog.
  4. The student must submit the materials with the transfer credit appeal application to the dean for academic engagement and administration.
  5. Within five business days, the student will receive confirmation via e-mail that the appeal is being reviewed by the vice president of academic affairs. If the student does not receive confirmation, the student should contact the transfer credit coordinator.
  6. Within 10 business days, the vice president for academic affairs will render a final decision. If the appeal is granted, the transfer credit coordinator will make the necessary changes for the transferal of credit.

How to be Considered for Transfer Credit

Incoming students

To be evaluated for transfer credit at the CIA, incoming students should follow the college's application procedure for admission:

  • Complete the application for admission.
  • Include official copies of all high school and/or college transcripts, if not previously sent.
  • Submit the completed application and supporting documentation to:

Admissions Department
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

Once the student has been accepted to the CIA and official transcripts are on file from previous institutions, the student will automatically be reviewed for transfer credits. Within three weeks of acceptance, the college will e-mail the student with the results of the transfer credit evaluation.

A student can be awarded transfer credit for the externship based on previous work experience. Eligible students need to have at least 2.5 years of post-high school foodservice experience with progressive levels of responsibility in the professional kitchen. To be considered for this credit, students must submit the standard admissions materials as well as their résumé and an additional professional letter of recommendation. Students will be required to submit an online application and attach items electronically, and a personal interview may be scheduled to discuss and verify their experience. Students must submit their application any time before the end of the first semester, and will be notified of the application decision within two weeks. Space may be limited for this opportunity.

Enrolled students

Students must have submitted appropriate documentation and/or their official transcript(s) by the end of the first semester of their degree program to be considered for transfer credit. Students may not present transfer credit for a course in progress after the add/drop period has expired. Official copies of all transcripts should be sent to the:

Center for Career and Academic Advising
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

Important note for all students

Once a student is enrolled in a degree program, the student is expected to complete the remainder of the degree requirements (after transfer credit has been awarded) at The Culinary Institute of America.

For further information on transfer credit, students should contact the Center for Career and Academic Advising at transfercredits@culinary.edu.

Notice Concerning the Transferability of Credits Earned at the CIA

The transferability of course credits earned at The Culinary Institute of America is at the complete discretion of an institution to which the student may seek to transfer. The CIA transcript will be reviewed to determine the best path into the student's next degree program.

For this reason, the student should make certain that their attendance at the CIA will meet their educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which one may seek to transfer after attending the CIA to determine if the credits, degree, or certificate will transfer.

Life Achievement Portfolio

Students may be able to earn life achievement credit for select liberal arts and business management undergraduate courses if they can demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge contained in those courses.

The successful candidate for life achievement credit must be at least 23 years old, have completed the first semester at the CIA, and have five years of relevant work, military, and/or life experience that have resulted in college-level learning. Candidates will be competent writers and have the time and energy to devote to the writing of a Life Achievement Portfolio. The portfolio includes a description of the student's life achievements and how these experiences allowed the student to acquire skills and knowledge of comparable value to what could have been acquired from specific courses at the CIA.

To explore their individual situations, interested students should first contact the Center for Career and Academic Advising and meet with an advisor. If they receive approval to proceed with developing a portfolio, they will register for the Life Achievement Portfolio application on Moodle and be charged a fee of $750. Over the course of a maximum of eight weeks, students—with the support of tutors from the Library Learning Commons, if needed—complete and submit their portfolio for evaluation.

A decision may result in an award of credit, a denial of credit requested, or a request for additional information. Students will be notified of the decision by the transfer credit coordinator. Appeals may be made to the appropriate academic dean.

Privacy of Application Records

Please see Privacy of Application Records.

Campus Transfers

In some instances, a currently enrolled associate degree student may seek a transfer of studies to or from the Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; or San Antonio, TX campuses. Please refer to the college's Policy on Transfers Between Campuses for the policy on campus transfers.

Readmission Policy

With the exception of U.S. service members as noted below, individuals who have not been in attendance at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for 12 months or more will have the opportunity to complete their degree contingent upon successful readmission. Individuals wishing to apply to The Culinary Institute of America for readmission after an absence of 12 months or more must complete the appropriate application, including an essay, and submit all required documentation to the CIA's Center for Academic Advising for consideration. Reinstatement of financial aid is not automatic upon readmission, and individuals must contact Student Financial and Registration Services directly to discuss aid.

The CIA will promptly readmit an individual whose education was interrupted by voluntary or involuntary U.S. military service of more than 30 consecutive days while enrolled in an education program at the CIA. A returning U.S. service member does not need to go through the formal reapplication policy and should contact Student Financial and Registration Services to initiate the process.

Vaccinations

Each State Department of Health and the CIA require documentation of screening for tuberculosis (TB) and documentation of having received two MMR vaccinations. If these requirements are not met, students will need to be screened for TB and/or re-immunized for MMR. The CIA requires vaccination against hepatitis A given in two injections six months apart. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended but not required. The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three injections over six months. The Menactra vaccine to protect against meningitis is required in California and Texas and recommended in New York. The meningitis vaccine is available in one injection.

Students should make arrangements with their health care provider to administer any required immunizations during their required medical exam appointment. Any follow-up vaccinations can be arranged through a provider local to the student's campus. At the New York campus, Health Services can administer vaccines and charge all vaccine fees to the student's account.

The entire Vaccination Policy can be found on the CIA Main Menu Policies and Procedures page.

International Students

Application

Application procedures are the same as those for applicants who are U.S. Citizens, with the exception of four additional requirements: 

Proof of English Language Proficiency

International students are required to demonstrate proof of English proficiency before they can be accepted to the CIA. This can be done in the following ways: through an approved English proficiency exam; by completing a program of study at an approved language school; or by meeting the eligibility requirements of the waver policy.

  1. ​​​​English Proficiency Exams

The applicate may complete and submit the scores from one of the following language exams as proof of English proficiency:  

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service. A minimum paper score of 550, CBT (computer-based test) score of 213, or iBT (Internet-based test) score of 80 (with a minimum of 20 in each section) is required. For information on test dates and locations, write to TOEFL, Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541, USA; e-mail toefl@ets.org; visit www.toefl.org; or call 609-771-7100; or 
  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), co-sponsored by the English testing entity of the University of Cambridge, and British and Australian organizations. A minimum overall score of 6.0 is required with a minimum band score of 5.5 in each section. For information, write to IELTS, Inc., 100 East Corson Street, Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91103, USA; e-mail ielts@ceii.org; visit www.ielts.org; or call 626-564-2954. 
  • The PTE Academic, an English language-readiness test by Pearson. A minimum score of 53 is required. For more information, visit http://pearsonpte.com/test-takers/test/
  • The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Exam, developed by the Cambridge English Organization. A minimum score of 185 with at least a 175 in each section. For test dates and locations, go to https://www.cambridgeenglish.org. 
  1. Language School: Conditional Admission 

Conditional (or provisional) admission means that there are still terms that need to be met before CIA acceptance can be finalized, in this case: English skills. If the student does not have the skills to successfully complete a language exam, they may select a conditional admission pathway to the CIA. The CIA works with the following language schools: 

  • SUNY New Paltz Haggerty English Language Program (HELP): The CIA will accept completion of HELP Level 4 Academic Pathway Program
  • ELS Language Centers: The CIA will accept completion of level 112.
  • International Mid Pacific College (IMPAC): The CIA will accept completion of the IMPAC Level 5—Low Advanced course combined with a 75+ score on the Michigan Test of English Language.
  • Empire State English (ESE): CIA will accept completion of ESE's General English Level Advanced C.

The process to apply for conditional admission is as follows: 

  • Apply to the CIA using the online application form. 
  • Submit all application materials along with an e-mail to admissions@culinary.edu indicating the intention to study English at one of the approved schools. Please indicate which partner school in the e-mail. 
  • If the applicant meets the academic admissions criteria, they will be issued a letter indicating provisional acceptance. 
  • Apply to one of the language schools listed above. 
  • Upon completion of the course of study at the language school, send the CIA the certificate of completion or transcript. 
  • Students who complete language programs are expected to enroll at CIA on the next available entry date. 
  1. Proof of English Waiver Policy 

All international applicants whose education has been primarily outside the United States of America must provide objective evidence of proficiency in the English language as indicated with the above requirements. However, the following exceptions apply: 

  • Applicants who have received a score of A, B, or C (6–9) on the GCE O-Level, A-Level, GCSE, or IGCSE English Language (First Language) exam within the past two years. 
  • Applicants who have taken IB English Lang and Lit, SL/HL, within the past two years and with a minimum score of 5. 
  • Applicants who have completed three years or more in (non-ESL) English courses in U.S. accredited high schools with a grade of C or higher. Must have studied in the U.S. within two years of the intended start date. Transcripts will be reviewed by the Admissions Office to determine eligibility. 
  • Applicants who have received a U.S. bachelor’s degree or U.S. master’s degree, or who have completed a minimum of two years of full-time academic study with a grade of C or higher in (non-ESL) English courses, at an accredited post-secondary institution within the U.S. Must have studied in the U.S. within two years of the intended start date. Transcripts will be reviewed by the Admissions Office to determine eligibility. 
  • Applicants primarily educated in English in the following countries/territories:
    • Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Dominica, Eswatini (Swaziland)*, Falkland Islands, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana*, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Guyana, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya*, Lesotho*, Liberia, Malawi*, Micronesia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Nigeria*, Sierra Leone, Singapore*, South Africa, St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda*, United Kingdom, United States Territories, Zambia, Zimbabwe

*English language proficiency test only waived for applicants from English language educational systems. 

Any questions regarding a waiver of the English language proficiency requirement can be submitted to admissions@culinary.edu

The Culinary Institute of American reserves the right to require evidence of English language proficiency for all applicants, the adequacy of which shall be at the sole discretion of the CIA Admissions Office. 

Proof of Funding

This is necessary for international students to obtain their Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20). Proof of funding can be a copy of a bank statement from a savings or checking account, certificate of deposit, or money market account showing proof of funding by the applicant or their sponsor OR a letter from the bank verifying that the required funds are reserved for their education. The applicant could also download this official bank certification form (PDF) to fill out (or for the sponsor’s financial institution to fill out.)
 
All documentation must be from within the past 12 months. We ask to see at least $55,000 USD for undergraduate programs, or $30,000 USD for graduate programs (or the equivalent in the applicant's country’s currency.) This amount is the equivalent of one academic year of tuition, fees, and other estimated living expenses for the intended program of study. Download a copy of the official bank certification form. (PDF)

Declaration of Financial Support

A letter of financial support from the applicant or the applicant's sponsor is also required to go along with the Proof of Funding, stating that they intend to cover all tuition and living expenses while the student studies at the CIA. 
 
The applicant must submit this form even if supporting themselves, and the name of the sponsor must match the name on the proof of funding documents. 
 
Download a copy of the declaration form for undergraduate students > (PDF) 
Download a copy of the declaration form for graduate students > (PDF) 

Copy of Passport

Students must provide a copy of their passport showing their personal information page (to ensure accurate processing of Form I-20). 

Please note: All documentation must be in English. If originals are in another language, they must be translated before they are submitted to the CIA.

Visa Requirements (Degree Programs)

The degree programs require an F-1 student visa. International students who hold an F-1 student visa and are enrolled in these programs may:

  • Work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week with authorization by the school official.
  • Complete the required externship in the U.S. with authorization by the school official. Employment authorization is job-specific.
  • Accept full-time employment—for up to 12 months after completion of studies—with authorization from the DHS via the application process, which takes approximately three months.

All of the above employment opportunities require a Social Security number. This application process takes 10–20 days, with authorization from the school official, and an offer of employment.

Note: Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S., but must have a passport. A student should present the passport, Form I-20 A-B, and financial documentation at the Canadian/U.S. border.

Visa Requirements (Certificate Programs)

The certificate programs require an M-1 student visa. The M-1 visa does not allow students to work in the United States during their education, and is not acceptable for employment in the U.S. following graduation.

Students may apply for employment authorization after completion of studies based on one month of employment for every four months of study.

Medical Insurance

All F-1 and M-1 students are required to have medical insurance while in the U.S. The college strongly recommends that international students obtain a medical insurance plan before they leave that will cover their health costs in this country.

F-1 and M-1 students may also want to secure coverage for mental health care, prescriptions for any chronic illness, and dental care, as these are not necessarily included in basic medical insurance policies. Students should consider their overall needs and well-being as they select a health plan that is right for them. Also, most plans require participants to pay for a portion of their care, so access to some cash or credit is still important.

See also International Students in the CIA Student Handbook.

Externship

Please see Externship—International Students.