ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

General Information

Art Center welcomes applications from students who have chosen to pursue a career in the visual arts.

The programs are highly specialized, and we ask applicants to seriously consider their choice of major.

Students must specify one major at the time of application. The College does not offer an undeclared major option and requires a focused portfolio directed toward one major for admission. For this reason, many applicants choose to complete prior coursework at another college to explore options and develop a specific direction.

Admission is competitive. Your classmates will be serious, motivated and talented.

Art Center offers a complete program of academic and studio courses. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is offered in Advertising, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography and Imaging. A Bachelor of Science degree is offered in Entertainment Design, Environmental Design, Interaction Design, Product Design and Transportation Design.

To graduate, students must complete the requirements of the curriculum for their chosen major. This is estimated to take a minimum of eight 14-week terms.

There are three scheduled terms in each academic year: fall, spring and summer. Students who choose to continue their studies uninterrupted may complete the program in a minimum of two years and eight months, with the exception of Entertainment Design students who attend studio classes in the Fall and Spring only; Summers may be taken off, or students may take Humanities and Design Sciences classes.

Admission to Art Center is based on a strong portfolio and a sound academic record in high school or college. Although the program of study focuses primarily on the visual arts, a student's academic record often indicates seriousness of attitude and conceptual ability and motivation.


Transfer Students

Students who have completed studio coursework at another college that parallels the major coursework at Art Center may receive advanced standing.

Advanced standing is determined on the basis of portfolio level and prior college experience.

Studio transfer credit is based on portfolio review. Although credit may be granted for liberal arts classes, placement is based on studio credit determining the length of the program. See Transfer Credit for full details.

International Students

Art Center welcomes international students and values cultural diversity in the classroom. All Art Center courses are conducted in English. Undergraduate applicants with a native language other than English must score at least 80 on the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) or 6.5 on the I.E.L.T.S.

In addition, the College may require minimum scores on each section of the test. Read more about admissions requirements in the Admissions section and about programs and services for international students here.


Art Center is approved for veterans’ study under several GI bills, including the new Yellow Ribbons program.

Art Center Information for Veterans

Special Non-Degree Student Status

These programs provide a special opportunity for access to Art Centers programs on a non-degree basis. Although students will receive credit for classes taken, they will not be matriculating toward a degree. A certificate of completion will be awarded. Students cannot transfer to the degree program once enrolled as non-degree students.

Undergraduate programs

Art Center selectively admits students to its Special Status program. The program is intended for students who have had significant work and educational experience. These students can attend Art Center classes for up to three terms on a non-degree basis. Special Non-Degree students typically work at the upper terms of the program.

To qualify, students must show an advanced level portfolio for one major. They must meet the same admissions requirements as degree program candidates, complete the admissions procedure for undergraduate students, and check off Special Student Status on the application form. They should follow the directions for all applicants as outlined on the Website.

Post-graduate programs

Students with prior degrees can apply either to the undergraduate or graduate programs and should complete all admissions requirements and processes as described on the Website. This program is intended for students already who are interested in a one to three semester program of study on the undergraduate or graduate level. The level will be determined by their interests and chosen area of study. Students must meet the admissions requirements as published for the undergraduate or graduate program of their choice.

This program is appropriate for students who want to pursue studies in the U.S. or are seeking additional specialized education within their discipline. Students may also come from professional positions within industry.


Special students are charged the current tuition rate for undergraduate or graduate degree students.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Federal and state financial aid is not available, as students do not matriculate toward a degree. Scholarships are generally not offered.

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