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Otis College of Art and Design welcomes transfer students who would like to complete their studies to earn a BFA degree. About 30% of new students are transfer students and they thrive in the creative community at Otis. Transfer students are encouraged to be in touch with Admissions to discuss transfer pathways, course selections to maximize transfer credits and developing a strong portfolio. Make an appointment with an Admissions Counselor here.

Transfer Credits

Applicants who have earned college-level credit can be considered for transfer credits. These include courses taken at another college with appropriate accreditation (see list of accrediting agencies below), participation in dual-enrollment, or having earned AP, IB, or A Level credit. Taking the right classes before transferring is an important step for a smooth transition into the College's art and design programs. If your portfolio of artwork demonstrates necessary creative thinking skills, and you’ve taken an appropriate number of studio art courses, you may be admitted at the sophomore or junior level.

  • To enter as a sophomore:
    • 18 semester units of studio art from a regionally accredited institution*
    • 6-12 semester units of general education are recommended:
      • English Composition (often the first college-level English course at most universities)
      • Art History Survey course covering Prehistoric to Gothic periods
      • Art History Survey course covering Renaissance to Modern periods
      • Social Science (such as a Psychology, Sociology, or Political Science course)
    • A portfolio that demonstrates you are able to bypass the Foundation year
  • To enter as a junior:
    • 36 semester units of studio art from a regionally accredited institution*
    • Approximately 18 units of general education, including the courses listed for sophomore-level entry and more depending on your intended major. Please note specialized coursework is required by major. 
    • A portfolio that demonstrates a high-level of technical and creative ability in your intended major

    Please note a maximum of 63 transfer credits can be awarded to undergraduate applicants.
    All transfers for Fashion and Toy Design cannot enter higher than sophomore level.

Students must have earned a grade of “C” or better in each class in order to receive credit. All units must be earned at an institution accredited by one of the following six accrediting agencies:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (formerly North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement - NCA)
  • Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)
  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)

International institutions must be recognized by the country's national ministry of education.


Capstone and Creative Action

All Otis College students take the College’s signature Creative Action and Capstone courses. These courses cannot be transferred in.

Credit by Examination

Applicants who have taken AP, IB, A-Level or AS-Level exams are eligible to receive transfer credit. Official results must be submitted by your school or the testing body in order to receive transfer credit. See our transfer credit awarding chart here.

International Students

International transfer students who have studied outside the US (other than Japan and Korea) are required to submit an evaluation of their post-secondary (college or university) transcript(s).  This evaluation may be done by any evaluation agency recommended by Options for evaluation services include Span TranWESJosef Silny & AssociatesIEEECE, and Global Credential Evaluators. The document must be officially translated into English by a certified translation service before submitting to any evaluation agency recommended by NACES or any other reputable education evaluation service, e.g., your embassy. Otis asks for a course-by-course evaluation.

For more information on the I-20 and Visa process, visit this page.

Graduate Transfer Credits

Graduate applicants can transfer credits dependent on review of coursework completed at the graduate level and approval by the Department Chair. 

Additional Policies

Please refer to the Transfer Credits section of The Hoot for additional transfer credit policies regarding matriculated students.

When to Transfer

Students may transfer in the Fall and Spring semesters. The entry semester depends on how many studio and general education credits have been completed.

Once you decide which term to apply for you, you will need to complete an application. The Otis Online Application for Transfer can be started here. 

The guidelines below can help you estimate how many credits you may need to enter in the term/level you are seeking. All placements are also contingent on having a portfolio that meets the class level of current Otis students and may require Department Chair approval. 

If you are a prospective transfer student, we encourage you to sign up to attend our Virtual Transfer Info Session led by our Transfer Admissions Counselor, which reviews much of this information in detail. You can sign up here.

Fall Semester

Class Level

Studio Credits

General Education Credits

Foundation Less than 17 studio credits Any Amount
1st Semester Sophomore At least 17 studio credits At least 6 credits or more
Junior At least 36 studio credits At least 18 credits

Spring Semester

Class Level

Studio Credits

General Education Credits

Foundation* Less than 17 studio credits Any Amount
2nd Semester Foundation At least 9 studio credits At least 6 credits or more
2nd Semester Sophomore At least 27 studio credits At least 18 credits


* Requires summer term to stay on track for the fall semester.