Transfer Students

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.

  • 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
  • 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.

Guide for General Education Credits

Otis College required LAS course (Foundation year) Recommendation for Transfer
Introduction to Visual Culture (AHCS 120) Recommended: Prehistoric to Gothic
Accepted: Introductory art history or art appreciation
Birth of the Modern (AHCS 121)

Recommended: Renaissance to Modern or Modern to Contemporary periods

Accepted: Art History courses that cover art created between the 15th to 21st centuries, from any region or culture

Writing in the Digital Age (ENGL 107) College Level English Composition Course
Ways of Knowing (LIBS 114)

Recommended: Humanities course with Diversity Focus

Accepted: IGETC Areas 3B, 4, 6

Otis College required LAS course (Sophomore & Junior level) Recommendation for Transfer
LAS Sophomore Elective (LIBS 214)

IGETC Areas 1B, 1C, 3*, 4

*excludes performing arts courses

Examples: English literature, Creative Writing, History, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Sciences.

Social Science (SSCI 210)

IGETC Area 4

Examples: Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Political Science, History.

Natural Science (NSCI 307)

IGETC Area 5A or 5B, Psychology courses from IGETC Area 4

Examples: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Physics, Physical Anthropology, Physical Geography.

Math for Artists and Designers (MATH 136)

IGETC Area 2

Examples: College-level Algebra, Accounting, Business Math, Statistics.

NOTE: The IGETC is the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, an educational plan for California community college students that groups courses into different transfer categories. If you are at a California community college, your IGETC should be accessible through your college's transfer center website.

Otis College Major LAS Transfer Exception
Fashion Design Natural Science: Textile Science
Product Design Natural Science: Anatomy & Ergonomics
Toy Design

Social Science: Child Psychology

Natural Science: Juvenile Anatomy & Ergonomics

Scholarships for Transfer Students

All transfer applicants are considered for Otis merit scholarships if they apply by the priority deadlines. Merit scholarships go up to about 50% of the tuition cost and are awarded based on the student's application, with close attention to the portfolio and academic record (unweighted Cumulative GPA from all institutions attended). Students who have submitted the FAFSA are also considered for additional need-based institutional scholarships.

Articulation Agreements

Otis College of Art and Design has collaborated with several community colleges in the United States to assist transfer students in selecting the right courses to place at an upper-level. Please click on the colleges below to view our current articulation agreements. If your college is not on this list and you have questions about your credits, please e-mail the Admissions Office at

Contact Us

Wherever you are in your college search, we want to meet you! Our counselors are here to answer your questions about Otis College and help you with the application process.

Phone: 310-665-6820
SMS: 323-870-6820

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