Our Commitment to International Students

CalArts has a long and rich tradition of attracting and welcoming the most talented international students in the world. One out of every four students at CalArts is international, representing nearly 50 different countries. Many of CalArts distinguished faculty are also international, adding to the artistic and academic diversity of our community.

International Student Application Requirements

In addition to the general application requirements, students must be able to obtain an immigration student visa to enter the United States for study. Once you receive acceptance to CalArts, you will be required to complete these additional requirements in order to attend.

  1. International students must submit officially translated international transcripts and proof of English language proficiency to be considered for admission.

  2. International students who are accepted to the Institute will receive additional instructions for completing the Declaration of Finances form (DOF), which is required to receive the I-20, and begin the student visa application process. The DOF should reflect an amount sufficient to cover the cost of attendance. You could be fully supported by yourself (bank account in your name), your parents or other family, or multiple sources. Other sources can include scholarships, award letters or sponsor's affidavit. The total must equal the minimum amount required for a one year period of study at the “off-campus” cost of attendance. 

International students are eligible for select institutional scholarships. These awards are typically based on artistic merit as determined by the required writing sample, audition, and/or portfolio, but certain awards are based on other criteria. There is no separate application for financial aid for international students, and all applicants are automatically considered for merit-based awards. CalArts offers merit scholarships to international students, providing important support to ensure a high quality arts education. Click here for more information about sources of funding for international students.

International Academic Transcript Requirements 

Secondary, High School, or Equivalent Transcripts

High School level transcripts must be uploaded as part of your application, with an English language translation if those transcripts are in a language other than English. Please scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended. Uploaded transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, the institution name, dates of attendance, grades/marks received, credits, and grading legend.

If you are also submitting Post-secondary school, undergraduate, or college level transcripts to be considered for transfer credits and/or awarded degrees, you will need to order course-by-course evaluations of your transcript from an accrediting service for these credits. Please see the Post-Secondary School, Undergraduate, or College Transcripts section below.

Do not mail paper copies of your transcripts, unless from the following countries:

  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Iran
  • Kazakhstan
  • Palestine
  • Russia

If your transcripts were issued from institutions located in the countries above, we require that you submit official documents directly from the issuing institutions. Please arrange to have them sent as soon as you decide to apply, allowing plenty of time for their arrival.

Send to:

CalArts Admissions
24700 McBean Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA  91355

In the very rare case that no official transcript is available, please upload a PDF document with a statement explaining the circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

CalArts awards credit for IB courses with Higher-Level examination results of 5 or higher. Standard-Level results are not considered for credit. In order to be awarded credit, students must request an official transcript from the IBO to be sent directly to the CalArts Office of the Registrar. Any score reports not received directly from the College Board are considered unofficial and will not be used to award credit. Transcripts must be requested by mail from the IBO with a paper transcript request form. Please visit the IBO website for more information.

A Levels

Students with superior ‘A’ level results may petition the appropriate department of the University for up to two credits (the equivalent of two semester courses) for an ‘A’ level passed.

Post-Secondary School, Undergraduate, or College, or Equivalent Transcripts

As part of the online application, upload an unofficial, digital copy of your transcripts (for example, a PDF scan), with an English language translation if applicable. Please upload both the front and back sides of the transcript, even if the back side is blank. Uploaded transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, the institution name, dates of attendance, grades/marks received, credits, and grading legend. Please scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended.

If you studied at an undergraduate or college level institution outside the United States of America, you must also submit your transcripts for a course-by-course evaluation by a professional credential evaluation service. If you are applying to CalArts as a graduate student (a MFA, MA, or DMA student) or undergraduate transfer student, and your BFA, BA, or equivalent level degree or coursework is from any educational institution outside of the U.S.A., then this requirement applies to you.

Here are the required steps:

  1. In your application, upload an unofficial copy (for example, a PDF scan) of your undergraduate level transcript, with an English language translation if applicable. Ensure that you scan all pages, both front and back. 
  2. Submit your application. You may notice that an item in your application checklist, Evaluated Transcript, is incomplete, but this will not delay the artistic review of your submitted materials.
  3. Submit your transcripts to one of the professional credential evaluation services listed below for a course by course evaluation:

All records submitted must clearly state the date of completion (or the anticipated date of completion) and the level of education received, with notations as to the number of hours attended per week and the total number of weeks completed.  

Graduate Applicants from India with a Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree

CalArts will accept a three-year Bachelor's degree from India as equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in the US on the basis of specific criteria:

University Quality - University accredited by the NAAC with a grade of "A"
Student Performance - The degree was earned in the Division/Class I

Here are the minimum education admission documents required for a graduate program for students from India:

  • Final or Provisional Degree Certificate (send legible copy of document to CalArts)
    Examples: Bachelor Degree, Master Degree, Postgraduate Diploma, Doctorate
  • Annual Statement of Marks / Academic Transcript

This is an official document issued by the institution responsible for conducting the examinations (e.g. university, constituent or autonomous college). It lists all subjects/papers taken and marks earned for each year of study. This document should be sent directly from the university or autonomous college responsible for conducting examination to CalArts.

CalArts May Request Additional Evaluation or Copies

In all cases, CalArts reserves the right to request additional credential evaluation or official paper copies of any transcripts. Please contact admissions@calarts.edu if you have any questions.


Upon Admission to CalArts

If you are admitted to CalArts, we will require that official transcripts be submitted electronically using any credentialing service (Naviance, Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, Scribbles, eTranscript) or by physical mail.

Applicants from Chinese institutions may request and submit official transcripts directly through CHESICC. Requests are processed by CHESICC and will be sent electronically to the CalArts Office of Admissions. Do not submit a paper copy of your transcript if you have requested transcripts through CHESICC. Get started.

International Baccalaureate score reports must be received directly from the College Board. Transcripts must be requested by mail from the IBO with a paper transcript request form. Please visit the IBO website for more information.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants are expected to be proficient in the English language before applying for admission. In the online application, you will be asked about native language (the language you speak at home) and your experience with English in an academic setting. Please follow the prompts in the online application in order to be considered for a language proficiency waiver. Please note that waivers are processed manually and therefore take some time. You will receive an email once the waiver has been processed and it will appear on your checklist. 

Applicants with a native language other than English, and who have not attended a school where the language of instruction is English for at least three years prior to graduation, must take the internet based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL ibt), the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) the PTE Academic: Pearson English Language Test or the Duolingo English Test (DET).

Minimum scores for undergraduate admission (BFA):

80 TOEFL ibt


53 PTE 

105 Duolingo (DET)

Minimum scores for graduate admission (MA, MFA, DMA):

100 TOEFL ibt


63 PTE 

120 Duolingo (DET)

The TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET score must be received by the Regular Application Deadline. Applications from international students with a native language other than English may not be reviewed if they do not include a TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or DET score.

Please note that CalArts reserves the right to ask you to take the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET at any point during the application process if your English proficiency is in question.


The Institution code for CalArts is 4049. The Department code is 99. 

CalArts accepts "MyBest" scores delivered directly from ETS. 


CalArts only accepts IELTS results delivered to our Electronic Download account by the IELTS test center. An institution code for IELTS is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent to our E-Download account using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution. You must provide the following information to the test center where you took the test when requesting your scores:

California Institute of the Arts
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

Duolingo (DET)

As of March 2020, CalArts is accepting Duolingo verified test scores. 

Declaration of Finances

All students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must complete the online Declaration of Finances form after they have been accepted and submitted their Statement of Intention to Register (SIR) form and paid the deposit. This form is to verify that you have sufficient financial resources to pay all educational and living expenses while attending the California Institute of the Arts in order for CalArts to issue the Form I-20. The U.S. consular office in your home country or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (if you are already in the U.S.) will require this document when you apply for a student (F-1) visa.

We encourage international students to be fully prepared to fund their education and living expenses for the entire length of their time at CalArts. International students coming to the U.S. on a student visa are expected to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available to them to support their living costs as well as their educational expenses while in the U.S. 

Financial aid for international students is available in the form of merit scholarships. Since they are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance, international students are only eligible for a CalArts scholarship and/or CalArts work-study, if they qualify.

Visit the Student Visa and I-20 page to learn more.