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Demonstration of English Proficiency

In addition to the general application requirements, international applicants whose primary/native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. The following are acceptable ways to demonstrate English proficiency:

  • A minimum score* of 79 (internet-based or paper-delivered) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • MFA Art Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score* of 100 (internet-based or paper-delivered) TOEFL.
    • MA Curatorial Practice applicants must obtain a minimum score* of 110 (internet-based or paper-delivered) TOEFL.
    • The CEEB code for the School of Visual Arts is 2835. This is the code that must be supplied to ETS in order to have TOEFL scores mailed to SVA.
    • *Please note this means a composite score for a single test date. We are not accepting MyBEST TOEFL scores. 
  • A minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
    • MFA Art Practice, MA Curatorial Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS.
    • IELTS is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia.
  • A minimum score of 6 in all categories of the English proficiency examination administered by the New York University American Language Institute in New York.
    • MFA Art Practice, MA Curatorial Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 9 on this exam.
    • For information on taking the NYU test, call 212.998.7040.
  • A minimum score of 53 on the Pearson PTE Academic. For more information on taking the PTE, visit
    • MFA Art Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 68 on this exam.
    • MA Curatorial Practice applicants must obtain a minimum score of 76 on this exam.
  • This requirement may be waived for native English speakers who are citizens of any of the following countries and attend schools where English is the primary language of instruction: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, India, South Africa and Common Wealth Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago).
  • SVA will consider waiving the English proficiency exam requirement for students who have earned a degree at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Students seeking this waiver must submit a written request with their application materials


International Student Expenses

The estimated program expenses for graduate programs that international students must substantiate in order to enroll varies by department. The total amount includes tuition, fees, estimated cost of supplies and living expenses for the nine-month academic year. Costs are subject to annual increases. For a list of all program expenses, click here.

Transcripts or Academic Records from Foreign Institutions

Applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside of the U.S. are required to provide original, attested or certified true copies of academic records for all institutions attended. These records should be in the original language issued.

Records not in English

  • Applicants must submit an official translation of all academic documents. Translations must be a complete, literal, word-for-word translation in the same format of the original academic document.
  • All foreign post-secondary (university level) transcripts should be converted into U.S. educational equivalencies. Those records that are not converted into U.S. equivalencies must be evaluated by an external evaluation agency. The evaluation should be course-by-course and include:
    • Name of educational institution
    • Country where institution is located
    • Length of study
    • U.S. educational equivalent (two-year or four-year college)
    • Courses studied per academic year
    • Conversion of grades/marks/final examination results into equivalent U.S. grades of A, B, C, D or F for each course evaluated
    • Total credits earned
    • Conversion of course hours into U.S. semester hours of credit
    • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4-point scale
    • U.S. degree equivalent
  • The School of Visual Arts should be listed as the recipient of the evaluation. Transcripts may take up to six weeks to be evaluated.

  • The original academic records must be submitted in addition to the evaluation.

The School of Visual Arts strongly recommends that international academic records be evaluated by either of the following approved external evaluation agencies:

Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE):
P.O. Box 514070 
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
Phone: 414.289.3400

World Education Services (WES):
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
Phone: 212.966.6311

Please Note: Pending acceptance, ALL Graduate applicants currently enrolled in school for their Bachelor's degrees for the Spring or Summer 2020 semesters are required to submit verification of graduation BEFORE they attend SVA.

Declaration and Verification of Finances

The United States Citizen and Immigration Service requires that international applicants submit to SVA a Declaration of Finances (DOF) indicating that the applicant has financial resources adequate to provide for his or her educational expenses without resorting to unauthorized employment. 

All funds declared on the DOF must be substantiated by a Verification of Finances (VOF) letter from an officer of the student's bank or sponsor's bank.

After submitting the enrollment fee, you will gain access to a portal called Terra Dotta, accessible via MySVA. Through Terra Dotta, you will submit the required financial documentation and be issued an I-20. If you have questions, the International Student Office can be contacted at 212.592.2236 or

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587