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Transfer students make up approximately 30 percent of the SVA student body. Students who have attended other regionally accredited colleges, universities or postsecondary professional schools and are ready for the level of challenge and commitment that exist at SVA are encouraged to apply as transfer students.

The transfer of credit and level of placement are determined on a case-by-case basis. Transfer applicants are required to submit official transcripts from all colleges attended. Those who have not previously earned more than 24 credits at a regionally accredited college, including coursework in humanities and sciences, must submit official high school transcripts as verification of completing high school or its equivalent. 

All applicants to BFA programs at the School of Visual Arts are required to submit a digital of recent work. Portfolio submission via SlideRoom is recommended (portfolio submission via thumb drive or CD-R also accepted). Transfer applicants seeking studio exemptions must have a digital portfolio on file in the Office of Admissions, whether or not the visual requirement for admission has previously been met. The portfolio should include work from studio courses for which transfer credit or exemption is sought.

Transfer credit for course work completed prior to matriculation at SVA which was not reviewed or awarded credit at the point of admission will not be reviewed or awarded once a student completes his/her first semester of study at SVA.

With the approval of the Council of Advisors and the Department Chair, students may spend up to a year of study at another institution in the United States. Students who receive permission to attend accredited colleges, universities, junior colleges, or post secondary professional schools after matriculating at the School of Visual Arts may transfer credit from the approved courses in accordance with our Transfer of Credit Policy. Studio credit will be granted based on an evaluation of the student’s portfolio.

Transfer Guidelines

The following guidelines are used to determine the transfer of credits:

A maximum of 60 credits can be awarded in transfer to SVA. Once matriculated, transfer students must complete at least two years of full-time study on SVA's campus. 

Participation in the international exchange program is not permitted during the fourth year of study, which must be completed on SVA's campus. However, Illustration majors may spend the first semester of their senior year in a study abroad program with special approval.

If letter grades are not given by the institution, “pass” grades will be accepted.
  • Credit will be transferred for comparable humanities and sciences coursework, to a maximum of 30 credits, provided the student earned a grade of C or better.
  • Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education will be awarded 30 credits and may be exempt from all humanities and sciences requirements. However, Fine Arts, Interior Design, Visual and Critical Studies, Illustration and Cartooning applicants may still need to complete additional humanities and sciences requirements specific to their department.
  • Applicants to the Fine Arts program will be required to complete an SVA-specific course that rarely transfers from other institutions.
  • Applicants to the Interior Design program will be required to complete Social Science and Environmental Issues I and II if this coursework was not included in their previous degree of study.
  • Applicants to the Cartooning and Illustration programs will be required to complete Western Civilization I and II if the coursework was not included in their previous degree of study. Culture Survey I and II must also be completed as an SVA-specific course that rarely transfers from other institutions.
Art History
  • One-for-one transfer of credit for comparable art history coursework to a maximum of 15 credits, provided the student earned a grade of C or better.
  • Studio credits are awarded based on an evaluation of the student’s portfolio, in conjunction with the review of college transcripts, to a maximum of 45 credits, provided the student earned a grade of C or better. Studio credit will not be awarded without a digital portfolio on file.
  • Transfer credits are awarded based on current SVA requirements and curriculum and subject to departmental chair approval.
  • It is not uncommon that applicants who have completed significant coursework in the liberal arts get placed in the first-year program of their department. This is due to the studio-based curriculum of our programs. Placement is not based on the number of studio credits previously earned.
Summer Study Options

SVA also offers select transfer applicants the opportunity to enroll in accelerated summer courses designed to advance their level of transfer placement the following fall. The program generally runs for nine consecutive weeks beginning in May or June. Applicants to the fall semester who qualify for these special summer programs will be notified at the point of admission.

Re-entry Students

Students who have left SVA on an approved leave of absence will be allowed to return to the College within one academic year. After more than one academic year, withdrawn students must reapply for admission to the College. Course work completed during the period of absence will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Transfer of Credit policy. Re-entry applicants must receive academic and financial clearance in order to be considered for readmission. Please email to reapply to the College.

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