The Culinary Institute of America

  • How to Apply: Degree Programs

    If you have problems with your online application, please call 1-800-CULINARY.


    Application Requirements:

    1. Complete our application form.

    • To apply online:  
    • To apply by mail:
      • Print out your application form (PDF).
      • Mail the completed form with essay and application fee to:
      • Admissions Department
        The Culinary Institute of America
        1946 Campus Drive
        Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

    2. Answer the following short essay questions.
    Each response must be a minimum of 100 words.

    A. Please describe an experience when you realized that you had a passion for the foodservice/hospitality industry. It could be a dining, work, or cooking experience, or a proud food/beverage accomplishment.

    B. What are your career plans for the first five years after graduating from CIA? How will your CIA education support these plans?

    C. Please let us know about your work experience, whether in the foodservice industry or another field, your extracurricular activities while in school, and organizations to which you belong. Be sure to include any leadership roles you had in these experience.

    3. Pay your $50 application fee.
    If applying online, you can pay by credit card. If applying by mail, include a check or money order with your paper application.

    4. Ask for Recommendations.
    One recommendation is required. It must be from a foodservice employer or culinary educator describing your foodservice experience. Recommendations can be submitted using our online form, completing our PDF form, or writing a letter/e-mail following our letter of recommendation guidelines (PDF).

    5. Request Official Transcript.
    Download the Transcript Release Form (PDF) and ask your high school* and/or any postsecondary schools you've attended to provide your transcripts electronically via Parchment Exchange or mail your official transcripts (not student copies) directly to the CIA Admissions Department. If you hold an equivalency diploma, the official test scores must be submitted. Please note that you must have met all the requirements for a high school diploma or have received an equivalency diploma to enroll at the CIA.

    *If you have matriculated in a college-level degree program and have completed the equivalent of 24 or more credits, you are not required to submit a high school transcript. Transcripts for high school students must be complete through the 11th grade, and indicate what courses you'll take in the 12th grade or show your marks for the 12th grade.

    6. Submit your SAT and/or ACT scores.
    While SAT/ACT scores are not required, if you have taken the SAT and/or ACT, the college strongly recommends that you submit your scores, as they may help you qualify for a scholarship. Our school code is 3301 for the SAT and 2728 for the ACT.

    That's it! You're on your way to enrolling at The Culinary Institute of America. Our Admissions Office will review your application and supporting materials and contact you if anything is missing or any additional paperwork is necessary.

    Please note: The CIA requires all incoming students to have at least six months of hands-on foodservice experience. You can apply without this experience (and can even be provisionally accepted), but you cannot begin classes until you’ve completed it. Learn more about our six month experience requirement.

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