CIA Culinary Arts Associate Degree

  • No matter what your experience level is, at the CIA you can prepare for a rewarding culinary career through the CIA Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) in Culinary Arts degree program. Start with the fundamentals in the first week, immersing yourself in classic and contemporary culinary techniques as well as global cuisines. You’ll build a foundation of key skills utilized by every chef before taking on more advanced coursework. The CIA’s industry-experienced faculty will ensure you receive a hands-on learning experience that provides you with the foundation for a successful career. After you’ve earned your degree in less than two years, you’ll be able to demonstrate expertise in preparing a wide variety of meals as well as be qualified to maintain state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and manage staff. A CIA associate degree is the perfect way to seamlessly enter our bachelor’s-level programs. Or hit the ground running by pursuing a CIA bachelor’s degree in your first year!


    • Understand the basics of baking, nutrition, menu development, food safety, cost control, and wine.
    • Learn how to successful restaurateurs and chefs manage their businesses, high end catering, food trucks, and other food related operations.
    • Gain real-world experience through a 15-week paid externship at one of CIA’s 2,000+ food industry partners.
    • Develop your business skills with courses in management, communication, and finance.
    • Experience firsthand how successful restaurants are operated in our award-winning, student-staffed dining establishments that include the American Bounty Restaurant, The Bocuse Restaurant, and Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici. All CIA restaurants are public-facing, fully operational retail dining establishments that serve more than 333,000 customers annually.
    • Interact with more than 130 companies that visit CIA’s campus four times a year to recruit students. Discuss career opportunities with industry leaders, which include Boca Raton Resort and Spa, Dinex (Daniel Boulud’s Restaurant Group), Jean-Georges Restaurants, Make It Nice (Eleven Madison Park), Union Square Hospitality Group, and Walt Disney World, among many others.

    Ready to get started? Apply Today!

    Plate Expectations

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities for chefs will grow nine percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the national average for other careers. You’ll find plenty of employment opportunities at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and other upscale dining establishments. Career options include.

    • Executive chef
    • Food and beverage management
    • Food writing
    • Media and public relations
    • Research and education
    • Hotel management
    • Restaurant ownership

    With so many possibilities, our Career Services staff is ready to help you every step of the way. There’s no network like the CIA network, which includes some of the world’s most renowned culinary, beverage, and hospitality experts.

    The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. They’ve found success doing what they love. Now it’s your turn.

    Freshman Year—First Semester

    Culinary Fundamentals*
    6 credits
    Professionalism and Life Skills
    1.5 credits
    Culinary Math
    1.5 credits
    Food Safety*
    1.5 credits
    1.5 credits
    Externship Prep Seminar I
    College Writing or College Writing for ELLs (English Language Learners)3 credits
    Total Credits: 16.5
    *Students must receive a passing grade for both Culinary Fundamentals and the NRA ServSafe® examination (part of the Food Safety course) and meet GPA requirements in order to progress to the second semester of the freshman year.

    Freshman Year—Second Semester

    Principles of Menus and Managing Profitability in Foodservice
    3 credits
    Introduction to Food Systems
    3 credits
    Introduction to Gastronomy
    1.5 credits
    Meat Identification, Fabrication, and Utilization
    1.5 credits
    Seafood Identification and Fabrication
    1.5 credits
    Modern Banquet Cookery
    3 credits
    Introduction to À la Carte Cooking
    3 credits
    Non-Commercial Foodservice and High-Volume Production Cooking
    3 credits
    Culinary Practical Examination I
    Externship Prep Seminar II
    Total Credits: 18


    Externship (Culinary Arts)
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 3

    Sophomore Year—First Semester

    Baking and Pastry Skill Development
    3 credits
    Garde Manger
    3 credits
    Cuisines and Cultures of the Americas
    3 credits
    Cuisines and Cultures of the Mediterranean
    3 credits
    Cuisines and Cultures of Asia
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 15

    Sophomore Year—Second Semester

    Wine Studies
    3 credits
    Introduction to Hospitality and Customer Service
    1.5 credits
    Culinary Practical Examination II
    Contemporary Restaurant Cooking
    3 credits
    Contemporary Hospitality and Service Management
    3 credits
    Formal Restaurant Cooking
    3 credits
    Formal Hospitality and Service Management
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 16.5

    Total Credits for Associate Degree: 69


    • A high school diploma or GED credential.
    • Recommendation—One character letter of recommendation is required. It should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry. The letter should address your commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics.

    How to Apply

    Culinary School Costs

    The CIA is very committed to making your CIA education as affordable as possible. Our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and here’s even better news—approximately 92% of our students receive some form of financial aid.

    Don’t let applying for financial assistance keep you from going to the world’s premier culinary college. No matter what your individual circumstances are, we will work with you to help make attending the CIA an affordable investment in your future in the world of food.

  • Take CIA's Chef Quiz Now
  • John Reilly, CIA Associate Professor—Culinary Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    John Reilly ’88
    Associate Professor—Culinary Arts
    Professional Background:
    Executive Sous Chef, Hotel Metropol, Moscow, Russia. Sous Chef, Hotel Splugenschloss, Zurich, Switzerland; Cafe Madeline, Gallows Bay, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
    Kersti Bowser, CIA culinary arts alumni, is owner of Gourmet Butterfly Media & Special Events

    Alumni Spotlight

    Kersti Bowser
    Owner, Gourmet Butterfly Media & Special Events
    As food stylist and owner of Gourmet Butterfly Media & Special Events, Kersti Bowser provides food, prop styling services, and catering for special events, chef book tours, culinary demos, and television.
  • Visiting chef demos, major conferences, and special events on campus let you rub elbows with stars of the food world.