• Learn how to apply to CIA associate and bachelor's degree programs
  • How to Apply for CIA Degree Programs

    CIA Application Requirements

    Ready to apply? Here's how:

    1. Complete the application form.

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

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

    2. Answer the following three (3) short essay questions.

    Each response must be a minimum of 100 words.

    A. At the CIA, “Food is Life.” What does this mean to you?

    B. Describe a situation in which you faced challenges that required you to be persistent. What was the result of that experience?

    C. Tell us about your leadership experience in a classroom, work setting, or community. The CIA is training the next leaders of the food world—what qualities do you have that will make you a successful leader in this industry?

    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 application.

    4. Ask for a recommendation.

    One letter of recommendation is required. The letter should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry, and it should address your commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics. 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 Request 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. You must have met all the requirements for a high school diploma or 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.

    If you have taken the SAT and/or ACT, we strongly recommend that you submit your scores. While not required for admission, they may help you qualify for a scholarship. Our school code is 3301 for the SAT and 2728 for the ACT.

    Most CIA students will have had some experience in food—including culinary classes during high school or college, work in the food industry, or extensive personal cooking or baking activities. If you need to confirm your interest in a food career or your choice of major at the CIA, we recommend that you gain hands-on experience in a classroom, work, or volunteer setting prior to enrolling at the college.

    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.