Undergraduate / Admissions Standards

Academic admission standards have been established by Massachusetts College of Art and Design to assess applicants' preparation for college-level work in the BFA degree program. Meeting these standards does not guarantee admission to the college; many other elements are considered in the evaluation of an application, and admission is very competitive.

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Standards for First-time Freshmen

1. Minimum secondary school academic course requirements (College Preparatory Courses):

Subject Minimum Years of Study

English (composition and literature)


(algebra I and II and geometry or comparable course work)


Sciences (laboratory)

Additional mathematics or science 1

Social sciences (including one course in U.S. history)

Foreign language* (in one language) 2
Visual art** 2

(from the above subjects or computer science, humanities, performing arts)

Minimum Total Units 17

*Foreign-language or algebra courses taken in the eighth grade can satisfy the area requirements if they appear on the high school transcript and if the applicant successfully completes the next level course with a grade of "C" or better. Eighth grade courses do not reduce the 17 units required in high school. Students may substitute additional electives or courses in other required subject areas.

**Students from high schools without art programs may substitute electives from other areas above, but are expected to pursue art through outside classes. Exceptions to this requirement are rare.

2. Minimum High School Grade Point Average (GPA)

A high school GPA, based on college preparatory courses, and weighted for honors and advanced placement courses, is calculated at the end of the applicant's seventh semester. The minimum GPA for admission is 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). If a student's GPA falls below 3.0, he/she may qualify for admission based on a sliding scale relating SAT or ACT scores to the weighted GPA. Students are not admitted with a high school GPA below 2.3.

Standards for Transfer Students

Transfer applicants must present a minimum cumulative college GPA of 2.5 at the college most recently attended. Students with fewer than twelve college transfer credits must meet the freshman standards in addition to the minimum 2.5 college GPA requirement. Students who have earned college credits while enrolled in high school but have not been enrolled at a post-secondary institution after graduating are considered to be first-time freshmen. They must meet the freshman admission standards, although they may be awarded MassArt credits for college-level courses.

Exceptions to the Standards

Applicants with professionally diagnosed and documented learning disabilities are exempt from submitting standardized test scores for admission to MassArt. However, such students must complete the 17 required academic courses with a minimum required GPA of 3.0. Learning disabled applicants may substitute two college preparatory electives for the two required foreign language courses only if they present results of a psycho-educational evaluation completed within the past three years that includes a specific diagnosis of a learning disability that leads to inability to succeed in a foreign language.

English as Second Language Students

ESL applicants must complete the 17 required college preparatory courses with two exceptions:
1. ESL applicants may substitute two electives for the required foreign language courses.
2. ESL applicants may substitute up to two years of college preparatory ESL English courses for college preparatory English courses provided they achieve a rank of at least the 62nd percentile on the TOEFL or the IELTS. (550 on the paper TOEFL, or 85 on the internet based test; 6.0 on the IELTS.)

Vocational-Technical Student Applicants

Vocational-technical students must complete 17 college preparatory courses, distributed in the same manner and with the same minimum
grade point averages required of other high school graduates, with the following exceptions:
1. Two vocational-technical courses may be used to fulfill the two required electives.
2. Vocational-technical high school graduates who do not complete the two required college preparatory foreign language courses must complete an additional college preparatory elective course, for a total of three such courses, and satisfy one of the following options:
- Complete at least one Carnegie unit of foreign language;
- Complete an additional Carnegie unit of mathematics or science;
- Complete one Carnegie unit of computer science.

Graduates of Non-U.S. High Schools

MassArt requires official evaluation from a documentation service to determine whether the transcript of a non-U.S. high school graduate is comparable to the required college preparatory course distribution. Further information is included in the instructions for international applicants.

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