incoming international exchange students
The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) hosts international exchange students from nine world-renowned partner institutions. If you are a registered student at one of the following partner institutions, you may be eligible to participate:
Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic
Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design in Jerusalem, Israel
Chelsea College of Art & Design in London, England
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France
Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland
Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Korea National University of the Arts in Seoul, Korea
University of Fine Arts, Hamburg, Germany
Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, Sweden
At this time, SFAI is not able to accept exchange applications from students outside our nine partner institutions.
Incoming international exchange students attend SFAI for either the fall or spring semester on a non-degree basis. Participating students earn credits through their home institution while they are enrolled at SFAI. Tuition for up to 15 units of credit are waived however, incoming exchange students are responsible for paying all student fees, currently $435/semester. Accepted students who wish to take additional courses beyond the 15 units will be charged on a per-unit basis.
SFAI is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and participates in AICAD exchanges for up to one semester. For more information see our page for incoming AICAD Exchange students Incoming AICAD Exchange Students or visit the AICAD website.
Courses of Study
Accepted international exchange students are encouraged to enroll in courses across disciplines. To learn more about the degrees and courses of study that SFAI offers, see Academic Programs or download the Course Schedule.
SFAI requires all students to maintain health insurance. Accepted students must either demonstrate proof of heath care coverage or must enroll in the SFAI Health Insurance Plan.
SFAI student housing may be available for incoming exchange students. For more details regarding housing options and costs, see the Housing page.
Term Dates and Orientation
Term dates at SFAI for fall are generally from late August to mid-December; spring is mid-January to mid-May. Accepted exchange students are required to attend the mandatory international student orientation that takes place the week prior to the start of classes. Detailed information will be sent to students at the time of acceptance.
Deadlines to Apply
Completed applications must be submitted to the Exchange Coordinator at your home institution, along with the required items listed below. Applications must be received by SFAI from your Exchange Coordinator by:
Fall semester: April 1
Spring semester: September 15
- Complete the SFAI Incoming International Exchange Application. Applications should be typed.
- Provide an official transcript from all higher education institutions you have attended.
- Submit a portfolio on CD that includes 10–20 pieces of work or video (10 minutes maximum each for videos) that includes work in the area you wish to study at SFAI. All CDs and videos should be labeled with your name, and include an image list with the title, medium, and dimensions of each work. Please do not send full-sized portfolios. Portfolios will not be returned to students.
- Attach two references in English from faculty at your home institution.
- Submit a copy of the biographical page in your passport.
Applications and portfolios will be reviewed by an SFAI committee. Students chosen for admission to SFAI will be notified via the Exchange Coordinator at their home institution. Students should expect the review process to take 8 - 10 weeks once the application has been received.
U.S. International Student Visa Requirements
The United States (U.S.) government maintains strict regulations for all non-U.S. citizens studying in the United States. If you are accepted to study at SFAI as an exchange student, you will be required to obtain an F-1 student visa. Accepted international exchange students are also required to submit paperwork and financial support documents to SFAI that confirm you are able to sufficiently support yourself while in the United States. International exchange students should plan for the entire visa process to take several weeks or more.
SFAI will send detailed visa instructions to admitted students at the time of acceptance. For more information on the F-1 student visa process, see Obtaining a Student Visa.