International Students | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

International Students

Welcome to a New Home for Creativity

Group photo of international students

MCAD welcomes a diverse student body, with approximately 750 students from 45 states and 15 countries. International students choose to move to Minneapolis to attend MCAD for a variety of reasons, including the college’s reputation as a highly ranked institution in one of the nation's most creative cities. Other reasons to consider MCAD include: 

MCAD strongly values and promotes diversity on campus. Diversity is essential for creative thinking; it allows one to view things—everything from homework assignments to social justice issues—from the perspectives of others.

If you have any additional questions not covered on the website, please contact:

International Student Advisors

Make your adjustment to MCAD and to American culture a smooth one, and have some fun along the way. As an international student, you will be assigned an international advisor in Student Affairs who handles all immigration requirements and serves as a liaison between you and the United States Department of Homeland Security.

You can find help with:

  • Entering and exiting the United States
  • Employment
  • Changing your address
  • Social Security
  • Identification Cards
  • Taxes

The international advisor also plans regular events for international students. This is a chance for you to ask questions, meet fellow international students, and oftentimes enjoy a free meal.


How can I be certain MCAD is a good school?

Since 1886, MCAD has been a leading art-and-design, nonprofit institution in the region and has earned the highest accreditation possible. The college is renowned for exceptional facilities, accomplished faculty, an 10:1 instructor-to-student ratio, successful alumni, and more. The small international population means you get plenty of one-on-one guidance from your advisor. Request more information about what makes MCAD such a desirable school.

How do international students feel welcomed?

International students are part of the fabric of MCAD for the valuable perspectives and experiences they share. Even when they have to travel long distances, get used to a different culture, and improve their language skills, they chose MCAD as their new home for their creative practice. 

Upon arriving at MCAD, students attend International Student Orientation where they learn about living in the United States, including topics like culture shock, navigating the Minnesota health care system, getting around Minneapolis, F-1 visa regulations and more. There is also an international student panel so new students can ask current international students questions about life at MCAD. Plus, orientation typically includes a trip to Target for necessities, lunch, and a tour of the local sights.

Once the semester starts, the group typically gets together for pizza parties. These are opportunities for the students to hang out, ask questions, and learn about important information.

Where do international alumni get jobs?

International MCAD alumni go on to do everything from starting their own businesses to working for Google.

What are MCAD's tuition and fees?

Find current tuition and fee information for your chosen program.

What kinds of scholarships and financial aid are available?

For residential programs (bachelor's degrees and master of fine art's degree), scholarships, loans, and grants may be awarded based on both talent and financial need. See all financial aid available to MCAD students. Note that international students in MCAD's online MA programs are not eligible for federal financial aid.

What kind of housing is available?

MCAD offers on-campus apartment-style spaces that come furnished or unfurnished. Each unit includes bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and full kitchens. Plenty of great off-campus housing options are also available within walking distance from campus. Housing is not available to students enrolled in MCAD's online-only MA programs.

What's the weather in Minnesota like?

Minnesota enjoys four very distinct seasons: spring is cool and damp, summer is lush and warm, fall is colorful and crisp, and winter is white and cold. Many students from milder climates love Minnesota's seasons—even winter, which is beautiful and comfortable as long as you have the right outdoor gear and clothing.

Can I live in Minneapolis/The United States if I am in an online MA program?

No. Per the USCIS regulations, F-1 international students may only take one online class during their full-time, on-campus instruction. Only BFA/BS and MFA students may receive an I-20 to be eligible for an F-1 student visa.

Can I do an internship/get CPT as an international student?

All Bachelor of Science students are required to complete two internships (6 credits)  in order to fulfill the graduation requirements for MCAD. Product Design students are required to complete one 3-credit internship; all other BFA students are strongly encouraged to complete internships as part of their program.  International BFA/BS students will need to be authorized for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) by the MCAD international student advisor once they receive an internship in their junior/third year. MFA students are not required to do an internship, but may request special permission from the MFA Director and their mentor. CPT is not guaranteed for MFA international students. Online students are not eligible for CPT.

Can I do OPT (Optional Practical Training)?

Yes. BFA/BS and MFA students are allowed to apply for post-completion OPT in their final semester at MCAD. OPT grants work authorization to international graduates to work in the US up to one year after graduation. OPT is granted by USCIS and is not guaranteed. Online students are not eligible for OPT.