International Students at CIIS

Welcome, we're glad you've found us and we hope you join our growing international community. The number of international students at CIIS has grown steadily in recent years. Each semester between 85-100 students are enrolled in our undergraduate and graduate programs. International students make up approximately 10 percent of CIIS' total student body on campus. We currently have students representing more than 25 countries and six continents.

CIIS is committed to international education and to providing quality support and services for international students. Associate Director, Student Affairs - International Student Recruitment and Services, Jody O'Connor is here to assist with the student visa process, and can help you prepare to study in the United States. Once you become a student, the Associate Director also serves as a resource for immigration regulations, ESL and academic writing workshops, and to help international students adjust to life in the U.S. An outline of the process, from applying to beginning your studies, is outlined in the International Student Addendum and on these pages of the CIIS website.

For program-specific or admission questions, please contact the admissions counselor for your program of interest.

For questions regarding your international student status, additional requirements for international students, the visa process and services offered to CIIS international students, please contact the Associate Director, Student Affairs - International Student Recruitment and Services, Jody O'Connor, at or 415-575-6157.

On this page:

Who is an international student?

For purposes of admission to CIIS, international students are defined solely on their citizenship/residency status. If an applicant does not hold citizenship or permanent residency in the United States, they are classified as an international student. CIIS assists accepted applicants with the F-1 student visa application only. Students in other non-immigrant visa classifications may also eligible to apply to and pursue a degree at CIIS.  If you have any questions about your status, or will require to change your visa status in the U.S. to the F-1 visa, please contact the International Student Advisor. This school is quthorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.

International application deadlines

Priority admissions deadlines for all students and all programs are posted on the Applying to CIIS section of the website. Applications may be accepted after these deadlines, pending availability of space. International students are encouraged to meet priority deadlines due to additional time required for obtaining the student visa.

If you have any questions about the timing, please be in touch with the Admissions Counselor for your program of interest.

Additional requirements for international applicants

Each degree program at CIIS has specific application requirements. The final pages of the admissions application outline the specific requirements for each program. If you need further clarification about the materials requested, please contact the admissions counselor for the specific program to which you are applying.

In addition to the general application requirements, international students are asked to submit the following:

English Language Proficiency Test Report

Applicants for whom English is not their native language are required to submit an English language proficiency score. Exceptions are made for students who have earned their Bachelor of Arts degree from English language universities. Admission to CIIS requires a minimum score for one of the following exams:

  • TOEFL: 80 test score.
    TOEFL is an Internet-based test. The CIIS TOEFL code is 4807. Visit the TOEFL website.
  • Pearson's Test of English Academic (PTE): 53 test score.
    Visit the Pearson's website.
  • IELTS 6.0 band score
    Visit the IELTS website

Foreign Credential Evaluation

All transcripts from schools outside the United States must be sent, at the applicant's expense, to World Education Services (WES) foreign credential evaluation service. A course-by-course report* is required for all programs and will be used in lieu of the CIIS application requirement for original transcripts.

Students who attended Canadian colleges or universities are not required to have a foreign credential evaluation completed. Canadian students should have a set of original transcripts, in English, sent directly to the Admissions Office from all previously attended institutions.

The evaluation service accepted by CIIS is:
World Education Services
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
(212) 966-6311

*CIIS accepts the WES 'Basic' report, but applicants may wish to complete the 'ICAP'.

The Admissions Office may accept foreign credential evaluations from other services in some cases. Please contact for further clarification

Financial Aid for International Students

For many international students, finding the resources to fund an education in the United States is a fundamental concern. CIIS has a commitment to assisting international students through our scholarship and work-study programs. In recent years, 100 percent of incoming international students received scholarship awards through CIIS. However, students must often find additional sources of support. International students are not eligible for United States federal or state financial aid.

CIIS Scholarship Opportunities

Updated 1/28/2016

CIIS offers the Opportunity Scholarship to all international students studying on a student visa.  Recipients must meet the terms of the scholarship award and pay the balance of tuition costs and all living expenses throughout the duration of their studies at the university. You can find more information about CIIS scholarships here.

All students will be notified of their award by email and can consider this amount on their Certificate of Funding form required for obtaining the SEVIS form I-20. Recipients must pay the balance of tuition costs and all living expenses throughout the duration of their studies at the University.

In many cases, international students must secure external sources of funding to support their tuition and living expenses. Please find information below for advice and a list of scholarships.

International Student Loans

There are limited opportunities for you to obtain a private alternative loan. Most U.S. lenders require you to have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid alien registration card as a co-signer.

CIIS Employment

CIIS offers work-study for both domestic students as well as international students. Campus jobs are not guaranteed, but in past years as much as 26 percent of all campus jobs were held by international students in a semester. Employment regulations are discussed on additional pages of the CIIS website and all incoming students will receive an orientation.

External Sources of Funding

CIIS recognizes the limited scholarship award amounts available to our students. For additional information and other possible scholarship opportunities for international students, please see the short list below and the document Financial Aid Resources for International Students.

  1. Fulbright (For students from Latin America or the Caribbean)
  2. Rotary Foundation
  3. Fastweb
  4. Rowe Fund

Please help us to keep this list current by sending links to any informative websites that you have found in your searches. Contact Associate Director, Student Affairs - International Student Recruitment and Services, Jody O'Connor at

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