Otis College of Art and Design

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Main Campus
9045 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

1.310.665.6800; 1.800.527.OTIS (6847)

About Otis

Otis prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, their skill, and their vision. Otis began in 1918,when Los Angeles Times founder Harrison Gray Otis bequeathed his MacArthur Park property for Los Angeles' first public art college. Today, Otis has expanded to three campuses. Its five-acre Elaine and Bram Goldsmith campus is centrally situated on Los Angeles' Westside, one mile from the Pacific Ocean. map & directionsThe campus is not only close to galleries, museums, and artists' studios, but also surrounded by a variety of film, digital imaging, and toy companies. The Bronya and Andy Galef Center for Fine Arts, a dynamic presence on the campus, houses the fine arts department as well as the Maltz and Bolsky Galleries. Kathleen Ahmanson Hall was designed by architect Eliot Noyes in 1963 to house an IBM research center. It now serves the interactive product design, toy design, digital media, communication arts, architecture/landscape/interiors, foundation, and liberal arts and sciences departments. Its "punch card" design embodies the perfect bond between design and technology and the future. The Fashion Design Department occupies an entire floor of the California Market Center in the heart of downtown L.A.'s garment district. The third campus, in the adjacent beach community of El Segundo, houses individual studios for graduate fine arts majors.


The four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) program begins with Foundation year. Students advance into their major when they become sophomores or second-year students. Studio work is complemented by the liberal arts and sciences curriculum throughout the four years.

Otis has a "rolling" admission policy: you may submit your application at any time throughout the year. Otis accepts BFA students in fall and spring semesters. The target date for the fall semester is February 15, and for the spring semester, December 1. Students applying for scholarships and/or financial aid are encouraged to complete the application and financial aid processes prior to Feb 15.

To apply, you must submit the following six items:

  1. Application for Admission: you may apply online, download and print the application form, or use the application form in the view book.
  2. Application fee: $50 (to pay by VISA or Mastercard, call 310 665 6820 between 8:30 -5 PST; or send check or money order payable to “Otis College of Art and Design”).
  3. Transcripts: Official high school and college transcripts from the school you are currently attending (minimum GPA 2.5 on 4.0 scale) should be sent to the Admissions Office.
  4. Test scores: If you are currently in high school, submit either SAT or ACT scores.
  5. Essay: Submit a one-page essay outlining a significant person or experience that has influenced your decision to become an artist or designer. Be sure to include your name, date of birth and address at the top of the essay.
  6. Portfolio: One of the most important elements of the admissions process is the portfolio. It demonstrates your artistic experience, education and talent to help us identify creative, talented students who will work hard at Otis and be successful.

    10-20 examples of your best and most recent work in any medium, including drawings, illustration, painting, photography, two-dimensional design, sculpture, drafting, three-dimensional design, and time-based work. Your portfolio should show your technical skills and creativity.
    Slides or CD/DVDs are preferred. VHS tapes are accepted for motion work. All materials should be clearly labeled with your name and another ID such as social security number, date of birth or address. 35mm slides, labeled with name and phone number, should be submitted in an 8 1/2" x 11" transparent slide sheet.

    For digital files, please include file type (jpeg, tiff, gif, mov, mpg, etc.), what software was used to create the work, and any special instructions on how to open them. Label both the jewel case and the disc with your name and another ID.

    Whether you submit slides, CDs, DVDs, or VHS tapes, please include an index with the name of the piece, medium, approximate dimensions, date, and any other information that would be helpful to the review committee.

    The Admissions Office accepts original work in person only during regular office hours. It does not need to be framed or matted. Mark the case with your name and another ID. If you do not retrieve your artwork within 60 days of notification of decision, we may dispose of it.

    Please do not send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your portfolio. Otis will return your portfolio once a decision has been made.

    Most applicants have examples of original artwork that they have done over the years. If you do not, or if you need to improve your skills, options include:
    • A portfolio preparation class at Otis or elsewhere.
    • A basic drawing class at a community college or if you are still in high school,
    • studio art classes
    • private art instruction
    • summer programs, such as Otis' Summer of Art.
    • When you are preparing your portfolio, it may be useful to show it to an art teacher, a friend, or an artist or designer you know.

Otis Admissions Counselors are also happy to review your work with you in person or at a National Portfolio Day event. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at (310) 665 6820 or

Applicants are usually notified of the Admissions Committee decision within three weeks of receipt of all required materials.

To apply online, select either:

  • Undergraduate BFA or Special One-Year Program
  • Graduate MFA

(Otis uses 128-Bit Strong Encryption for all online forms)

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