Below you will find answers to the most common questions prospective students and parents have about NCAD:

01. Is NCAD accredited?

Yes, we are accredited. Northwest College of Art & Design is an independent, degree-granting college that is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

NCAD is authorized by ACCSC to confer a Baccalaureate of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), 134 semester credit double major degree in Visual Communication. The degree program is 2,505 clock hours.


02. How much is Tuition?

A student is typically enrolled for an academic year (2 semesters) and tuition is based on the number of credits scheduled each semester. The BFA program in Visual Communication at NCAD typically consists of 9 semesters, or 4.5 academic years. Repeat or withdrawn courses will incur additional tuition charges. Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Full Time Tuition

Full time enrollment is defined as 12–15 credits per semester. Any credit above the full time maximum of 15 credits per semester will be charged at the part time tuition rate.

Tuition and fees listed below apply to new BFA students enrolled for the 2019–2020 academic year. Continuing students should see the Financial Aid Officer or Finance Director for their applicable tuition rate.

Full Time Tuition per Academic year (2 semesters) $18,000.

Note: New Students entering September 2019.

Part Time Tuition

Part time enrollment is defined as less than 12 credits per semester.

Part Time Tuition Charge per credit $765.
Note: A single class is typically 2 credits / $1,530 or 3 credits $2,295. See program grids for information on individual course credits.


03. How many students attend NCAD?

Typically, less than 125 students attend NCAD over the course of a calendar year.

Our small student population ensures that every student is treated as an individual and not just a number.


04. What is the average age of a NCAD student?TOP

82% are under 24 years old. 18% are 25 years old or older.

Residence data are reported for first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates, Fall 2010.

05. What is the overall student/faculty ratio?

Student-to-faculty ratio: our Faculty to Student ratio in the classroom varies, and can be from 30:1, to 5:1, depending on the semester, and where students are in their programs.


06. What is the average class size?

Classes are kept small at NCAD with a maximum of 40 students per instructor in a typical class setting to ensure a personal approach to education.


07. What do I need to do to be considered for admission to NCAD?

Applying for admissions to NCAD is an easy process. NCAD accepts admissions applications year round.The recommended deadline for admission for the Fall semester start is July 15.

See our Admissions Page and Checklist for more information. or contact an Admissions Representative at (253) 272-1126.


08. How do I start the application process?

Submit your application online at Apply Online Here.


09. Can I transfer credits from another school to NCAD?

Yes, credit that has been successfully completed at other US accredited institutions (including Running Start credits) may be transferred to Northwest College of Art & Design under certain conditions. Please see our full transfer credit policy for more information at Transferring to NCAD.


10. Will my AP credits transfer to NCAD?

Yes, Advanced Placement (AP) credits may transfer under certain conditions. Please see our full transfer credit policy for more information at Transferring to NCAD.


11. Can I transfer NCAD credits to other colleges?

NCAD is not a school that concentrates on preparing students to continue their education in another field or at another school. NCAD programs are technical in nature with an emphasis on preparation for entry level arts occupations and therefore may not be transferable to other arts programs. Students interested in transferring credits should check with the receiving institution directly to determine to what extent, if any, credits can be transferred. NCAD does not guarantee the transferability of NCAD credits.


12. What are the Admissions requirements for International students?

There is a $100 application fee for International students. In addition to completing all of the admissions requirements listed previously, international students must submit a translated copy of a high-school transcript and TOEFL test score of at least 500 (paper) or 61 (internet). TOEFL test scores are not required for students from English speaking countries or for students who have graduated from a US high school. NCAD reserves the right to require ESL classes if deemed necessary. If the international student is accepted, the college will begin the required paperwork for the I-20 Visa. At this time, the international student must submit documentation that demonstrates his or her ability to pay for all tuition, fees, and living expenses for the duration of the program. The appropriate I-20 form will be processed after all documentation is satisfied. For more information on obtaining a student visa visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web site at


13. What are NCAD instructors like?

Our small but dedicated faculty devote their unique skills to the education of the future creative professionals, bringing to the program a wide range of academic degrees, professional experience, and industry connections. Their knowledge covers many creative fields. Our faculty is committed to providing a high quality educational program that remains abreast of ongoing developments and practices in their professional areas.Learn more about them on our Faculty Profiles page here: Faculty Profiles.


14. Is it important for me to have good attendance in my classes?

Yes, it is very important for you to have good attendance while attending NCAD. The college encourages and expects attendance in class for several reasons:

  1. There is a strong correlation between attending classes and academic success.
  2. Material may be available in class that is not in the textbook.
  3. Class time has been assigned to each student and that is their time to receive instructor assistance, which is important to the successful completion of the course requirements.
  4. Much learning takes place between faculty and students during class. This time is also a chance for students to think, question and clarify ideas and information.
  5. Each individual is expected to make satisfactory progress in classes. Attendance is important so the faculty can assist the student in making satisfactory progress.
  6. Federal regulations require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to receive financial aid. So, a benefit of attendance policies and practices is that they serve to increase the probability that students will continue to receive financial aid.


15. Will I get vacation breaks for holidays?

Yes. NCAD schedules regular breaks between each semester (Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer)> Students typically go to school 45 weeks out of the calendar year, with 7 weeks off per year spread over the scheduled breaks between semesters.


16. What kind of classwork and projects can I expect?

NCAD’s program is a mix of General Education classes and Technical/Occupational classes, and so the mix of classwork and projects varies. Generalizing, students are required to develop and produce various forms of creative work and to participate in critiques in their Technical/Occupational classes, and write papers, take tests and/or quizzes, and prepare presentations in their General Education courses.


17. Can I get financial aid at NCAD?

Qualifying for Financial aid typically depends on a number of variables so it is strongly recommended that you begin the financial aid process as early as possible to maximize your likelihood of receiving aid. Information about Financial Aid is available at: Financing College.

Or contact our Financial Aid Representative, Julie Perigard, at (253) 272-1126 or email her at Julie Perigard for additional information and assistance.


18. What requirements must I meet to be eligible for financial aid at NCAD?

Qualifying for Financial aid typically depends on a number of variables so it is strongly recommended that you begin the financial aid process as early as possible to maximize your likelihood of receiving aid. Information about Financial Aid is available at: Financing College.

Or contact our Financial Aid Representative, Julie Perigard, at (253) 272-1126 or email her at Julie Perigard for additional information and assistance.


19. Are scholarships available to NCAD students?

There are a number of Grants and Scholarships available for qualifying NCAD students. Each Grant or Scholarship has specific eligibility requirements. For more information, please go to our Grants & Scholarship page at: Grants & Scholarships.

Please contact our Financial Aid Representative Julie Perigard at for additional information.


20. If I take out loans, when will I have to start making payments on them?

Federal financial aid alone typically does not meet your tuition and other other education-related expenses. A typical financial aid package may consist of a combination of grants, scholarships, loans and/or cash payments. Each loan has its own repayment requirements. For example, the Stafford Loan offers deferred repayment until out of school, the Parent PLUS Loans repayment begins when fully disbursed (with an option to defer), and private loans vary — some offer deferred repayment until the student is out of school and some programs may require minimal interest payments while in school.

Please contact our Financial Aid Representative Julie Perigard for additional information.


21. What services does NCAD’s Career Placement department provide?

The placement assistance offered to NCAD graduates includes:

  • Assistance with career research and resume writing
  • Defining graduate goals for employment
  • Research on job requirements
  • Assistance with promotional packages/portfolios
  • Coaching on interview procedures and techniques
  • Marketing to potential employers
  • Job referrals/networking

Current students also receive placement guidance throughout the program. This includes an orientation to the placement program and workshops in career research, the job market, interview techniques, marketing/lead generation, and necessary correspondence.


22. How long after I graduate from NCAD will I have access to Career Placement resources?

Our graduates are welcome to make use of Career Placement resources and services for 2 years after their date of graduation, free of charge.


23. What services does NCAD offer its graduates?

Professional job placement is paramount to the College. Graduates are contacted with any information that may help them find a position in the field. Graduates are provided assistance with the continual development of their portfolios and self-promotional materials as needed. When necessary the Placement Representative will accompany the graduate to meet with potential employers or conduct employment field research. Non-placed graduates are called with updates, and offered assistance and encouragement.


24. Can I audit classes after graduation?

For a period of 5 years after graduation as part of ongoing career development and training, graduates of our degree programs can audit technical /occupational major- specific classes in their degree program, free of charge. When a graduate audits a course, it means they take the course without credit and without a grade. They do not have to take any examinations, participate in class discussion or work, and are not required to submit project work for class or instructor review. Please review the current academic catalog for more information about auditing classes at NCAD


25. What types of jobs do graduates get?

The B.F.A. degree program in Visual Communication at NCAD offers a well- rounded experience in the arts designed to prepare our students for entry-level practice as a creative professional.Students complete two majors in the Visual Communications program.A double major allows our students to concentrate in two related areas of Visual Communication — to develop a broader set of skills than one major alone and therefore to potentially dramatically increase their career options.

The following list of job titles illustrates some of the many potential employment options for creative professionals, each walking their unique path. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to be illustrative of the diversity and quantity of opportunities that creative professionals may choose to pursue. NCAD provides entry-level career training in the area of Visual Communication, and many of the jobs listed below may require additional training and/or experience. NCAD cannot promise or guarantee anyone a job after graduation, but does promise to support our students and alumni in their search for employment.

  • 3D Animator
  • 3D Modeler
  • 3D Texturer
  • Advertising Designer
  • Advertising Photographer
  • Art Director
  • Book Illustrator
  • Character Designer
  • Children’s Book Illustrator
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Concept Artist
  • Digital Artist
  • Fine Art Photographer
  • Freelance Illustrator
  • Freelance in Print & Web Design
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Gallery Owner
  • Game Artist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Graphic Novel Artist
  • In-House Designer
  • Interactive Designer
  • Junior Art Director
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • Mural Artist
  • Portrait Artist
  • Pre-Visualization Artist
  • Production Artist
  • Sequential Artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Studio Artist
  • Studio Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Visual Designer
  • Visual Effects Compositing Artist
  • Web Designer/Developer


26. What makes a good admissions portfolio?

Students should submit a portfolio of 5 or more pieces of their best recent work with their application packet. All pieces need not be in their chosen medium of concentration, but they should enable the Review Committee to assess their current skills and potential for success in the program. We look for an expression of artistic interest, and for creative potential.


27. What level of computer proficiency do I need before I start the program?

In this technology intensive society, most people are required to be proficient in computer skills to compete in today’s global job market. At NCAD, we will help all of our students develop the necessary computer proficiency to be competitive in the marketplace. Incoming students are not required to have previous computer-related experience, but it is highly recommended and encouraged for anyone seeking to enroll at NCAD to make reasonable efforts to begin to develop computer proficiency early, and prior to enrollment if possible.


28.What if I want to be a teacher?

Teaching art at private art schools, art colleges, arts organizations and public schools are a few of the choices available to individuals interested in a career in art education. The requirements for employment in this field vary. In addition to a college degree these educational institutions may also require teaching or professional work experience and some (such as public school districts) may require teacher certification.

Those individuals wishing to pursue a Washington State Teacher Certification (grades K-12) must understand that the State certification regulations require an individual complete a bachelors degree program from a regionally accredited institution. In order to successfully prepare our students for the design, illustration, or multimedia professions, NCAD has chosen to maintain accreditation with The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). ACCSC is one of many accreditation bodies available to colleges today. However, since ACCSC is not a part of the regional accreditation organization, individuals who complete the B.F.A. degree program from our college will not be eligible to apply for Teacher Certification in Washington State.

Individuals who consider transferring from NCAD to a regionally accredited institution should investigate the receiving institution’s transfer credit policy. Since no two programs are the same, NCAD cannot guarantee the transfer of credits—this is solely up to the receiving school. For more information on teaching certification requirements in the state of Washington visit the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction web site at Individuals wanting to teach in other states should contact that state’s Department of Education for information on teacher certification requirements.


Please contact an Admissions Representative at for additional information.