California College of the Arts Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


All professors know your name, except for maybe the Art History teachers. Only because their classes are huge lectures, compared to the other courses where the most students per class is probably 17. The curriculim is half studio courses (art class) and half everything else. When I say everything else I mean the kind of courses you could find at any other college. Math, Science, English, History, Philosophy, Writing... etc. The majority of these courses do not give too much homework, but the studio courses do. It is necessary to work in the studio out of class in order to finish assignments on time. The teachers have very high standards for studio courses, especially once you get higher up in your major. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class. Because we are all interested in many of the same things, it also makes it easier to make friends with people you meet in class. From what I have seen students are not competative, but I can't speak for the departments that I have not taken courses in. My major is Jewelry/ Metal Arts and the department is amazing. Every teacher has taught me so much, and all of my fellow students are extremly talented. Having talented people around you seriously pushes me to make the best work I can. As students take more classes in their major, their professors become their mentors. You create bonds with them that will help you in the future with your profession, because they are working artists as well. They have a lot of insight. The education at this school is geared toward learning, rather then getting a job. Although there are courses that teach students how to self promote, price their work, get into galleries... etc.


The academic classes are created in a way that they work for artists. Classes for math are like math and the media, symmetry of nature, the art of math etc. Even though were an art school about 40{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of our classes are academic. They tend to work with the fact that we are all artists and around our studio practices.


What's great here is that all the teachers are working professionals. You know that you are being taught by people who are successful in the industry. As an Illustration student and I find the faculty to be incredible. They know their stuff and really help you develop technical and conceptual skills. You really develop a relationship with your teachers and it feels good to know that they still care about you after having them as instructors.


Academics are stressed as an important part of an art education. There is a strong focus on preparing students to work within the community after graduation.


Every professor will know your name by the end of the first 2 weeks guaranteed. I do not have a personal favorite class because any class that has design involved is great to me. My least favorite class would be anything dealing with Math (this semester physics lol). Students are encouraged to spend at least 3-4 hours outside of class for every hour in class. Class participation is not only common but required, students learn from each other as well as the instructors. Outside of class students engage in all types of conversation dealing in a variety of issues from politics to health and wellness. We live in a competitive country and the classroom reflects that. While we students are here to support and help each other, you always want to do something at least a bit better than your classmates. The most unique class I have taken so far would have to be Methods and Materials. It's a class in the architecture department where you learn the materials and methods of building structures. Architecture is a challenging, intense, and rewarding program if you have a interest in architecture. Right from the start you are learning and designing architecture.Time is spent outside of class with instructors on thing such as field trips, lecture series, and appointments scheduled to meet with them about class, or just life problems in general. This schools academic requirements are strict and expectations are high. CCA's education is geared toward giving it's students not only the necessary skills they need toward achieving a productive. satisfying career but also teaching them different ways of thinking and seeing the world from a ecological standpoint.


The academic courses are engaging through art influenced subjects.


CCA's graduate program in fine arts is extremely well balanced. There's many theory based classes that provide a foundation for students previously inexperienced with theory and still challenge those students who may be more well versed. They are very challenging academically and require participation, hard work, excellent writing, and dedication from students in order to succeed. I'm extremely happy with the level of academic rigor. Teachers know students well because class size tops off at about 18. The faculty is extremely knowledgeable as well as accessible, often available to meet outside of class to talk or to discuss something via email. Since many of the students in the graduate program have taken some time off between undergrad and grad school, they are all so committed to being in school for this experience - our conversations more often than not are entirely about art, theory, or some mixture of whats going on in the world in the context of what we're learning about. The studio based courses and advising units are equally challenging and engaging. As students in the studio practice program, the emphasis is certainly on the dedicated work we're doing in our own studios. I feel that we're being trained by this program to be excellent writers, critical thinkers, and adept at analyzing our own work and the work of others. I think we're being prepared to be engaged in today's art economy and in the community surrounding art institutions in general. I wouldn't call it learning for its own sake, but it is a very special commitment to take 2 years out of your life and your career to work towards an MFA.


I enjoy taking academic classes at CCA more than I ever have because they are practical. The teachers always relate the subject to the world today and how we live. The subject matter is far more understandable when it has a current application. My favorite academic class so far is Economies of Desire. It's an extremely holistic class in which we discuss the multifaceted connections between human nature, science, politics, media, readings and art. Even though the academic classes are larger than studio classes, the professors are greatly accessible outside of class and always willing to meet up. Because the classes are discussion classes, there's not only information coming from the professor, but also from other students. It's a great way to have intellectual and forward-thinking conversations with interesting people with many different views.


Academic life at CCA is not your typical university academic life. Most of our class sizes are small (15-20 students). It's not your typical old "200 student lecture hall with a professor standing up there talking away." We have small class sizes and we get to know our professors on a very individual level. I don't think I've had a professor yet who hasn't known me by my name and hasn't had a one-on-one conversation with me. We get many many opportunities to talk to our professors individually and our professors are very interested with our own individual development and growth as individual artists and designers. CCA has a huge critique culture. The work we make is always public. We are constantly critiquing and receiving critique from both our fellow students and professors. There is a lot of class participation and with the small class sizes, through class participation, students also build close connections. We are encouraged to network and I think that networking begins in the classroom. These are the people we will go out into the world with and work with. If we build the bridges we need to build and support each other then that's just a few more great artists and designers going out into the world. I think the art making process shouldn't be a competitive one but a supportive one. I think the best thing about CCA is emphasis on community and supporting each other. We each constantly try to better ourselves while supporting our peers in bettering themselves. We're not looking at who can be the best among us, but rather, looking at all of us being THE BEST. The other thing about the academics at CCA, is that it's very much geared towards industry. We are given real life-practical simulations of what the industry is going to be like. We are taught to be real world artists and designers and everything that we learn in school, is geared towards the practical real life experiences of industry artists and designers.