About California Institute of the Arts

Founded in 1961, California Institute of the Arts. is a Private college. Located in California, which is a city setting in California, the campus itself is Suburban. The campus is home to 959 full time undergraduate students, and 496 full time graduate students.

The California Institute of the Arts Academic calendar runs on a Semester basis. In the school year the student to faculty ratio was 7:1. There are 155 full time instructional teachers. Degrees awarded at California Institute of the Arts include: Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Post-master's certificate, Doctor's degree.

Quick Facts

Acceptance Rate23%
Application Deadline
Application Fee70
SAT Range
ACT Range

Admissions at CIA are considered Most Selective, with ,10% of all applicants being admitted.

In the school year, of the students who applied to the school, only 9 of those who were admitted eventually ended up enrolling.

0% of incoming freshmen are in the top half of their high school class. 0% were in the top quarter, and 0% were in the top tenth. You can apply online.


We asked, and students answered these important questions about student life at California Institute of the Arts.

California Institute of the Arts REVIEWS

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  • How would you rate on-campus housing?

    35 Students rated on-campus housing 3.2 stars. 14 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate off-campus housing?

    30 Students rated off-campus housing 3 stars. 0 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus food?

    39 Students rated campus food 3.1 stars. 13 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus facilities?

    40 Students rated campus facilities 3.7 stars. 30 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate class size?

    40 Students rated class size 4.5 stars. 55 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate school activities?

    40 Students rated school activities 3.3 stars. 25 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate local services?

    40 Students rated local services 3.9 stars. 38 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate academics?

    39 Students rated academics 3.6 stars. 31 % gave the school a 5.0.

What's your overall opinion of California Institute of the Arts?

14 Students rated California Institute of the Arts

Maggie - 07/28/2020

I can’t speak on the other programs outside of animation, but it’s a fantastic culture with great opportunities to network in order to make it into the industry. Outside of the “clout” one receives by being a CalArts alumni, you really get out what you put into your education here. I’ve heard many wonderful things about how passionate the faculty is about their peers, with a few exceptions. If you’re able to afford it and feel pretty firm on wanting to enter this industry, I’d say this is the place for you.

Valeria - 05/01/2020

It's an excellent school for students that are committed to their craft. You will be extremely busy--think 60 to 80 hours a week working on assignments for class, plus extra for any projects that you want to do with peers or friends. The teachers are great and classes are very tailored to how the student body offers up. They're handling the coronavirus shutdown and online classroom situation very well, adjusting course trajectories to accommodate for changing circumstances.

Janelle - 01/17/2020

CalArts is the most unique experience I have ever encountered. Every persons of every background are welcome and encouraged to be their authentic selves. The main issue with the school is the lack of money being put back into the institution. There is outdated equipment and the dorms are constantly making student uneasy. CalArts is a club, every CalArtian knows that, but the school is what YOU make it. It can be the best experience of your life if you advocate for yourself, and not wait to let opportunity come to you. This school is not for the faint of heart.

Azariah - 12/01/2019

I am currently studying my Masters in Fine Arts, majoring in Composition and Experimental Sound Practices. The staff are very approachable and generous with their time. Fellow students are passionate and extremely talented, and the alumni community remains invested into the school, and feed back into it once they are in the industry.

California Institute of the Arts FAQS

  1. What is the Acceptance Rate at California Institute of the Arts?

    The fall 2020 acceptance rate for California Institute of the Arts is 23%. That means, out of _____ applications received in 2020 , _____ students were offered admission. The number of males who applied was _____ vs the number of females which was _____.

  2. What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

    Jahcobie it is important that you start building a portfolio for youself, and organizing the connections that will help enrich you at CalArts. Get serious about how you are going to afford school an living. Your an adult so you need to advocate for yourself. Finally, remember you make life what you want it to be.

    Read all  40 answers
  3. Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

    Calarts is an open free thinking enviornment that provides as much as you need in resources to accomplish your goals.

    Read all  12 answers
  4. Describe the students at your school.

    Queer, fun, interesting, opinionated, artistic, talented, creative.

    Read all  8 answers
  5. What's unique about your campus?

    The best thing about attending to California Institute of the Arts is that we are a small but have a focus on the arts. Classrooms consists of a small amount of students so all our teachers know us by name and we have a flurishing relationship with them all. The faculty really focuses upon the needs of the students and they are willing to provide guidance whenever we are in need.

    Read all  8 answers
  6. Describe your favorite campus traditions.

    California Institute of the Arts is best known for its creative and unique approach of art. Since the school is an art school, we have a strong foundational focus on the arts along with having a great faculty that thoroughly knows and understands our needs to become creative designers and artists of the future. We are constantly experimenting and encouraged to create innovative designs and other forms of art that goes beyond what is considered "normal."

    Read all  7 answers
  7. Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

    The student is really in charge of their driection at this school and the facutly are in place to help you reach your desired goals. There are no two students doing exactly the same thing, and this school caters to that.

    Read all  7 answers
  8. What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

    Many of the students do not take their studies seriously at all. I guess they are just rich kids who have come to art school to get out of the house for a few years. In addition, the campus is not attractive and I'm not sure where the tuition money goes because the teachers and student's don't see it. The academic classes offer little to no challenge. You have to take your art seriously and be very self-motivated to succeed.

    Read all  7 answers
  9. What kind of person should not attend this school?

    A non artistic person, and someone who wants a very conservative artistic community.

    Read all  7 answers
  10. What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

    I wish I would have known more about my career choice. It is rather vague, sometimes seemingly friendly & open yet often times appearing to be highly competetive with undefined standards for success. Costs of failure are also rather high.

    Read all  6 answers
  11. What kind of person should attend this school?

    A person that like struggling. We hera at calarts is very busy with our works. We start our class early and end 10 in the night. The amout of art assignments is close to make us insane. When we make a bad work, because we can not spend much ime on it, we get tough and hard critics. But we do not have time to think about it or feel sad and bad about it, we have to start with the next one. To fit in this environment, the person has to bee a person that enjoys the struggling.

    Read all  6 answers
  12. What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

    I just say that it was a totally awesome experience. All the people were so open and creative and the teachers so inspiring and intellegent. I learned much more there then I think I would have at a conservatory.

    Read all  2 answers
  13. What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

    The most frustrating thing about the school would be the schedule. Your at school from 9am-11pm. They ask alot of you and you have two one hour breaks throughout the whole day.

    Read all  2 answers

Student Body







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of students living on campus

Student Diversity

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All students must apply yearly for financial aid. This process starts with the FAFSA. Though financial aid deadlines vary by school, it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible. For the upcoming school year, you can apply as early as October 1 for the FAFSA. Additional school aid will be dependent on the FAFSA results.

75% of students attending California Institute of the Arts receive some sort of financial aid. 19% were awarded federal grants. While 52% received federal loans. Many students do also need to apply for additional private student loans.

Cost Out of State


Tuition and fees(Out of state)


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Actual Cost By Income Level(W/Financial Aid)

Family Income
$0 - $30K
$30 - $48K
$48 - $75K
$75 - $110K
$110K & UP

We use student reviews and the most current publicly available data on our school pages. As such, we don't typically remove or edit college information. Sources for school statistics and data include the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Portions of college data include copyrighted material, which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. © 2009-2016 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.


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