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California College of the Arts

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Private
  • Urban
  • 62%38%
    student ratio
  • 1,502
    total students
  • $39,984 | $39,984
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • Rolling
    fall application deadline
  • 81%
    acceptance rate
  • Moderately Difficult
    admission difficulty
  • Average test scores for all first-year students that were accepted and enrolled.
  • 555
    sat math
  • 525
    sat reading
  • 521
    sat writing
  • 24
    act composite


California College of the Arts: A World-Renowned School Offering 21 Undergraduate Programs in Art, Architecture, Design, and Writing

California College of the Arts (CCA) is an internationally recognized private college offering 21 undergraduate programs and 11 graduate programs in art, architecture, design, and writing. It was founded in 1907 and today has 2 dynamic campuses, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland. The college currently has 1,917 degree-seeking students: approximately 1,450 undergraduates and 467 graduate students. CCA has world-class facilities, is fully accredited, and has been praised as one of the world's best design schools by "BusinessWeek" magazine. Graduates leave CCA ready to make art that matters.

The most popular undergraduate majors include graphic design, architecture, illustration, industrial design, painting/drawing, animation, and photography. Interaction design was recently added as a new major. Students can major or minor in the "Visual Studies" or "Writing and Literature" programs. Depending on a student's major, each undergraduate will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree.

Ready to Make Art That Matters?

CCA students are educated in a multidisciplinary context that encourages them to push boundaries, develop bold and innovative practices, and prepare for creative professional careers. This distinctive approach to education -- making art that matters -- integrates throughout the curriculum such important issues as social justice and ecological sustainability. For the past 2 years "The Princeton Review" has named CCA a Top Green College.

Students have numerous opportunities to engage with local and global communities. ENGAGE at CCA is a curricular initiative open to students in any major in which they work, with outside experts to find solutions to community issues. Another initiative is the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards, giving multiple $10,000 awards each year to interdisciplinary teams of students, enabling each team to undertake a major project over the summer, anywhere in the world.

Sponsored studios (studio courses funded by industry-leading companies) are offered every year in various disciplines, providing invaluable educational opportunities and professional connections.

Diversity of Perspectives and Opportunities for Expression

Students come to CCA from across the country and around the world. The college offers numerous opportunities for summer study abroad and international exchange. CCA's diverse community and travel opportunities ensure that students are constantly being introduced to new sources of inspiration and have access to the richest possible educational experiences.

Internationally renowned visiting artists and scholars come to campus every semester to lecture, make studio visits, and participate in critiques. Other opportunities for community building and professional preparation include year-round exhibitions, organized museum and gallery outings, campus fairs, performances, and artist talks.

CCA's summer Pre-College Program offers high school students opportunities to earn college credit. The program also offers numerous courses for youths and adults.

First-Year Students Are Exposed to a Variety of Media, Building Skills and Experimenting

All first-year undergraduate students enter structured core programs in which they focus on skill building, experimentation, and critical thinking. It is a year of cross-disciplinary study that combines studio and academic courses, and exposes them to a variety of media. All first-year students are based on CCA's Oakland campus, a traditional college setting spread over 4 acres in a residential area of the city. 77% of first-year students reside in campus housing.

Financial Aid and Merit Scholarships

The college's financial aid programs are designed to help make CCA affordable, so that all students can reach their creative potential. CCA offers numerous institutional scholarships as well as federal and state grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Merit-based scholarships are available to students who demonstrate outstanding creative ability and academic achievement. In total, the college awards more than $20 million each year in scholarships to qualified students; 77% of CCA students receive scholarships of some kind.

Admissions Policies Balance Academic Merit with Artistic Potential

CCA takes an individualized and balanced approach to its admissions process. Applications are reviewed on the basis of individual academic achievement; the portfolio and its demonstration of creative ability and potential; artistic and professional goals; personal achievements; and supporting documents such as instructor recommendations.

Mentoring Relationships with Faculty Members

CCA's faculty includes more than 550 nationally and internationally recognized artists, architects, designers, and writers, all of whom are actively working in their respective fields. CCA's student-to-faculty member ratio is 10:1, ideal for successful learning because students are able to make meaningful connections with their instructors. Faculty member-student mentoring encourages artistic exploration, challenges students to take risks, and clarifies and deepens the processes of inquiry. It also means that students are better able to take advantage of their instructors' networks of professional connections, which, after graduation, can directly lead to opportunities.

San Francisco Bay Area Provides a Culturally Rich, Inspiring Setting

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is also home to more than 250 art venues, including numerous important museums and alternative galleries; 25,000 nonprofits; a renowned mix of historic and modern architecture; active endeavors in theater, music, dance, film, and literature; and many of the world's most important design and technology firms -- from IDEO to Apple to Pixar. It is a high-density hub for entrepreneurship and venture capital. It is noted for its cultural and ethnic diversity, a long tradition of social aware?ness, and a deep dedication to environmental sustainability. This fertile environment is an ideal setting to learn and to build one's creative practice. Students gain opportunities to connect with creative professionals, organizations, and companies at the forefront of creating change.

Celebrated Reputation

PayScale ranked CCA the top art and design school by salary potential in the United States and in the top 10 West Coast schools by salary potential, and ranked it 4th among San Francisco Bay Area universities in highest-paying degrees.

Location & Contact

California College of the Arts

1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Ms.Robynne Royster

Director of Admissions

Phone: 415-703-9523 ext. 9532
Fax: 415-703-9539

Contact school now

Majors & Degrees

Degrees Offered
  • Architecture
    • Architecture
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Interior Architecture
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Communication technologies
    • Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Communication/Journalism
    • Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • English
    • Creative Writing
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Visual and performing arts
    • Design and Visual Communications
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Commercial and Advertising Art
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Industrial and Product Design
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Fashion/Apparel Design
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Illustration
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Design and Applied Arts Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Film/Cinema/Video Studies
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Photography
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Art
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Fine/Studio Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Drawing
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Painting
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Sculpture
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Printmaking
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Ceramic Arts and Ceramics
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Fiber, Textile and Weaving Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Metal and Jewelry Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.


81% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied1,402
    • Accepted1,144
    • Acceptance Rate81%
    • Enrolled1,502
    • Female Applicants980
    • Females Accepted813
    • Female Acceptance Rate82%
    • Male Applicants422
    • Males Accepted331
    • Male Acceptance Rate78%
  • Applying
    • Application Fee
    • Required for All Essay or personal statement
      Letter(s) of recommendation
      Minimum high school GPA of 2
      portfolio of creative work
    • Required for Some Transcript of high school record
    • Average high school GPA for first-year freshman3.25
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Application Closing Notification Date Rolling Admissions
    • Fall freshmen Yes
    • Out-of-state Fall freshmen Not Reported
    • Early decision plan Not Reported
    • Other early decision plan Not Reported
    • Transfer Yes
  • Test Scores Accepted
    • Test Average School Accepted 25th Percentile* 75th Percentile*
    • SAT Critical Reading 525 450 590
    • SAT Math 555 480 610
    • SAT Writing 521 470 580
    • ACT Composite 24 21 26
    • * 25th and 75th percentile is the score that 25/75 percent of students score at or below.

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
    • In-state tuition *$39,984
    • Out-of-state tuition *$39,984
    • In-district tuitionN/A
    • * Tuition costs are based on a full academic year typically extending from September to June.
  • Fees
    • Full-time student fees$350.00
    • Room and board *Not Reported
    • Room only *$8,000.00
    • * Room and board charges vary according to board plan selected (i.e., 12-meal plan, 19-meal plan, etc.) and student level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Other Payment Considerations
    • Guaranteed tuition plan offeredNo
    • Tuition pre-payment planNo
    • Tuition payment plans offeredInstallments
    • Student groups that qualify for full or partial waiver of tuitionEmployees or children of employees

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Undergraduate Students1,502
    • Male Student Percentage38%
    • Female Student Percentage62%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino13.32%
    • Black or African American3.93%
    • White or Caucasian32.96%
    • American Indian or Alaska Native.27%
    • Asian16.11%
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.8%
    • Two or more races%
    • Unknown9.72%
  • Other Student Statistics
    • International Breakout22.9% representing 48 other countries
    • Out-of-state Students32% out-of-state student

Campus Life

  • Housing
    • College-owned housing available Yes
    • Housing Requirements Not Reported
    • Housing options Coed housing
    • Percentage of undergraduate students who live in college-owned housing 20%
  • Student Activities
    • Student-run campus newspaper No
    • Drama / theater group No
    • Student-run radio station No
    • Student-run television station No
    • Marching band No
    • Choral groups No
  • Student Services
    • Legal services No
    • Health clinic No
    • Personal / psychological counseling Yes
    • Women's center No
  • Student Organizations
    • Greek fraternities Yes
    • Greek sororities Yes
    • Local fraternities No
    • Local sororities No
    • Other organizations Yes
    • Most popular organizations Social Projects and Communal Environments (SPACE), Queer/Straight Alliance (QSA), Animation Study Group, Students of Color Coalition, Cossutius Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity
  • Campus Security and Safety
    • 24-hour emergency telephone / alarm services Yes
    • 24-hour patrols by trained officers Yes
    • Students patrols Not Reported
    • Late-night transport / escort services Yes
    • Electronically-operated dormitory entrances Yes
    • Other Not Reported


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty477
    • Full-time Percentage19%
    • Part-time Percentage81%
    • Female Percentage43%
    • Male Percentage57%
    • Student:Faculty Ratio9:1 or 1,840 students to 197 faculty




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