School of Critical Studies
Apply to CalArts
Admission to CalArts is competitive and considered mainly on the basis of demonstrated talent, creativity and commitment. CalArts welcomes applications for admission from anyone committed to the visual, performing or writing arts. Students are admitted on a full-time basis only. As CalArts does not offer a non-declared option, applicants apply directly to a program of study and must follow the portfolio/audition requirements for their intended program.
Your application for admission will be evaluated only after the Office of Admissions has received all required materials listed below. It is your responsibility to be certain that all necessary materials have been sent. International applicants should also view our International Student requirements.
Use your legal first and last name when creating your applications and your Slideroom online portfolio/auditions account. CalArts is not responsible for the review of applications that are not matched with their portfolio/audition due to the use of different names.
The requirements are as follows:
- Application Deadlines and Fees
- Letters of Recommendation
- Artist statement
Official high school transcripts are required of all BFA1 and transfer applicants. Official college transcripts are required of all transfer and MFA applicants. College transcripts should cover all work undertaken and should be sent from each institution attended. All transcripts must be official transcripts issued from the institution you attended. Please contact each issuing institution directly to request official transcripts.
- Graduate transcript requirements
- Transfer transcript requirements
- High School/Home School transcript requirements
We recommend that you submit the requests for your letters of recommendation through the online application, as it will allow you to track when the letters are submitted. However, if this is not possible, you may also download the Letter of Recommendation Form (pdf) and have your recommender send their letter by mail. Please choose only one method - either online or by mail - per recommender.
Two letters of recommendation are required for BFA programs. At least one recommendation should be written by a person who understands your artistic work. Many MFA programs require three letters of recommendation (please see Specific Program requirements).
An artist statement is very important in the admissions process and should answer the following three questions:
- What issues and concerns inform your artmaking practice?
- Why are you applying to your program at CalArts?
- What are your artistic goals?
Some programs have additional, specific topics and/or questions to be covered in this statement (please see Specific Program Requirements). This statement should be submitted with both your online application and your online portfolio.
Portfolio and Audition Requirements
In addition to the general application requirements, each school has specific admissions guidelines and portfolio or audition requirements. Please click on the links below to view the details for each school. Please note that our animation programs are housed within the School of Film/Video.
- School of Art
- School of Critical Studies
- The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance
- School of Film/Video
- The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts
- School of Theater
- Center for Integrated Media