We are quite proud of the college's rich legacy, one that is steeped in historical events and movements. The following is an overview of how it all began and where we are today. Enjoy!
Frederick Meyer, a German cabinetmaker, whose vision was shaped by the Arts and Crafts movement, founded the present-day California College of the Arts in 1907.
The College's Mission
CCA educates students to shape culture through the practice and critical study of the arts. The college prepares its students for lifelong creative work and service to their communities through a curriculum in fine art, architecture, design, and writing.
21 undergraduate programs and 11 graduate programs in the fields of art, architecture, design, and writing
Two campuses, one dynamic college
CCA maintains two campuses: one in Oakland; the other in San Francisco. The Bay Area is a known global hub for technological and cultural innovation (see Maps & Directions).
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)
Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD)
Master of Architecture (MArch)
Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL)
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Minor (Visual Studies and Writing and Literature programs)
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. The college also ranked fourth among San Francisco Bay Area universities in highest-paying degrees: Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and UC Berkeley placed in the top three, respectively. (See description of PayScale under Career Facts)
Identified as one of the world's best design schools by BusinessWeek magazine
Named a national College of Distinction for its Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Communities, and Successful Outcomes
CCA’s Industrial Design Program was ranked one of the top programs in the United States by Design Intelligence magazine
Archsoc.com ranks CCA's Architecture Program as "one of the top U.S. architecture schools"
The Princeton Review designates CCA as "one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada," and includes the college in its annual Guide to Green Colleges
Our Fashion Design Program was named top fashion design college program in the country by the online college resource collegecrunch.org
CCA was named one of the top-ranked educational institutions in the world for design innovation by Red Dot Institute
U.S. News & World Report ranks CCA as one of the top graduate master of fine arts programs including Ceramics, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Painting/Drawing, Photography, and Sculpture
Named #6 for Best Animation School in the West by Animation Career Review
CCA ranks among the "Top Social Media Colleges" as determined by StudentAdvisor.com
1,917 total enrollment (fall 2012)
61 percent female
39 percent male
32 percent out of state
18 percent international
5 percent African American
16 percent Asian American/Hawiian/Pacific Islander
12 percent Hispanic
1 percent Native American
- 550+ faculty of practicing artists, designers, published writers, and scholars
- 85 percent of faculty teaches at the undergraduate level
- student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to one
- 13-15 students is the average class size
Student Retention/Graduation Rates
First year to second year, fall 2010 to fall 2011 (78 percent)
First-year students who graduate within six years of enrollment -- five-year average is 51 percent (44 percent for entering class 2006)
396 undergraduates and 205 graduate students from 35 states and 32 countries, not including the United States, comprised the 2012 entering class
77 percent of first-year students live on campus
Residential life includes the first-year community and a continuing/transfer student community
CCA offers a unique theme community for first-year students: The Artists' Retreat
The Center for Art and Public Life and the Office of Student Life provide service and leadership opportunities
On-campus gallery exhibitions of student work open each Tuesday and Wednesday evenings
CCA offers interdisciplinary lecture series with renowned artists, community art fairs, and other events that encourage community engagement, foster a sense of tradition, and sustain a welcoming and supportive community
Chimera Council and the Graduate Student Alliance are the student-governing bodies responsible for building community, funding campuswide events and initiatives, and advocating on behalf of the needs of the student body
15+ student-initiated organizations & groups
- Pre-professional student organizations active on campus:
- American Institute of Architecture Students
American Society of Interior Designers
Industrial Designers Society of America
National Organization for Minority Architects
87 percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, work-study, or some combination of these with an average financial aid package of approximately $24,000
76 percent of students receive CCA scholarships
CCA provides more than $20 million of its scholarships
26 percent of full-time undergraduates work on campus, earning an average of $1,900 a year
CCA Connects, an externship program
Community service fellowships
ENGAGE at CCA (project-based community learning)
Minors in Visual Studies and Writing and Literature
Professional development courses
Sponsored studios (see individual programs)
IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards
Summer language program for international students
Study Abroad / International Exchange
Exchange opportunities in more than 30 associated art schools in more than 14 countries
Summer travel opportunities to Argentina, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and other countries
Mobility program with colleges in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)
Our students begin making their mark well before graduation day. Students most recently accomplished the following:
An Industrial Design student won the Student Merit Award at the IDSA Western Conference.
CCA Filmmakers were honored as Regional Finalists in the 9th annual Student Academy Awards competition of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® and the Academy Foundation.
Architecture students competed in the high-profile national 2009 Solar Decathlon, working with a budget exceeding $1 million.
Two Jewelry / Metal Arts students received the coveted $15,000 Windgate Fellowship.
A Graphic Design student had his portfolio selected as the best of all 145 entries at the AIGA SF student portfolio competition and won a major scholarship award.
Six Illustration students placed in the New York Society of Illustrators student scholarship competition.
Two Interior Design students received major scholarship awards from the Northern California chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
An Animation student was hired full time at Pixar Animation Studios, where in 2008 he’d been one of only 12 selected (out of a whopping 2,500 applicants) for Pixar’s prestigious animation internship.
Graduate School Attendance
(Based on 2006-7 graduating class)
Within six years of graduation, approximately 25 percent of fine arts graduates (BFA) and 40 percent humanities and science graduates (BA in Visual Studies and Writing and Literature) go on to graduate programs.
The following facts are based on an alumni survey taken in 2011 (1,100 responses):
78 percent of alumni work in fields related to art, architecture, design, or writing
25 percent of alumni own their own business
75 percent of alumni believe they graduated from CCA well prepared for their careers
Based on a PayScale survey, a market leader in global online compensation data (conducted independently from CCA), the mean average starting salary of a CCA alum living in the Bay Area is $43,000, with a midcareer mean-average salary of $96,700
Based on U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics, San Jose and San Francisco are among the top-three cities where it has been deemed easiest to find a job (Forbes.com).
CCA Alumni Represent a Broad Array of Career Paths
CCA has a wealth of alumni who have gone on to have noteworthy careers that make the most of their undergraduate or graduate degrees.
Read the alumni success features to learn about the many recent career successes of our graduates. Be sure to also review a sampling of places where our alumni have gone on to work as well as where they pursued their graduate studies.
Here are just some of our most celebrated alumni:
Robert Arneson, sculptor
Robert Bechtle, painter
Squeak Carnwath, painter
Tomie dePaola, illustrator
Harrell Fletcher, artist
Viola Frey, sculptor
Todd Hido, photographer
Gary Hutton, interior/furniture designer
David Ireland, sculptor/conceptual artist
Tina Manis, architect
Manuel Neri, painter
Nathan Olivera, painter
Dennis Oppenheim, conceptual artist
Lucille Tenazas, designer
Michael Vanderbyl, designer
Peter Voulkos, sculptor
Wayne Wang, filmmaker
Paul Wonner, painter