Academics

Photo: Megan Bayley

Our academic programs support creative practitioners who strive for a world that’s brighter, more inclusive, relentlessly innovative, and ecologically resilient.

Overview

Learn how CCA makes an impact in the Bay Area and beyond

Immerse yourself in our creative culture

Pursue your passions at California College of the Arts, where diverse practices meet and inspiration is at every turn. With access to the Bay Area’s creative communities and thriving industries, you’ll take part in exciting collaborations, deepen your practice, and learn from art and design leaders, including our renowned faculty. Attending CCA is your time to discover your voice, refine your skills, or completely reinvent yourself.

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Dedicated studio managers

The right tool or material is often exactly what you need to achieve a breakthrough. Our creative spaces, overseen by experienced studio managers, support your work in traditional craftsmanship, digital fabrication, and hybrid practices. Artists and designers themselves, studio managers are available to help you master the fundamentals and safely use equipment and tools.

With a high level of overlap across disciplines, students use studios and shops to collaborate with friends from other programs and take their own projects in unexpected directions. Check out a few of our favorite spaces for cross-disciplinary work below.

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Model Shop

Specializing in foam, plastic, and wood, the Model Shop is open to all students. Required shop safety and skills orientations cover best practices for sanders, drill presses, lathes, various saws, and our vacuum forming machine for 3D molding. Students also have access to commonly used hand tools and a dedicated sanding area.

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Dogpatch MFA Studios

Studio spaces for MFA in Fine Arts students are in the nearby Dogpatch neighborhood. Surrounded by alternative artist spaces and cultural organizations, such as Minnesota Street Project and Workshop Residence, graduate students experience and contribute to one of the most exciting creative communities in San Francisco. From industrial sewing machines to workstations for digital media and sound editing, on-site resources support a range of practices.

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Digital Craft Lab

Open to all undergraduate and graduate architecture students, the Digital Craft Lab (DCL) is a collaborative space for advanced research, digital fabrication, data visualization, and material experimentation. Students explore the future of architecture with our state-of-the-art KR AGILUS, a lightweight industrial robot for precise automation and assembly.

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Summer and year-round sessions

There are several ways middle and high school students can explore fine arts, architecture, design, or creative writing at CCA. Students in sixth through ninth grades can nurture their inner artists and meet new friends in our Young Artist Studio Program or Summer Atelier. Rising juniors, seniors, and recent high school graduates can experience what it’s like to attend an art and design school in our summer Pre-College Program.

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Earn college credit

Taught by accomplished CCA faculty, the Pre-College Program is an immersive, three-week experience designed to help students push beyond concepts to portfolio-ready pieces. Attendees live and study at our Oakland campus, which is especially beautiful during the summer, as they deepen their skills in an area they already love or try a new medium. Classes are weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm and count toward three college-level credits.

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Explore foundational techniques

Our non-credit summer programs teach young artists and designers how to translate their visual experiences into studio-based projects. The Young Artist Studio Program, which is open to rising seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, offers three different learning formats that focus on one or multiple subjects. Summer Atelier, a nonresidential program, is open to rising sophomores who are specifically interested in drawing and painting, screenprinting, photography, or graphic novels. We also offer year-round comics and figure drawing courses that introduce high schoolers to assignments that are standard in most art and design colleges.

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Pursue your passions overseas

Current CCA students can expand their worldview and skills in a new environment by spending a semester abroad in Germany, Sweden, Japan, China, or another partner school. Summer study-abroad programs, which are shorter in length, vary in theme each year. The course European Design Capitals, for example, takes students to London, Amsterdam, and Milan to explore design culture and history from multiple perspectives. In another study-abroad program, titled In Search of Emptiness and Wabi Sabi, students investigate traditional Japanese aesthetic values in Tokyo and the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Kamakura. Or CCA students can choose to stay closer to home by attending an Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) exchange program at one of 31 participating schools.

Bring your talents to California

Through the AICAD Exchange program, full-time, junior-level domestic college students can attend CCA for a semester, as long as they’re already enrolled at a participating school. International students from one of our many overseas partner institutions, such as China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts or Spain’s ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering, can also attend CCA for a semester through the International Student Exchange program.

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Grow your network and creativity

Current students, alumni, and working professionals can expand their existing skill sets or explore new ones in our for-credit Career Discovery program. Currently, this program is focused on technological innovation, digital craft, and creative experimentation in architecture. Domestic and international applicants from any art and design discipline are encouraged to apply.

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Make summer about art and design

For-credit summer courses at CCA are available at a reduced tuition rate for undergraduate and graduate students. Courses can be as brief as a three-week intensive or as long as a 13-week session that spans the summer. Eligible students from other accredited colleges are also welcome to register.

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Learn a new skill or deepen your practice

We offer year-round, non-credit extension courses that cover various design and fine arts disciplines. From learning to draw vector images in Illustrator to exploring basic metalsmithing techniques, course skills help creative professionals, current students, and aspiring young artists explore new directions. Custom programming for companies and organizations, which can help develop or strengthen particular employee skills, are also available upon request.

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