BFA Individualized Studies

Apply for a self-directed course of study that combines multiple disciplines, critical thinking, and research during your second year at CCA.

Overview

Personalize your experience at CCA

Interdisciplinary class tries to make artwork while moving a drawing board in a circle

Channel diverse interests into your work

The Individualized Studies (INDI) program is specifically for students whose work bridges media and disciplines that fall outside regular program structures. Open to students during their second year, INDI is self-directed. You’ll combine disciplines and develop unique pathways of inquiry as you navigate the many disciplines offered at the college, from architecture and design to fine arts and writing. Four required courses, an evolving artist statement, a rationale of study, and a self-managed graduation plan form the backbone of your INDI experience.

Complement core areas of focus with outside influences

Complement core areas of focus with outside influences

If you’re interested in one of CCA’s minors or studying abroad, the INDI program is especially useful. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with academic advisors and faculty mentors to incorporate a range of methodologies and skills into your personalized curricula. Getting involved with both local and global communities will also help you shape a thoughtful practice grounded in critical thinking, research, and social impact.

sculpture chair poses for a headshot

Peter Simensky, Chair of Individualized Studies

Meet the chair

Chair Peter Simensky is an experienced educator and interdisciplinary artist. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Museum 52, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and Project Row Houses, Houston, to name a few. The recipient of numerous grants, residencies, and awards, Simensky has also been featured in group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. Recently, he produced work and research on the silver mining industry in Taxco, Mexico, as an artist-in-residence at La Tallera: Proyecto Siqueiros.

Approval Process

Lay the groundwork for success

Outline your course of study for an individualized fine arts education

Design and propose your course of study

During your second year, you’ll have the opportunity to apply to become an Individualized Studies major. We look for students who are motivated and capable of working across disciplines and who have demonstrated the following:

  • One or more bodies of in-progress interdisciplinary work
  • Mature artist’s statement that describes the work and process
  • Rationale/proposal that describes why and how Individualized Studies is the preferred course of study

The artist’s statement and rationale/proposal will continue to evolve during your required Individualized Mentorship course. When it comes to building your confidence and independence, we provide you with the guidance you need through four required courses at the sophomore, junior, and senior levels. These courses, explained below, are part of the approval process and must be taken in sequence.

Learn about the required sequence of courses

Preparation and approval: 200 level, Individualized Mentorship

This class lays the groundwork for interdisciplinary study and helps you determine if the INDI major is right for you. You must take Individualized Mentorship in order to join the INDI program. This course teaches you to balance your studies across disciplines, build foundational skill sets in multiple media, and develop critical skills for your process. You’re responsible for defining and presenting your INDI program proposals, which include an initial curriculum, website, and advanced curriculum for your junior and senior years.

Upon completion of this course, you’ll either be approved as an Individualized Studies major or you’ll be guided into an alternative program at the college. Individualized Mentorship is a 200-level studio and will count as an elective for students who don’t end up pursuing this degree.

This course requirement must be completed by the end of your sophomore year (after the first semester for advanced transfer students). No student will be admitted into Individualized Studies without completing the approval process.

Development: 300 level, Individualized Critique

This required course is open to INDI majors who have taken the Individualized Mentorship course and have reached junior standing. Individualized Critique expands upon the goals of your studio practice by combining mediums that you explored during Individualized Mentorship and promoting your development of presentational and critical skills.

Coursework includes oral and visual presentations, preparation for Junior Review, portfolio documentation in multiple formats, ongoing statement and rationale development, resume, and a senior exhibition proposal and application.

Development: 300 level, Media History Utopian Impulses

This required course explores the cultural nexus points that instigate innovative, creative strategies in the visual and performing arts, paying particular attention to folk traditions of out-there utopian legends. You’ll develop research and presentation skills to promote innovative responses to class assignments and encourage multidisciplinary approaches in the development of studio thesis work through investigation and synaesthetic experience. The class, which should be taken during your junior or senior year, helps you contextualize your work in relation to history and contemporary practice.

Completion: 400 level, Individualized Senior Project

The Individualized Senior Project course is the culmination of the individualized course of study. You’ll present a final project/exhibition and work with faculty to realize your proposal. INDI majors who are seniors are required to give a public presentation synthesizing their work as a presentation/performance. Classwork is composed of group and individual presentations, as well as field trips and lectures from visiting artists.

INDI majors are required to take two senior project courses during their senior year. One of the courses must be in a specific area of study and the other must be this Individualized Senior Project course. Senior project exhibits must be viewed and approved by INDI advisors and faculty before graduation can be authorized.

Studios and campus resources

Positioned within a top art and design college, the Individualized Studies program has access to state-of-the-art studios, shops, labs, and our special collections at the Meyer and Simpson libraries, including photographic archives and historical objects. You’ll get to work with traditional craft-based methods as well as cutting-edge digital tools, exploring new possibilities for your chosen studio practice.

Curriculum

Develop and refine your creative practice

Think with your hands in First Year Experience

Before diving into their chosen major, every undergraduate participates in the First Year Experience. Students explore a wide range of materials and tools over the course of two semesters. Faculty from different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and theoretical discussions, setting students up for success throughout their major coursework.

Artwork by Arleene Correa Valencia, BFA Individualized Major, 2018

Artwork by Arleene Correa Valencia (Individualized Studies 2018)

Transcend specific media

The Individualized Studies curriculum is designed for students working in two or three closely related areas, especially for those who explore combinations of 2D, 3D, time-based, and writing-based forms. You’ll have the freedom to choose studio courses and studio electives to develop an aesthetically mature and context-driven practice. Art and media history, critical theory, and additional humanities and sciences seminars will help you merge formal studio skills with social and political concerns.

BFA Individualized Studies

Core Studio

Drawing 1
3 units
2D, 3D, and 4D
9 units

Individualized Studies Major Requirements

Individualized Mentorship Tutorial
3 units
Approved Studio Classes (2000 or 3000 level)
12 units
Individualized Critique
3 units
Approved Studio Classes (3000 or 4000 level)
15 units
Senior Project
3 units
Individualized Senior Project
3 units
Junior Review
0 units

Additional Studio Requirements

Interdisciplinary Studio
3 units
Diversity Studies Studio
3 units
Studio Electives
15 units

Humanities + Sciences Requirements

Writing 1
3 units
Writing 2
3 units
Introduction to the Arts: Antiquity to Early Modern
3 units
Introduction to the Modern Arts
3 units
Foundation in Critical Studies
3 units
Media History: Individualized
3 units
Literary and Performing Arts Studies (2000 level)
3 units
Philosophy and Critical Theory (2000 level)
3 units
Social Science/History (2000 level)
3 units
Science/Math (2000 level)
3 units
Visual Studies (2000 level)
3 units
Humanities and Sciences (3000 level)
9 units
Diversity Studies Seminar
3 units
Humanities and Sciences Electives (2000 or 3000 level)
3 units

Total 120 units

Focus on multidisciplinary expression

Individualized Studies majors can focus their work in two or more studio areas from the list below. Or, they can focus their work in one or more studio areas and writing and literature.

Possible studio areas for Individualized Studies

  • Architecture
  • Animation
  • Ceramics
  • Community arts
  • Fashion design
  • Film
  • Furniture
  • Glass
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial design
  • Interior design
  • Interaction design
  • Jewelry and metal arts
  • Painting and drawing
  • Photography
  • Printmedia
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles

How to Apply

Preliminary requirements

Jewelry and Metal working student examining and carving their jewelry

Start mapping your own arts education

Before beginning the proposal and approval process for Individualized Studies, you must meet with your academic advisor, an INDI expert, and current INDI majors at CCA. Once you’ve gathered information about the program structure and expectations, you can register for the Individualized Mentorship class during your sophomore year.

Please note that you must have completed CCA’s core curriculum. If you’re a transfer student, you must have completed at least one semester of CCA studio work. Details about the application process are available from the Individualized Major advisor in the Advising office.

Find your creative community at CCA

Apply now