The following are frequently asked questions that pertain to CCA's campuses, the admissions process in general, scholarships, and a host of other important topics.
If you do not find the information you're seeking, contact the Admissions Office and speak to a representative.
- What are the differences between the San Francisco and Oakland campuses?
The San Francisco campus, located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, is home to our architecture, design, and graduate programs, in addition to housing our Furniture Program and dedicated space for senior-student paintings. Light-filled studios and spacious galleries allow our students to work in a highly interactive environment.
The historic Oakland campus, home to the majority of our undergraduate fine arts programs, provides lush landscaped grounds in a traditional residential campus setting.
The campus provides comprehensive fine arts studios:
jewelry / metal arts
- Will I have classes on each of the San Francisco and Oakland campuses? If so, how do I travel to and from each campus?
Based on your major, you will take most of your classes at only one of the college's two campuses; however, most students will commute to and from the campuses at various times during their enrollment at CCA.
Please see Intercampus Transportation for more information about local transportation options.
- I'm planning to visit the campus. Should I go to San Francisco or Oakland?
We highly recommend that you visit each campus. In the fall and spring semesters, we offer daily tours at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
This schedule enables you to visit one campus in the morning and the other campus in the afternoon.
If you can visit only one campus or if you plan to meet individually with a counselor during your visit, we will suggest a visit schedule based on your intended major.
The best time to visit the campus is October through early December or February through early May.
For more information, see Plan a Visit.
- Is the college accredited?
Yes, the college is fully accredited. It is accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design), NAAB (National Architectural Accrediting Board), and FIDER (Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research).
- What are the college's deadlines?
The college has two priority undergraduate application deadlines for fall admission: February 1 and March 1.
Applicants interested in applying for CCA merit scholarships should complete their admissions application by February 1.
The priority deadline for all other applicants applying for the fall semester is March 1.
Students who meet the February 1 or March 1 deadline will have priority consideration regarding admission, housing, and financial aid.
The priority deadline for spring applicants is October 1. (Note: We continue to accept undergraduate applications after the priority deadlines).
The college's graduate deadline is January 5. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a rolling basis.
- What should I include in my portfolio?
Your undergraduate entry portfolio should consist of 10 to 15 images, in slide format, of your best and most recent work. The work can demonstrate course assignments, personal projects, or work experience.
Your portfolio should include a focused series of several images of work that shows your current interest, and additional work that reveals an awareness of formal visual organization principles and experience with a variety of tools, media, styles, and approaches.
We prefer that the majority of drawings submitted in the portfolio be derived from direct observation rather than other sources (such as photographs).
For more information, see Portfolio Requirements.
- What high school classes are required for admission to the undergraduate program?
CCA highly recommends that first-year students follow a college preparatory program in high school, including courses in studio art and art history whenever possible.
Students interested in the bachelor of architecture degree should have completed three years of high school math (including algebra and trigonometry) and one year of science (preferably physics).
Studio drawing or other courses that develop the student's visual and design skills are recommended.
- Do I need my AA before transferring to California College of the Arts?
No. In fact most students transfer to the college after one or two semesters at a community college.
The college does not have specific course requirements for students transferring from community colleges. We have established articulation guides for many of the California community colleges.
See Transfer Credit for additional information.
- Does the college offer housing?
Yes, on the Oakland campus housing is available in Clifton Hall and the Avenue Apartments. The college also offers Webster Hall, an off-campus residence hall in downtown Oakland.
Please see Intercampus Transportation for additional related information.
For more information, see Residential Life.
- I already have a bachelor's degree. Should I apply to the graduate program or as a second-degree undergraduate student?
Fine arts, design, or writing students who possess an undergraduate degree should apply to the graduate program if they have a cohesive body of work and can clearly articulate their creative vision.
Students who are primarily interested in portfolio development should apply as a second-degree undergraduate student.
Second-degree students who earned their first degree from a regionally accredited US college or university will automatically receive transfer credit for all humanities and sciences requirements, except for art history requirements (and the math and science requirements for architecture students).
These are considered on a course-by-course basis.
Architecture students who hold a bachelor's degree should apply to the Master of Architecture Program.
Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies and Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice students should apply to our graduate program. We do not offer corresponding undergraduate programs.
Students who are denied admission to the graduate program, can reapply to the corresponding undergraduate program as a second-degree student.
- Can I attend the college as a part-time student?
Although there is no college policy that dictates a student's enrollment pattern, most students find that it is advantageous to attend full time.
Part-time enrollment is easier in the undergraduate fine arts programs, but is extremely difficult in the professional design and architecture programs. Many of these majors have prerequisites and co-requisites that require a particular sequence of courses.
Graduate students are expected to enroll on a full-time basis.
- Does the college offer financial aid to international students?
If you meet the qualifications of specific merit scholarships, you may be eligible to receive a merit award. International students are not eligible to receive institutional, federal, or state financial aid.
For more information, see Scholarships.
Some commercial lenders offer educational loans to international students.
Contact the Financial Aid Office for more details on these loan programs.
- Does the college offer a certificate program?
CCA does not offer a certificate program. Students can attend the college as a nondegree student or enroll in our CCA Extension classes.
Nondegree students must receive approval to take specific courses and will receive full college credit.
Degree students have priority for all CCA courses.
Most CCA Extension classes are not for credit.
For more information, see CCA Extension.
- Can I get credit for life experience?
The college does not offer credit for life experience; however, placement in the studio program is based on the student's portfolio.
Faculty may waive students from certain studio requirements based on the strength of the portfolio.
The college will grant credit for units earned at an accredited college or university, not from life experience.
- Do students have opportunities to exhibit their work?
Yes, the college offers four student galleries on the Oakland campus and three on the San Francisco campus, in addition to a graduate fine arts gallery on the San Francisco campus.
Additional exhibition space exists in many of the studios on both campuses.
- What is the college's studio access policy?
CCA students have 16 to 20 hours per day of studio access. Studio access varies per campus. Both campuses offer 24-hour access during the last two weeks of the semester.
- Does the college offer a study-abroad program?
Yes, the college has an extensive study-abroad program.
The college also participates in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Mobility Program.
This program offers qualified upper-division students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience by studying for a semester at one of 30 AICAD schools throughout the United States.