Explore what's possible as a CCA student

Researching art and design schools on the West Coast? The following primer for potential students can help you picture yourself learning, making, and thriving in CCA’s community of creative-citizens, in a region of international prestige.

Why CCA?

Making waves since 1907

Claire Leffler working on her architectural model in the Nave.

More than 100 years ago, CCA was founded with the radical goal of merging theory and practice to engage communities through the power of art and craft. That’s still our jam today.

Even though things look a little different on campus than they did in 1907 (hello, 3D printers), our approach to teaching art, design, architecture, and writing balances traditional skill-building with future-focused experimentation.

It’s your turn to make a transformation.

Select your pathway

To best imagine your future at CCA, first-year students should continue on this page to learn about the undergraduate experience, and transfer, graduate, or international students should select from the options below.

What We Do

Make art that matters

CCA students learn how to use their skills to actively shape the future and make work that makes a difference. This distinctive mission of ours is achieved through supportive hands-on learning and a radically creative spirit that can only be found in the Bay Area.

Here are stories of undergraduate students, alumni, and faculty learning to look at the world in a new way and find solutions to modern-day problems, no matter their discipline.

Small classes and mentorship from diverse faculty

Our professors are accomplished educators, scholars, professional practitioners, and researchers. Just like our student population, diversity of faculty is important to us: 33% of tenure-track and tenured faculty identify as people of color, and 47% of tenure track and tenured faculty are female-identifying (49% overall).

Portfolio Prep

A thoughtful portfolio can expand your opportunities

An industrial design student crafts a shoe out of wood

As part of your CCA admissions application, you’ll submit a compilation of work through our online submission portal. This portfolio for first-year students should include 10 to 15 examples of your best and most recent work. You can share images, videos, audio, and PDFs.

Your portfolio helps us make admissions and scholarship decisions. It can feel vulnerable to share your work, especially in this capacity, but don’t be nervous! We encourage all forms of creativity and are excited by unique modes of personal expression, so don’t be shy in showing us you. We’re looking for potential—not perfection.


We’re here to help as you explore what’s next

Connect one-on-one with a counselor

Text, call, email, or schedule an appointment with a member of our Admissions team! We can answer questions, provide feedback on your portfolio, arrange a campus visit, and help with pretty much anything else that comes up along your journey as you prepare for your first year.

interior of CCA main building on San Francisco campus

CCA Admissions

+1 415-610-7004 (call, text)

[email protected]

Tours & Events

Learn with us before you even apply

Admissions counselor advising a prospective student

At CCA, you’ll connect with a range of visiting artists, scholars, entrepreneurs, and others thanks to our access to the Bay Area’s influential art and design communities and business industries. Here are a few ways to learn more about our undergraduate programs.

Undergraduate admissions events

Register now for these valuable informational events for prospective undergraduate students, including Q&As with program chairs, current students, alumni, and faculty; and discussions with admissions and financial aid counselors.

RSVP for upcoming events

Take a campus tour

Explore where all the making happens. CCA offers weekly in-person tours of our campus in San Francisco, including its state-of-the-art studios and new residence halls, led by student ambassadors. Advance registration is required to participate. Sign up to tour our campus in person.

CCA Public Programming

Many upcoming lectures, screenings, and events in our virtual spaces are free and open to the public, including weekly chats with faculty from various divisions. View the exhibitions and public programming calendar.

More to Explore

Learn about life as a CCA undergraduate student

Be immersed in creativity

Learn how and when to apply

Find your creative community at CCA

Request more info