Tour our campuses and discover why California College of the Arts is the right place for you.

Welcome

A creative community unlike anywhere else

Gregory Hurcomb installation in the nave 'These Marks'_hero_visit page_MB

One college, two dynamic campuses

There are two CCA campuses in the Bay Area, and as a student you’ll spend time at both.

  • San Francisco campus (1111 Eighth Street) is located in the more urban Potrero Hill neighborhood. This campus is home to the Nave, a long, sunlit corridor in our main building that’s the lifeline of CCA’s critique culture. Most of our graduate programs are located on our San Francisco campus, as well as many of the undergraduate design and architecture programs.
  • Oakland campus (5212 Broadway) is located on four beautifully landscaped acres in the Rockridge district. It’s home to our First Year Program and first-year residence halls. Almost every undergraduate student starts their creative practice on this historic campus.

View inside our studios, student center, makerspaces, and more.

Find the freedom to explore

The confluence of our prime location, our diverse creative community, and our interdisciplinary curriculum focused on socially engaged projects is what makes life at CCA so unique.

In San Francisco, we’re connected to the contemporary art scene, as well as industry partners who we work with to build design-led technological solutions. In Oakland, we have spaces dedicated to using art and design to support social activism and rethink ecological resilience.

Students working in San Francisco industrial design studios_feature_MB

Each campus offers state-of-the art facilities and a stimulating environment to inspire students’ creativity. Come see for yourself. Experiencing CCA first-hand is the best way to determine why you belong at the top art and design school in the country.

You can register for undergraduate and graduate campus tours, take a virtual tour, make a one-on-one appointment with an admissions advisor, or attend an upcoming admissions event on campus or near you.

Campus Tours

We’d love to show you around

How to take an in-person tour of CCA

We offer separate campus tours at San Francisco and Oakland, Mondays through Fridays (unless we’re on a holiday or academic break), at the following times. Tours in January are limited to Mondays and Fridays.

  • Oakland campus undergraduate tours begin at 10 am on most weekdays and depart from the Admissions office in Irwin Student Center
  • San Francisco campus undergraduate tours begin at 1:30 pm on most weekdays and depart from the Admissions office in the main Montgomery Building
  • San Francisco campus graduate tours begin at 2:30 pm on most weekdays and depart from the Admissions office in the main Montgomery Building

To take a tour, register using the calendar link below or call +1 800-447-1ART. You can also arrive at the start time at the above locations, although we strongly encourage you to register ahead of time to make sure a tour will be available while you’re visiting campus.

Chimera Student Leaders giving campus tours

What to expect on a campus tour

Make the most of your visit

Even though one campus might end up being your “home campus” as a student, we strongly recommend you plan to tour both. This will give you a deeper understanding of the range of artmaking made possible by CCA’s uniquely interdisciplinary ethos.

All tours—undergraduate and graduate, San Francisco and Oakland—include a session with an admissions counselor that covers additional information about our programs, financial aid opportunities, portfolio requirements, and application process.

Students on the Oakland Campus.

Undergraduate tours

If it’s not possible to attend both campus tours, we recommend prospective undergraduate students visit whichever location is home to their program of interest.

On an undergraduate Oakland campus tour, you’ll explore First Year Program classrooms, current students’ favorite hangout spots, our edible and dye garden, and residence halls exclusively for first-year students, as well as studios, labs, and workshops for all Oakland-based undergraduate academic programs (view below).

Architecture critique in the San Francisco Nave.

On an undergraduate San Francisco campus tour, you’ll walk the Nave and tour classrooms, programmatic studios, our sound stage, production spaces, labs, and more places where our students’ hybrid, experimental practices take shape. You’ll also check out our new student residence, Blattner Hall, designed for continuing and graduate students, which is only two blocks from the workspaces of undergraduate academic programs that call San Francisco campus home (view below).

Note: Sophomore- and junior-level Painting and Drawing courses are offered on both campuses, while senior-level courses and students’ individual senior studios are offered at the San Francisco campus. Students interested in this program would benefit from touring both campuses.

Graduate tours

Rather than stick to one siloed path of study, we tend to work across multiple disciplines, pulling inspiration from the Bay Area. You’ll see these hybridity principles and creative adjacencies on full display during your tour of the San Francisco campus.

You’ll explore the main building, where graduate students often work as teaching assistants; graduate student housing in the new, nearby Blattner Hall; individual graduate program studios, including the graduate design studio and the graduate architecture studio; the writers’ studio and its Japanese-inspired garden, idyllic for writing; and the Graduate Center, home to the graduate computer lab, VCS program spaces, exhibitions catalogs, library, and more. At the end of your tour, we recommend you visit the prestigious CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, where graduate students go for visiting artist exhibitions and participate in gallery events.

We strongly recommend that prospective MFA in Fine Arts students interested in the disciplines of glass, ceramics, jewelry and metal arts, photography, printmaking, or textiles also attend an undergraduate tour of the Oakland campus, where many of these programs’ studios are located.

Graduate students during class in CCA's Curatorial Research Bureau_hero_graduate admission_MB

Graduate students during class in the Curatorial Research Bureau at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Additional graduate spaces

There are two off-campus graduate experiences not featured on the standard graduate tour. Request a graduate appointment and we can schedule a time to show you around either space.

  • Our MA in Curatorial Practice (CURP) program is located in the prestigious Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, allowing students to take advantage of the rich cultural context of the Bay Area and work with leading practitioners in the field
  • Our MFA in Fine Arts program offers studio spaces in the American Industrial Center in the heart of San Francisco’s thriving Dogpatch neighborhood, where each candidate works on their MFA thesis exhibitions in large individual studios

Additional in-person tour opportunities

Saturday open houses

Saturday open house events throughout the academic year welcome prospective undergraduate students and guests to stop by our San Francisco and Oakland campuses. Information on studio spaces, academic programs, our community, and admissions process are provided by current CCA student ambassadors and admissions counselors on each campus throughout the entire day, and a free shuttle transports guests between campuses.

Group tours

Our tours of San Francisco and Oakland campuses (excluding residence hall visits) can also accommodate your group of 10 to 40 students. These tours are for groups of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors or college transfer students only.

To request a group tour, please email [email protected] with information about your group size and interests. We require three weeks advance notice for all group tours. We'll contact you via email upon receipt of your request to further assist in scheduling your group tour.

Virtual Tour

Look inside labs, studios, and more

Tour our home without leaving yours

Featuring in-depth views and descriptions of both campuses, this tour is designed so you can click around and explore at your own pace.

Portfolio Reviews

Get advice before you apply

A portfolio should make a big impression

Our admissions counselors can help

When you apply for admission to CCA, whether you’re enrolling as an undergraduate student or a graduate candidate, you’ll have to submit a portfolio of work that demonstrates your creative achievement and potential.

This portfolio helps us make admissions decisions, as well as decisions regarding scholarship recipients, award amounts, financial aid, course placement, and more. In short, you want your portfolio to rise to the top of the stack. We’re happy to help you refine your portfolio so that it shows the best of your abilities, while also providing everything we need to see.

Contact CCA to schedule an appointment or portfolio review, or to receive general admissions information. To request an appointment, use the appropriate link below to put something on our calendars, call +1 800-447-1ART, or email [email protected].

National Portfolio Day

Coming to a city near you

Connect with CCA representatives and admissions counselors by attending an undergraduate or graduate National Portfolio Day (NPDA). Our Admissions team attends NPDA events across the country to review portfolios and answer questions about our programs and application process.

Events

Connect with students, faculty, and advisors

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Numerous ways to network

The creative community at CCA is ambitious, engaged, and curious. You can be a part of it before you even apply by attending CCA’s open houses, preview days, virtual information sessions, admitted student receptions, and other admissions experiences held throughout the year.

Fall Preview Day

One day to do everything CCA

This immersive daylong event is held every fall. It’s designed to give prospective undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to spend time in our classrooms; tour both campuses; meet with financial aid and admissions counselors one on one; get a personalized portfolio review; check out tools in our state-of-the-art labs; visit graduate studios; hang out in disciplinary studios; and explore student housing—all while meeting fellow prospective students, faculty members, and current CCA students.

National Portfolio Day

All National Portfolio Day events are free, open to the public, and don’t require pre-registration; however, registering in the links provided below helps us guide you toward your best art school admissions portfolio possible.

2018–2019 National Portfolio Day schedule

Undergraduate

  • Sarasota: January 27, 2019
  • Miami: January 26, 2019
  • New Orleans: January 19, 2019
  • Los Angeles: January 13, 2019
  • San Francisco: January 12, 2019
  • Portland: January 6, 2019
  • Seattle: January 5, 2019
  • Vancouver: December 1, 2018
  • Phoenix: December 1, 2018
  • Baltimore: November 18, 2018
  • Charlotte: November 18, 2018
  • Washington, D.C.: November 17, 2018
  • Atlanta: November 17, 2018
  • New York: November 10, 2018
  • Philadelphia: November 4, 2018
  • Syracuse: November 4, 2018
  • Toronto: November 3, 2018
  • Ann Arbor: October 28, 2018
  • St. Louis: October 28, 2018
  • Kansas City: October 27, 2018
  • Richmond: October 27, 2018
  • Boston: October 21, 2018
  • San Diego: October 20, 2018
  • Hartford: October 20, 2018
  • Memphis: October 14, 2018
  • Chicago: October 14, 2018
  • Nashville: October 13, 2018
  • Milwaukee: October 13, 2018
  • Minneapolis: October 7, 2018
  • Houston: September 30, 2018
  • Dallas: September 29, 2018
  • Denver: September 22, 2018

Graduate

  • Chicago: November 3, 2018
  • New York: October 28, 2018
  • Boston: October 27, 2018
  • San Francisco: October 21, 2018

FAQs

How to get around both campuses

Common two-campus questions

Do I have to commute back and forth on a daily basis?

Most students plan their schedule to minimize the commute between campuses.

How long is the commute between campuses?

It can take as short as half an hour or as long as an hour or more, depending on traffic. Taking the free intercampus shuttle reduces the commute time.

Do I have enough time to commute between campuses?

Yes, CCA gives students an hour between most classes.

How do I transport my projects between campuses?

The free intercampus shuttle has ample space to store large work in the luggage bay. (Available on a first-come, first-served basis.) Find additional transportation options

May I take my bicycle on the shuttle?

Yes, the free intercampus shuttle can accommodate bicycles in the luggage bay. (Available on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Are similar services available on each campus?

Yes, both campuses support a library, computer labs, a cafe, student support, and administrative services.

Where are the humanities and sciences courses taught?

We offer humanities and sciences courses on both campuses.

Visit CCA to find where you belong

View upcoming tours