Schools and Programs at CalArts

Sonny Ruscha Bjornson
Dec 2, 2013 7:43PM


The School of Art offers programs for the professional training of fine artists, graphic designers and photographers.

It actively promotes both the creative environment and the intellectual context for artistic experimentation. The School's programs prepare graduates to thoughtfully challenge the prevailing conventions of artistic expression, develop new forms, and become innovators and leaders in their chosen fields.


The School of Critical Studies brings together internationally recognized writers, poets, scholars and thinkers working in both new and traditional forms across a wide variety of disciplines, extending from narrative fiction, performance and multimedia to cultural criticism and political theory. 

The School of Critical Studies offers two graduate programs: the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Creative Writing Program and the Master of Arts (MA) Aesthetics and Politics Program. In both programs, the expertise of our faculty is complemented with an extensive series of readings, lectures, workshops and longer-term residencies by a diverse range of visiting writers, theorists and artists. Our graduate students also benefit greatly from the dynamic, highly multidisciplinary creative environment of CalArts, where different branches of the arts freely commingle.

In addition, the School of Critical Studies provides a robust liberal arts education for Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) candidates.


The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance is one of the nation’s premiere colleges for the professional training of contemporary dance artists. Technical excellence and innovative artistry are the hallmarks of the undergraduate and graduate programs. Concentrated production seasons of aesthetically diverse work thrive in an atmosphere of creative exchange between professionally motivated students and a faculty of practicing artists. Personal creativity combined with mastery of traditional and contemporary styles prepare students for exciting careers in the field of dance.


The School of Film/Video at CalArts is singularly devoted to filmmaking as a personal, independent art form.

The School is especially unique in that it promotes the studies of all major types of filmmaking: dramatic narrative, documentary, experimental live-action, character-based animation, experimental animation, multimedia, and installation.

We offer four challenging programs, each one with its own specialized curriculum focusing on specific areas in filmmaking. At the same time, all four share an ethos in combining rigorous practical training with theoretical inquiry, hands-on production with aesthetic reflection.


The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts offers rigorous training in an unrivaled variety of musical styles and cultures. This vibrant mix helps each student to acquire the musical fluency to work across conventional boundaries, expand his or her artistic and cultural horizons, and develop a global creative vision.


Our mission is to nurture citizen-artists with the agency to realize their dreams and transform the world.

As one of the preeminent theater training programs in the country, we are dedicated to the development of new voices and new forms. The training we provide is designed to educate the whole person and to prepare fully equipped theater artists to enter and transform the field.

Image (bottom): Former Dean Douglas Huebler (left) with students Mike Kelley (right) and Tim Silverlake, 1978.

Sonny Ruscha Bjornson