Information For Undergraduates - California Institute of the Arts
CRITICAL STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE REQUIREMENTS
A CalArts education is based on both artistic and intellectual rigor. To ensure that every undergraduate has the broad knowledge and cultural sophistication needed for successful arts careers in todayâ€™s world, all candidates for the BFA degree must complete the Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements in addition to coursework in their individual programs.
Designed to broaden vision and encourage well-informed, innovative artmaking, the Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements help students to develop analytical, writing and research skills, and to learn about a broad range of topics in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and cultural studies. The Critical Studies curriculum also includes many courses directly related to each studentâ€™s own mĂ©tierâ€”his or her chosen art form.
All BFA candidates are expected to take a total of 46 units in Critical Studies by the time of graduation. This amounts to two to three courses per semester and represents about 40 percent of each studentâ€™s overall course load.
In the first or second semester of the first year, all students must take Writing Artsâ€”a class that introduces students to key concepts underpinning the relation between art and society. First-year students must also take a one-semester Foundation Course, chosen from a variety of subjects ranging from literature to contemporary politics to the biological sciences. Both Writing Arts and the Foundation Course have an intensive writing workshop component. In addition to these two required first-year courses, students take one course each semester from the Critical Studies curriculum array.
Throughout the remaining three years, students must complete at least two units in each of the following Critical Studies categories:
â€˘ Social Sciences
â€˘ Cultural Studies
â€˘ Natural Sciences
â€˘ MĂ©tier Studiesâ€”courses dealing with the history, theory and criticism of the studentâ€™s chosen art form (maximum 14 units)
â€˘ Other MĂ©tier Studiesâ€”courses dealing with the history, theory and criticism of an art form other than the studentâ€™s chosen specialty
â€˘ Quantitative Skillsâ€”courses designed for the development of research, computing and numeracy skills
The remaining units are drawn from other courses offered by the School of Critical Studies, or can be fulfilled through Advanced Placement credits and liberal arts/general education transfer credits from other accredited colleges and universities. To successfully complete the 46 units, it is expected that, after the first year, the student will need to take an average of three Critical Studies courses per semester.
Students also have the option of pursuing a Minor in Critical Studies by concentrating their Critical Studies courses in one of four areas: Humanities, Social Sciences, Cultural Studies or Natural Sciences. Students working toward the Minor in Critical Studies must accumulate 18 credits in their chosen area but are not required to complete any additional classes above and beyond the 46 Critical Studies units needed for the BFA degree.
Students with previous bachelors degrees do not have to fulfill the full 46-unit Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements. They are required, however, to complete at least 12 Critical Studies units in order to obtain a BFA degree from CalArts. Those students working toward a Certificate of Fine Arts are not subject to Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements.
For more details, see calarts.edu/undergrad.
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