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California College of the Arts: Academics, Admissions & Tuition

Research the California College of the Arts. Learn about its admission info, degree programs and financial aid to make an informed education decision.

About California College of the Arts

California College of the Arts, also known as CCA, is a private, not-for-profit, 4-year institution that was founded in 1907. The college has two locations, one in downtown San Francisco and a second in Oakland. Several of its fine arts graduate degree programs have been ranked within the top 15 fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. New & World Report.


Between its two campuses, CCA offers 22 bachelor's degree and 11 master's degree programs focused on areas such as writing, design, architecture, and fine arts. Undergraduate programs in industrial, interior or graphic design, and architecture all require internships, and for-credit internship opportunities are also available for students in many other programs.

The most popular undergraduate majors in 2010-2011 were architecture and painting. Other popular majors were graphic design and illustration. Creative writing was the most popular graduate major in 2010-2011, though architecture, design, and art history were also favored.

CCA is home to the Meyer Library at its Oakland campus and the Simpson Library at its San Francisco campus. The two libraries hold about 83,000 volumes and 2,000 online periodicals. Meyer Library contains texts for undergraduates and for those studying the fine arts, while Simpson Library has a specialized collection in design and architecture, as well as a greater number of graduate student materials.


An applicant to CCA is required to send an application (preferably online), a portfolio, two letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, a personal essay and a $60 application fee. CCA does not use the Common Application; it has its own application, which is available on its website. Interviews are available, though not required. SAT and/or ACT test scores aren't required, but they are encouraged for first-year, undergraduate applicants. ACT, AP, IB, and SAT subject exams can waive prerequisite requirements once a student is admitted.

There is no deadline for submitting an application, but the school recommends that fall applicants submit application materials before March 1st. There is a February 1st priority deadline for students seeking CCA scholarships.

The student body is 40% Caucasian, 15% Asian, 13% Hispanic, five percent African American and one percent Native American, with a female-to-male ratio of approximately 60 to 40. About 40% of the students are from states other than California, and 14% are from outside the United States.

Tuition & Financial Aid

The 2012-2013 tuition for full-time undergraduate students was $19,224 per semester. Part-time undergraduates paid $1,602 per unit. This same cost was assessed to each unit taken over 18. Graduate student tuition was $1,336 per unit. The National Center for Education for Education Statistics estimated that, including fees, students living on-campus paid approximately $52,240 in total costs for the 2011-2012 academic year. It is worth noting that many courses require purchased materials, thus students enrolled in some degree programs may incur higher costs.

CCA offers merit- and need-based scholarships, with more than 77% of its students receiving aid through the college. Some of the scholarships offered include creative achievement awards, scholastic awards and diversity scholarships. Students may also receive federal, state or local scholarships. About 57% of students took on federal student loans in 2010-2011.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit**
Degrees Offered Bachelor's and master's*
Religious Affiliation None**
Academic Calendar Semester***
School Setting Large City**
Student Body 1,917 students in fall 2012 (1,450 undergraduate, 467 graduate)*
Student Housing 77% of freshmen live on campus*
Schools and Programs Two campuses with 22 bachelor's programs and 11 Master's programs*
Student-Faculty Ratio 10 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011:
Bachelor's: Architecture (29) and painting (29)
Master's: Creative writing (36)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 24% in four years and 49% in six years, for students who began in fall 2005**
Admission Rate 76% in 2011**
Entering Class Size About 234 in 2011***
First-Year Retention Rates 78% of first-time students from 2010-2011*
Average SAT and ACT Score of Admitted Students Middle 50%: SAT Composite of 1420-1840, ACT Composite of 21-26***
Application Due Date No official deadline***; February 1, 2013, financial aid priority deadline March 1, 2013, fall priority deadline*
Decision Notification Date April 1, 2013, for priority applicants; about three weeks after materials are received*
Tuition $19,224 per term for full-time undergraduates, $1,336 per unit for graduate students (cost for 2012-2013, excluding fees)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Full-time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving it) In 2010-2011: Federal grants (35%), state and local scholarships/grants (14%), institutional scholarships/grants (87%), federal student loans (57%), other student loans (3%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 87% in 2010-2011**

Sources: *California College of the Arts, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***College Board.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Enrollment Services Office, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
  • Phone: (800) 447-1ART or (415) 703-9523
  • Website:

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