CalArts is committed to providing a course of study that advances both the practice of the arts and a broad program of liberal arts education that is designed to enable students to consider aesthetic questions within larger socio-cultural, ethical and political contexts.

The emphasis on the close relationship between liberal arts and studio practice at CalArts reflects the visionary commitment to inter and cross-disciplinary study on which the Institute was founded.

The BFA General Education curriculum, overseen by the School of Critical Studies, is designed to develop the powers of analysis and communication which students need to produce innovative and challenging art and to articulate their vision in the larger social context. To facilitate this learning, the faculty in the School of Critical Studies are recognized scholars in their own disciplines with close connections to art making and a passion to teach the liberal arts and sciences within an arts environment.

BFA students must complete 46 units of Critical Studies coursework. Students will select a range of courses from cultural studies, humanities, the social sciences, science and mathematics. In addition, students will take courses in the history of their own métiers and the arts in general. Creative writing and computer science courses are also available. Please visit the Course Catalog for a full list of courses.

Michael Bryant, Associate Dean of Critical Studies talks about the BFA in General Education

Critical Studies Minor

Students who have completed their Intro to Critical Studies and a Special Topics Level 100 course, Writing Arts and Breadth requirements have the option of obtaining a Minor in Critical Studies in one of the following categories: 

  • Creative Writing
  • Humanities
  • Social Science
  • Cultural Studies 
  • Science & Math

To complete a Minor, students are required to take 18 units from their designated area of concentration.