School of Theater
The School of Theater offers undergraduate programs that lead to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree and graduate programs that lead to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.
Programs in Performance
Acting Program (BFA, MFA)
Directing Program (MFA)
Programs in Design and Production
Costume Design Program (BFA, MFA)
Lighting Design Program (BFA, MFA)
Sound Design Program (BFA, MFA)
Technical Direction Program (BFA, MFA)
Coursework for these programs is drawn from more than 130 classes offered by the School of Theater each semester. BFA programs require students to complete a minimum of 120 semester units—including a series of liberal arts/general education classes—while candidates for the MFA degree must complete at least 60 units. All students may also take electives offered by the CalArts Schools of Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video and Music.
To graduate, students must fulfill all program and course requirements and pass faculty reviews of their artistic and academic progress—once in mid-residency and again prior to graduation.
See detailed program requirements and current course listings here.
Critical Studies BFA Requirements
A CalArts education is based on both artistic and intellectual rigor. To ensure that each undergraduate has the broad knowledge and cultural sophistication needed for successful arts careers in today’s world, all candidates for the BFA degree must complete the Critical Studies undergraduate requirements in addition to coursework in their individual programs.
The School of Critical Studies enables students to excel in their métier by generating productive links between critical, intellectual, imaginative and creative inquiry. Classes provide a foundational starting point to learning that includes a breadth of study areas and approaches to study across the arts, humanities and sciences. Following this, students are encouraged to develop their Critical Studies work by making strong connections with their chosen métier projects by taking Critical Studies Minors as well as Independent Study options.
BFA candidates are expected to take either three or four Critical Studies classes (6-8 units) per semester as part of the total 46 units required for graduation. Typically, this amounts to 40 percent of each student’s overall course load. The CalArts Critical Studies residency requirement applies to all students.