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What to Expect Your First Semester

Studio Assignments

Studio assignments in the School of Art are prioritized based on degree program, course level, and availability of space.  Studio assignments are generally made within the first month of the semester.

Art Program

Students can expect to be pre-enrolled in some of their required courses for the first semester, but should also plan to add additional courses online and through discussion with faculty at Course Advising Day. For example, faculty permission is required for Independent Studies and for courses outside of the student’s program. To get a better sense of what to take, students are advised to refer to the catalog, and also to talk with their mentors at Orientation and Course Advising Day.

Initial mentor assignments are made during the summer, taking into consideration each student’s practice and interests and the faculty member’s experience and fields of research. However, if the student doesn’t find the relationship generative they can always switch mentors by talking with the Art School Office.

Art and Technology Program

All new and returning students are pre-enrolled in the required program classes. Students may select additional elective classes online and through discussion with faculty at Course Advising Day. For more information about the required courses, students can refer to the course catalog, or email the Program Director with any questions.

Mentors are assigned by the faculty over the summer, and will be introduced to students during the week of New Student Orientation. More details about Orientation will be available through the Art School Orientation Schedule, and questions regarding Orientation should be directed to the Art Office.

Graphic Design Program

Incoming students will be pre-enrolled into required courses by the Registrar’s Office. Students should receive a curriculum guide by email with a breakdown of course requirements and how many electives can be taken each semester. Students can also refer to the course catalog for a breakdown of course requirements. 

Required courses account for the majority of coursework in the first year, though all entering students will have the opportunity to register for additional electives online when fall registration opens. Certain courses that require instructor consent to register can be added on Course Advising Day.
Course Advising Day is mandatory for all Graphic Design students, even if they are not planning to add any additional courses. This day is an opportunity to meet with Graphic Design faculty and talk through any questions about the program, courses and life on campus.
Students will learn their mentor assignment during New Student Orientation. Initial mentor assignments are primarily based on shared areas of interest and experience between the mentor and the student.

Photo/Media Program

Mentor assignments are made over the summer by program directors and faculty. A mentor is your advisor and your advocate. If you are new to CalArts, your mentor can help guide you through the procedures of the Art School, the Photo/Media Program, and help acquaint you with services provided by other parts of the Institute.

School of Art Gallery Guide