New Students

International Application and Visa

Please visit Admissions for more information about applying and receiving your I-20 and visa.

STEM OPT Designated Fields of Study at CalArts

  • MFA Graphic Design (2, 3 years), School of Art
  • MFA Art and Technology, School of Art
  • MFA and BFA Experimental Animation, School of Film and Video
  • BFA Character Animation, School of Film and Video
  • MFA and BFA Music Technology, School of Music

Finances & Financial Aid

It is extremely important that you be prepared to meet the expenses which are detailed on the Student Budget Summary.  Please keep in mind that these charges are estimates only, and that your own personal needs and preferences may change the amounts 
considerably.   Please refer to the FAQ of Finances and Visa Form section in the Visas and I-20 page.

International financial aid is available, but is very limited and highly competitive. Since International students are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance, the only type of financial aid available to international students is CalArts scholarship.  



International Student Handbook

The brochure contains helpful information about CalArts and the Valencia area.

International Student Orientation

The International Students and Programs Office holds a mandatory orientation session for all new international students right before the CalArts new student orientation week each semester. Topics covered include:

  • immigration/visa regulations
  • employment regulations
  • social security number
  • setting up a bank account and cell phone service
  • obtaining a driver’s license
  • transportation
  • CalArts registration procedures
  • cultural adjustment issues
  • culture and academic expectations
  • drug and alcohol laws
  • optional van trips

You are asked to bring your passport and I-20 to this orientation session.

If, for some reason, you are unable to attend the initial orientation session, you should know that you are required to report to the International Students and Programs Office as soon as you arrive at CalArts. Bring your passport, I-20 and I-94 arrival/departure record at this time.



Immunization Form and Health Insurance

All students are required to submit the completed Immunization Form to the Student Health Services Office.

CalArts Health Insurance is required for all new international students. Student health insurance coverage is purchased through the school for a minimal fee. For more detailed information on Health Services at CalArts, insurance cost and coverage details, please visit the Health Insurance page.


English Placement Exercise

All BFA students whose first language is not English will be required to complete a brief placement exercise in the summer prior to arrival to determine the placement into one of the required Critical Studies writing-intensive course sequences.  For this exercise, students will read two short readings and write a 500-700 word essay response.

Based on a combination of your submitted essay, the language profile you filled out online from the Office of Admissions, and your TOEFL or IELTS scores, you will be assigned to a course that Critical Studies believes will give you the best starting foundation to your Critical Studies BFA coursework (coursework that will routinely involve close analytical reading and essay writing in English).

English may be your mother tongue or one of your mother tongues. If this is true for you AND if you filled out the language profile from the Office of Admissions, your name will be removed from the list for this exercise.