BFA

4-Year Program

The BFA program of study is uniquely designed around the concept of the "Music Artist." Unlike a traditional conservatory approach, it allows each student to cultivate a far-ranging musical skillset while also providing specialized training best suited to meet individual goals.

About the Specialization

At the BFA level, Performer-Composer studies provides a structured yet highly individualized course of study—comprehensive training regimens in composition and performance practice that are custom-tailored to the creative interests of each student and assessed continuously by the faculty. Performing is a key component along with composing, as studies are geared toward training undergraduates toward future careers as working musicians.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the BFA Core Curriculum and the specialization, undergraduate performer-composers are required to pass a Graduation Composition Portfolio Review and a Graduation Jury and Recital  in order to obtain the degree.

Optional BFA Concentrations

Students who would like to concentrate their coursework in certain ways may choose to focus on several optional Concentrations. Though this is not required, students who fulfill the necessary coursework may have these noted on their transcript.

Avant-Garde Rock and Noise aims to develop necessary technical and professional skills to cultivate awareness of the socio-historical context for such music, and to create an environment that will promote radical collaboration and stylistic innovation.

Electronic Music fosters a strong technical foundation in studio and live electronic music-making, and proceeds to instruct in advanced techniques for today's computer musician.

Experimental Music addresses the current frontiers of radical exploration in music and sound art from creative, technical, historical and philosophical perspectives.

Composition for Film and Video affords a technical and aesthetic foundation for students who wish to collaborate with film and video artists.

Instrumental Concert Music Composition offers a technical foundation for contemporary chamber and orchestral composition as well as provides a broad survey of the diverse stylistic, methodological and aesthetic possibilities available to today's concert music composer.

Full Curriculum

Detailed curriculum and academic requirements can be found in the online course catalog.

View Curriculum Requirements


The Undergraduate Experience

CalArts is committed to providing a broad program of general education designed to enable students to consider aesthetic questions within larger socio-cultural, ethical and political contexts.

Learn more about the General Education curriculum


Interdisciplinary Opportunities

In addition to CalArts' rich and diverse community and naturally collaborative atmosphere, the Institute provides several programs of study that can be pursued concurrently with a student's chosen metier.

Music Theory Minor

The Minor is intended for undergraduate students who wish to receive advanced training and accreditation in Music Theory as a supplement to their major.

Music Theory Minor

Digital Arts Minor

The Minor is designed to help undergraduate students grasp the knowledge to build, engineer and design innovative custom systems.

Digital Arts Minor

Interschool Degree

This option is available to a small number of graduates and advanced third- and fourth-year undergraduates whose skills and artistic interests warrant pursuing a degree in more than one School.

Interschool Degree


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