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

Undergraduate students of jazz bass, guitar, keyboard, drums, brass, reeds, and in special cases for other instruments, jazz performance, develop their skills through major lessons, jazz forums, and a range of classes covering transcription, jazz improvisation, harmonic improvisation, keyboard theory, composition, arranging and jazz history, among other topics.

Intensive ensemble work includes performing with both a student jazz ensemble and a faculty jazz ensemble, West African Music and Dance ensembles, Balinese and Javanese Music and Dance ensembles, North Indian Music ensembles, Persian ensembles, and a variety of multi-focus and cross-genre groups in the School. Along the way, students build both concert and recording studio experience.

Mentors and faculty provide continuous musical guidance and collegial artistic advice throughout the BFA residency, as students develop the musical skills and creative voices they need to excel as professional jazz artists after finishing at CalArts.

All BFA jazz students are required to pass a Graduation Recital  in order to obtain the degree.

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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