MFA

2-Year Program

The MFA Program in Music is designed to enable students to acquire the multiple skillsets that will empower them to stake out their own, unique, career pathways to success. The program of study is designed to be a stimulating and challenging, collaborative learning environment, in which music and sound artists can refine and perfect their already distinctive voices to reach the highest levels of professional practice, while simultaneously exploring new and inspiring, creative territories.

About the Specialization

MFA students of jazz bass, guitar, keyboard, drums, brass, reeds, and in special cases for other instruments, jazz performance, anchor their individual studies with major lessons, jazz forums and classes in composition, harmonic improvisation, history, theory and analysis. Ensemble work is built around performing with both a student jazz ensemble and a faculty jazz ensemble.

MFA jazz students work closely with their mentors to chart an individualized program of study based on needs, interests and the professional aims of each students. MFA jazz artists also play with faculty as part of an apprenticeship model, as colleagues and collaborators, as they build practical experience as performers, improvisers, composers and bandleaders, at home on the concert stage and in the recording studio.

All MFA candidates are required to pass a Mid-Residence Recital and a Graduation Jury and 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


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.

Integrated Media

The Integrated Media concentration is designed specifically for MFA students whose creative use of technology—in particular digital media—goes beyond their primary areas of study.

Integrated Media

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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