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Academic Policies

Transfer Credit and Credit by Examination: Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit

General Policy

Transfer credit is considered for acceptance toward a CalArts degree only when:

  1. It was earned at a postsecondary institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or a foreign postsecondary institution recognized by its national government.

  2. An equivalent grade of A, B, C or Pass was earned.

Credit toward the Major

The CalArts Registrar’s Office will conduct an evaluation of previous education and training and will grant appropriate credit in accordance with Institute policies. The decision on year level placement at the time of acceptance is made by a faculty committee in each of the Institute’s schools, based on portfolio or audition, and may not exceed a level that can be substantiated by acceptable transfer credit. The schools are not obligated to recognize transfer credit in the major area when determining year level of acceptance.

Transfer Credits and Critical Studies

CalArts accepts postsecondary transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities and will accept equivalent courses for curriculum requirements in Critical Studies. A maximum of 38 semester units will be allowed for transfer toward the CalArts Critical Studies requirement.

Students with previous bachelors degrees who are accepted at the BFA level will be required to complete at least 8 semester units of CalArts Critical Studies credit in order to obtain a BFA degree from CalArts. All other students will be required to complete at least 8 of the required 46 semester units of Critical Studies credit at CalArts. See the Critical Studies section of the Course Catalog for specific details.

Limitations on Units Accepted Toward Critical Studies

  1. Religious Studies: Critical Studies accepts for transfer credit historical, philosophical and literary studies of religion and the Bible. We do not accept courses in religious studies that represent interpretations of a particular church or sect.

  2. Business Courses: We will give credit for courses that combine business and the arts, as these are equivalent to our Survival in the Arts courses. 

  3. Foreign Languages: We will accept elective credit toward the Critical Studies requirements for foreign language courses. 

  4. Applied Sciences: Generally we proceed on a course-by-course basis in allotting transfer credit to the applied sciences such as courses in the areas of engineering, electronics and computer science. Through course descriptions and syllabi we wish to be assured that there is a significant scientific or quantitative component to the course for which credit is given.

  5. Speech/Oral Communication: Courses that highlight oral communication in conjunction with critical thinking and evidenced based reasoning are accepted. Through course descriptions and syllabi we wish to be assured that there is a significant and sustained critical thinking within the courses for which transfer credit is awarded. 

Credit for Summer Courses or Concurrent Enrollment

CalArts generally accepts credit earned by a currently enrolled student if the credit is earned at a regionally accredited postsecondary institution and otherwise meets transfer criteria. Students must consult with the Dean of the School of Critical Studies and/or the Registrar prior to enrollment in outside courses for which Critical Studies credit is expected. Consultation with the Dean and/or the Registrar will ensure that course choices of the student are consistent with our requirements and will serve the student in fulfilling those requirements. Transfer credit is not guaranteed unless prior approval of the Dean of Critical Studies and/or the Registrar has been obtained.

Leave of Absence

Credit for work done at a regionally accredited institution while the student is away on official leave of absence may be given under the following circumstances:

  1. When prior approval for proposed course work is granted by the Dean of the School of Critical Studies and/or by the Registrar; 

  2. When the student has submitted an approved Leave of Absence form to the Registrar’s Office; and 

  3. When an official transcript of course work completed is provided, certifying the credit earned.