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Department: School of Critical Studies

The School of Critical Studies brings together internationally recognized writers, poets, scholars and thinkers working in both new and traditional forms across a wide variety of disciplines, extending from narrative fiction, performance and multimedia to cultural criticism and political theory.

Offering two master’s degree programs and the general education curriculum for all CalArts BFA students, the School of Critical Studies establishes a vital discursive center for the entire CalArts community. Critical Studies is the site for the generation of new ideas through interaction and discussion with a diverse cross-section of practitioners and creative métiers—a place to acquire key intellectual skills and to interrogate what one might define as a “thinking practice.”

Students in the MFA Creative Writing and the MA Aesthetics and Politics Programs develop and refine advanced creative writing and sophisticated critical scholarship in a unique multidisciplinary arts environment dedicated to experimentation and innovation. Unlike many liberal arts colleges or traditional art schools, CalArts links creative and critical practice in profound and generative ways.

The new MA Aesthetics and Politics Program develops and enhances the original program established in 2007, adding an additional low-residency year. This new program is more flexible and substantial enabling students to focus with more time and depth on their studies, to take advantage of the creative environment of CalArts, to have access to a larger and more diverse cross section of theorists and artists, and to opt to study while working in their second year.

BFA General Education

The School of Critical Studies is also responsible for the undergraduate core studies education of CalArts, which form the liberal arts backbone of a bachelor’s degree. Faculty from Critical Studies teach a range of exciting courses in the humanities, social science, cultural studies, sciences and mathematics that engage and inform each student’s own artmaking. To learn more, visit the BFA General Education BFA General Education Requirements page.

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