Academic Policies

Part–Time Study

CalArts does not encourage part–time registration in general as all of the Institute’s programs are designed to be completed over the course of two to four years of full–time work. Under special circumstances, students who have completed at least one full–time semester in residence in the School of Art or the Design and Production program of the School of Theater may be approved for part–time registration by the dean of that school. The schools of Film & Video*, Dance, and the Acting and Directing programs of the School of Theater do not accept part–time enrollment. The schools of Music and Critical Studies will consider applications for part–time registration on a case–by–case basis. DMA and MA students are not eligible for part–time study.

International students, by mandate of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services are not permitted to attend on a part–time basis except under very unusual circumstances.

Part–time enrollment will have a direct and proportional impact on a student’s anticipated graduation date. For example, a student attending a semester on a half–time basis will have completed one–half semester toward the 8 full–time semesters, minimum 120 unit undergraduate program.


  1. Schools allowing part–time enrollment may have limitations in addition to those stated here with regard to part–time students. Consultation with the specific school is an initial requirement. The decision to enroll a student on part–time basis is made by the dean with approval of the Provost or his/her designee.
  2. The student must complete a Part–time Registration Request form for each semester that part–time status is desired, as part–time status lapses at the end of each semester.
  3. Tuition for part–time study is proportionate to the fraction of the student’s study, determined by the course load, as compared to full–time. Course load for part–time students will be based on the following:

    Undergraduates in all Schools, and Graduate Students in the Art, Dance, and Music Schools Minimal full–time study is determined to be 12 or more semester units. 
    3/4 part–time = 9 to 11.50 semester units 
    1/2 part–time = 6 to 8.50 semester units 
    1/4 part–time = 1 to 5.50 semester units

    Graduate Students in Schools of Critical Studies, Film, and Theater Minimal full–time study is determined to be 9 or more semester units. 
    3/4 part–time = 7 to 8.50 semester units 
    1/2 part–time = 4.50 to 6.50 semester units 
    1/4 part–time = 1 to 4 semester units

  4. Receipts for tuition payment by part–time students are handled in the same manner as those for full–time students. The Registrar will take particular care to compare the part– time student’s Course Request Card to the tuition receipt, so that the fraction of tuition paid and the fraction of part–time registration are identical.
  5. Access to facilities of the Institute, such as the library, tools, space, equipment and shops, by part–time students shall include those facilities pertaining to the specific program in which the student is enrolled. In unusual situations, exceptions to the above guidelines may be made at the discretion of the student’s dean in consultation with the Registrar and with approval by the Provost or their designee.

Students are encouraged to discuss their specific award and billing consequences with Financial Aid and Student Accounts.

  • Three-Quarter (3/4) Time - If a student chooses to enroll three-quarter time (3/4 time), their CalArts institutional aid will be adjusted to three-quarter (75%) of the amount.  Federal grants (if applicable) will also be adjusted to three-quarter.  Federal and private loans will be re-calculated according to the three-quarter time tuition budget.  
  • Half (1/2) Time - If a student chooses to enroll half-time (1/2 time), their CalArts institutional aid will be adjusted to half (50%) of the amount.  Federal grants (if applicable) will also be adjusted to half.  Federal and private loans will be re-calculated according to the half-time tuition budget.   
  • Less Than Half-Time (1/4 Time) - All students must be enrolled at least half-time in order to receive CalArts institutional aid.  Students enrolling less than half-time (1/4 time) are not eligible for CalArts institutional scholarship and grants, nor are they eligible for federal loans (private educational loans may be a viable, alternative option).  For Pell eligible students, the Pell Grant will be adjusted to one-quarter (25%) of the award amount, if applicable.  

The grace period on loan repayment begins when a student drops below half-time enrollment.

*Please note that all CalArts donor and endowed (Named Scholarship) funds require full-time enrollment.  This does NOT pertain to the Lillian Disney, President's Aspiring or Alexander Mackendrick awards.

* Exception for Academic Year 2020-2021: Given the COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional circumstance, the Provost has approved for the School of Film/Video to offer part-time study. Character Animation students are only eligible for part-time during their BFA-4 year and if they are on track with Critical Studies requirements and overall units completed.

Policy Category:
Revised Date:
Sep 2017
Revision History: