Catalog Policies

InterSchool Policy

Overview

InterSchool Degree Programs provide students with the opportunity to pursue one joint degree from two different CalArts Schools (e.g., a BFA degree jointly awarded by the Schools of Art and Film/Video).

Structure: CalArts’ InterSchool option is structurally similar to a “double-major”; however, InterSchool students are expected to use and explore the integration of both artistic disciplines in their practice and final projects. InterSchool Degree Programs are possible only between programs within the same degree level and type (for example, both are MFA programs). 

Eligibility: Applicants to an InterSchool Degree Program must (1) meet admission criteria for both courses of study; (2) show that their artistic work would benefit substantially from two areas of study; and (3) demonstrate that they have the artistic and academic capacity to complete two programs. InterSchool Degree Programs are not available with the Master of Arts in Aesthetics in Politics or the Doctor in Musical Arts Program in Performer/Composer.  

Length: Acceptance and enrollment into most InterSchool Programs will increase by at least one semester the degree time to completion. Time to completion will be estimated during the application process, through the proposal of a specific combination of curricula. For InterSchool Degree Programs, the minimum residency is the length of the longest Program. For example, if a student is enrolled in a three-year Theater MFA, and becomes an InterSchool student with a two-year MFA Program in Writing, the minimum residency requirement will be three years, although students may anticipate adding time-to-degree beyond this minimum. 

Requirements: InterSchool Degree Programs’ requirements vary based on the participating Programs’ curricula and degree type. National and regional accreditation standards for each Program must be fulfilled in their entirety. InterSchool students, regardless of degree type, must demonstrate all skills and competencies for graduation in both Programs and make good progress in all coursework and review processes, as determined by the faculty.  

Requirements for Undergraduate Students: All undergraduate students enrolled in InterSchool Programs must complete – at minimum – all required third and fourth year courses as listed in the Course Catalog (minus any electives that may be taken in the other Program) and any additional coursework deemed necessary by the Program Directors and mentors to meet graduation requirements. Curricula for the Schools of Art and Dance are designed in compliance with national accreditation standards and must be completed in their entirety, as listed in the Course Catalog. Some of the first and second-year requirements may be waived during the admissions process, when students have regionally accredited transfer credits that qualify them for admission at a higher year-level and demonstrate the level of artistic accomplishment commensurate with that year-level. InterSchool undergraduates students must successfully complete all Critical Studies requirements (46 units) and are expected at all times to maintain good progress in Critical Studies and all coursework for both artistic programs. 

Requirements for Graduate Students: Graduate students enrolled in MFA InterSchool Programs must complete all core curricula for both programs, minus any electives or graduate transfer credit considered during the admissions process for the purpose of year-level placement.


Application Process: New Students

New Undergraduate Students: New BFA students are not eligible to apply for an InterSchool Program. Faculty wish to see the quality and direction of students’ work prior to considering them for InterSchool study.

New Graduate Students: Potential MFA students may apply for admission to the InterSchool Program. Successful applicants will exhibit extraordinary strength and ability in the two disciplines of choice, with portfolio/performance work that demonstrates the ability to successfully pursue a rigorous interdisciplinary arts study. New MFA students applying for InterSchool must meet all established Institute application deadlines for both Programs and be admitted into both Programs.

Application Process

  1. Admissions Counselors Consultation: Before being admitted, students should discuss ideas for combining MFA programs with the Admissions Counselors from both disciplines.
  2. Associate Provost Consultation: After speaking with student’s Admissions Counselors and receiving admission to both programs, the student should make an appointment with the Associate Provost to obtain and discuss the InterSchool Approval Form and InterSchool Proposal process. 
  3. InterSchool Proposal: The student will develop an InterSchool Proposal (2-3 pages) that contains the following elements:
    1. A description of why it is important to the student’s development as an artist to pursue the InterSchool Degree option. 
    2. A detailed description of the course of study to be followed, developed in consultation with the student’s mentors and the Associate Provost. This should include a semester-by-semester list of courses-to-be-taken (including independent studies courses), and must include all required courses for both Programs. Proposed course-loads may not exceed 20-units per semester. For most Programs, an average course-load of 15-units per semester is recommended. The proposed course of study must be approved by the Directors and Deans of both Programs and must conform to all national and regionally accreditation standards. 
    3. A list of requested facilities and equipment necessary for the student’s work from each School, including personal studio, exhibition and performance spaces, as applicable. 
    4. A description of the final thesis project(s) to be completed. If the student anticipates completing one thesis project for both Programs, s/he should describe this plan in detail. 
    5. A time frame in which all the work is to be completed, including a target graduation date that is to be aligned with the courses to be taken. 
    6. The name of the requested mentors (if known) within each of the involved Schools.
  4. School Reviews: The Provost Office will present the InterSchool Proposal, along with the InterSchool Approval Form, to the Program Directors of both Schools, who will review the InterSchool Proposal with the student’s requested mentors and deans. 
    1. If the InterSchool Proposal is approved, the InterSchool Approval Form is signed by both mentors, Program Directors and Deans.
    2. Each InterSchool Approval Form must have all six signatures (two Deans, two Program Directors and two mentors) for the application to move forward.
  5. Provost Review:The InterSchool Approval Form, along with the student’s InterSchool Proposal, will then be submitted to the Office of the Provost for final signature. 
    1. Students are encouraged to keep a copy of the InterSchool Proposal and the fully signed InterSchool Approval Form for their records.
  6. Decision: The Office of Admissions will issue an official decision letter on behalf of the Institute.


Application Process: Continuing Students

Admission to InterSchool Degree Programs is highly competitive. Each Program generally accepts a maximum of two InterSchool students per year. Applicants must be students in good academic standing, with the demonstrated ability to complete an intense course of interdisciplinary study. Due to the rigors of completing core requirements in two distinct Programs, applicants must also have ability and previous training in both of the disciplines.


Timeline:
InterSchool applications must be completed by the institutional deadline for admission (usually early January, please see the CalArts website for the current deadline). The application process, from initial discussion with the current mentor/Program Director, to the issuance of a final letter of decision, takes four to six weeks. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students begin the InterSchool application process no later than November 1 of the academic year prior to when the InterSchool Degree Program would begin. It is the applicant’s responsibility to begin the process early and to track the progress of his/her forms and proposals to ensure timely submission of all materials by the established deadlines.

Timeline for Continuing Undergraduate Students: BFA applicants generally begin the application process for InterSchool during the fall of their second year (BFA-2). Those accepted will begin their InterSchool Program in the fall semester of their third year (BFA-3).

Timeline for Continuing Graduate Students
: MFA applicants should apply for InterSchool during the fall of their first year (MFA-1). Those accepted will begin their InterSchool Program in the following fall semester at the MFA-2 year level.

Application Process:

  1. Current Program Consultation: Students should first meet with their current mentor and Program Director, who will advise the student, informally, on the feasibility of an InterSchool course of study, based on the student’s current curriculum, preliminary plan for InterSchool study, and current performance in his/her existing program. 
  2. Associate Provost Consultation: After this preliminary consultation and with the approval of their mentor and Program Director, students should make an appointment with the Associate Provost to obtain and discuss the InterSchool Application Form and application process. Current and Second Program Consultation: After consultation with the Associate Provost, the Provost’s Office will schedule an initial meeting with both Program Directors, the student’s mentor and the student. 
  3. Current and Second Program Consultation: After consultation with the Associate Provost, the Provost’s Office will schedule an initial meeting with both Program Directors, the student’s mentor and the student.
  4. InterSchool Proposal: Based on this meeting and with the conditional encouragement of the Programs, the student will develop an InterSchool Proposal (2-3 pages) that contains the following elements: 
    1. A description of why it is important to the student’s development as an artist to pursue the InterSchool Degree option.
    2. A detailed description of the course of study to be followed, developed in consultation with the Program Directors of each Program. This should include a semester-by-semester list of courses-to-be-taken (including independent studies courses), and must include all required courses for both Programs. Proposed course-loads may not exceed 20-units per semester. For most Programs, an average course-load of 15-units per semester is recommended. The proposed course of study must be approved by the Directors and Deans of both Programs and must conform to all national and regionally accreditation standards. 
    3. A list of requested facilities and equipment necessary for the student’s work from each School, including personal studio, exhibition and performance spaces, as applicable. 
    4. A description of the final thesis project(s) to be completed. If the student anticipates completing one thesis project for both Programs, s/he should describe this plan in detail. 
    5. A time frame in which all the work is to be completed, including a target graduation date that is to be aligned with the courses to be taken.
    6. The name of the requested mentors (if known) within each of the involved Schools. 
  5. Current School Review: The student presents the InterSchool Proposal, along with the InterSchool Application Form, to the Program Director of the student’s current School, who will review the InterSchool Proposal with the student’s mentor and dean. 
    1. The current School may request a portfolio or audition from the applicant to determine his/her readiness to pursue InterSchool study or decline the InterSchool Proposal on the basis of the student’s artistic/academic progress. 
    2. If the InterSchool Proposal is approved, the InterSchool Application Form is signed by the mentor, Program Director and Dean. 
  6. Second School Review: Once approved by the current School, the InterSchool Proposal and InterSchool Application Form will be forwarded to the Program Director of the second School for consideration. 
    1. At this stage of the process, the Program Director of the second School, in consultation with the Dean and the School Admissions Counselor, may waive or require an admissions portfolio or audition.
    2. If the student is accepted for InterSchool study, the InterSchool Application Form is then signed by the second School’s mentor, Program Director and Dean. 
    3. Each InterSchool Application Form must have all six signatures (two Deans, two Program Directors and two mentors) for the application to move forward
  7. Provost Review: The InterSchool Application Form, along with the student’s InterSchool Proposal, will then be submitted to the Office of the Provost for final signature. 
    1. Students are encouraged to keep a copy of the InterSchool Proposal and the fully signed InterSchool Application Form for their records. 
  8. Decision: The Office of Admissions will issue an official decision letter on behalf of the Institute.


Financial Aid: Continuing Students

CalArts makes every effort to maintain a student’s financial aid funding throughout their time here. In order to maintain consistent funding, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress and meet Institute deadlines, including FAFSA deadlines, and remain financially eligible for aid. If all deadlines and criteria are met and academic progress is satisfactory, students may assume that InterSchool status will not alter their overall financial aid package. Students should also note that their current level of aid will generally not increase with the addition of the second Program, even though the time to degree will likely increase. As a result of, Students should note that, due to the extra semester(s) required to complete coursework for both Programs, the total cost of tuition to degree generally will be more than the cost of a single-focus degree Program.

Policy Category:
Revised Date:
Oct 2011