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Frequently Asked Questions

Admission to the University (Freshmen and Transfers)

How do I apply to the School of Art at CSULB?

You will need to submit an application to CSULB during the application period of October 1-November 30 for fall admission and August 1-31 for spring admission. Refer to CSULB’s Enrollment Services website for admission and application information. Apply to CSULB using CSUMentor.

What courses do I need to apply?

Transfer applicants to Studio Art, Art History, Art Education, and each BFA option have specific Major Specific Criteria. Please refer to ASSIST to ensure the courses you have taken meet the requirement at CSULB.
Freshmen applicants need to meet general CSULB admission criteria.

Do I need to submit a portfolio to apply?

Freshmen applicants do not need to submit a portfolio when applying to CSULB.
Transfer applicants seeking admission to a BFA will be invited to submit a portfolio if the Major Specific Admission Requirements for Transfer are met. Transfer applicants applying to Studio Art do not need to submit a portfolio. The School of Art recommends applying for the BA Studio Art degree to enter the University, and then applying for the BFA after completing some upper-division coursework.

What are the portfolio requirements?

Portfolios should include only your absolute strongest work. Requirements are indicated here.

Am I eligible to submit a portfolio?

Transfer students must meet the general admission criteria and the Supplemental Criteria for Admission to the Major in order to be invited to submit a portfolio.
Current students may apply for portfolio review in the School of Art Advising Center from the 3rd through the 5th week of the fall and spring semesters. Students who meet the criteria, have completed a minimum of 60 and no more than 96 timely graduation units, and who can complete the BFA within the maximum allowed units will be invited to submit a portfolio.

How do I submit my portfolio?

Portfolios are submitted electronically. A link to the on-line submission website will be sent to applicants who are eligible to submit a portfolio.

When do I submit my portfolio?

Portfolio review is typically in October for spring admission and March for fall admission. The invitation to the submission website will indicate specific dates.

What does it mean if I was admitted as a pre-Art major?

All freshmen are admitted as pre-Art majors. The School of Art Advising Center works with all freshmen to complete the necessary courses to become a Studio Art major. After taking upper division coursework students may seek to apply to a BFA program.

Why was I admitted to Studio Art when I applied to a BFA and submitted a portfolio?

If you are a transfer student who met the criteria to submit your portfolio but your work was not strong enough for the BFA program, you may be admitted to Studio Art. You may have one more attempt to apply to the BFA and submit your portfolio after you enroll at CSULB and take some upper division courses to strengthen your portfolio.

Admission to a major in the School of Art

What degrees are offered in the School of Art?

The School of Art offers three Bachelor of Arts degrees: Studio Art, Art Education, and Art History. The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is offered with options in seven areas: Drawing & Painting, Illustration/Animation, Graphic Design, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, and 3-D Media (Fiber, Metal, or Wood).

What is the difference between the BA and the BFA?

The BA in Studio Art is a broad-based liberal arts degree, giving students a wide range of experiences in the various studio art media, but with some emphasis in one area. The BFA is commonly considered the Òprofessional degreeÓ and by putting great emphasis on just one area, it also prepares students who wish to apply for MFA graduate programs. Both the BA and BFA share a common core of foundation courses at the lower division and many – but not all -- upper division courses are available to students pursuing either degree.

Do you offer a degree in industrial or interior design?

CSULB has a Design department that is separate from the School of Art. They offer a BS in Industrial, a BFA in Interior Design, as well as a BA in Design.

Can I change my major to Art?

Freshmen and Sophomores: If you are able to complete the criteria for admission to the Art major before you earn 60 units, you should see an advisor in the Art Advising Center to discuss changing your major to pre-Art.

Juniors and Transfers: If you have already earned 60 or more units, you must have the criteria complete and you must be able to complete the major within the maximum units allowed for timely graduation. Please see an advisor in the Art Advising Center to discuss declaring the Studio Art, Art Education, or Art History major.

How do I declare a major in a BFA?

Current students may apply for portfolio review in the School of Art Advising Center from the 3rd through the 5th week of the fall and spring semesters. Students who meet the criteria, have completed a minimum of 60 and no more than 96 timely graduation units, and who can complete the BFA within the maximum allowed units will be invited to submit a portfolio. Faculty will review your portfolio and determine if your work is strong enough for you to be admitted to the BFA.

How many times may I apply to a BFA?

You may have up to two attempts to a BFA provided you meet the criteria and have not exceeded 96 timely graduation units. Please see an advisor to verify your units. If you are a transfer student and you submit a portfolio when you apply to CSULB, which counts as your first attempt.

Do I need to maintain a minimum GPA once admitted to the BFA?

In order to continue in the major, BFA majors must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the specified discipline, with the exception of BFA Graphic Design majors, who must maintain a 3.2 GPA.

Can I obtain a Single Subject Credential with an Art Education major?

Yes, you can obtain a single subject credential after you have completed the Art Education degree. Please contact the single subject credential office for more information.

Do I need a degree in Art Education to be an art teacher?

No. Course requirements for demonstrating subject matter competence in Art are listed in the University Catalog under Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Option in Art Education. Subject matter competence may be met through completion of 30 core units and 36 breadth and perspective units. Consult with the Single Subject Art Education Advisor for specific academic advisements and program information.

Course Enrollment

I am not an Art major. Can I take an Art class?

Because the School of Art has so many students, Art majors have priority in registration to ensure that they can get classes needed for graduation, and most classes fill very quickly. In addition, most Art courses have several prerequisites. Non-Art majors will need to meet the pre-requisites and wait until the semester begins to request a seat in an Art course.

I am an Art major and the professor has given me permission to enroll, but I am unable to add the class. What should I do next?

Contact an advisor in the School of Art Advising Center for assistance.

I am a Design major. How do I register for an Art class?

Art majors have priority in most art courses. Design majors who have met all prerequisites should pick up a School of Art Permit to Register from the Art Advising Center and obtain necessary signatures once the semester begins.

Can I take an art class as a non-CSULB student?

Yes, you may take Art/Art History courses through Open University on a space-available basis.

Can I take a course for credit/no credit?

You cannot take a course required for the art major as credit/no credit, therefore you may not take art or art history courses with this grading option. You may choose to take an elective or GE course as credit/no credit by completing a grade option change request.

How can I sign up for two courses with a time conflict?

If you have permission from both course instructors, you can use the late registration form to enroll in courses with a time conflict.

How do I withdraw from a class?

View the CSULB official information on dropping and withdrawing. Because the School of Art is heavily impacted, a serious and compelling reason for the withdrawal request is required. The School of Art requires an additional form that must be submitted with the Petition to Withdraw from Classes. This form is also available in the School of Art Advising Center and is submitted there for review.

Transfer Credit

How do I get credit for Art courses taken elsewhere?

Courses taken at a California Community College (CCC) that are articulated with CSULB will only be counted for credit for lower division courses (100 and 200 level courses at CSULB). Courses that are considered upper division at CSULB (300 and 400 level) cannot be transferred for credit. Refer to for articulation with specific CCCs.

Courses taken at other institutions have specific rules for transferring. If CSULB will give credit for a course, the School of Art will review the course syllabus, course description, and your work from the course to determine if the course can be used toward your Art degree.

How do I get credit for AP coursework?

If you earned a 4 or 5 on the Art History AP exam, you will receive credit for AH 111A and AH 111B. If you earned a 3 or higher on the General Portfolio or Drawing Portfolio AP exam, you will receive 3 units of art elective credit. We encourage students who took these AP courses to take Foundation 2-D Design and Foundation Drawing at CSULB. If you took the AP exam for the General Portfolio and/or Drawing Portfolio, you may have one of our Foundation Program faculty review your AP portfolio to determine subject matter competency.

How do I get credit for International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Exam Credit?

If you score a 5, 6, or 7 Arts/Visual exam, you will receive 4 units of Art elective credit.


How do I file to graduate?

Filing for graduation tells the University that you believe you will have completed all of your degree requirements by the term you indicate. You must meet the criteria to file to graduate. This is different from participating in commencement ceremonies. Filing to graduate is done by completing a request to graduate form and submitting it to Enrollment Services.

When do I file for graduation?

File to graduate at least one semester prior to graduating.

Can I walk in commencement ceremonies?

CSULB has commencement ceremonies in May of every year. If you are completing your degree within the academic year, you are welcome to participate in spring ceremonies. If you are a December graduate, the University recommends you participate in the ceremony the following May.

When is graduation?

The School of Art is in the College of the Arts. See the commencement ceremony schedule for the date and time.

How can I change my graduation date?

Complete a request to change graduation date and submit it to Enrollment Services.

How do I submit a Timely Graduation Appeal?

Schedule an appointment with the Director of the School of Art Advising Center and bring the timely graduation appeal form with you. Have your detailed personal statement written and bring any supporting documentation to your appointment (steps 2 and 4 on the appeal form). The Director will assist you with completing steps 1, 3, and 5 of the appeal process.

Declaration of Major/Minor/taking courses

Can I declare a minor in Art? Art History?

At this time the School of Art does not offer any minors in Art or Art History.

Can I double major in art and another major?

Yes, it can be possible to double major in Studio Art or Art History and another major at CSULB. The University does not allow students to double major if they are seeking a BFA degree.

Can I have two concentrations in art?

No. CSULB allows students to have one concentration in Studio Art or one BFA degree, but students may take courses in most other areas.

How do I declare my major in Illustration (or any other BFA)?

Students interested in a BFA program may apply to the BFA program when they have completed a minimum of 60 units, but may not apply after they have completed more than a maximum of 96 units. Applications are accepted from the 3rd through the 5th week of the fall and spring semesters.

School of Art

Are lockers available?

A limited number of lockers are available in some areas, and more lockers are expected to be available by Spring 2014.

Can I have a tour?

Tours of the Fine Arts Complex are available on an as-needed basis. Please contact the School of Art Advising Center at 562-985-7819 to inquire about availability.

How do I contact my professor?

Please use the CSULB Directory. Also, in general, faculty email addresses are

Do I need a laptop computer?

It is recommended that students in Graphic Design have laptop computers. Art Education courses also require personal computers.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Are scholarships available?

The School of Art awards scholarships to continuing students totaling at least $60,000 every year. Application for most scholarships are posted on bulletin boards and via email near the end of the Spring Semester and awardees are announced at the awards ceremony preceding the opening reception for the annual student exhibitions, Insights, in April/May.

For general scholarship information visit the Center for Scholarship Information or Enrollment Services Scholarship website.

How does one get a scholarship in the School of Art?

Announcement of the application for most scholarships happens in the spring and is done via email to current School of Art students and on bulletin boards.

Where can I get information on financial aid?

Am I eligible for financial aid?

How do I apply for the FAFSA?


What is the GWAR?

The CSU requires all students to complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The GWAR requirement begins with the GPE, a placement exam. This exam is used to place students into pathways that give them opportunities to achieve required learning outcomes.

What are the possible GWAR Pathways?

  • If you score an 11 or higher on the GPE, you will need to take a GE Writing Intensive Capstone Course to meet the GWAR. You must pass this course with a grade of C or better.
  • If you score an 11 or higher on the GPE, you will need to take a GE Writing Intensive Capstone Course to meet the GWAR. You must pass this course with a grade of C or better.
  • If you score a 7 or lower on the WPE, you must register for and complete ENGL 301A with a grade of C or better. Then, you will need to register for a GWAR portfolio course the following semester and submit a writing portfolio that earns a passing score. Lastly, you will need to enroll in and complete a GE Writing Intensive Capstone course with a grade of C or better.

How do I sign-up for the GPE?

Register for the GPE using the GPE Registration form.

When do I have to take the GPE?

Undergraduate students must attempt the GPE when they have achieved between 30-50 cumulative units, and transfer students shall complete the GPE preferably before they enroll at CSULB, but no later than their first semester of enrollment.


What facilities/equipment does the School of Art have?

Housed in five major buildings, the SOA boasts some of the largest and most comprehensive facilities found in studio art programs in the country. Particularly impressive are the facilities for Printmaking, Ceramics, Metals and Jewelry, Fiber, Sculpture, and Wood. Additionally, major computer labs for Graphic Design are located in Liberal Arts 5, while additional large and small computer labs are located throughout the Fine Arts 1-4 complex.


Frequently used forms.

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Last modified: September 2, 2016