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Last updated on Sep 01, 2021

Humanities + Sciences: First Year Program

first year exhibition drawing wall (with people)


The First Year Program's Core Studio courses emphasize craft, work ethic, visual literacy, critical exploration of ideas, and effective communication. The First Year Program is committed to constructive critique, guided research, presentation of ideas, and the highlighted importance of collaboration.

Working closely with the Advising, Student Affairs, and Residential Life offices, the First Year Program holds classes on both San Francisco and Oakland campuses. Together, we provide structure and guidance to help students acclimate to creative life in order to take advantage of the whole college experience, and get exposure to all of the resources that are available to our students.

First Year Faculty

The studio faculty, a diverse group of artists, architects, and designers supports students in their explorations, while challenging them to take risks, clarify and deepen their processes of inquiry, and refine their techniques.

Faculty members also advise students about how to select a major and design a path of study that will best serve their interests while at the college. With 18 as the average class size, faculty and students have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships.

Bay Area Community

Through sponsored field trips and special projects, the First Year Program provides students with opportunities to integrate with the larger CCA community as well as the vibrant, creative culture of the Bay Area.

The program’s committed faculty of artists, designers, architects, and writers reflects the diverse cultural fabric of the area. Students join a network that will remain throughout their lives and practices, connecting them to CCA's campus throughout their careers.

First Year Portfolio Review

At the end of the first year students participate in the First Year Portfolio Review, a capstone experience that informs and reviews work made in the First Year Core Studios and discusses students' preparedness for the majors. For more information, visit the FY Review Support Site.

First Year Curriculum

Academic courses in History of Art and Visual Culture, English, and Critical Studies strengthen writing proficiency and critical inquiry skills, allowing students to familiarize themselves with the social, historical, and cultural contexts in art, design, architecture, and writing.

In addition, the first year provides opportunities in studio electives for students to investigate majors and explore new media.

Materials and Supplies

The First Year Core Studio Program has partnered with ARCH Art Supplies to create an essential list of materials and supplies you'll need for your classes. Students can purchase a general First Year Essentials Kit or individual kits for Drawing 1, 2D, or 3D.

First Year Kit

Drawing 1 Kit

2D Core Studio Kit

3D Core Studio Kit

For more information, email

First Year Facilities Map

First Year classrooms and the First Year Office are located in the Hooper building (click the image to enlarge).