California State Long Beach Art Program Review

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

California State Long Beach Art Program Review – Art Schools in California State Long Beach that offer rewarding Doctorate of Fine Arts (DFA), Masters of Fine Arts (MFA), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree programs in art, fine art, studio arts, photography, drawing & painting, graphic design, illustration, painting & ceramic arts!

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California State Long Beach Art Program Review

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) - Ranking, Fees,  Scholarships Courses, Admissions

cal state long beach art program

Degrees Offered: B. A. and B. F. A. in Art with Graphic Design or Illustration Option; M. F. A. Art with Concentration in Studio Art: – Graphic Design or Illustration/Animation Track

Tuition Information:  Undergraduate in-state $5,020, non-residents $13,948 (12 units per semester); graduate in-state $6,052, non-residents $14,980 (12 units per semester) for the 2010 – 2011 school year

Contact Information:

1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90841
562.985.5471 (Admissions)

Scope of Program:

All B. F. A. candidates in Studio Art take a common core of classes, including drawing, art history, color or painting and lower division electives.  Illustration/Animation students also study rendering, typography and anatomy, as well as track-specific electives in either illustration or animation.  All Illustration/Animation students complete a senior project.  Graphic Design students focus on typography, advertising, packaging design, concept development and advanced topics in graphic design.

Master’s degree candidates must submit a portfolio with their university applications.  Illustration/Animation students take courses in illustration theory and criticism, studio arts, directed studio and art history.  Graphic Design students concentrate on graphic design, visual communication design, art history and image as text.

All Bachelor of Fine Arts majors at California State University Long Beach are “impacted majors,” which means that more students apply for admission to them than can be accommodated.  Accordingly, admission to the B. F. A. programs at California State University Long Beach is extremely competitive.  Students must submit a portfolio to the Department of Art after studying at CSU Long Beach for one or two semesters.

California State University Long Beach is an “impacted campus,” which means many more prospective students apply than can be accepted.  This means that California State University Long Beach must restrict the number of incoming freshmen and transfer students it accepts, particularly from outside its state-designated “local area.”  This is typically accomplished by imposing additional eligibility standards (e.g. higher standardized test score/grade point average combination, called the “eligibility index”). 

Freshmen must live on campus or at home during their first year of enrollment.  Non-residents pay a tuition rate of $372 per semester hour in addition to in-state registration fees.  Merit-based and need-based scholarships are available.

“I came to CSULB nearly burnt out of mathematics; here I found professors that mentored their students through the program; as a student wanting to go on into a PhD, I found several professors more than willing to help. I got one on one help at office hours many times, and found my classmates to be of a very high caliber mathematically. We were constantly discussing, and even ran our own graduate student seminar in geometric-topology. This place is a hidden gem, and will always be special in my heart. Go Beach!”

“My education at CSULB truly made me a global citizen. I was involved in multiple facets of campus life, from student organizations, sports clubs and professional development. I spent most of my time in the college of Liberal Arts, where I studied journalism and Anthropology. The journalism program was a tightly knit community in which all professors know students by name. Students are encouraged by faculty to pursue publishing opportunities for the articles and projects developed in class. I was on staff for three years at the Daily 49er newspaper, a fixture in the journalism department, run and evolved by students and faculty. I had a double major, so the other side of my education is defined by my being completely enraptured by my anthropology classes and professors. Part of the reason why I pursued a double major with anthropology was because the faculty at CSULB was so passionate, intriguing, and accommodating of differing cultural backgrounds and perspectives. Finally, I left CSULB bilingual because of the quality of the Spanish program. Although I am a native English speaker, I finished the program giving presentations in fluent Spanish, and eventually traveling abroad to utilize my Spanish language skills. Aside from the education opportunities, CSULB was always bustling with events, art and music shows, professional development events– the list goes on. The school boasts over 300 clubs and organizations, so as a freshman I was presented with innumerable professional, social and athletic opportunities. In my mind, the cherries on top are the beautiful student union buildings and the two-tier gym. My only criticism would be that the school should offer more career workshops. While I feel I gathered professional skills, I found a lack of specified career development opportunities in the Liberal Arts Department.”

“I had a wonderful educational experience at CSULB. Each and every one of my professors was very passionate and knowledgeable about their field of study, and they lended so much guidance and support throughout my studies. I thoroughly enjoyed my undergrad experience there and it is situated in such an ideal location.”

“My experience at Cal State Long Beach was unforgettable, the atmosphere is laid back and everyone there is friendly. The professors know their stuff and are willing to sit with you if something doesn’t make sense either after class or during office hours. The school has lots of resources and campus events for the students to get involved. There’s a starbucks in the library, and library staff available to help. It’s a few miles from the beach, you can not go wrong. GO BEACH!!!!”

Cal State Long Beach Graphic Design

About Us


As creative problem-solvers, graphic designers deal with the transmission of ideas, information and subjective impressions through the use of print, film, video and digital media. Therefore, the Graphic Design program at California State University, Long Beach, takes a broad approach to the field, including graphic explorations into various media, both traditional and electronic, and also through the lens of advertising art direction.

The BFA degree program in Graphic Design, consisting of 132 units, prepares students for professional careers in design studios, advertising agencies, corporate design departments, motion graphics firms, web design companies, digital design agencies (UX/UI) and free-lance consulting, as well as for graphic design positions with industrial and interior design firms.

Our students have received high accolades for their work including awards and scholarships from the One Show, the Type Directors Club, Adobe Design Achievement Awards and inclusion in national AIGA shows and competitions. Many of our students have had their work appear in various publications.

Our alumni can be found at every level of the design and advertising community. Several have gone on to illustrious careers with national and international reputations. Inclusions of alumni work in leading professional journals, such as: Communication Arts, HOW, and Print, is commonplace.

Students wishing to study Graphic Design at CSULB are first admitted into the BA Studio Art degree option, or as a Pre-Art major. In this degree option, students may focus on Graphic Design. BA students may then choose to apply to enter into the BFA program in Graphic Design. The BFA program has limited enrollment, and the selection process is competitive. To gain entry into the BFA program, a student must:

  • Have earned a 3.0 or better grade point average in your major, 2.5 GPA overall.
  • Submit a portfolio for formal evaluation on SlideRoom, consisting of no fewer than 6 pieces of work, this could include multimedia or web projects. Students must begin the application through School of Art advising center to receive link to SlideRoom and proper instructions.

Student portfolios are evaluated on formal skills as well as the demonstration of imaginative problem-solving and a willingness to take creative risks.

cal state long beach illustration

California State University--Long Beach - Profile, Rankings and Data | US  News Best Colleges

Illustration and animation are graphic theater! Keen observation coupled with a vivid imagination indicates the potential Illustration/Animation student. Our program is founded on drawing from observation, and our graduates work in a variety of fields such as film and entertainment (gaming, animation and live action film), advertising, textiles, biomedical illustration, the gift market, educational illustration, architectural illustration, print publications (newspapers, magazines, graphic novels and books) and more. Many alumni have distinguished themselves in visual journalism, in storyboarding for film and television, and in all aspects of editorial art as well as gallery exhibition.

The BFA Program has two tracks, Illustration and Animation. Students are able to take courses in both tracks, and work together in our digital lab, in addition to learning traditional skills.

Distinguished professionals regularly augment the faculty with workshops and presentations. The resident illustration faculty is comprised of experienced professional artists currently working in the fields of illustration and animation.

The graduate program (MFA/MA) is individualized and dependent on the student’s preparation, interests and talents. This program centers on each student developing a strong personal and independent creative vision. Students in this program will create a focused body of work in the form of an exhibition as the culminating experience of the degree.

Biomedical Illustration Prep Certificate

The Biomedical Illustration Prep Certificate is an interdisciplinary program sponsored by the School of Art and the Department of Biological Sciences.

california state university long beach tuition


The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after fees are initially charged or initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees. All listed fees, other than mandatory system-wide fees, are subject to change without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, or the Presidents, as appropriate. Changes in mandatory system-wide fees will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act (Sections 66028 – 66028.6 of the Education Code).

Tuition &
Mandatory Fees
UndergradGraduateTeacher CredentialEdD
Physical Therapy
Tuition Fee $1,665.00$2,082.00$1,932.00$5,919.00$8,598.00
Associated Students Inc.$68.00$68.00$68.00$68.00$68.00
Instructionally Related Activities$25.00$25.00$25.00$25.00$25.00
University Student Union$201.00$201.00$201.00$201.00$201.00
Student ID Card$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00
Student Excellence Fee$173.00$173.00$173.00$173.00$173.00
Student Health Center$75.00$75.00$75.00$75.00$75.00
Student Representation Fee (Optional)*$2.00$2.00$2.00$2.00$2.00
Total Tuition & Mandatory Fees Per Semester $2,219.00$2,636.00$2,486.00$6,473.00$9,152.00

Students may opt out of the Student Representation fee through the Account Activity page in the Student Center of MyCSULB.  If students opt out after they’ve paid the fee, any credit will be applied to any other outstanding charges for the following semester.

Note: Teacher Credential Program participants are post baccalaureate students who have been admitted to a Multiple Subject, Single Subject or Special Education teaching credential. Students pursuing an advanced or service credential or who are simultaneously enrolled in a Master’s program pay the Graduate rate.  Students in a second bachelor’s degree program are considered Graduate students and pay the Graduate rate.

Non-Resident Tuition

If you are not a resident of California , you must add $396.00 to the above totals for each unit of credit you take.

Example for a non-resident undergraduate who wishes to register for 6 units:

Find your Total Tuition and Mandatory Fees in the table above: $2,213.00

Multiply the number of units you will take by 396: 6 units X 396= $2,376.00

Add the answers: $2,213.00 + $2,376.00 = $4,589.00

You may be exempt from nonresident classification if you are a teacher, military service member, a California high school graduate who has attended a California high school at least three years, or a dependent child of California residents. If so, you must apply for an exemption every semester through Enrollment Services. See Residency.

Tuition & Mandatory FeesUndergradGraduateTeacher CredentialEdD
Physical Therapy
Tuition Fee $2,871.00$3,588.00$3,330.00$5,919.00$8,598.00
Associated Students Inc.$68.00$68.00$68.00$68.00$68.00
Instructionally Related Activities$25.00$25.00$25.00$25.00$25.00
University Student Union$201.00$201.00$201.00$201.00$201.00
Student ID Card$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00
Student Excellence Fee$173.00$173.00$173.00$173.00$173.00
Student Health Center$75.00$75.00$75.00$75.00$75.00
Student Representation Fee (Optional)*$2.00$2.00$2.00$2.00$2.00
Total Tuition & Mandatory Fees Per Semester$3,425.00$4,142.00$3,884.00$6,473.00$9,152.00

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