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Columbia College Chicago
About Columbia
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For creatives. By creatives.


I Am Columbia Video

Columbia College Chicago is an international leader and recognized pioneer in arts and media education. With over 120 years of deep experience teaching creative students to develop authentic voices and meaningful skills, Columbia graduates are fully prepared to launch sustainable careers in the visual, performing, media and communication arts.

Our educational philosophy is rooted in the essential wedding of theory with practice. Our students are immersed in a creative learning environment designed to give them ample opportunity to test and perfect their art, craft or practice, while grounding them in a rigorous academic curriculum that provides broad context and the intellectual, analytical and creative capacity to succeed in their chosen fields.

We are a creative powerhouse, a wildly diverse collective of the world's leading artists and communicators—students and faculty who share a passion for creative work and enterprise that reflect, support and most importantly, shape the culture of our times.

Our creative learning environment is unique because:

WE KNOW that providing hands-on experience is the most effective way to teach creative students. It is why we keep our classroom facilities state of the industry and our class sizes small—to foster intimate and collaborative learning. It is why we think of the entire city of Chicago as our campus—to connect students to the arts, business, entertainment, and professional communities that abound here and that feed our students' aspirations.

WE KNOW that faculty who are actively engaged in the subjects they teach are uniquely qualified to share their expertise in the classroom. That's why Columbia faculty are industry leaders, shaping their disciplines and bringing the most contemporary, innovative thinking to the structure and delivery of our curriculum.

WE KNOW that a well-rounded, broad education in the liberal arts and sciences provides creative students with the context and breadth of knowledge that will feed their creative work, as well as a strong foundation that fully prepares them to enter today's rapidly changing marketplace.

WE KNOW that cultivating a diverse learning environment is essential to the advancement of contemporary arts, media and communication. That's why our student body is among the most diverse found on any college campus.

WE KNOW that students must graduate fully prepared to enter their careers as adaptable, thoughtful, creative professionals. That's why we offer abundant internships, opportunities to connect with (and get feedback) from industry professionals, and an expectation that students will graduate with a professional-grade Body of Work to serve as entrée to their career.

WE KNOW that creativity and innovation flourish in a supportive environment. That's why we are a values-driven academic community where original voices are supported and innovative ideas are celebrated, where our students' success is measured in hard work, a commitment to academic rigor, and the willingness to take risks.

WE KNOW that a Columbia education is an exceptional value. That's why we offer an outstanding curriculum, award-winning faculty, state-of the-art facilities, a prime location, and a diverse student body – all at a tuition rate that is among the lowest of all private arts and media colleges.

WE KNOW that the proof of our success as educators lies in the outcomes and achievements of our students. That's why we couldn't be more proud that our students have gone on to win Oscars, Emmys and Guggenheims, to start their own businesses, write their own columns in major dailies, perform on television, dance, exhibit, design, produce, animate, compose, manage, write, and to direct with the best.