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Columbia College Chicago
Welcome to Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago
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Welcome to Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago

We seek to cultivate artists with a unique vision and the desire to express that vision cinematically. At the same time, we strive to develop the technical skills that support this creative passion. Believing that the best way to learn filmmaking is to make films, we stress collaborative film and media production: classes are taught through a project-based, hands-on, student-centered process.

We offer a comprehensive curriculum and a faculty of Industry professionals, cinema scholars and independent filmmakers. Ultimately, it’s our successful graduates and the production of artistic, entertaining films that evidence our unsurpassed knowledge and dedication to instruct, support and inspire all who enter our program. Students will work in our state-of-the-art Media Production Center, which includes soundstages, a motion-capture studio, dedicated directing, production design, and cinematography workshops, and classrooms linked digitally to the stages. Students will also study film history, aesthetics, and concept development at our South Loop building just a couple of blocks from Michigan Avenue and beautiful Lake Michigan, which houses projection theaters, image compositing labs, editing suites, audio suites, and digital finishing labs. We’re not here to just show you how to use equipment—we’re here to help you tell cinematic stories.

Bachelor of Arts

Cinema Art + Science, BA. The goal of the Cinema Art + Science program is to engage students in the collaborative process of filmmaking, allowing them to explore a broad area of study or to focus on a specific area of interest through a variety of classes. The BA curriculum is also designed for students who intend to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree

Cinema Art + Science majors complete 45 credits in the major which includes 9 credits of required Core classes. Students can study a single discipline in Cinema Art + Science or explore the major through a variety of classes with the guidance of their faculty advisor. The Core curriculum will include two foundations courses taken as freshmen and a World Cinema requirement taken during the sophomore year. The foundations courses are offered as learning communities.

Once the Core curriculum is completed, students may take advanced classes across a wide variety of specialties including Sound for Cinema, Cinematography, Cinema Studies, Cinema Visual Effects, Directing, Documentary, Postproduction, Producing, Production Design, Screenwriting, and Animation (Traditional and Computer).

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Cinema Art + Science BFA. The BFA is designed specifically as a qualification for direct entry to the profession and is built around extensive modeling of professional practice integrated with research and collaborative production of thesis work at the level or beyond what was traditionally achieved in graduate programs. Students can earn a BFA with a concentration in Animation (Traditional or Computer) Cinematography, Directing, Editing and Post--Production, Sound for Cinema, Cinema Visual Effects, Producing, Production Design or Screenwriting. Any student who completes the required first three semesters for a concentration will be eligible to apply to the BFA in that concentration during their fourth semester. Entry to the BFA is by selection after evaluation of department course work and film production completed in the first three semesters of the BA.

Computer Animation, BFA. The BFA degree in Computer Animation is offered as a professional degree. The educational experience and subsequent body of work reflect three areas of success in the animation profession: (a) a capstone animated film created in a collaborative, team-oriented setting, (b) an animated short created as a solo thesis project, and (c) additional courses in critical studies, story, advanced CG animation, and the technical facility that seeks to prepare students for immediate entry into the professional world.

Submission Guidelines
Students can apply to be accepted into the BFA program once they have earned 45 credit hours. Students must submit a brief document stating their intention to apply for the BFA along with their projected future goals. They will then participate in an advising session and provide a portfolio for review, which should include examples of all department course and project work completed to date. The review will be conducted by the coordinators of the Animation Program along with invited faculty from the Cinema Art + Science Department.

Traditional Animation, BFA. The BFA degree in Traditional Animation is offered as a professional degree. The educational experience and subsequent body of work reflect three areas of success in the animation profession: (a) a capstone animated film created in a collaborative, team-oriented setting, (b) an animated short created as a solo thesis project, and (c) additional courses in critical studies, story, classic art, advanced animation, and the technical facility that seeks to prepare students for immediate entry into the professional world.

Students can apply to be accepted into the BFA program once they have earned 45 credit hours. Students must submit a brief document stating their intention to apply for the BFA along with their projected future goals. They will then participate in an advising session and provide a portfolio for review, which should include examples of all department course and project work completed to date. The review will be conducted by the coordinators of the Animation Program along with invited faculty from the Cinema Art + Science Department.

Master of Fine Arts

Cinema Art + Science-Cinema Directing, MFA. The MFA Program in Directing is dedicated to developing cinema storytellers by cultivating the leadership role of the director and fostering the individual director's personal style and voice. The best directors need equal mastery of leadership, storytelling, and production skills, and Columbia’s two-year MFA program in Directing focuses on working with producers to create cinematic character-driven narratives that are collaborative, diverse, authentic, invoke a human experience and connect with an audience. This 52-credit, two-year program immerses the student in rigorous coursework in writing, directing, and production as preparation for their thesis film.

Cinema Art + Science-Creative Producing, MFA. The MFA in Creative Producing at Columbia College Chicago is an immersive, 50-credit two-year degree designed to develop enterprising creative leaders with the skills to deliver successful media projects from conception to distribution. The program will teach the creative aspects of seeking new material, anticipating and adapting to the industry, enhancing stylistic approaches, and driving content development with the technology of day-to-day production. Students spend their last semester in Los Angeles on a studio lot in direct contact with executives and craftspeople at every level of the Hollywood Industry. Coursework includes classes on acquisitions and development, line producing, business and legal, history and aesthetics, marketing and distribution. Students will have the opportunity to produce short films during their two years and will develop and package a long-form narrative project.