Graduate Admissions

Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts MFA

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Be Enrolled Part-Time?
Yes. You may attend as a part-time student with a minimum of 6 credits per semester; however, we recommend that you take 9 credits during the first semester to fulfill the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper discipline required courses.
When Do Classes Meet?
Our class mostly meet during the afternoon, with a majority of classes being scheduled between noon and nine at night.  Occasionally, we offer intensive and immersive courses on weekends.
How Is the Program Structured?
Our MFA program is a three-year program requiring 60 credits. You may transfer in 12 graduate credits at the discretion of the department.
  • YEAR ONE focuses on discipline-based work in book arts, and provides students with a foundation in both professional practices and art theory.  The first semester students are required to take Thinking through Making, as well as Art as Discourse, a theory course.  The spring semester students are required to take Art as Practice with electives from our history courses, theory/practice courses and graduate studio electives.
  • YEAR TWO is centered on interdisciplinary work through a series of thematic classes, both studio and history/theory, which will include students from across programs. Second-year students are also required to Connected Studio Practice. Electives with any studio practices course are composed of students from both MFA programs, which will help them to further develop their body of work within an interdisciplinary atmosphere.
  • YEAR THREE emphasizes the deepening of a student’s practice and body of work, leading to the creation and exhibition of a thesis project.  Students are required to take a year-long sequence, Thesis One and Thesis Two to prepare for the thesis exhibition.
What Kind of Background Does a Successful Applicant Typically Have?
We do consider applicants who have an undergraduate degree in a field other than visual art, however, we are looking for students who have an ongoing art practice in their area of interest and are interested in expanding that art practice. Your portfolio must include examples of your individual art practice that demonstrates your personal voice and vision.
Are There Any Program-Specific Scholarships Available?
  • The Rosenblum Award was established to support Columbia’s graduate students who are presenting at or attending professional conferences related to their fields of study. Awards are capped at $500, and preference will be given to students whose proposals have been accepted by conference organizers for presentation as part of the conference’s official schedule.
  • Caxton Club Scholarship Award, a project-based award of $2,500 for graduate students working in the book arts. This grant is awarded by the scholarship committee of the Caxton Club during the spring.
  • The Aiko Fellowship, which provides approximately $5,000. This fellowship is from an endowed fund at the Center for Book and paper, and is awarded for a project selected by an outside juror. Application procedure: First year students are invited to submit a project proposal, including a budget, a timeline, and work samples in March of every year. Awards will be announced in May.
  • The Offset Fellowship, a three-semester award of up to $2,900 per semester The Offset fellow assists the studio coordinator in the production of the center’s and department’s printed promotional materials, the center’s publications, any workshop or class-related printing, and in performing some aspects of general studio maintenance. The fellow receives training in prepress production, press operation, and other aspects of offset production. Application procedure: Students are invited to apply during the fall and recipients are announced in December.
  • The Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Awards: $5,000, $4,000, and $3000, awarded to a graduate student based on merit and financial need. The Union League selects the recipient. Application procedure: Applications and guidelines are available at:

For a complete listing of College-wide scholarships, click here.

Who Are the Core Faculty?
For a listing, click here.
What Facilities Are Available to Your Students?
The Interdisciplinary Arts Department has numerous resources for students to make artwork with: two computer labs, three installation labs, the finest printing, binding and papermaking studios in the nation, electronics lab, laser cutter, sound lab, and a black-box venue for staging work, visiting lectures, events, exhibitions, screenings, photo shoots and performance. The department has its own equipment center where students check out an extensive array of items including laptops, video cameras, sound recorders, and projectors. Through gateway course experiences, students are offered usage of equipment, materials and space in all department media. The College itself also has facilities and resources available. Significantly, the internationally recognized Center for Book and Paper Arts (CBPA) is part of the department. Additionally, we provide studios for all of our MFA students. 
What Other Opportunities Are Available To Students?
Those students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Arts Book and Paper program at Columbia who are interested in a career in teaching are eligable for consideration for several teaching opportunities.

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