Graduate Admissions

Music Composition for the Screen MFA

How To Apply

When applying to the MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR THE SCREEN MFA program, you will need to submit the following:
  • ONLINE APPLICATION, with application fee
  • SELF-ASSESSMENT ESSAY: Within your self-assessment essay, describe your musical background and qualifications, as well as your motivation to study music composition for the screen. We want to know what drives your passion, as the study is demanding and the competition keen. Tell us what you expect from Columbia's Music Composition for the Screen program and a bit about your own career goals. 
  • TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (Note that recommenders are notified via email once the online application process has begun.)
  • An OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT from any and all colleges or universities attended
  • WORK SAMPLE: Applicants must submit a minimum of three original pieces totaling a minimum of 15 minutes of music composed within the last 3 years. The emphasis should be on dramatic and/or orchestral music (MIDI acceptable), or for a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments. If your work reel consists mostly of concert pieces composed for small chamber, jazz or pop ensembles, we strongly recommend creating at least one customized demo piece that will help to convey your dramatic instincts and authorial voice. This piece can be inspired by any story, scene, or experience. All work samples must be accompanied by a hand-written or computer-generated concert score from which your piece could be faithfully performed. Leadsheets are fine for pop and jazz arrangements.

WORK SAMPLE SUBMISSION METHOD: MP3 files and .pdfs of scores can be uploaded to our online portfolio submission portal at* Permitted file types and size limits are:
  > MUSIC: .mp3 - 30 MB per file maximum
  > SCORES: .pdf - 10 MB per file maximum
  > MOVIES: .mov, .wmv, flv, mp4 - 61 MB per file maximum

Our Slideroom portal offers additional instructions for submitting work. For technical assistance, visit SlideRoom Support. Please direct any questions about work samples to the Graduate Office at 312-369-7260.

*SlideRoom charges users a $10 transaction fee. By using SlideRoom, applicants avoid the expense of copying and mailing their work samples and avoid the risk of corrupted files, lost mail, broken discs, or cross-platform issues. Additionally, applicants can rest assured that the Graduate Committee on Admissions will experience their portfolio exactly how they intended.

Incoming MFA students are required to own a MAC computer in order to be compatible with the software taught in the program.

International StudentsINTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS must submit all of the above materials, as well as an official TOEFL score and a credential evaluation. Additional documents are required of admitted students. Please visit our International Students page for more information.