The Photography Department is one of the largest and most comprehensive photo departments in the nation. We provide a truly exceptional program for ambitious, motivated students, one that is as broad and as rigorous as the competitive world they’ll encounter after graduation. Our faculty members are active professionals and artists who have achieved remarkable success in a range of commercial and artistic photography. Instructors in the Photography Department have exhibited at such venues as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, and have also won numerous grants and fellowships, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Guggenheim Fellowship. They bring their enthusiasm and passion for photography and their knowledge as working professionals to the classroom to help students bridge the gap between college and the real world.
The Photography Department is an excellent program for students who have high ambitions. Many of our students develop compelling and personal photographic projects. We provide a solid education in photography and then support our students as they each discover a unique direction for their work and career.
Columbia College Chicago is the largest and most diverse private non-profit arts and media college in the nation with more than 120 academic programs and nearly 12,500 students. Because of our size, we offer an unparalleled array of courses with exceptional technological resources in the heart of one of America's greatest cities.
Located in downtown Chicago's vibrant South Loop neighborhood, Columbia is a non profit creative academic community that takes a practical approach to arts education. Our programs in the visual, performing, and media arts are firmly rooted in a rigorous liberal arts and sciences curriculum, which provides students with the essential context in which to practice their craft, develop their voice, and launch a sustainable career.
Columbia is an eclectic, urban community located in the city’s Education Corridor. Close by are several other colleges and universities, the Art Institute, Navy Pier, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, the Chicago Symphony, the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, Lake Michigan, and the Goodman Theatre. Convenient public transportation allows Columbia’s faculty and students to use the entire city as a social, cultural, educational, and professional resource, effectively turning all of Chicago into our campus.
Just about every corner of Chicago speaks of our involvement in the community. Competitions, awards, and professional forums are sponsored by Columbia College Chicago. Current students, faculty, and alumni broadcast over the local television and radio airwaves, perform in our city venues, and publish writing available in our city bookstores. Every student at Columbia is a part of Chicago’s vibrant and inspiring urban life—as well as a critical player in the burgeoning growth of its world-class social and cultural scene.
Columbia College Chicago believes in the power of your creativity. Join our community of outstanding faculty and alumni by applying to become a fellow Columbia student today.
We pioneered the concept of developing a faculty of working professionals, believing that no one can teach better than those who have been there and done that and are still doing it. As a result, our programs stress the career outcomes of a higher education, and our staff of award-winning professionals produces alumni who, in turn, become award-winning professionals themselves.
Recent graduates have exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the City Gallery, and at many other notable institutions and galleries. Our undergraduates have proceeded to graduate study at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions and then on to careers as artists and teachers. Many other students from our program are pursuing successful and exciting careers as photojournalists and commercial and editorial photographers.
Notable alumni working in the field of photography follow below. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this field, some names may be re-listed in other programs.
Photojournalist, News Correspondent
Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), Detroit Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Corcoran Museum of Art (Washington DC), Institute of Contemporary Photography (NYC), Brooklyn Museum of Art (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)
Photographer: Dorthea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize Winner, "25 Under 25 Up-and-Coming American Photographers" Honoree (Photo District News)
Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Kiyasoto Museum of Photographic Arts (Japan)
Pablo Martinez Monsivias
Photojournalist: Pulitzer Prize Winner, World Press Photo Award Winner, WHNPA Winner, National Association of Hispanic Journalists Award Winner
Photojournalist: Pulitzer Prize Winner, George Polk Award Winner
New York Times
Photographer: Guggenheim Memoerial Foundation Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient, Midwest Regional Fellow, Illinois Arts Council Grant Recipient
Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Creative Photography (Tucson), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Alternative Museum (New York), Art Institute of Chicago, Houston Center for Photography, Musée d’Arles (France), and Museum of Fine Arts (Santa Fe)
Scholarships can be an excellent way to help pay for college because scholarship award dollars do not need to be repaid. These awards are mainly intended to be used towards tuition and fee expenses and, on occasion, extend to cover living expenses associated with attending college.
Columbia College Chicago is very proud to offer a variety of scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. In 2012, nearly 45% of incoming students received scholarship support from the College. Awards averaged $5,000-$11,000 per student and were based on a variety of criteria including academic record, demonstrated financial need through a completed FAFSA, area of study, creative samples, and non-academic accomplishments.
To help guide you through the scholarship process, Columbia has created a Scholarship Finder which enables students to enter his/her profile to see which Columbia College scholarship he/she may qualify for in the upcoming year.
Columbia’s Photography Department facilities are the most extensive and advanced in the Midwest. The Digital Imaging Lab includes more than 200 workstations, highly sophisticated scanning equipment, and an assortment of large-format printers. We also have two studios with an extensive array of professional lighting equipment, as well as numerous 8 in. x 10 in. and 4 in. x 5 in. cameras, medium-format and digital cameras, and other digital equipment. Our darkrooms have more than 150 enlarging stations that accommodate all popular film formats, both color and black and white.
"You chose your major because you had to. It was your passion: a strong and genuine desire to make the arts and media your life's work. That passion will serve you well." - Warrick L. Carter, President of Columbia College Chicago
Our students come from all walks of life, from a variety of backgrounds and from a multitude of experiences, but however different they may appear, a common ground exists: our students are passionate.
Columbia College Chicago offers an academically rigorous creative learning environment for students eager to study the visual, performing, media, and communication arts. At Columbia we wed theory and practice. Throughout their studies, students are firmly rooted in coursework in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as the fundamental theories and histories that shape their chosen disciplines. Equally important, they get their hands dirty by creating work of their own, collaborating with students from other disciplines, making industry contacts, and working alongside faculty who provide the context and expertise to guide their work.
By their final year Columbia students have developed a Body of Work that gives voice to their talent and personal vision. The countless hours logged at consoles, the late hours spent in practice rooms, the miles ran across stages, and the dog-eared pages of their notebooks demonstrate a unique passion not found on any other campus in the nation.
With nearly 100 student organizations, Columbia College Chicago offers students myriad opportunities to independently organize events, clubs, and initiatives that give voice to their passions, politics, and creative interests. Whether you have a passion for writing (Fictionary Magazine) or anime (Japanese Anime and Manga) or softball (Columbia Renegades), each one of the clubs, groups, and organizations on our campus is proudly student-created, student-run, and student-promoted. We happily give you the venues and the resources you need to organize and execute.
Official student organizations relevant to this program
Columbia’s urban campus is home to some of the most innovative student housing available. Our four residence centers are centrally located on campus, each with their own unique vibe, and provide ideal settings for creative students. Each building features its own unique set of amenities (from music practice rooms, fitness centers, bicycle storage, to a graffiti room), and each uniquely embodies the innovative mindset of the College. Columbia’s residence centers are a hub of social activity—actively building strong communities by providing the events, social support, and resources that truly make it their home-away-from-home.
Those interested in an immersive residential environment are encouraged to explore the Visual Arts Living Learning Community, which brings together students who like to paint, draw, photograph, graffiti, collage or explore any of the visual art forms.
Of note, Columbia’s on-campus housing is situated in the heart of the “South Loop Education Corridor” of Chicago, among the safest neighborhoods in the third largest city in the United States with steps-away access to mass transit. The adventurous will appreciate the numerous cultural, career and social opportunities awaiting them at the nearby clubs, theatre companies, and media agencies; the homesick will take comfort in experiencing that a short walk or brief ride will take them to a meal as good as mom made, be it a classic American diner in the Loop or a beloved pho restaurant in Little Vietnam.
How to Apply for Housing
Students who apply for Admission using Columbia’s Online Application should complete the On-Campus Housing section of the application. Students who apply for Admission using the Common Application will be asked to complete an On-Campus Housing application separately.
Important Note: Housing is assigned on a first-come first-served basis, and we do our best to match students with the “room-type” and/or roommate preference they indicate on the application. Housing assignments are made exclusively by room-type, and not by building. More information about residence life and housing are available here.
Thank you for your interest in applying to Columbia College Chicago. We welcome applications from all students interested in becoming part of our diverse and uniquely creative community. We look forward to reviewing your application!
Ready to apply?
Visit our Apply page to begin.
For all domestic students, there are three key parts to Columbia’s application:
1 of 3
Application, including housing portion, essay and application fee
2 of 3
Letter of recommendation
3 of 3
Regarding test scores: If you have taken the ACT or SAT, and your scores are not on your transcript, please arrange to have your test results forwarded separately to the Admissions Office. Although the ACT or SAT is not required for admission to Columbia College Chicago, these tests are valuable tools for advising new students. In many cases ACT scores may be used as an alternative to the college's assessment test. All students are strongly urged to complete one of these tests while they are in high school.
Detailed information about the application process is available on the Apply page.
International applicants are welcome: please view special instructions to ensure your application is completed properly.
Full-time tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year is $20,094. For a comprehensive list of fees and costs, as well as information about financial aid and scholarship opportunities, please visit Student Financial Services.
Application fee for domestic students: $35.00
Application fee for international students: $100.00
Fall 2013 Applicants
January 1, 2013
FAFSA Application process opens
May 1, 2013
General deadline for Fall 2013
July 31, 2013
Final decision date for Fall 2013
Columbia’s Admissions Review Committee evaluates all completed applications for admission to the College. Students will be notified of their admissions decisions by mail or email within three to four weeks of the completion of their admissions file.
Admission to Columbia College Chicago is offered for a specified term of entry. Students who are offered admission to Columbia but are unable to enroll in the specified term of entry may request to defer their admission for one year by contacting the Undergraduate Admissions Office in writing. Application materials for students who are granted deferred admission are retained for one year.