Graduate Admissions

Columbia College Chicago offers master's degree and graduate certificate programs in the arts, media, education, the business of the arts and the application of the arts to healing. Students pursue advanced study in small, selective programs that are grounded in history and theory and shaped by the trends of contemporary practice. Under the guidance of award-winning faculty, students prepare to advance their careers, shape the future of their disciplines and affect meaningful change in their communities.

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Master’s Degree Programs

Cinema Art + Science - Cinema Directing, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Cinema Art + Science - Cinema Directing, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: A concise but in-depth investigation of your need to work in a personal medium, which should focus on particular motives, attitudes and biases that lie behind your urge to create; a description of special interests and strengths you would bring to the program.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample will consist of two parts:
      1. Creative Portfolio
        • Strong work samples contain visual or written material that demonstrates the potential for successful creative work. Work samples should exhibit you creativity, talent, visual storytelling skills, personal themes and depth of content. These may include, but are not limited to: films, videos, sculptures, paintings, drawings, graphic art, photographs, scripts, treatments, poetry, short stories and/or expository writing.
      2. Visualization Project
        • Construct a narrative in eight to 12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, copy them from the Internet, use a still from a video, and so on. What is important is that the pictures you use tell a clear, cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. Do not use text, titles, shot descriptions or captions. This is strictly visual. Do not use more than two frames per page.
  • Thesis Statement
    • This document should be approximately one page typed, double spaced and labeled: "Cinema Art + Science Thesis Statement." You will need to upload this within the application under your "Work Sample Upload" in addition to your Creative Portfolio and Visualization Project documents. This is a brief description of an idea you have for a film or a video project that might eventually serve as your thesis. The statement should also include your feelings about why you are compelled to tell this story. It should display your potential for developing personal subject matter in the medium and is used by the admissions committee to assess your maturity and ability to communicate your ideas.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • This program requires the completion of a three-week pre-semester in August.
Cinema Art + Science - Creative Producing, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Cinema Art + Science - Creative Producing, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: Your distinction between a line producer and a creative producer; an explanation of how your creativity can impact your work as a producer; specific examples of how you have demonstrated leadership in the past; a one-paragraph summary of the style of film that you are driven to make; reasons why you are the right person to pursue this degree; a description of where you see yourself in 10 years if you are to enroll in this program.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample will consist of two parts:
      1. Case Study Exercise
        • In two pages or less, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our short film sample. If you were able to remake the film, what would you do to improve it? Our film sample can be found here.
      2. Visualization Project
        • Construct a narrative in eight to 12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, copy them from the Internet, use a still from a video, and so on. What is important is that the pictures you use tell a clear, cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. Do not use text, titles, shot descriptions or captions. This is strictly visual. Do not use more than two frames per page.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • This program requires the completion of a three-week pre-semester in August.
Creative Writing - Fiction, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Creative Writing - Fiction, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: Information on your reading and writing background, professional goals, and why you wish to study fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago; a story about yourself
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample will consist of two parts:
      1. Fiction Sample
        • A 15-page (typed and double spaced) manuscript of narrative prose. No poetry, plays or screenplays.
      2. Expository Prose
        • A 15-page (typed and double spaced) expository manuscript of professional writing. Essays written for college courses are preferred, if recent.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Creative Writing - Nonfiction, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Creative Writing - Nonfiction, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a description of your background, interests in studying literary nonfiction, the kinds of work you see yourself pursuing, and why an MFA program in nonfiction is the best course of action for you right now.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample will consist of 20 to 30 pages (typed and double spaced) of nonfiction prose, consisting of at least two samples of work. These should be creative, not critical, essays.

    Please Note:

    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Creative Writing - Poetry, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Creative Writing - Poetry, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a description of your background, especially as it relates to your study of poetry. You may also choose to discuss your potential, as well as your preparation for creative and scholarly growth in a graduate program.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample will consist of 10 pages of poetry (typed). A poem may be more than one page, however, please do not put more than one poem on each page.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admission process. If necessary, the department will contact the applicant directly regarding the interview.
Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, MA

Application Deadline: December 15, 2015

When applying to the Creative Arts Therapies - Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, MA program you will need to submit the following materials:

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Note: If you are applying to two Creative Arts Therapies programs (D/MT&C and a Certificate Program) you will need to upload your two self-assessment essays as one combined PDF or Word document.

For the DMTC Master of Arts program:

  • Write about any Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.) in which you have participated. Also include your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work, and describe your motivation to become a dance/movement therapist. Under a separate heading of "Dance Experience," please briefly answer the following questions:
  • Approximately how many years of dance experience do you have?
  • What is your primary dance style?
  • What styles of dance have you studied?
  • What performing experience do you have?
  • What teaching experience do you have?
  • What choreographic experience do you have?
  • A separate page titled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. We require applicants to have taken at least three undergraduate courses in psychology. Recommended courses include General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality Development and/or Psychophysiology. Anatomy and Kinesiology is also required (other names for this course include Biomechanics, Anatomy/Kinesiology, Anatomy for Dancers, and Introduction to Exercise Science). Unlike the psychology prerequisites, the anatomy/kinesiology course can be one course covering both topics and can be a certificate (perhaps taken online, at a community college or through a massage/yoga studio). Finally, we require at least five years of dance experience. Experience teaching dance, choreographing and performing is preferred.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should consist of a short (one to three minutes) video clip of you dancing in your preferred dance style. It can be a selection of a performance or a piece of your own choreography, as long as you are moving in it. You must identify yourself in the piece, and the admissions committee should be able to observe you clearly.

Please Note:

  • A group assessment interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Drama Therapy & Counseling, MA

Application Deadline: January 8, 2016

When applying to the Creative Arts Therapies - Drama Therapy & Counseling, MA program you will need to submit the following materials:

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Write about any drama therapy and counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.) in which you have participated. Also include your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work, and describe your motivation to become a drama therapist.
    • Under an additional heading of "Prerequisite Fulfillment" please answer the following prompts:
      • Describe your theater experience and qualifications. Note that the North American Drama Therapy Association requires 500 hours of experience in drama (i.e. acting, directing, and/or production work studied or performed in a college, community, or professional setting). One three credit college course is counted at 135 hours.
      • Indicate if you have taken required perquisite courses and/or how you plan to fulfill pending prerequisites. We require applicants to have taken at least three undergraduate courses in psychology. Recommended courses include General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality Development and/or Psychophysiology.

Optional: 

  • Work Sample
  • Should you desire to submit a work sample, we accept video clips of one to three minutes. You must identify yourself in the piece, and the admissions committee should be able to observe you clearly.

Please Note:

  • A group assessment interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
European Devised Performance Practice, MFA

Application Deadline: December 2016

When applying to the European Devised Performance Practice, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Financial Statement
  • Copy of a Photo ID
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: Evidence of your commitment to international theatre and interest in exploring alternative methods of creating performance; An explanation of your goals for learning within the program.

Please Note:

  • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Interdisciplinary Arts, MA

Priority Application Deadline: December 15, 2015 (applications accepted on a rolling basis until May 31)

When applying to the Interdisciplinary Arts, MA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a specific mention of your professional goals (arts administration, the book and paper arts, performance, personal development, or the incorporation of media into your own art form). Be specific.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include a sample representative of your expertise in the arts or arts education (please do NOT submit commercial work). This might include images, video, music or written documents.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Interdisciplinary Arts, MA (Summer Intensive Low Residency)

Priority Application Deadline: December 15, 2015 (applications accepted on a rolling basis until May 31)

When applying to the Interdisciplinary Arts, MA (Summer Intensive Low Residency) program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a specific mention of your professional goals (arts administration, the book and paper arts, performance, personal development, or the incorporation of media into your own art form). Be specific.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include a sample representative of your expertise in the arts or arts education (please do NOT submit commercial work). This might include images, video, music or written documents.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Interdisciplinary Arts & Media, MFA

Priority Application Deadline: December 15, 2015 (applications accepted on a rolling basis until May 31)

When applying to the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should address the following: What you hope to accomplish during your studies in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA program; your professional goals beyond graduate school; your views on interdisciplinary art practice; your views on collaborative art practices; your unique creative strengths and technical abilities; your thoughts regarding the type of work you hope to create during your time in the program.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include images of your artwork that best represents your interests, accomplishments and abilities. In addition to work in media arts, we are interested in a wide range of approaches to artistic practice, including performance, DIY/DIT endeavors, Art/Science collaborations as well as multidisciplinary and community-situated work. We are interested in learning about your practice as an artist, so your work samples should focus on presenting your practice. This might include images, video, music or written documents. Please do NOT submit commercial work.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts, MFA

Priority Application Deadline: December 15, 2015 (applications accepted on a rolling basis until May 31)

When applying to the Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a specific mention of your professional goals (arts administration, the book and paper arts, performance, personal development, or the incorporation of media into your own art form). Be specific.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include images of your artwork that best represents your interests, accomplishments and abilities. In addition to work in the book and paper arts, we are interested in a wide range of approaches to artistic practice, including collaborative work, multidisciplinary work and community-based work. We are interested in learning about your practice as an artist, so your work samples should focus on presenting your practice. This might include images, video, music or written documents. Please do NOT submit commercial work.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Journalism, MA

Priority Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Journalism, MA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a description of your qualifications, what you expect to gain from Columbia's writing-based, public affairs reporting program, and your career goals. Please be specific.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should consist of a representative sampling of published work or other examples of nonfiction writing. Articles and other journalistic samples are best. Please DO NOT submit poetry, plays, screenplays or other work of this kind.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Master of Arts Management

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Business & Entrepreneurship, MAM program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: Your career goals; reasons for wishing to pursue a graduate degree; specific examples from your studies and professional experience that demonstrate your level of understanding of arts management; examples of leadership potential, interpersonal and communication skills, analytical and reasoning capabilities, and personal qualities such as maturity, judgment and individual initiative; knowledge and experience with electronic spreadsheet and relational database software programs (students may be required to complete a course in these areas)

Optional: 

  • GRE Exam (recommended but not required)
    • Strongly encouraged for those applicants whose coursework and professional experiences do not contain a demonstration of critical, analytical and quantitative skills.
  • Work Sample

Please Note:

  • The minimum requirements for admissions include an undergraduate college degree with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or better (on a scale with a maximum of 4.0)
  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Music Composition for the Screen, MFA

Application Deadline: December 15, 2015

When applying to the Music Composition for the Screen, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include a description of your musical background and qualifications, as well as your motivation to study music composition for the screen. What drives your passion? What do you expect from Columbia's Music Composition for the Screen program? What are your career goals?
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include a minimum of three original pieces totaling a minimum of 15 minutes of music composed within the last three years. The emphasis should be on dramatic and/or orchestral music (MIDI acceptable), or a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments. If your work reel consists of mostly concert pieces composed for small chamber, jazz or pop ensembles, we strongly recommend creating at least one customized demo piece that will help 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 handwritten or computer-generated concert score from which your piece could be faithfully performed. Leadsheets are fine for pop and jazz arrangements.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Incoming MFA students are required to own a Mac computer in order to be compatible with the software taught in the program.
Photography, MFA

Application Deadline: January 2016

When applying to the Photography, MFA program, you will need to submit several documents for review.

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include an outline of your professional and personal goals and indicate how this degree will help you reach them.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should include a portfolio consisting of 20 images of original work. Each slide should be tagged with the following information: Full Name, Title of Work, Medium, Dimensions and Date.

Please Note:

  • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.

Certificate Programs

Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling Alternate Route Certificate

Application Deadline: December 15, 2015

When applying to the Alternate Route Certificate you will need to submit the following materials:

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
    • Business executives applying to the MPAC program may request a transcript waiver from the department. Please email Bethany Brownholtz at bbrownholtz@colum.edu.
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Note: If you are applying to two Creative Arts Therapies programs you will need to upload your two self-assessment essays as one combined PDF or Word document.
    • Write about any Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.) in which you have participated. Also include your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work, and describe your motivation to become a dance/movement therapist.
    • A separate page titled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Prerequisites include an MA or PhD in a human services-related field such as counseling, psychology, social work, special education, dance education, creative arts therapy, family therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing or medicine from an accredited school. You are also expected to have taken Anatomy/Kinesiology for 45 hours or 3 credits. Five years of dance is required.
  • Work Sample
    • Your Work Sample should consist of a short (one to three minutes) video clip of you dancing in your preferred dance style. It can be a selection of a performance or a piece of your own choreography, as long as you are moving in it. You must identify yourself in the piece, and the admissions committee should be able to observe you clearly.

Please Note:

  • A group assessment interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Gainful Employment Disclosure
Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis

Please note: This program runs every other year. The application deadline is August 3, 2015 and the next start date is January 2016. Please see the schedule here.

When applying to the Graduate Laban CMA you will need to submit the following materials:

Mandatory:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
    • Business executives applying to the MPAC program may request a transcript waiver from the department. Please email Bethany Brownholtz at bbrownholtz@colum.edu.
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Note: If you are applying to two Creative Arts Therapies programs you will need to upload your two self-assessment essays as one combined PDF or Word document.
    • Write about your understanding/experience with Laban Movement Analysis. Also include any experience you've had with movement such as dance, yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and how you plan on using the Laban certificate in the future.
    • A separate page titled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Prerequisites for this program include an anatomy course or certificate.

Please Note:

  • A group assessment interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Gainful Employment Disclosure (GL-CMA standalone)Gainful Employment Disclosure (GL-CMA with MA in DMTC)Gainful Employment Disclosure (GL-CMA with AltERNATE Route Certificate in DMTC)

Note Regarding Transcripts:  Please have transcripts sent to Graduate Admissions at 600 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60605.  We also accept transcripts electronically through Parchment. We also accept transcripts emailed to gradstudy@colum.edu when sent directly from the institution.

International Applicants need to submit several additional documents for review.  Additional Required Documents Include:

  • An Application Fee of $100
  • Official TOEFL Score: A minimum TOEFL score of 100ibt, 250cbt or 600pbt is required. This requirement may be waived if you have earned your bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in the United States, or if your primary language is English. If you feel you meet these criteria, please contact us at gradstudy@colum.edu to discuss a waiver. Waivers are not granted automatically.
  • Official or Certified True Copies of Educational Records with English Translations:  You must submit all official or certified true copies of your educational records of college/university work. Official educational records not written in English should include an English translation. This may require you to submit a “leaving certificate” or “graduation certificate” along with your translated, certified educational record.