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, 13 2016

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

  • 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 the following: A concise but in-depth investigation of your need to work in a personal medium, focusing 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.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio will consist of two parts:
      1. Creative Portfolio
        • Strong work samples contain visual or written material that demonstrate the potential for successful creative work. Work samples should exhibit the applicant's creativity, talent, visual storytelling ability, 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 8-12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, copy them from the internet, use a still from a video, etc. 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, 13 2016

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

  • 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 the following: 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 ten years if you were to enroll in this program.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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?
      2. Visualization Project
        • Construct a narrative in 8-12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, copy them from the internet, use a still from a video, etc. 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 13, 2016

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

  • 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 the following: Information on your reading and writing background; Your professional goals; Why you wish to study fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago; A story about yourself.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio will consist of two parts:
      1. Fiction Sample
        • A 15 page manuscript of narrative prose (typed and double-spaced). No poetry, plays, or screenplays.
      2. Expository Prose
        • A 15 page expository manuscript of professional writing (typed and double-spaced). 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 13, 2016

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

  • 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 the following: A description of your background; Your interests in studying literary nonfiction; The kinds of work you see yourself pursuing; Why an MFA program in nonfiction is the best course of action for you right now.
  • Portfolio
    • Your portfolio should consist of 20-30 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 13, 2016

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

  • 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 the following: A description of your background, especially as it relates to your study of poetry; A discussion of your potential, as well as your preparation for creative and scholarly growth in a graduate program.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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:

  • 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 the following: Any Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.); Your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work; Your motivation to become a dance/movement therapist.
    • Note: If you are applying to two Creative Arts Therapies programs (DMTC and a Certificate Program) you will need to upload your two self-assessment essays as one combined PDF or Word document.
  • Prerequisite Fulfillment:A separate page titled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Indicate if you have taken required prerequisites and/or how you plan to fulfill them. Prerequisites include the following:
    • Five years minimum of dance, as required by the American Dance Therapy Association. 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?
    • 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 (taken online, at a community college, or through a massage/yoga studio). The department offers this annually. Please inquire through Bethany Brownholtz at bbrownholtz@colum.edu.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio should consist of a short (1 to 3 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.

Please Note:

  • A group assessment interview on Saturday, March 5, 2015 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:

  • 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 the following: Any drama therapy and counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.); Your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work; Your motivation to become a drama therapist.
  • Prerequisite Fulfillment: A separate document entitled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Indicate if you have taken required perquisites and/or how you plan to fulfill them. Prerequisites include the following:
    • 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.
    • At least three undergraduate courses in psychology. Recommended courses include General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality Development and/or Psychophysiology.
  • Portfolio
    • A video is required of you acting for 1-3 minutes. You must identify yourself in the piece, and the admissions committee should be able to observe you clearly. It can be an excerpt of a previous performance or new material.

    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: March 15, 2015

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

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $55
  • Resume
  • Financial Statement
  • Copy of a Photo ID
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
    • From all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your Self-Assessment Essay should include: A statement of your commitment to international theatre; evidence of your interest and/or experience in devised performance and alternative methods of creating performance; an explanation of your goals for learning within the program.
  • Portfolio
    • A Portfolio is optional, and should only be submitted if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.

Please Note:

  • Interviews will be conducted on April 2, 2016. You will be notified if you are selected for an 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.

  • 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.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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.

  • 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.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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.

  • 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 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.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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 multi-disciplinary 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.

  • 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).
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio 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, multi-disciplinary 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 13, 2016

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

  • 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 the following: A description of your qualifications; What you expect to gain from Columbia's writing-based, public affairs reporting program: Your career goals. Please be specific.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio should consist of a representative sampling of published work or other examples of non-fiction writing. Articles and other journalistic samples are best. Please DO NOT submit poetry, plays, screenplays, or other work of this kind

Please Note:

  • Interviews will be conducted during the first week of February in 2016. You will be notified if you are selected for an interview.n
Master of Arts Management

Application Deadline: January 13, 2016

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

  • 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 the following: Career goals; Reasons for pursing a graduate degree; Examples 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, judgement, 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).
  • Your Portfolio
    • A Portfolio is optional, and should only be submitted if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 the following: With focus on your motivation to study music composition for the screen - why are you interested in composing music for film, TV, video games and other media? What do you expect from our MFA program? What are your future plans and career goals, and how do you see our program fitting into those? Please also describe your musical background and qualifications, discuss your strengths (and perhaps also weaknesses) as a creator of original music, and include any other information you feel is important in order to get an idea of who you are as a composer and creative artist.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio should be a true, thorough representation of your voice as a composer and music creator. Be sure to include examples of all musical styles that you feel you excel at.

      We ask that you submit sound files of at least four original pieces of music composed within the last three years, totaling a minimum of ten minutes. At least two of the pieces should feature an ensemble of acoustic instruments (i.e. orchestra, chamber ensemble, big band, or similar, could also be hybrid acoustic/electronic) and those should be accompanied by a full concert score in PDF format. Where you don’t have a live recording, MIDI realizations are acceptable.

      When selecting pieces to include in your portfolio, please give preference to those with obvious ‘dramatic’ character - pieces that tell a story, or represent emotional arcs, or imitate actions - regardless of whether or not they were originally intended for a dramatic context like film, theater, dance, etc.

Please Note:

  • Interviews will be conducted during the second week of February in 2016. You will be notified if you are selected for an 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 13, 2016

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

  • 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.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio should include a portfolio consisting of twenty 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:

  • 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 the following: Any Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling experiences (courses, workshops, etc.); Your interest and background in the behavioral sciences including volunteer work; Your motivation to become a dance/movement therapist.
  • Prerequisite Fulfillment: A separate document entitled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Indicate if you have taken required perquisites and/or how you plan to fulfill them. Prerequisites include the following:
    • An MA or PhD in a human services-related field, such as counseling, psychology, social work, special education, dance education, a creative arts therapy, family therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing, or medicine from an accredited school.
    • Five years minimum of dance, as required by the American Dance Therapy Association. 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 course in Anatomy/Kinesiology for 45 hours or 3 credits.
  • Portfolio
    • Your Portfolio should consist of a short (1 to 3 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.

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 early admission deadline is August 3, 2015, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis in the late summer and fall. 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:

  • 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 the following: Your understanding/experience with Laban Movement Analysis; Any experience you've had with movement such as dance, yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique; How you plan on using the Laban certificate in the future. 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.
  • Prerequisite Fulfillment: A separate page titled "Prerequisite Fulfillment" should list and briefly explain your completion of the prerequisites. Prerequisites include the following:
    • An anatomy course or certificate
    • Introduction to Laban Movement Analysis or its equivalent. Note that the department offers this annually.

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. If you need help determining which transcripts or educational records to send us. Check out this guide.