BFA/BMus Portfolio and Audition Requirements

You have the option to apply for direct admission into our Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Music (BMus) programs. Unlike our Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs—which provide the ability to tailor your elective coursework beyond your major or add a minor— these programs feature more intensive required coursework in the major with limited elective coursework. 

To apply for a BFA or BMus degree, simply select your preferred program on your application. You can submit portfolios or schedule auditions via Columbia Connect, your application portal, after your application is submitted. Please see specific requirements by program below.

All portfolio materials must be received or auditions/interviews scheduled by 11:59pm on Friday, January 31, 2020.

With the exception of the BFA in Interior Architecture, BFA and BMus programs are only available to students starting in the fall term. 

BFA/BMus Requirements 

In addition to the general application requirements, you must submit the following to apply for a BFA/BMus program. By submitting these materials, you are also considered for the talent-based Faculty Recognition Award. 

  • Acting (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Please prepare two contrasting monologues totaling no more than three minutes. Participants in our in-person auditions may be taken through a short group exercise.
    • Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.
    • Submit a full-color headshot. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.
    • Submit a statement of purpose with no more than 500 words. This statement should include your reasons for pursuing a BFA in Acting. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.

    Audition Days

    Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, March 7, 2020: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with Admitted Student Day

    If you are unable to travel to Chicago for one of these dates, please reach out to your admissions representative.

  • Cinema Art and Science (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Write a brief essay (approximately 500 words) discussing your goals and why you wish to pursue a BFA in Cinema Art and Science. Please include any insight on your creative process, and speak to the specific Cinema Art and Science concentration you're interested in. 

     

  • Composition and Production (BMus)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Present two samples of your own original compositions, demonstrating work in varying styles and/or instrumentations. Provide a copy of scores and/or recordings (both, if possible; however, scores are encouraged). Handwritten scores and MIDI realizations are acceptable. These should be submitted online.
    • Perform two pieces of your choice (one of which written by a composer other than yourself) that best showcase your abilities in your primary performance area(s), either voice or instrumental. The two pieces should be in contrasting styles or tempos.
    • Submit a brief musical resume, listing experience in musical settings. This resume can include private lessons; school, church, and community ensembles; recordings; professional work; and other relevant formal or informal study and performance experiences. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.

    Audition Days

    Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, March 7, 2020: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with Admitted Student Day

    If you are unable to travel to Chicago for one of these dates, please reach out to your admissions representative.

  • Computer Animation (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Write a brief personal reflection essay (approximately 500 words) on your creative process and the work you’ve made so far, whether in film, writing, visual arts, or other areas of creative endeavor. We are most interested in your creative processes, your ideas, and your insights about your own work. In addition, write about your goals, what you hope to learn in school, and how you envision applying that to your future work or career.
    • Submit one portfolio piece (either a short film or video no more than a total of seven minutes, a script, or three to five photographs/drawings) that provides additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.
  • Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music (BMus)
  • Dance (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Perform one 2-5 minute solo dance of any dance style. Preferably this piece will be choreographed or improvised by you, but we will accept the work of a choreographer who is a teacher or mentor. Choose a piece that will help the dance faculty to get to know you as an artist. You may show two pieces of different styles, but the total time may not exceed seven minutes.
    • Write and submit a one-page essay (175-200 words minimum) that addresses your interest in the Dance BFA program, specifically discussing your area of interests (such as performance, teaching, choreography, and/or dance history/theory) and the ways in which you feel prepared to take on the challenges of the program. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.
    • Using your submitted essay as a jumping-off point, be prepared to discuss with the faculty your interest in being a part of the program.

    Audition Days

    Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, March 7, 2020: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with Admitted Student Day

    If you are unable to travel to Chicago for one of these dates, please reach out to your admissions representative.

  • Fashion Design (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Submit a portfolio of 10-15 pieces.
    • Submit an essay (500 words maximum) on the following topic: What does it mean to be a critical and creative problem solver in fashion design?
    • Conduct a 20-30 minute interview with faculty, in which you should be prepared to further discuss any elements of your application.

    Audition Days

    Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, March 7, 2020: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with Admitted Student Day

    If you are unable to travel to Chicago for one of these dates, please reach out to your admissions representative.

  • Fine Arts (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work that incorporates a variety of media and subjects. Samples may include drawings, prints, paintings, digital media, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and 3D objects. Whenever possible, drawing and painting work samples should demonstrate observation from life or imagination, rather than from photographs. Special emphasis should be given to work that reflects the candidate’s imagination and a consistent, original vision, or independent project. Please include a brief description of materials and dimensions of your work.
  • Graphic Design (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work that showcase your interest and skills in design through typography, applied drawing, information design, branding identity, web graphics, packaging, advertising design, and publication design. Work submitted may include drawings, digital, web, motion graphics, and experimental design. Your work samples may represent classroom assignments as well as independent projects. Please include a brief description of materials and dimensions of your work.
  • Illustration (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Submit 10-15 images of your best work in a variety of media and subjects that may include drawings, prints, digital, web, and motion graphics. Work samples should represent classroom assignments as well as independent projects. Whenever possible, work samples should demonstrate drawing from life or imagination, rather than from photographs. Please be sure to include dimensions of your work and a one- to three-sentence description for each image.
  • Interior Architecture (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Please note: Unlike other BFA and BMus degrees, portfolio submission is not required for Interior Architecture applicants - it is, however, strongly encouraged. Further, the Interior Architecture degree is available for a spring term start, rather than fall-only. For some transfer students, a spring term start may be optimal. All Interior Architecture applicants will benefit from consulting with an admissions representative prior to applying to determine which start term is best for you. You can find contact information for your representative using the map on this page.

    • Submit 10-15 images of your best creative work that evidences your abilities and interest, particularly in interior spaces; please be sure to include dimensions of your work and a short description for each image. You are invited to submit past projects or images that you have collected, showing evidence of thought regarding spaces, human interactions, materials, graphics/signage, furniture, lighting, etc. If you have worked on interior projects in the past, please include images of perspectives, drawings/sketches, and examples of materials.
  • Musical Theatre Performance (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Perform two contrasting songs (16-32 bar cuts) from musical theatre repertoire (legit/contemporary or uptempo/ballad) and one, 1-minute age appropriate contemporary monologue.
    • Be prepared to participate in a structured dance audition.
    • Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.
    • Submit a full-color headshot. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.
    • Submit a statement of purpose with no more than 500 words. This statement should include your reasons for pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. This should be submitted online prior to your audition.

    Audition Days

    Saturday, November 23, 2019: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Saturday, March 7, 2020: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with Admitted Student Day

    If you are unable to travel to Chicago for one of these dates, please reach out to your admissions representative.

  • Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Write a brief essay (approximately 500 words) discussing your goals and why you wish to pursue a BFA in Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship. Please include any insight on your creative process.
  • Traditional Animation (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    • Write a brief personal reflection essay (approximately 500 words) on your creative process and the work you’ve made so far, whether in film, writing, visual arts, or other creative endeavor. We are most interested in your creative processes, your ideas, and your insights about your own work. In addition, write about your goals, what you hope to learn in school, and how you envision applying that to your future work or career.
    • Submit one portfolio piece (either a short film or video no more than a total of seven minutes, a script, or three to five photographs/drawings) that provides additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.
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