BFA/BMus Portfolio and Audition Requirements

On this page, you'll find details on the portfolio and audition submission guidelines for direct entry into Columbia's BFA and BMus programs. For complete requirements and deadlines, please scroll down to your desired program.

Please note that a pre-screening process is in place for the Acting, BFA and Musical Theatre Performance, BFA programs. For students applying to either of those programs, the deadline to submit all materials (application to the college, portfolio files, and prescreening items) is 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2020.

For all other direct entry programs, the deadline to submit all materials (application to the college, portfolio files, and scheduling your audition/interview) is 11:59 p.m. on January 15, 2021.

An audition/interview is required for students applying to the (Music) Composition and Production, BMus; Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music, BMus; Fashion Design, BFA; and Dance, BFA programs. You will be able to RSVP for an audition or interview in early November.

Columbia recently held Zoom Town Hall discussions with chairs and faculty from the Dance, Fashion, Music, and Theatre departments where students can learn about the differences between the BA and BFA/BMus programs and have their questions answered. You can view recordings of these discussions at this link. Additional discussions may be scheduled later in the fall, so please check this page for updates.

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 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021.

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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and prescreening materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by December 1, 2020.


    Prescreening materials

    • Submit a full resume of your theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
    • Submit a full-color headshot.
    • Submit a statement of purpose with no more than 500 words. This statement should include your reasons for pursuing a BFA in Acting.
    • Please prepare, record, and upload two contrasting monologues totaling no more than three minutes.

    Virtual Interview Dates

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 (week of Unifieds)
    Saturday, February 27, 2021
    Friday, March 19, 2021

     

    What happens next?

    Prescreenings will be completed by January 11, 2021. Students will be notified by email if they’re invited to audition.

  • Composition and Production (BMus)

    BFA Application Requirements 

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application and uploaded your portfolio items, you'll be able to schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items

    • 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.
    • Perform two pieces of your choice (one of which must be 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.
    • Submit a Music Personal Statement that expresses your goals and your reasons for pursuing professional studies in Music Composition.


    Audition Expectations

    • During the interview there will be a brief conversation about your resume, and you will be asked to discuss your compositional practice. You may also be asked to perform repertoire (which can include work you wrote) and exercises in your discipline (vocal or instrumental) and demonstrate your technical and musical preparation for BMus level studies.
    • The interviewing faculty will ask you to discuss or perform prepared work (this may be either the same work or different work than you submitted for your portfolio), and assess your level in sight-reading (sheet music and lead sheets) and improvisation. Due to the time limitation of the interview slot, the interviewing faculty may only be able to hear parts of work submitted or prepared. Please bear in mind that an important aspect of the interview process is to ensure that you are recommended to music courses that are best matched with your level.
    • Virtual auditions will be identical. Sight reading material will be sent in .PDF format using the Chat function on Zoom.

     

    Virtual Audition Dates

    Saturday, February 6, 2021
    Saturday, February 13, 2021
    Saturday, February 27, 2021
    Saturday, March 13, 2021
    Friday, March 19, 2021

  • Computer Animation (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.


    Portfolio Items
    • 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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items (required for everyone)

    • Write and submit a one-page essay (175 words minimum) that addresses your interest in the Dance BFA program, specifically discussing your area of interest (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.
    • Upload a 2-3 minute video of you performing a 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. 
    • In addition, please include the following: Don’t worry if you do not have experience in all of these forms.
      • MODERN: 1 center combination that demonstrates your ability to use your spine, and 1 combination that demonstrates use of space, as well as moving in and out of the floor.
      • BALLET: a pirouette and a petit allegro
      • WEST-AFRICAN: share your knowledge of the form through a dance or combination sequence.
      • HIP-HOP: a set combination and a freestyle. Any of the following skills are encouraged: waving, gliding/floats, isolations, tutting, dime-stopping/robot, animation, freezes, popping/hitting, footwork, and/or power-moves.

    Please make sure your entire body is visible in all videos.

    Virtual Interview Dates

    Using your submitted essay as a jumping-off point, be prepared to discuss with the faculty your interest in being a part of the dance program, your specific interest in the Dance BFA program, and an area of focus you might be interested in 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. Please plan on your interview lasting about ten minutes.

    Saturday, February 6, 2021
    Saturday, February 27, 2021

     

  • Fashion Design (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application and uploaded your portfolio items, you'll be able to schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items

    • Submit a portfolio of 10-15 pieces (captions and commentary with images are encouraged).
    • Submit an essay (500 words maximum) answering the following question: How do you approach problem-solving through a critical design practice?
    • Conduct a 15-minute conversation with faculty. Be prepared to talk about your portfolio, who you are, why you want to study fashion design, what you like about Columbia and the program, and how you want to grow as a designer.

     

    Virtual Interview Dates

    Saturday, February 6, 2021
    Saturday, February 13, 2021
    Saturday, February 27, 2021
    Saturday, March 13, 2021

  • Film and Television (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items
    • Write a brief essay (approximately 500 words) discussing your creative and professional goals and why you wish to pursue a BFA in Cinema and Television Arts. Please speak to your commitment to the specific concentration you are interested in, include insights on your creative process, and discuss the role collaboration has played or will play in your work.
  • Fine Arts (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items
    • Submit an artist statement.
    • Submit 15–20 work samples that incorporate 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 your 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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.


    Portfolio Items

    • Submit an artist/designer statement.
    • Submit 15–20 work samples 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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    Portfolio Items
    • Submit an artist/designer statement.
    • Submit 15–20 samples 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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

    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, due to course sequencing, 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.

    Portfolio Items
    • 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

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and prescreening materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by December 1, 2020.

     

    Audition/Prescreen Materials

    Prescreen Video
    (to be submitted via uploaded video by 11:59pm on December 1, 2020)

    Overall

    Each piece can be filmed/uploaded as a separate piece of media or a continuous video. Please do not exceed six minutes total—or seven minutes and thirty seconds if you choose to submit a wild card video.

    Slate
    There should not be a separate “slate” video—slates are to appear at the beginning of each piece. To slate for a song, share your name, the title, and show in which it appears. To slate for a monologue, share your name, the title of the play, and the playwright.

    Songs
    Prepare two (2) contrasting pieces from the musical theatre canon.

    • One song should be a ballad and one song should be up-tempo.
    • One song should be written prior to 1970; the other should be written after 1970 and contrast the style of the first.
    • Each song file should be 60-90 seconds.This time limit includes the slate at the beginning of the piece.
    • Songs should be filmed in a ¾ shot, which means the top of the head to your knees should be visible in the frame.
    Monologue
    Prepare one age-appropriate contemporary monologue from a play or musical (no television shows, movies, or dialects) no longer than 60 seconds.
    • This time limit includes the slate at the beginning of the piece.
    • Monologues should be filmed in a “close-up” shot, which means the top of the head to the middle of your chest should be visible in the frame.

    Dance
    Please prepare a self-tape of 2 short combinations using the videos and music linked below. Wear dance attire and appropriate shoes that allow you to do your best, and make sure your entire body is in the frame.

    Combination 1 - YouTube | Combination 1 (music) - YouTube cue at :15

    Combination 1 - Vimeo | Combination 1 (music) - Vimeo cue at :15

    Combination 2 - YouTube | Combination 2 (music) - YouTube cue at :15

    Combination 2 - Vimeo | Combination 2 (music) - Vimeo cue at :15

    Please also include a third combination that celebrates any additional style you specialize in: Hip-Hop, Tap, Acrobatics, West African, Ballroom are some examples.No barre work. Please stick to vocabulary and steps you are familiar with and can execute well. We just want to see where you are in your dance training—show us YOU through your dance.  

    Total running time for the dance portion of your video should be 2 minutes maximum.

    Wild Card Video - Optional
    This media can be ANYTHING you want: a special skill, an interesting story about yourself, a passionate speech, an instrument that you play, etc. “What do you want us to know about you?” and “What makes you unique?”. This submission should be no longer than 90 seconds.

    Portfolio Items 
    (to be submitted prior to your virtual audition or along with your uploaded videos—all submissions due by 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2020)

    • A full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
    • A full-color headshot.
    • Write and submit an essay (175-200 words minimum) that addresses your interest in the Musical Theatre Performance BFA, specifically discussing your area of interests (such as performance, teaching, choreography, and/or actor/musicianship), and the ways in which you feel prepared to take on the challenges of the program.

    Virtual Interview Dates

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 (week of Unifieds)
    Saturday, February 13, 2021
    Saturday, February 27, 2021
    Saturday, March 13, 2021
    Friday, March 19, 2021

    What happens next?

    Prescreen notifications will be made by January 11, 2021. Students will be notified by email if they’re invited to audition.

  • Television Writing and Business (BFA)

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.


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

    BFA Application Requirements

    Step one: Select your preferred program and start your application. Once you've submitted your application, you'll be able to upload portfolio items and/or schedule an audition/interview through your Columbia Connect portal.

    All application and portfiolio materials (including transcripts) must be submitted by January 15, 2021.



    Portfolio Items
    • 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 work samples (such as a short film or video, a script, or three to five photographs/drawings) that provide additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.
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