Graduate

We offer master's degrees in the arts, media, and the business of the arts

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Apply as a graduate student if you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree (or are nearly finished with one) and are interested in earning a master of arts, master of fine arts or master of management.

In addition to your online application, each graduate program has specific application requirements. Please review the additional materials needed for your program of interest.

Are you an international student? Follow the same steps listed here and review this page for additional requirements

Graduate application requirements, by program

  • Business and Entrepreneurship (MAM)

    Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Including the following: career goals; reasons for pursuing a Masters of Arts Management; 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, judgment, and individual initiative; and knowledge and experience with electronic spreadsheet and relational database software programs.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.

    Optional materials:

    • Portfolio
      • We encourage you to upload a portfolio that demonstrates your professional and creative work related to the arts and arts management field.  This work may include a link to your professional website, links to organizations you have collaborated with, and examples of creative and professional practice e.g., performances, designs, photographs, compositions, business or marketing plans, audio recordings, and videos.
    • GRE Exam
  • Cinema and Television Directing (MFA)

    Application Deadline: January 6, 2021

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) 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, thematic material, and perspectives that lie behind your urge to create; and a description of special interests, experience and strengths you would bring to the program.
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should contain each of the following:
        • Creative Portfolio: Strong work samples containing 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.
        • Visualization Project: Construct a narrative in 8-12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, or use existing shots. If you use existing frames, from a video or from the internet, you must not simply duplicate a scene from an existing film, but must tell an original story, using material from more than one source. What is important is that the pictures you use tell a clear, cohesive, original 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.
        • Case Study Exercise: Select one of the two short films provided. In 500 words or fewer, 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?
        • Short Film Thesis Statement: This is a brief description of an idea you have for a short cinema project that might eventually serve as your short film 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. This document should be approximately 250 words, typed, double-spaced, and labeled: "Cinema and Television Arts Short Film 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.
        • If you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistant position, please include an optional one-page statement of teaching experience and teaching philosophy.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
    • Additional Information
      • Applicants with 10 hours or more of Cinema and Television Arts coursework from Columbia College Chicago will not be considered. (The Cinema and Television Arts Department believes that those undergraduate students who have already completed significant coursework in Cinema and Television Arts with Columbia College Chicago's faculty are best served by continuing their graduate study in a new and different academic setting.) 
  • Cinema and Television Producing (MFA)

    Priority Application Deadline: January 6, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should include the following: your understanding of the distinction between a line producer and a creative producer and a director; an explanation of how your creativity can impact your work as a producer; 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 special interests, experience and strengths you would bring to the program; and a description of where you see yourself in 10 years if you are to enroll in this program.
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should contain each of the following:
        • Collaboration and Leadership Example: Provide us with a detailed explanation of an activity that required you to collaborate with others. It could be a school project unrelated to media or the arts, it could be a media-based project like film, or anything else where the goal was intended to be achieved using teamwork/collaboration. Identify the activity, purpose, and positions of people involved (no need to identify people by name) and consider the following: How were team members assigned? How did team members openly share information? How did team members build on each other's ideas? How did team members address decision-making? How was conflict or disagreement addressed? Did the team focus on possibility? What communication techniques did you use (i.e., face-to-face, emails, texts, online), and how did communication influence the collaboration? Was the collaboration in general successful? Why or why not? What did you learn?
        • Visualization Project: Construct a narrative in 8-12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, or use existing shots. If you use existing frames, from a video or from the internet, you must not simply duplicate a scene from an existing film, but must tell an original story, using material from more than one source. What is important is that the pictures you use tell a clear, cohesive, original 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.
        • Case Study Exercise: Select one of the two short films provided. In 500 words or fewer, 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?
        • Short Film Thesis Statement: This is a brief description of an idea you have for a short cinema project that might eventually serve as your short film 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. This document should be approximately 250 words, typed, double-spaced, and labeled: "Cinema and Television Arts Short Film Thesis Statement." You will need to upload this within the application under your "Work Sample Upload" in addition to your Visualization Project documents.
        • If you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistant position, please include an optional one-page statement of teaching experience and teaching philosophy.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
    • Additional Information
      • Applicants with 10 hours or more of Cinema and Television Arts coursework from Columbia College Chicago will not be considered. (The Cinema and Television Arts Department believes that those undergraduate students who have already completed significant coursework in Cinema and Television Arts with Columbia College Chicago's faculty are best served by continuing their graduate study in a new and different academic setting.)
  • Civic Media (MA)

    Priority Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your personal statement should address the following questions in an essay format (between 700-1,000 words):
        • Describe your background and one major influence to be socially conscious.
        • How does your personal and professional experience align with the program’s values?
        • Why do you feel you are a good fit for the program?
        • What inspired you to pursue an MA in Civic Media?
        • What do you hope to learn from the program?
        • What social issues interest you and how would you like to use media to address them?
        • Anything else you think the review committee should know.
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should consist of 2-3 curated materials. Make sure to include an explanation of how each one of the materials relates to civic media. The materials should represent your experience and skills in one of the following areas:
        • Media Production, Artwork and/or User Experience: These portfolio pieces should represent your design and/or production skills that demonstrate your ability to create an effective message to a specific target audience using digital media.
        • Leadership, Community Organizing and/or Entrepreneurial Work: These portfolio pieces can vary from documentation (video, audio, visual print, or written text) of an event you organized for an initiative, or a project that showcases your ability to inspire and collaborate with others.
      • If you feel that you have work that does not fit into these categories but will enhance your application, feel free to submit it for consideration as part of the 2-3 portfolio materials.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Creative Writing (MFA)

    Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.  

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) 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 interests in writing; the kinds of work you see yourself pursuing; why an MFA in Creative Writing is the best course of action for you right now.
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should include a 10-12 page writing sample of writing in any genre (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction), combination of genres (for example, 5 poems and a short story or essay), or hybrid writing. On a separate document, please state whether your writing sample is:
        • a single genre (state which genre)
        • a combination of genres (state which genres)
        • hybrid writing
      • When your writing sample is fully prose (i.e., fiction or nonfiction), it should all be double-spaced. If your writing sample is poems, it may be single-spaced. If your writing sample is hybrid writing with some prose elements, the choice is yours; just know that significant quantities of prose are easier to read if double-spaced.
      • If your writing sample contains multimedia elements (any film, photography, music), please also include those as part of your portfolio. Your writing sample may also contain visual elements within the text itself via scanning if that suits the presentation of your work.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Devised Performance Practice (MA)

    Priority Application Deadline: February 10, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should describe your training and performance experience in devised and physical theatre over the past one to three years.
    • Interview
      • An audition/interview is required during the admissions process. Options for taking part in the audition/interview include:
        • URTA Satellite Auditions - January 15-18 & 22-25
        • One on One Audition with Columbia College Chicago
    Optional Materials
    • Portfolio
      • A portfolio is optional. You should submit one only if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.
  • Entrepreneurship for Creatives (MA)

    Priority Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should be 750 words and use specific examples to answer the following questions:
        • Why are you interested in the MA program, and why at this point in your life?
        • What entrepreneurial goals are you pursuing now or hope to pursue?
        • What have you done that demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively, solve problems, engage in purposeful research, and lead people?
        • What have you done that reveals your individual initiative, judgment, and maturity?
        • In what ways have you used business-related software and technologies effectively?
        • What else would you like the committee to consider when reviewing your application?
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
    Optional Materials
    • Portfolio
      • We encourage you to also upload a portfolio that demonstrates your professional or creative accomplishments. These may include, a link to your professional website; links to creative work, e.g., photographs, designs, performances, compositions; a business or marketing plan; a video of a pitch-session you conducted; a proof of concept demo or illustration.

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  • European Devised Performance Practice (MFA)

    Priority Application Deadline: February 10, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) 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 and an explanation of your goals for learning within the program.
    • Interview
      • An audition/interview is required during the admissions process. Options for taking part in the audition/interview include:
        • URTA Satellite Auditions - January 15-18 & 22-25
        • One on One Audition with Columbia College Chicago
    Optional:
    • Portfolio
      • A portfolio is optional. You should submit one only if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.
    Review Consumer Information Disclosure here.
  • Fine Arts (MFA)

    Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should be between 500 and 750 words, and should specifically address the following questions:
        • What are your personal and professional goals, and how do you envision this degree will help you achieve those goals at this point in your career?
        • Please explain your decision making process for how you assembled your portfolio for this application. For example: why did you include the artworks you’ve included? How do the artworks included demonstrate your commitment to conceptual thinking? How do the artworks connect to one another to demonstrate your ideas and motivations?
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should include 15 examples of artworks (e.g. social practice, installation, performance, print, text, media-based works, time-based works, sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.) that best represent your creative practice. With each item, please include: title, date of completion, materials/media, and relevant dimensions. Please indicate whether the item is a detail of a larger work. Individual entries or excerpts of time-based works (e.g. performance, video, audio) should not exceed 3 minutes.
      • We value portfolios that demonstrate a strong commitment to conceptual thinking and a depth of experience with materials/media, while providing a clear sense of how your ideas and motivations for creating artwork connect across the breadth of work samples.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Interaction Design (MA)

    Priority Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should be 500 words and include how you plan to use your graduate degree to further your intellectual and creative self. Please also outline your goals, aspirations and expectations of the program as you understand it.
    • Portfolio
      • Please include examples of any creative or scholarly work you feel would enhance your application. 
    • Interview
      • An 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: January 15, 2021

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your self-assessment essay should include: Why are you interested in composing music for film, TV, games, AR/VR and other visual 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? What kinds of creative collaborations have you been a part of in the past, what have you liked about them, and what have you disliked? How do you rate yourself as a collaborator, and why? Please also describe your musical background and qualifications, discuss your strengths as a creator of original music (and perhaps also your weaknesses), and include any other information you feel is important to give us an idea of who you are, as a composer, as a creative artist, and as a member of a team. The essay should be 500-800 words.
    • Portfolio
      • Your portfolio should include video or audio files of EXACTLY FOUR original pieces of music composed within the last two years, TOTALING NO MORE THAN 12 MINUTES. This can, but does not have to, include music written to picture.
        • Your portfolio should be a true, thorough representation of your voice as a music creator. Be sure to include a wide variety of those musical styles that are important to you and that you excel at.
        • When selecting pieces to include in your portfolio, please give preference to instrumental pieces created for storytelling media (film, games, theater, dance), and if you are submitting pieces that are not created for film or other media, choose those with an obvious dramatic character: Music that tells a story, or represents emotional arcs, or imitates actions.
        • If you submit a video with music to picture, and the music is mixed low (i.e. under dialog or other noises in the soundtrack), please also submit a music-only version in addition to the original version. (This music-only version can be either video to picture or audio only, and does NOT count toward the total time or total number of pieces.)
        • At minimum, some familiarity with music notation and instrumental composition is expected, so at least TWO of the pieces should feature an ensemble of acoustic instruments (i.e. orchestra, chamber ensemble, big band, or similar; this can 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.
        • At minimum, some familiarity with computer music production is expected, so at least TWO of the pieces should highlight your capabilities of creating music using a Digital Audio Workstation as a production tool, and at least ONE of the pieces should be mixed entirely by you.
        • With your portfolio submission, you MUST include a credit sheet listing for each piece submitted:
          • The composer
          • The arranger (if applicable)
          • The MIDI programmer (if applicable)
          • The recording engineer (if there was live recording involved)
          • The mixing engineer (if applicable)
          • The score preparer (who created the score PDF, if applicable)
          • The main software(s) or other tools used in the production (i.e. the DAW, and/or any featured sound design tools or synths, or sound design processes, if applicable)
    • Interview
      • A video interview is required during the admissions process. Interviews will be held via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, and will be conducted in February of 2021. You will be notified if you are selected for an interview.
    • Additional Information
      • Incoming MFA students will be required to bring a recent Mac computer with recent OS, a recent version of a professional Digital Audio Workstation (Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase, Reaper, Ableton Live, or ProTools), a recent version of a professional notation program (Sibelius, Finale or Dorico), a MIDI keyboard, a pair of headphones, and a pair of powered speakers. We will provide support and tips regarding these items to admitted students well in advance of their arrival.
  • Photography (MFA)

    Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) 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 20 images of original work. Each slide should be tagged with the following information: full name, title of work, medium, dimensions, and date.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Strategic Communication (MA)

    Priority Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
    We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

    Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

    • Application fee: $60
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • Self-Assessment Essay
      • Your personal statement should address the following questions in an essay format (750 words max.):
        • Why are you interested in the MA in Strategic Communication at this point
          in your life?
        • How do you think this degree will augment your current skills and expertise,
          both short and long term?
        • What special skills and perspectives do you bring to the field of Strategic
          Communication?
        • What do you think are the biggest challenges facing communication professionals today working for businesses, organizations, and/or associations?
        • Anything else you think the review committee should know?
    • Portfolio
      • We encourage you to also upload a portfolio that demonstrates your accomplishments. This may include a portfolio link or materials from the areas outlined below:
        • Professional Writing Examples (e.g., research paper, white paper, point of view letter, journalistic writing, creative brief, backgrounder, pitch, data analysis and interpretation, speeches, media alerts, etc.). If the work was collaborative, please indicate what role/s you played in the communication development.
        • Creative Communication Materials (e.g., photography, illustration, performance, design, poetry, short fiction or non-fiction, social media, advertising, event promotion materials, etc.). If the work was collaborative, please indicate what role/s you played in the communication development.
    • Interview
      • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.

Submit Transcripts

In addition to your online application and other materials, you'll need to submit official transcripts for admission.

The preferred method for submitting transcripts is via email to gradstudy@colum.edu. These must be emailed directly from your institution. 

We also accept transcripts by mail to the address below. All transcripts received by mail must be in the original sealed envelope from the school in order to be considered official.

Columbia College Chicago 
School of Graduate Studies
600 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60605

You may receive a conditional offer of admission based on unofficial transcripts from the institution that issued your bachelor's degree. If an admission offer is made, official transcripts must be received before you can enroll.

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