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

Apply now

As a Columbia College Chicago graduate student, you'll 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, you'll create a substantial body of work as you prepare to advance your career, shape the future of your discipline and affect meaningful change in your community.

Graduate Application Requirements

Business and Entrepreneurship, Master of Arts Management

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: March 31, 2018

When applying to the Business and Entrepreneurship, MAM program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your self-assessment essay should include the following: career goals; reasons for pursing 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.
  • Portfolio
    • A portfolio is optional. You should submit one only if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.
  • GRE Exam (recommended but not required)
    • Strongly encouraged if your coursework and professional experiences do not contain a demonstration of critical, analytical, and quantitative skills.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Cinema Art and Science - Cinema Directing, MFA

Deadline: January 15, 2018

When applying to the Cinema Art and Science - Cinema Directing, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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 and strengths you would bring to the program.
  • Portfolio. Your portfolio should contain each of the following:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 film or a video 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.
    • Written Thesis Statement: This is a brief description of a film director and his or her body of work that you admire, which might eventually serve as your written thesis. The statement should include a discussion of their aesthetic and thematic concerns and why they are meaningful to you and your work. It should also include a brief discussion of the director's films in the historical, aesthetic, and cultural context in which they worked. This document should be approximately 250-500 words typed, double-spaced and labeled Cinema and Television Arts Written 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.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Additional Information
    • This program requires the completion of a three-week pre-semester in August.
    • 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. For this reason, the MFA programs in Cinema and Television Arts does not consider applicants with 10 hours or more of Cinema and Television Arts coursework from Columbia College Chicago.
Cinema Art and Science - Creative Producing, MFA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the Cinema Art and Science - Creative Producing, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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; 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, 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.
    • 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?
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Additional Information
    • This program requires the completion of a three-week pre-semester in August.
    • Cinema and Television Arts believes that 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. For this reason, the MFA programs in Cinema and Television Arts does not consider applicants with 10 hours or more of Cinema and Television Arts coursework from Columbia College Chicago.
European Devised Performance Practice, MFA

Priority deadline: March 31, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the European Devised Performance Practice, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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.

  • Portfolio
    • A portfolio is optional. You should submit one only if you feel that it greatly enhances your application.
  • Interview
    • An audition/interview is required during the admissions process. Options for taking part in the audition/interview include URTA Satellite Auditions in New York City (January 19-22), in Chicago (January 29-February 1), or at an audition workshop to be held at Columbia College Chicago on Friday, January 26.
Consumer Information Disclosure
Fiction, MFA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the Fiction, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s) 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; and a story about yourself.
  • Portfolio
    • A 10- to 15-page manuscript of narrative prose (typed and double-spaced). No poetry, plays, or screenplays.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Journalism, MA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: June 30, 2018

When applying to the Journalism, MA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s) 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 public affairs-based reporting program, and your career goals. Please be specific and use the essay to demonstrate your writing skills.
  • Portfolio
    • Your portfolio should consist of a representative sampling of work, including published articles, nonfiction writing, and/or multimedia (photography, video, or audio). Please do not submit poetry, plays, screenplays, or other work of this kind.
  • Interview
    • 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

Deadline: January 15, 2018

When applying to the Music Composition for the Screen, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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 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? 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 be a true, thorough representation of your voice as a music creator. Be sure to include examples of all musical styles that are important to you and that you excel at.
    • We ask that you submit video or audio files of exactly four original pieces of music composed within the last two years, totaling no more than 12 minutes. (If necessary, edit files to stay within the time limit.)
    • 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 under (i.e. 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 to picture or audio only, and does not count toward the total time or number of pieces.)
    • 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.
    • With your portfolio submission, 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
      • The score preparer (who created the score PDF, if applicable)
  • Interview
    • An interview is required during the admissions process. Interviews may be held in person, via Skype, or via FaceTime and will be conducted in February of 2018. 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 professional Digital Audio Workstation (Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase or ProTools), 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.
Nonfiction, MFA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the Nonfiction, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s) 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
    • A 10- to 15-page manuscript of nonfiction prose (typed and double-spaced). This should be creative, not critical, work.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Photography, MFA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the Photography, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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 a portfolio consisting of 20 images of original work. Each slide should be tagged with the following information: full name, title of work, medium, dimensions, and date.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
Poetry, MFA

Priority deadline: January 15, 2018
Final deadline: May 31, 2018

When applying to the Poetry, MFA program, you will need to submit the following in addition to your online application:

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official 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 study of poetry; a discussion of your potential; and your preparation for creative and scholarly growth in a graduate program.
  • Portfolio
    • Your portfolio should 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.
  • Interview
    • A phone interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.

Transcripts

Ask your institution(s) to send official transcripts to Columbia College Chicago Graduate Admissions at 600 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60605. All transcripts received by mail or in person must be in the original sealed envelope from the school.

We also accept transcripts—when sent directly from the institution—via email to gradstudy@colum.edu.

International Students

International applicants must submit the following additional required documents:

1). $100 nonrefundable application fee.

2). Proof of English language proficiency, if English is not your country’s primary language. This can be demonstrated by submitting at least one of the following:

  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Recommended score of 100ibt, 250cbt or 600pbt.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. Recommended score of 7.
  • Transcript or educational records from an institution where English is the language of instruction and you have completed a bachelor’s degree.

3). Official or certified true copies of educational records with English translations.

Learn Which Records to Send

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. Reference this guide (also linked above) for a detailed, country-specific description of the documents you need to send.