International Student Admissions

Columbia University School of the Arts welcomes applications from international students. In Fall 2013, international students from over 44 countries composed nearly 22 percent of the student body.

International applicants should have the equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree, and should understand idiomatic English and speak, write, and read English with a high degree of facility.

Advice for International Students

Before you apply, and especially if you are accepted, here are some important things to consider:
  • Funding sources for international students are extremely limited; It is critical that international students arrive with a plan in place for funding the entire length of the program, not just the first year;
  • All School of the Arts students, both international and domestic, are ultimately responsible for funding their education.  While the School of the Arts offers some fellowship support based upon a combination of merit and need, such funding is not guaranteed and, if granted, would likely apply only to the first and/or second year(s);
  • Each School of the Arts MFA Program requires at least two years of full-time study.  Some allow up to five years for completion of the thesis project, though during the thesis period (aka “Research Arts”) tuition is greatly reduced.  Current tuition and fees can be found here;
  • If you are admitted, Columbia’s International Students and Scholars Office will, as part of your visa application, require proof of your ability to fund only your first year of education, however, it is essential that students have a plan in place to fund the cost of attendance for the duration of their program;
  • While loans to international students by U.S. lenders are available, all require a cosigner who is a credit-worthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident. For more information, click here;
  • A monthly tuition payment plan is available.  Information about the TuitionPay Payment Plan, can be found here;
Timely tuition payment is critical each semester.  Current students who are beyond the first semester and who have student account balances over $999 from a previous semester are not allowed to register for subsequent semesters.  This may place international students in jeopardy of violating their student visas.

Application Requirements

Please see the Apply page for all information (application requirements for international students do not differ from those for all applicants).

International applicants must supply certified translations of all documents not in English.

TOEFL and English Proficiency Requirements

All international applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency. This must be provided in one of the following ways as part of your application requirements:
  1. The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam meeting the minimum score of 100 on the online portion or 600 on the written portion. Information about the TOEFL can be found at the ETS TOEFL website.
  2. Uploading an unofficial transcript to your application showing a degree obtained from an undergraduate or graduate institution where English is the primary language of instruction.
  3. Uploading an unofficial transcript to your application showing at least one year of full-time advanced study at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction in addition to your unofficial undergraduate transcript. *The School of the Arts reserves the right to verify your English proficiency through an interview*.
We cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed if you do not meet at least one of these requirements by the application deadline.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. Applicants whose scores were received over two years ago must retake the test and resubmit their current scores with the admissions application. Applications should request that TOEFL send results to school code 2171. We will not be able to verify your TOEFL score unless our school code is entered.

TOEFL is the only English proficiency test accepted by the School of the Arts

Important Visa Information
An F-1 or comparable student visa is required for all international students who attend Columbia University. International students who are accepted will receive information on applying for the visa in their acceptance packets (students may not apply for the visa until after they are accepted).   Be aware that certain visas may limit international students’ ability to work in the United States.

Financing Your Degree
It is recommended that any applicant wishing to be considered for financial aid complete all appropriate applications by February 16, 2016. Please see Financing Your Degree for more information.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Film MFA:
December 1, 2016

Film Studies MA:
February 1, 2017

Theatre MFA (Directing only):
December 1, 2016

Theatre MFA (all other concentrations):
January 5, 2017

Writing MFA:
January 5, 2017

Visual Arts MFA:
January 17, 2017

Arts Interdepartmental MFA (Sound Arts):
January 17, 2017
a Brochure

Office of Admissions
& Financial Aid

School of the Arts
Columbia University
305 Dodge Hall, MC 1808
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-2134
Fax: (212) 854-1309

© 2017 Columbia University School of the Arts | 305 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1808 | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-2875 | EMAIL
Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.