Graduate Film Admissions

The Film MFA and Film Studies MA Programs are part of Columbia University School of the Arts--an innovative graduate professional school with a tradition of risk-taking, grounded in a deeply intellectual Ivy League university and energized by our location in New York City, one of the great cultural capitals of the world. The study and practice of art-making at the School is an immersive, constantly evolving process. Aspiring, emerging or established, our filmmakers, writers, theatre practitioners and visual artists grow individually through intensive engagement with their craft and lively, often profound exchanges of ideas and work.

The school welcomes applications for the fall semester of each year (no students are admitted for the spring semester). Please note, applications are only evaluated by each program's Faculty Admissions Committee when they are complete.

School of the Arts admissions policies and procedures can be found here.

International students, please consult the International Students Admissions page.

Materials Required for Application

1. Completed Application:
Must be submitted online.

2. Official Undergraduate Transcript: Do not send official paper transcripts.  If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to send official paper documents for verification. Any offer of admission will be provisional until receipt of the official undergraduate transcript showing conferral of your undergraduate degree. Whether we receive your official undergraduate transcripts directly from you or your undergraduate institution, we must receive them in a sealed envelope bearing the registrar’s stamp along the rear flap. 

If (a) you have submitted only the unofficial copy of your transcript online or (b) your transcript is received, but does not state that a degree is conferred, your status will be “Received (Not Official)” and you offer of admission will be provisional  until we receive the final official transcript showing conferral of your undergraduate degree.

3. Three Letters of Recommendation: Online submission of the letters of recommendation is preferred. If you are not utilizing the online submission method, the letter of recommendation form may be downloaded here. Fill out the applicant portion of the recommendation form, and provide it and a self-addressed stamped envelope to each recommender. Recommenders can be undergraduate, graduate, or professional contacts; they should be people who can speak to your creative ability and potential. Request that they: (1) enclose the recommendation; (2) seal the envelope; (3) sign their name or place their stamp across the seal; and (4) mail or give the envelope directly to you. All recommenders must meet the deadline. If they do not, the applicant will incur a late materials fee. If your recommender does not wish to send the envelope directly to you, they must send it directly to:

Columbia University School of the Arts
Admissions Office
305 Dodge Hall, MC 1808
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

They must write your full name and date of birth on the letter. Again, all recommenders must meet the deadline.

4. Creative Materials Required for Application: Please click below for a list of creative materials that are required for each program. All submitted creative materials must clearly bear the applicant's name, date of birth, name of program to which he or she is applying, and title of the material (dramatic writing sample, autobiographical essay, etc).

MFA Creative Producing
MFA Screenwriting/Directing

MA Film Studies

5. $110 Online Application Fee or $175 Paper Application Fee:
This may be paid by credit card (Visa and MasterCard only) when submitting an application online; or by check or money order, mailed with your materials, made out to Columbia University, drawn on a U.S. bank and denominated in U.S. dollars only. We cannot accept postal money orders. Applicants should be sure to write the program and, if applicable, the concentration to which they are applying on the check or money order; if the check is that of an individual other than the applicant, the applicant's full name must be included as well. Application fees are nonrefundable and cannot be waived; no application can be processed without the application fee.


The online application can be accessed here.

Presentation of Materials
Our Admissions Committees take note, among other factors, of the professionalism of your presentation and the appropriateness of your materials to our specific requirements. Do not add or substitute items and do not exceed length limitations. Please do not use permanent bindings, notebooks, or oversize paper. Unless requested, please also staple together the pages of each requirement, but do not staple all requirements to each other.

Responsibility for Materials
Please keep copies of all materials submitted. Do not send your only copy.

All materials included in a School of the Arts application become the property of Columbia University. Applicants desiring the return of their DVDs and VHS tapes or portfolio samples must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope large enough to accommodate all materials in their application packet. We do not return any written materials. International students may include a check or money order (in U.S. dollars, payable to Columbia University) to cover return postage. Every effort will then be made to return materials following the admissions period, but applicants should note that the School is not responsible for the transportation and safekeeping of materials submitted for review; applicants send all materials at their own risk. Materials are often returned as late as the September following the deadline. Applicants are not permitted to pick up submitted materials in person.

Applying for Financial Aid
It is recommended that any applicants wishing to be considered for financial aid complete all necessary financial aid applications by February 15, 2012.  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
© 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.