During the first year of full time study, Creative Producing students take the same core classes as students in the Screenwriting/Directing program, including directing, screenwriting, producing, and history/theory/criticism. After the first year Creative Producing students can take Screenwriting classes as an elective, but cannot take directing classes.
After the first year, Screenwriting/Directing students can take producing classes as an elective if there is space available.
Switching between the programs is not permitted. Under extraordinary circumstances, students enrolled in one of the programs can apply to switch programs, and permission may be granted if a space becomes available.
After the first year, Screenwriting/Directing students are asked to declare one concentration. However, students may change their concentration up until the end of their second year, when they will be asked to confirm their concentration so that they may be assigned thesis advisors.
During the first year students shoot all work on digital video. Columbia provides cameras, tripods, sound kits, lighting kits, etc. A digital media lab is available for students to edit twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In the second year, Screenwriting/Directing students will continue to use this equipment, though they may elect to shoot their thesis projects on film.
Creative Producing students do not shoot films or video after the first year. Their second year and thesis work will consist of producing other students' films.
In 2012, we received approximately 602 applications for the Film MFA Program, and an average incoming class is around 48 students in the Screenwriting/Directing program and 24 students in the Creative Producing program.
Please see the Admissions page here for the Creative Materials Requirements for applicants for the MFA.
No, many of our students have undergraduate degrees in areas completely unrelated to their graduate studies.
The Screenwriting/Directing program is two years of course work followed by one to three years to complete thesis projects. Degrees must be completed within five years.
The Creative Producing program is a three-year program.
There is no part-time study available.
Tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year is here. Please note that this information pertains to the current academic year, and is subject to change for the upcoming year.
Students also must raise funds individually for any films they direct.
Columbia University School of the Arts and Columbia University Student Financial Services work carefully with students to arrange the financing of their degrees. Loan packages, fellowships, scholarships and other options are available for eligible students. It is recommended that any applicant wishing to be considered for financial aid complete all necessary financial aid applications by February 15, 2013. Please see our Financing Your Degree page for information.
Columbia University Apartment Housing consists of a limited number of apartment shares, dormitory-style rooms and a very limited number of one-bedroom, studio and family units for which priority is given to couples and families. This housing is primarily located within walking distance of the campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood.
Applications for Columbia housing may be made only after a student has been accepted, and are handled by the University Apartment Housing (UAH) Office. Please see the Housing page for more information.
Due to the volume of applicants, the faculty will generally not be able to meet with prospective students; however, we are happy to arrange for you to speak with a current student, who can give you insight into the School of the Arts program in which you're interested, campus life in general and living in New York. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-854-2134 to schedule an appointment.
Yes. After coursework is completed, Screenwriting/Directing students may choose to shoot both thesis and non-thesis projects on film.
The first two years of course work are extremely intensive. Our students are strongly advised against taking on part-time work so that all attention can be focused on the curriculum. Schedules are assigned to students and they should prepare for a Monday-to-Friday, full-time commitment with classes that begin at 10 a.m. and, some nights, may run until 9 p.m.
We are looking for the best, most articulate expression of exactly who you are, communicated in each part of the application. Each part should be viewed as an opportunity to distinguish yourself, your talents, and your specific viewpoints.
In studio classes (directing, writing, etc.) there are generally about 12 students per class. in lecture courses (history, theory, criticism, etc.), the number of students per class ranges from 30 to 70.
Students take Directing, Screenwriting, Directing the Actor, Role of the Producer, The Elements of Dramatic Narrative, and Fundamentals of Directing.
The School of the Arts Film Program stresses collaboration at every level. Rather than foster an atmosphere of intense competition, the program supports filmmaking itself as the best model for collaboration, collegiality and a supportive artistic environment. Built into the program in the first year is a collaborative effort, "The 8-12"-a filmic collaboration of writer, director and producer.
The success of the program in this regard is a proven fact: The creators of Monsoon Wedding, American Splendor, Boys Don't Cry, and Dare are only a few of the writer/director teams that have risen from our ranks, and the makers of Padre Nuestro, Messengers, Dear Lemon Lima and Kettle of Fish are examples of Columbia alumni director/producer teams.
One of the things that differentiates Columbia from other top film schools is the importance placed on the "total filmmaker." All incoming students must take classes in writing, directing and producing as well as history, theory and criticism. This isn't simply because so many of our famous graduates have been writers as well as directors; we believe that the cross-pollination that occurs when students are forced to see the medium from a variety of perspectives is invaluable, eye-opening and makes for better, more sophisticated filmmakers.
The Creative Producing program is the only such program that is founded on the principle that the best producers are fully versed in directing and screenwriting.
Another way in which Columbia differs from other schools is the emphasis placed on story. In the School of the Arts Film Program, storytelling-whether in a screenplay, a director's storyboards, or a producer's log line-is seen as the basis of the entire art form.