Theatre FAQ

If I apply as an actor and decide that I want to be a director, can I switch to a new concentration?
If you are admitted in one concentration, there is no switching over. You may apply the following year, as a new applicant. Some of your credits may transfer.

Can I apply to more than one concentration?
Please see the Application to Two Programs section of the Application and Admissions Policies page.
Do you offer musical theatre? Set and/or costume design?
No musical theatre or design programs are available.

When can I schedule an interview?

All interviews are scheduled at the discretion of the Admissions Committee; you will be contacted if they would like to arrange one.

How many students apply and how many are admitted?
In 2012, over 307 prospective students applied to the Theatre Program. Our yearly admission ranges from 50-60 students (16-18 actors, 6 directors, 8-10 playwrights, 8-10 theatre managers/producers, 4-6 stage managers, and 6-8 dramaturgy students).

What are the requirements to apply? What if I do not have a tape of my work?

Please see the Admissions page here for the Creative Materials Requirements for the various concentrations in Theatre.

For Directing, a video is required, but if you do not have one you may instead submit a portfolio of your work.

Must I have studied theatre as an undergraduate? Do I need professional (or semi-professional) experience?

No, you do not need to have an undergraduate degree in Theatre or to have done professional work. Your application is based on the creative materials submitted, your audition and/or interview.

How will I be involved in productions throughout the year?

Each first-year student is required to fulfill crew assignments to support our mainstage productions. In addition, on a concentration-by-concentration basis, students are involved in various classroom productions and/or staged readings throughout the year, as well as in extracurricular work. During the student's third year, thesis productions vary by concentration. Examples of these theses include mainstage productions, staged readings and showcases.
What does it cost to attend the School of the Arts?
Tuition for the 2013–2014 academic year is here. Please note that this information pertains to the current academic year, and is subject to change for the upcoming year.

Is there financial aid available?

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. Please see our Financing Your Degree page for more information.

Is there housing?
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.
Can I visit the School and sit in on classes? Talk to current students? Professors?
Because of the volume of applicants, generally speaking the faculty will 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 an insider's perspective on the program, as well as on campus life in general and on living in New York. Please email or call (212) 854-2134 to schedule an appointment.

It is not possible for prospective students to sit in on classes. Admitted students, however, can arrange to visit classes.
What do your students go on to do?
Theatre Program alumni have formed an extensive network, members of whom run prestigious Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony- and other award-winning productions; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with current students on an ongoing basis. Theatre companies that have been founded by our alums include the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, PL 115, The TEAM, Electric Pear, Magis, East River Commedia, Ruffled Feathers, and Conni's Avant-Garde Restaurant. Most of our students choose to remain in NYC after graduation, and a few teach in universities and colleges across the country and the world.
The Oscar
Hammerstein II
Center for
Theatre Studies
601 Dodge Hall
Mail Code 1807
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-3408

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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.