Frequently Asked Questions

Can I speak with a faculty member or current student? Sit in on classes?

If you are interested in meeting with a faculty member from the program to which you are applying, please speak to the Admissions Office. However, please note that due to the volume of applicants, faculty members may not be able to meet with prospective students. 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 and living in New York City. Please email or call 212-854-2134 to schedule an appointment.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for prospective students to sit in on classes.

My undergraduate degree is in something unrelated to what I want to study at the graduate level. Does that make a difference?

The School of the Arts receives applications from students with a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds. Applicants do not need to have a comprehensive academic background or extensive professional experience in their field, but they must demonstrate familiarity with major issues and artists.

How do the Admissions Committees view graduate work and/or professional experience?

While the School of the Arts does not require applicants to have an advanced degree or professional work experience, applicants who do are certainly considered positively in the review process, and such achievements may enhance their candidacy for admission.

Is there printed information for the programs offered by the School of the Arts?

All information can be found on our website. For additional information, please fill out our Request for Information form or email us at

Are campus visits and/or tours available?

Columbia University offers full campus tours daily. Please see the Visitor Information page for schedules.


School of the Arts admissions representatives are happy to meet with prospective students to discuss programs and admissions policies and procedures. Please email or call 212-854-2134 to schedule an appointment.

Additionally, the Visual Arts Program offers tours of facilities during the academic year; please see this page for more information. No other programs offer departmental tours.

What are classes like?

MA students will be expected to take classes in and out of the division. The classes can be larger lecture classes (50–75 students) or smaller seminar classes (10–15 students). There is an emphasis on academic approaches to film history, film theory, and new media theory. Each semester there is a required seminar for all MA students, which will focus on larger theoretical issues surrounding classic and contemporary debates in film theory and new media.

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. Film & Media Studies MA students are ineligible for need-based institutional aid from the School of the Arts.  In rare cases, Film & Media Studies MA students may be compensated for teaching assistant and/or research assistant positions. Please see Financing Your Degree for information and important financial aid application procedures and deadlines.

What is the current tuition?

Tuition for the current academic year is detailed here. Please note that this amount is likely to increase each year.

How do students pay for their degrees? Is there financial aid available? How do I apply for it?

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. Please see Financing Your Degree for information and important financial aid application procedures and deadlines.

How do I apply?

You apply using the online application, where you will provide your personal information and all supporting materials. Please see the Admissions and Financial Aid page for information.

Can I schedule an interview to discuss my candidacy?

All interviews are scheduled at the discretion of the committee; you will be contacted directly if an interview is requested.

Is there student housing available?

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 University Apartment Housing are made only after a student has been admitted, and are handled by the University Apartment Housing (UAH) Office. Please see the Housing page for more information.

Can I apply for spring admission?

The School of the Arts welcomes applications for the fall semester of each year only; no students are admitted for the spring semester.

Can I be enrolled in more than one program?

You may only enroll in one degree program at a time, even if you are accepted into more than one. The only exception to this is the joint JD/MFA Theatre Management and Producing Program.

What if my recommendations or transcripts are sent directly to the Admissions Office and not included in my primary online application?

Please see the Admissions page for all information on materials submission.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes. Please see the Application to Two Programs section of the Application and Admissions Policies page.

How do I check the status of my application?

You can check the status of your application and supporting documents, including letters of recommendation, by going to the Status page in the online application. You will be able to view all documents processed thus far. This page will be updated periodically. Application materials that are not submitted through the online application system make take up to two weeks to be updated on your application checklist.

Facts About MA in Film and Media Alumni:

Students representing the following nations have been enrolled in the MA program:


Chile, Equador, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Russia, Greece, Norway, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, Iran, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, St. Lucia, Luxembourg, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, People’s Republic of China, India, and the United States.


Graduates of the MA in Film Studies Program hold or have held a variety of positions related to cinema and media including:


Film Librarian—National Library of Norway

Film Data Programmer—European Union Commission

Film Programmers—Brooklyn Academy of Music film series, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image.

Education Officers—Museum of the Moving Image, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New Museum.

Film Distribution— Icarus Films, Cohen Media Group, Screen Media, CineVision, EnMaze Pictures.

Organizational Development—Film Society of Lincoln Center

Film Festivals—Pusan International Film Festival, South Korea; The Morelia International Film Festival, Mexico; the Kingston Film Festival, Jamaica; The Asian-American International Film Festival, New York. The New York Film Festival; New Directors/New Films, New York.

Film PublicationsVariety, Film Comment, Slant Magazine, Indiewire, The Brooklyn Rail, Haaretz, Filmmaker Magazine, The Daily Beast, n+1, The Nation  

Film Production—producer, Aquíy Allá (2012).


MA in Film and Media Studies students have gone on to the following PhD programs:


Columbia University – East Asian Languages and Cultures; Concordia University, Montreal – Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema; Duke University - Program in Literature; George Mason University – Cultural Studies; Harvard University – Education and East Asian; King’s College-London – Film Studies; New York University – Cinema Studies, Media, Culture, and Communication, Spanish and Portuguese; Ohio State University – Art History; Princeton University – East Asian Studies; Rutgers University – Women’s and Gender Studies; Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; Technical Institute of Norway – Trondheim; Temple University – Theatre, Film, and Media Arts; University of California, Berkeley – Rhetoric and Film; University of California, Los Angeles – Theatre, Film, and Television; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Barbara – Film and Media Studies; University of California, Santa Cruz – Film and Digital Media; University of Chicago – Cinema and Media Studies; University of Michigan – Screen Cultures; University of Minnesota – Cultural Studies and East Asian; University of Pennsylvania – English and Art History; University of Pittsburgh – English and Film Studies; University of Southern California – Critical Studies; University of Toronto – Information Studies; University of Washington – Film Studies, East Asian, and Scandinavian Studies; Yale University – American Studies and Film and Media Studies.