The Film MFA Program is part of Columbia University School of the Arts—an innovative graduate professional school, 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 and sound artists grow individually through intensive engagement with their craft and lively, often profound exchanges of ideas and work.


The School welcomes applications for admission in the fall semester of each year (no students are admitted for the spring semester). Please note, applications will not be evaluated by each program's Faculty Admissions Committee until they are complete.


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

International students should consult the International Students Admissions page.

Materials Required for Application to the School of the Arts

1. Completed Application


Must be submitted online.


2. Official Undergraduate Transcript


Official paper transcripts are not required for the admission application.  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 letters of recommendation is required. Recommenders should be academic or professional contacts who can speak to your creative ability and potential; personal/friend references are not permitted. If you received a degree in the past 5 years, you must provide at least 1 academic reference from faculty at that institution. Once you save their contact information, they will be sent an email with instructions on how to upload your letter of recommendation. 


Letters of recommendation must be submitted online by one week after the application deadline. Letters submitted after this date may not be reviewed.


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


5. $110 Online 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.


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 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.