Frequently Asked Questions

How many students apply and how many are admitted?

In 2015, about 350 prospective students applied to the Theatre Program. Our yearly admission ranges from 56 -60 students (18 Actors, 6 Directors, 10 Playwrights, 8-10 Theatre Manager/Producers, 8-10 Stage Managers, and 6 Dramaturgy students).

What are the requirements to apply?

Please see the Application Requirements page for the Required Creative Materials for the various concentrations in Theatre, as well as information on School-wide Application Requirements.

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 your application, your creative materials, and your audition or interview.

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.

Do you offer musical theatre? Set and/or costume design?

No musical theatre or design programs are available.

What can I expect to do professionally once I graduate?

Alumni from the Columbia MFA Theatre Program have formed a powerful and extensive network at every level of the professional theatre world. Our alumni run Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres, direct and perform in Tony- and other award-winning productions, teach at prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and around the world. Most importantly, they continue to support the current students by offering internships, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Our alumni have also founded their own theatre and production companies, including the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Invisible Wall Productions, PL 115, The TEAM, Electric Pear, Magis, East River Commedia, Ruffled Feathers, The Hal Luftig Company, and Conni's Avant-Garde Restaurant. Most of our students choose to remain in New York City after graduation, however many leave the city to leave their mark in theatres across the country and around the world.

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.

How will I be involved in productions throughout the year?

Each first-year student is required to fulfill a crew assignment to support thesis productions on our mainstage. In addition, students are involved in various classroom productions and staged readings specific to your concentration, in addition to extracurricular work initiated by students. During your third year, productions vary by concentration – mainstage productions, staged readings and showcases.

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.

Can I apply to more than one program?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.