Frequently Asked Questions

Can prospective students meet current students and sit in on classes?

It is not possible for prospective students to sit in on classes, but tours of studios and facilities led by current students are offered regularly. Please see tour dates and times here.

What equipment does the Visual Arts Program and School of the Art have and what sort of access will I have?

Each MFA student is provided with a private art studio with 24-hour access in one of the School of the Arts facilities. Additionally, students have access to a woodshop, a metal shop, a kiln, a laser cutter, two digital media labs, several darkrooms, wide format inkjet printers, digital photography and video equipment, projectors and printmaking facilities.

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. Limited scholarships are available to Film & Media Studies MA students. 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.

How long is the program and can I study part-time?

The Visual Arts MFA program is a two-year full time program. There is no part-time study available.


Is the Visual Arts MFA Program an interdisciplinary program and if I apply for one discipline must I only work in this discipline for the entire two years?

The Visual Arts MFA program is an interdisciplinary program. Applicants are separated into disciplines (Painting, Printmaking, Expanded Practice | Sculpture, Moving Image, and Photography) for the application process. Once accepted, students may explore other disciplines and work in any area they choose.


How many students apply and how many are admitted?

Between 1000–1200 students apply each year for 27 spaces.


Must I have an undergraduate degree and must it be in Visual Arts?

You must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university but it does not have to be in Visual Arts.

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 [email protected].

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.

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.

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.

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 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 is the current tuition?

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

Can I apply to more than one program?

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

When and how will I find out if I have been accepted to the MFA Program?

Please see the Application and Admissions Policies page for information on notification of admission.