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Engaging, Arts-Based Education at CCC

Columbia College Chicago appears in our ranking of the 60 Great Value Colleges for Music Majors (Undergraduate).

Ranked in the Midwest’s top 165 by the U.S. News & World Report, Columbia College Chicago is a nonprofit arts school offering 50 bachelor’s, 12 master’s, and seven online certificate programs at a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. For instance, the 78-credit Dance BFA major develops stage performance skills for the Senior Concert attended by the Merce Cunningham, Troika Ranch, Cloud Gate, and Wayne McGregor companies. The Traditional Animation BFA develops a 72-credit major with Los Angeles sessions at Dream Works, DEMO Magazine projects, and Production Studio capstones. Chaired by Prof. Jessica Jacobs, the Interior Architecture BFA follows a 72-credit, CIDA-accredited major curriculum with fifth-term internships for 84 percent job placement at RGLA, Perkins & Will, Studio O+A, Aria Group, and more. Publishing the Columbia Chronicle, the Nonfiction MFA offers a 38-credit, part-time thesis path toward literature careers with $3,500 assistantship stipends and a renowned Creative Writing Reading Series. Other options include the Advertising BA, Fashion Studies BFA, Musical Theatre BFA, Programming BS, Television Executive Producing BFA, Civic Media MA, Movement Therapy MA, Cinema Directing MA, and Arts Management Certificate.

About Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago originated in 1890 when fellow Emerson alumni Mary Blood and Ida Morey Riley co-founded the Columbia School of Oratory before the 1893 world’s fair. On May 5, 1904, the Illinois State Legislature approved its incorporation as the Columbia College of Expression. During President George Scherger’s tenure, it became the Blood School of Speech Arts in 1928. One decade later, another name change to the Columbia College of Speech, Drama, and Radio took place. By February 1944, the current Columbia College Chicago name was chosen by President Norman Alexandroff. Fully accredited in 1974, it purchased 175,000 square feet in Chicago’s Gold Coast Historic District near Lake Michigan the next year. Columbia then launched its School of Graduate Studies for MFA training in 1984. Endowed for $142.6 million, Columbia College Chicago now educates 7,312 students from 60 nations online and on-site with 50+ clubs like Viva Documentary. In 2018, The Hollywood Reporter picked Columbia as the 18th best film school nationally. On Niche, CCC boasts America’s 56th best photography degrees, 67th top performing arts programs, and 86th best design curricula.

Columbia College Chicago Accreditation Details

On November 5, 2018, Columbia College Chicago satisfactorily completed a Level III accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) to certify institutional effectiveness through 2028 under its 10th president, Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, who received a Chicago Legacy Award. Located just 0.8 miles away via South Dearborn Street, this giant 19-state Great Lakes Region accreditor is authorized by the U.S. Education Department. The Office of the Provost also lists these special accreditations:

  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education
  • American Dance Therapy Association
  • Illinois State Board of Education

Columbia College Chicago Application Requirements

Starting at Columbia College Chicago is classified “minimally difficult” by Peterson’s because 7,438 of the 8,117 Fall 2017 applicants were victorious for high 92 percent acceptance. First-year entrants must have completed a high school, home school, or GED equivalency diploma. Credits are rewarded for at least “3” AP and “4” IB exam results. Previous studio art courses are preferred to strengthen the required portfolio. On average, freshmen present a 3.26 GPA, 1110 SAT, and 21 ACT mark. Undergrads with at least one full year remaining can transfer from accredited colleges with minimum 2.0 GPAs. Second bachelor’s students are restricted to the Bachelor of Arts programs like Communication and Radio. The School of Graduate Studies seeks creative four-year baccalaureate holders with 2.5 GPAs or better in 120+ credits. Taking the GRE is only required for the Business & Entrepreneurship MAM.

Columbia College Chicago has a rolling admissions review process with final deadlines of December 14th for Spring and July 14th for Fall starts. The School of Graduate Studies has varying program cutoffs though. For example, the European Devised Performance Practice MFA has a February 11th priority date. Post-grad auditions start on December 15th in Berlin, January 18th in New York City, and January 26th in Chicago. Accordingly, submit the Columbia or Common Application online with the $50 domestic or $100 international fee. Official academic records are mailed to 600 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL 60605. When testing, utilize SAT code 1135 or ACT code 1002. Other attachments include the digital portfolio, video audition, artistic résumé, self-assessment essay, vaccination record, two recommendations, case study exercise, and written thesis statement. Please pose further questions to admissions@colum.edu or (312) 369-7130.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-2020, Columbia College Chicago will charge full-time undergrads $13,305 per semester or $26,610 annually. Studying part-time incurs $919 per credit. Summer Session courses are discounted to $735 per credit. The Semester in LA has a $500 maximum fee. Bachelor’s students pay a $70 Health Center fee, $120 activity fee, $158 U-Pass fee, and $150 technology fee by term. Living at the Windy City campus’ dorms like Plymouth Court adds $5,250 to $8,745 each semester for room and board. Annual undergrad attendance equals about $43,707 on-site and $31,567 with family. The School of Graduate Studies will bill base tuition of $1,107 per credit but rates vary. For example, the Photography MFA costs $1,162 and the Cinema Directing MFA costs $1,253 per credit.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Student Financial Services Center in Suite 303 connects 72 percent of Columbia students to average aid of $9,663 apiece for $54.41 million combined. Institutional funds include the Alfred Berkowitz Award, Carol Cohen Award, Clarke Greene Memorial Scholarship, David Talbott Cox Scholarship, Elizabeth Ferguson Trust Scholarship, Follett Graduate Merit Award, Grace Hookham Liddil Scholarship, Nancy Tom Endowed Award, Peter Thompson Memorial Scholarship, and Raven Moreno Scholarship. The $2,500 Columbia Internship Award has an April 15th deadline. Winners of the $5,000 Pougialis Fine Art Scholarship with minimum 3.0 GPAs receive exhibits at The Arcade Gallery. Federal resources, including the Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, Work-Study, and Stafford Loan, are available with FAFSA applications coded 001665. Illinois residents pursue the Legislative Scholarship, Silas Purnell Incentive Grant, Dollars for Scholars Program, MIA/POW Scholarship, and Minority Teacher Scholarship. The Chicago Community Trust also donates $750,000 yearly for the Eleanor Swartz and William Cook Scholarships.

Search through 150+ artistic South Loop majors across six divisions at the Columbia College website.