Columbia College Chicago - Cinema and Television Directing (MFA)

5.00 star(s) 5 Stars (1 Member Reviews)
As a candidate in the Cinema Directing, MFA program, you'll learn to craft character-driven narratives, work with producers, and create diverse...
Degrees Offered
  1. 2 Year M.F.A.
  1. Directing
Yearly Tuition
$20k to $30k
Application Deadline Types
  1. Regular Decision
  2. Rolling Admission
Regular Decision Application Deadline: Jan 14, 2022

Film School details

School Website
What is the Application Fee? $ 60
Is a GRE required for admission? No
Is a portfolio required for admission? Yes
How many Letters of Reference are required? 2
As a candidate in the Cinema Directing, MFA program, you'll learn to craft character-driven narratives, work with producers, and create diverse and authentic films grounded in the human experience. You’ll take on intensive study in writing and, throughout the program, direct your own scripts as well as those written by other directors. Over the course of the program, you'll work closely with a Creative Producing student to develop two major films: one that is director-driven and one that is producer-driven. You'll have creative control over some films, and you'll learn work-for-hire on others. Having experience in both the independent film model and the industry model will make you better equipped to make an impact in the field no matter which path you choose upon graduation.

Application Requirements

Please submit the following in addition to your online application (required):

  • Application fee: $60
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
  • Self-Assessment Essay
    • Your self-assessment essay should include the following: a concise but in-depth investigation of your need to work in a personal medium, focusing on particular motives, attitudes, thematic material, and perspectives that lie behind your urge to create; and a description of special interests, experience and strengths you would bring to the program.
  • Portfolio
    • Your portfolio should contain each of the following:
      • Creative Portfolio: Strong work samples containing visual or written material that demonstrate the potential for successful creative work. Work samples should exhibit your creativity, talent, visual storytelling ability, personal themes, and depth of content. These may include, but are not limited to, films, videos, sculptures, paintings, drawings, graphic art, photographs, scripts, treatments, poetry, short stories, and/or expository writing.
      • Visualization Project: Construct a narrative in 8-12 frames. You can draw pictures, shoot them with a still camera, or use existing shots. If you use existing frames, from a video or from the internet, you must not simply duplicate a scene from an existing film, but must tell an original story, using material from more than one source. What is important is that the pictures you use tell a clear, cohesive, original story with a beginning, middle, and end. Do not use text, titles, shot descriptions, or captions. This is strictly visual. Do not use more than two frames per page.
      • Case Study Exercise: Select one of the two short films provided. In 500 words or fewer, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our short film sample. If you were able to remake the film, what would you do to improve it?
      • Short Film Thesis Statement: This is a brief description of an idea you have for a short cinema project that might eventually serve as your short film thesis. Briefly tell us the story – what is the beginning, middle and end? The statement should also include your feelings about why you are compelled to tell this story. It should display your potential for developing personal subject matter in the medium and is used by the admissions committee to assess your maturity and ability to communicate your ideas. This document should be between 250 – 500 words, typed, double-spaced, and labeled: "Cinema and Television Arts Short Film Thesis Statement." You will need to upload this within the application under your "Work Sample Upload" in addition to your Creative Portfolio and Visualization Project documents.
      • If you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistant position, please include an optional one-page statement of teaching experience and teaching philosophy.
  • Interview
    • An interview may be required during the admissions process. If necessary, the department will contact you directly regarding the interview.
  • Additional Information
    • Applicants with 10 hours or more of Cinema and Television Arts coursework from Columbia College Chicago will not be considered. (The Cinema and Television Arts Department believes that those undergraduate students who have already completed significant coursework in Cinema and Television Arts with Columbia College Chicago's faculty are best served by continuing their graduate study in a new and different academic setting.)

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

Latest reviews

a great decision
Reviewed by
Current Student
  • Complete program, value, great professors, always stuff to do, responsiveness
  • Covid times not the schools fault
Columbia College Chicago is not only one of America's best film schools it is also one of the most affordable. The program is advertised as 2 years online but can be as long as you want it to be. They respect storytelling above all else and are extremely supportive. The communication with the head of the program is also really strong and if somebody doesn't have an answer for you they will quickly direct you to the right place. I have yet to step foot on campus because of covid but my learning has not been hindered. Once again the affordability is king for CCC if you look at The Hollywood Reporter best film school list CCC is a fraction of the cost compared to the other top film schools. I cant imagine you get a better education elsewhere and if you do it's not by a wide enough margin to make up the cost difference. Trying to find the right grad school is a near impossible task with the amount of options available, I am lucky I my place and if you attend I'm sure you'll feel the same.
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One member found this helpful.
Thanks for this honest review! It's super helpful!
Hello, so what is the total cost (including room and board) of the program?

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