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Columbia University

Visual Arts Program

New York, NY


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The Visual Arts Program at Columbia University School of the Arts attracts emerging artists of unusual promise from around the world. They join a vigorous community, working alongside an exceptional faculty at a world-renowned research institution in New York City.

The Visual Arts Program is interdisciplinary and offers an MFA degree in Visual Arts rather than in one specific medium. The two-year studio program, taught by internationally celebrated artists, allows students to pursue moving image, new genres, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

The Visual Arts Program offers students many opportunities to expand the depth and complexity of their studio practice as well as their ability to think critically in the context of contemporary art theory. To that end, students have regular studio visits with full-time and adjunct faculty, who offer critical insight into both the form and underlying ideas of students’ work.

Students are also encouraged to take electives outside of the Visual Arts Program: in the Writing, Theatre, and Film programs of the School of the Arts; and in art history, architecture, philosophy, and other areas of study throughout Columbia University. These electives ensure that students develop a broad base of art history and theory upon which they can build a solid and provocative studio practice.

The LeRoy Neiman Gallery hosts a wide array of exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the work of invited artists, Visual Arts faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and work produced in the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies. The exhibits give student work public exposure in a professional setting and bring outside voices to the Neiman Center, creating a rich environment of display and dialogue.

About Columbia University School of the Arts

School marked the 50th Anniversary of its founding. In 2017, the School opened the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a multi-arts venue designed as a hub for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines on the University’s new Manhattanville campus. The Lenfest hosts exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, and lectures that present new, global voices and perspectives, as well as an exciting, publicly accessible home for Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.

The School is an innovative graduate professional school with a tradition of risk-taking, grounded in a deeply intellectual Ivy League university and energized by its 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 artists grow individually through intensive engagement with their craft and lively, often profound exchanges of ideas and work.
From the Sundance Film Festival to the Venice Biennale, from the cover of the New York Times Book Review to Broadway, from America’s most established regional theaters to Europe and Asia’s renowned film and theatre festivals, the success of the School’s faculty and alumni has never before been as prominent and celebrated. Members of the faculty have received the highest recognition in their fields, including Academy Awards, Tony Awards, MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowships, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Alumni also claim a record of astonishing success, measured not simply by awards and prizes, contracts and contacts, but by the quality and cultural significance of their artistic achievements. 
Today, the School serves nearly 800 Master of Fine Arts students from 57 countries in the Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing programs, and 40 Master of Arts students in Film & Media Studies. The School’s faculty also teaches more than 1,627 undergraduate students in 120 courses offered each year.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) New genres

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 29

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 15th January 15th No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Requirements Undergraduate transcript, 3 letters of recommendation, statement of intent, portfolio, resume

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards February 4
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Teaching Assistantships
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 19.64%
Black or African American 0%
White or Caucasian 37%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 10.71%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races 3.57%
Unknown 1.79%


Male (32%)
Female (67%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 14
Part-time - 58
Male (31)
Female (41)

Location & Contact

Address 2960 Broadway
310 Dodge Hall, MC 1806
New York, NY  10027
United States
Contact Mr. Matthew Buckingham
Phone: 212-854-4065

Columbia University