Columbia College Of Chicago

With more than 120 academic programs and nearly 11,000 students, Columbia College Chicago is the largest and most diverse private arts and media college in the nation. Because of our size, we can offer an unparalleled array of courses with exceptional technological resources in the heart of one of America's greatest cities.

The city is our laboratory. We live in 16 buildings that sit in the heart of Chicago's South Loop, home to the Chicago Symphony, the Art Institute, and the Museum Campus. (Chicago is also home to nine independent film festivals; 200 theatre groups and venues; more than 35 radio stations; and more than 25 magazines and newspapers.) Chicago inspires and instructs: Students gain real-world experience through internships and part-time jobs in the city.

Columbia College Chicago was founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory, a name inspired by the upcoming World's Columbian Exposition. By 1922, it was known as the Columbia College of Expression. A renewed, co-educational version emerged in 1936, emphasizing the growing field of radio broadcasting.

From these... [ Read All ]


United States

600 S. Michigan Avenue
Phone: (001)-312-663-1600

College Photos (4)

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Our Aims

Columbia is an undergraduate and graduate college whose principal commitment is to provide a comprehensive educational opportunity in the arts, communications, and public information within a context of enlightened liberal education. Columbia's intent is to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public's perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times. Columbia is an urban institution whose students reflect the economic, racial, cultural, and educational diversity of contemporary America. Columbia conducts education in close relationship to a vital urban reality and serves important civic purpose by active engagement in the life and culture of the city of Chicago.

Columbia's purpose is:

to educate students for creative occupations in diverse fields of the arts and media and to encourage awareness of their aesthetic relationship and the opportunity of professional choice among them;
to extend educational opportunity by admitting unreservedly (at the undergraduate level) a student population with creative ability in, or inclination to, the subjects of Columbia's interest...  [ Read All ]

Sample Student Art Work (19)

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Location and Getting there

Located in the Columbia Arts District in the heart of Chicago's South Loop, Columbia College is just steps away from Chicago's museum campus, and a short bus or train ride from hundreds of theatre and music venues, independent film festivals, and galleries.

Just north of campus - adjacent to Millennium Park with the magnificent Gehry Music Pavilion and the whimsical Jaume Pensa "spitting" fountain - is the architecturally renowned Michigan Avenue Boulevard, whose "streetwall" buildings were designed by some of Chicago's most important architects, including Louis Sullivan, D. H. Burnham, and Holabird & Roche. It makes a great neighborhood - and an even better campus.

Located in Chicago's South Loop, Columbia College comprises 14 buildings. The Admissions office is located at 600 South Michigan Avenue. Our gallery and performance spaces are distributed around the campus - so if you're coming for an event be sure to check the listing for an address and then our campus map. We also post building hours.

On Chicago's grid, Columbia generally located around "200 east and 600 south" (which is the way Chicagoans talk). That mak...  [ Read All ]

Department and information about the department

Art and Design faculty members take away from the teaching experience as much as they put into it. Both full- and part-time teachers possess a tremendous range of skill sets, being both active teachers and award-winning, internationally exhibiting artists. Our professors possess a raw energy and exuberance about making and teaching art that is actively communicated to students through teaching and doing. All of us believe art and design can make positive changes in the lives and health of the community at large.  

Academic Staff and Description  

News and Events

Chicago is a great city to see and learn about art and culture. In the Art and Design department we work to make it even better. Lecture series, faculty and student shows, fashion shows and more are presented to the students and the public by the department. In addition, we keep the student informed of other events of particular interest around the College and the city.

Art Talk Lecture Series:

Lauren Weinstein
Time: Wednesday, March 14, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Location: 623 South Wabash, Room 203

Brooklyn-based graphic novel artist Lauren Weinstein's surrealist alternative comics detail a complex world where a pall of mystery, sexual intrigue and violent death hangs over the animal kingdom, outer space, and suburban America alike. Weinstein received a Xeric Grant to publish her first comics collection, Inside Vineyland and has received an Ignatz award for "Promising New Talent". Called the funniest new voice in graphic novels today, her comics and illustrations have appeared in Glamour, McSweeney's, The New York Times, LA Weekly, The Chicago Reader, and Se...  [ Read All ]

Information For  Undergraduates


Advertising Art Direction
Art History
Fashion Design
Fine Arts
Graphic Design
Interior Architecture
MFA in Interior Architecture
Product Design

Courses are structured to provide realistic, practical and creative learning as students develop their personal vision in one of seven specialized BFA programs: Fine Arts, Interior Architecture, Illustration, Fashion Design, Advertising Art Direction, Product Design, and Graphic Design. We also offer a more general Bachelor of Arts Degree. This course of study is perfect for students who want a more liberal approach to learning and more freedom to investigate a broad range of their talents and interests.

During their foundation courses, students learn drawing systems ranging from rendering to diagramming. We explore all aspects of two, three, and four-dimensional design. Introductions to photography, new art, computer technologies, and color theory prepare you for any major. Art History and Criticism classes provide the vocabularies and contexts you need to understand and integrate your ideas into the stream of visual culture. Additionally, the departm...  [ Read All ]

Information For  Postgraduates

Columbia College Chicago is one of the most highly respected arts and communications institutions in the country delivering graduate education at the master's level.

About 650 graduate students pursue coursework at Columbia each year. State-of-the-art facilities, professionally active faculty, and a dynamic urban location bring vigor and vitality to Columbia's 19 graduate studies programs.

Columbia's graduate programs include:

Architectural Studies (M.F.A.)
Art Education (M.A.T)
Arts, Entertainment, & Media Management (M.A.M.)
Book & Paper Arts (M.F.A.)
Creative Writing--Fiction Writing (M.F.A., M.A., Combined)
Creative Writing--Poetry (M.F.A.)
Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling (M.A., Laban Certificate)
Elementary Education (M.A.T.)
Film & Video (M.F.A.)
Interdisciplinary Arts (M.A.)
Interdisciplinary Arts & Media(M.F.A.)
Interior Architecture (M.F.A.)
Journalism (M.A.)
Music Composition for the Screen (M.F.A.)
Photography (M.A., M.F.A.)  

Information For  International Students

The Office of International Students in a collaborative effort with other collegewide units that deal with international students, is in the process of compiling a range of questions any international student is likely to ask while attending Columbia College. The questions below are just be a snap shot of the several questions and answers the office is compiling. If the answers provided are not satisfactory, we ask that you contact the International Student Affairs staff provided in this website.'sfaqs.htm  


The Columbia community has been growing rapidly and we’re eager to have you be a part of this exciting time. We look forward to reconnecting with our alumni and friends as we help to shape the future of this world-class institution that is dedicated to innovation in the visual arts, media, and performance fields. Your participation is vital to the successful future of Columbia College Chicago.

Student Facilities

At Columbia College, students learn, practice, create, paint, film, record, dance, perform, and present in state-of-the-art facilities throughout our historic campus. They also live in attractive and modern accommodations--the very height of city living.

A sampling of our facilities:

Audio Arts & Sound Facilities
Four studios, a wireless psychoacoustics sound system design classroom (a combination classroom and listening environment); a digital production lab; a reverb chamber (made from a converted bank vault!); and loads of sophisticated equipment offer hands-on exploration and production. More...

Concert Halls
In addition to individual, small-ensemble, practice rooms, the Music Center facilities at 1014 South Michigan Avenue, feature a 125-seat concert hall with state-of-the-art digital sound-recording and amplification capabilities. Student and guest recitals, which are open to the public, are held in the concert hall.

Dance Facilities
The Dance Center of Columbia, at 1306 South Michigan Avenue, has presented more than 240 internationally recognized dance companies since its inception more that 40 years ago. Tod...  [ Read All ]

Student Support

Student Financial Services
Learning about college costs and how the financial aid process works are key elements to making your Columbia College Chicago education a reality and Student Financial Services is here to help.
Here you will find information regarding Columbia's tuition and fees and services such as the Columbia College Payment Plan designed to assist you in paying your bill.
We also are your gateway to beginning the federal financial aid process. We work with students and their families to offer these and many other financial options such as private loans and scholarship information.
We encourage you to actively explore our website for answers to your questions through our dedicated customer service areas or contact our office through one of our many customer service options. Please also stop back periodically to visit our SFS Spotlight to view the most current and important information regarding your finances at Columbia.  

Student Life  

Student Testimonials

Sarah Sarwar

"Some of the most wonderful people don't fit in boxes." So says songster Tori Amos. The words hold special meaning for Sarah Sarwar, a freshman majoring in graphic design...

Steve Siwinski
Steve Siwinski is a free spirit. He?s known to everyone on campus from his frequent appearances on the college?s in-house television network...

David Murray

Not many colleges, junior radio major Dave Murray says, "would give me a chance to be creative and express who I am, and what I care about, in a science class." When Dave needed a final class project for a class on human reproduction, he produced and presented a call-in radio program in which he played all 18 characters, including the "expert" host....

Diamond Weathersby:

Diamond Weathersby, a spring 2006 journalism graduate, chose Columbia over a dozen other colleges. ?When I found out I could take clas...  [ Read All ]


Residence Life
At Columbia College Chicago, our residence life housing isn't just a place for students to hang their hats. It's a place for them to roll up their sleeves and get to work. It's a place for them to meet other artists, other thinkers, other performers and to collaborate in ways that had never occurred to them before.

You won't find any dorms on this campus. You will, however, find some of the most innovative student housing in the country. You'll find residence facilities that feel like extensions of the classroom, that function as networking facilities. You'll find living space that's only a few steps down the hall from music practice rooms and art studios. You'll find living, breathing, creative communities that will nurture your work, enliven your work, expand and inspire your work.

Come see what Columbia College Residence Life can offer you.  

How To Apply

Columbia College Chicago reviews each applicant's admission materials with an eye towards the big picture, the whole person. We want to learn as much as we can about your academic achievements (and challenges), your creative aspirations, your goals and even your "crazy" ideas.

We take each students potential - as well as their experience and education - into consideration. We don't look only at who you are now and where you've been; we look at who you will be.

Columbia seeks to admit a culturally, economically and educationally diverse student body. You can't do, can't learn, can't excel at what you want to do in the arts and communications fields without exposure to a widely diverse range of students, faculty, and staff and programs of study to inspire your growth, and to move your art form forward.

Columbia welcomes applications from all students who feel the college would be a good fit!
Questions? Email us at  

Visit us (open days)

Undergraduate Open House
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Auditorium Theater 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

The mandatory welcome session begins at 8:30AM (doors open at 8:00AM)

Choosing a college is about finding the right fit and finding the place that feels right - to you - and that is something that can't be done from a distance, or by reading a brochure. You need to sink your teeth in; walk around the campus, through the classrooms and studios, talk to the faculty, hang out with the students. That's what Open House at Columbia College Chicago is all about.

Tour Columbia's classrooms and studios, jam-packed with state-of-the-industry equipment, (including our 4 on-campus housing facilities), talk with our faculty (professional artists and communicators actively working in their fields), meet our students (11,499 of 'em who really, truly love what they do), and learn more about Columbia's 19 majors! So, come on down, take it all in, ask questions, get answers, and find out if Columbia fits.  

Request a prospectus (Number, e-mail or follow link)

Freshman Student Information Request Form:

Phone: 312-344-7130
Fax: 312-344-8024


Phone: 312-344-7260
Fax: 312-344-8047