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Visual Arts Profile

Columbia College Chicago gives students the tools to author the culture of their time.

Columbia College Chicago is an arts and media-focused liberal arts college dedicated to rigorous academics, hands-on learning, collaboration, and career preparation. With more than 120 years of deep experience, we encourage students to take creative risks, develop an authentic voice, and author the culture of their time.

Columbia offers an inclusive learning community and an educational philosophy that weds theory with practice. Columbia gives students the opportunity to practice and perfect their craft from day one while grounding them in a liberal arts curriculum. Our location in Chicago—one of the most vibrant, forward-thinking cities in the world—provides students access to an array of cultural and professional experiences, and our award-winning faculty of working professionals prepare graduates for successful careers and leadership roles in their fields.

Career focused
Columbia’s main goal is to prepare students for employment beyond a specific job. From the very first day, we focus on preparing students for a lasting career and fulfilling life. Our students not only have the opportunity to pursue programs taught by industry leaders, but they also acquire the skills necessary to lead productive lives wherever their interests and abilities take them. Columbia focuses on career preparation both in and outside the classroom through rigorous academics, the Portfolio Center (a team of counselors who assist students in strategizing their career plans and building a personal brand and portfolio), Industry Events, internship programs, and one of the largest arts and media alumni networks in the world.

Professional faculty
Columbia’s faculty are working professionals who are actively engaged in the fields and subjects they teach. They are creative leaders in shaping their disciplines, enabling them to bring the most contemporary and innovative thinking to the design and delivery of our curriculum. They are gifted teachers committed to teaching. Columbia does not rely on teaching assistants or graduate assistants to deliver our curriculum—students work directly with our faculty immediately as freshmen and through all successive years.

An inclusive learning environment
Inclusivity is inextricably linked to Columbia’s educational purpose. We are deeply committed to the hard work that goes into making our community welcoming to every student.

If our students are to create that which does not yet exist, they must have every opportunity to learn from the voice and experience of the other. We believe a community that brings together diverse voices and experiences is fertile ground for new ideas and creative practice. We encourage students to collaborate with difference and embrace new perspectives.

Chicago is our campus
As the third-largest city and media market in the United States, Chicago offers a multitude of cultural, artistic, and educational opportunities. With a storied history in the arts and media, students can expand on what they learn in the classroom by exploring the city’s world-class museums, newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, theaters, corporations, publishers, sports organizations, agencies, studios, festivals, galleries, restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions. Chicago is also an emerging leader in the technology industry.

Columbia’s campus is just steps away from public transportation, providing easy access to the city’s rich and varied neighborhoods. This location in the heart of the city also allows students countless opportunities for professional-level experience, and you’ll find many of them, along with faculty and alumni, involved in Chicago’s creative workplaces.




Columbia’s location in the heart of the city also allows students countless opportunities for professional-level experience, and you’ll find many of them involved in Chicago’s creative workplaces.

College type: Private, nonprofit, four year
Degree types: B.A., B.F.A., B.Mus., B.S., M.A., M.A.M., M.A.T., M.F.A.
School size: Nearly 10,000 students
Average class size: Fewer than 20 students
States represented in student body: 50
Countries represented in student body: 50+
Student organizations: 85+

Majors/Program List 

Advertising (B.A.)

American Sign Language–English Interpretation
• ASL–English Interpretation (B.A.)
• Deaf Studies (B.A.)

Art & Design
• Advertising Art Direction (B.A.)
• Art History (B.A.)
• Fine Arts (B.A., B.F.A.)
• Graphic Design (B.A.)
• Graphic Design
   - Publication Design (B.A.)
   - Web Design (B.A.)
• Illustration (B.F.A.)
• Interior Architecture (B.F.A.)

Audio Arts & Acoustics
• Acoustics (B.S.)
• Audio Design & Production (B.A.)
• Live & Installed Sound (B.A.)
• Music Technology (B.S.)

Business & Entrepreneurship
• Advanced Management (B.A.)
• Arts Management (B.A.)
   - Film Business (B.A.)
• Design Management (B.A.)
• International Arts Management (B.A.)
• Live & Performing Arts Management (B.A.)
• Marketing (B.A.)
• Media Management (B.A.)
• Music Business Management (B.A.)
• Sports Management (B.A.)
• Visual Arts Management (B.A.)

Cinema Art & Science
• Cinema Art & Science (B.A.)
   - Cinema Visual Effects   (B.F.A.)
   - Cinematography (B.F.A.)
   - Directing (B.F.A.)
   - Editing & Post-Production (B.F.A.)
   - Producing (B.F.A.)
   - Production Design (B.F.A.)
   - Screenwriting (B.F.A.)
   - Sound for Cinema (B.F.A.)
• Computer Animation (B.F.A.)
• Traditional Animation (B.F.A.)

Creative Writing
• Fiction (B.A.)
• Nonfiction (B.A.)
• Poetry (B.A.)

Dance (B.A., B.F.A.)

• Early Childhood Education (B.A.)

Fashion Studies
• Fashion Business (B.A.)
• Fashion Design (B.A., B.F.A.)

Humanities, History & Social Sciences
• Cultural Studies (B.A.)

Interactive Arts & Media
• Game Design
   - Game Art (B.A.)
   - Game Development (B.A.)
   - Game Sound Design (B.A.)

• Game Programming (B.A., B.S.)
• Interaction Design (B.A.)
• Mobile Media Programming (B.A.)

• Multimedia Journalism
   - Broadcast Radio (B.A.)
   - Broadcast Television (B.A.)
   - Health & Science (B.A.)
   - Magazine (B.A.)
   - News & Features (B.A.)
   - Sports (B.A.)
• Multimedia Photojournalism (B.A.)

• Composition (B.Mus.)
• Contemporary Urban & Popular Music (B.Mus.)
• Music
   - Composition (B.A.)
   - Contemporary Urban & Popular Music (B.A.)
   - Instrumental Performance   (B.A.)
   - Jazz Studies (B.A.)
   - Vocal Performance (B.A.)
Performance: Instrumental (B.Mus.)
Performance: Jazz Studies (B.Mus.)
Performance: Vocal Performance (B.Mus.)

• Photography (B.A.)
   - Commercial (B.A.)
   - Fashion Photography (B.A.)
   - Fine Art (B.A.)

Public Relations (B.A.)

Radio (B.A.) 

Science & Mathematics
• Art & Materials Conservation (B.A.)
• Computational and Applied Mathematics
   - Programming (B.S.)

• Television
- Internet & Mobile Media (B.A.)
- Post-Production (B.A.)
- Production/Directing (B.A.)
- Writing/Producing (B.A.)

• Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship (B.F.A.)

• Acting (B.A., B.F.A.)
• Comedy Writing & Performance (B.A.)
• Musical Theatre (B.A.)
• Musical Theatre Performance (B.F.A.)
• Theatre (B.A.)
   - Technical Theatre (B.A.)
   - Theatre Design (B.A., B.F.A.)
• Theatre Directing (B.F.A.)
• Writing for Performance (B.A.)