Located in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Cultural Mile, Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 6,700 students in more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who see the world through a creative lens.
Complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity will be the three most sought-after skills in the workplace by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum. Columbia is built around these essential competencies. From day one, students jump into their chosen work and learn from faculty members who are leaders in those same fields. Our students graduate prepared for careers they never imagined entering as well as professions that may not have even existed when they were in school. We train them for what employers expect, but also prepare them to adapt to the unexpected. We pride ourselves on supporting and embracing every way of being and creating.
Nearly 90 percent of Columbia graduates report being employed within a year of earning their degrees. Columbia alumni go on to shape and reshape industries in fields as varied as cinema and finance, music and video game design, journalism and fashion. They run movie studios and record labels; win Academy Awards, Pulitzers, Emmys, Grammys, and National Book Awards; fill airwaves, concert halls, museums, and theaters; and are the moving forces behind investment funds, festivals, international consultancies, start-ups, humanitarian organizations, Michelin-starred restaurants, nonprofits, and government offices.
Tuition and Value
- Columbia’s tuition and fees–$31,026 for '22-'23–are among the most affordable of all private arts and media colleges in the nation.
- Columbia has more than 96,000 alumni, making our network among the largest of any arts and media college in the world.
We offer generous financial aid programs to help you pay for your education at Columbia College Chicago. The proof is in the numbers:
- $89.0 million in institutional scholarships awarded to freshmen and transfers starting in Fall 2021.
- 99 percent of freshmen and 98 percent of transfer students received some form of financial aid in Fall 2021, either scholarships, grants, or loans.
- $22,980: The average total financial aid package for a Fall 2021 freshman.
- $17,597: The average total financial aid package for a Fall 2021 transfer student.
- More than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
- We believe a solid foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is essential to any creative career. That’s why every undergraduate must complete the requirements of the Columbia Core.
- Emphasis on the body of work: Students can develop professional-grade portfolios over their course of study.
- Average class size: fewer than 18 students
- Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission
- Our students come from all 50 states and more than 60 countries.
- Half of our students self-identify as black non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander/Hawaii Native, American Indian/Alaska Native, or multiracial/multi-ethnic.
- Approximately 16 percent of Columbia students are first-generation college attendees.
- Columbia students are creatively charged, seeing the world through a creative lens. They're driven to pursue their passions and are willing to put in the hard work to get there.
- The city is our campus and a major part of student life at Columbia. Chicago is our laboratory and our playground, and our students explore and sink their teeth into the vast cultural and professional opportunities that abound in this world-class city.
- Nearly 2,500 students live in our residence centers, all located just steps from our main campus.
- More than 50 student organizations–from the Columbia Renegades Dance Team to Japanese Anime and Manga–express the diversity, interests, and energy of our students.
- We do it, watch it, support it, applaud it: We are one of the largest presenters of cultural events in the city, with hundreds of events crowding our calendar each year–including student performances and gallery showings, faculty, and guest lectures, readings, and performances.