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Sound Arts, M.F.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #18 (QS) , NY,
Columbia University has been at the helm of sound innovation for over fifty years with faculty specializing in composition, improvisation, music theory, musicology, installation, sculpture, instrument building, acoustics, music cognition, and software development. Faculty from the Computer Music Center, along with colleagues from Composition, Visual Arts, and Engineering, led the development of the new interdisciplinary area in Sound Art that leads to the Master of Fine Arts degree awarded by the School of the Arts.


The two-year program is highly selective, offering admission to only three or four students each year. Prospective students with a deep engagement with sound as medium and a desire to join a diverse community of artists and musicians are encouraged to apply. It is expected that Sound Art students will pursue creative work in a variety of genres and focus on the integration of sound with other media. Sounds Arts is a studio-based program in conjunction with the Visual Arts Program. As such, it gives the students the freedom to explore work in sculpture, video, wood as well as computer programming, performance and conceptual strategies. First-year students are assigned a small studio, and second-year students receive a large studio. 

The Sound Art program is the only graduate sound arts program in New York City. The rich New York gallery scene, including long-established art institutions such as MoMA, the Guggenheim and others, as well as independent and outdoor public sites are in close proximity to Columbia. Discussions of these exhibitions are folded into the discussions of the contemporary practice of sound arts. Individual studio visits with the Director and other faculty, visiting artists, sound theorists and curators facilitate dialogue and reveal multiple readings of students’ work. 

 Students develop their practice in a multi- perspectival, interactive and supportive environment and learn to conceive and discuss their own work, articulate their artistic ideas and develop a self awareness of how their work is situated within the context of various histories, disciplines and practices.

Programme Structure

An important part of the curriculum is Artist-Mentor week, where for one week students have the opportunity to be excused from all their electives and explore the city with an artist of another generation or in another place in their career.  They go to their studio, visit meaningful places, meet their colleagues and their community and foster a deeper and more personal engagement with the Artist-mentor than the classroom can offer.  The Artist-Mentor week offers a time of bonding and a taste of the Master/apprentice relationship that existed before MFA programs developed.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

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General Requirements

Columbia University School of the Arts is an innovative graduate professional school with a tradition of risk-taking, grounded in a deeply intellectual Ivy League university and energized by our location in New York City. 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.The school welcomes applications for the fall semester of each year (no students are admitted for the spring semester). Please note, only complete applications are evaluated by each program's Faculty Admissions Committee. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    2018 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2018 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    2018 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2018 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Manhattan

  • 2638 - 5760 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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