SUNY Purchase: College Tour

The art of science. The science of performance. The performance of literature. The literature of art.

SUNY Purchase

These are some ways that SUNY Purchase integrates the arts. The State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase has 4,000 undergraduates, widely known as an arts school, it has the motto of Think Wide Open. We saw that motto come to life as we toured the campus. 


Purchase offers

  • Forty-seven majors
  • Thirty-two minors
  • Four graduate majors, plus artist diplomas and performers certificates

Forty percent of undergraduates graduate with a degree from the School of Arts. Purchase offers BFA conservatory programs in dance, music, theatre arts, the School of Art and Design, and film.  They are well known for their BFA programs and have amazing facilities and faculty to support the arts. 

All students participate in a honors-level senior project before they graduate, for example in the film school a student may move from writing a thesis to writing or producing an original screenplay or film.

This polished and finished product helps students see that they are able to do research or start a business. Park to Fly, the airport shuttle service, was started by a Purchase student. 92% of Purchase graduates are working full time or in graduate school. The faculty to student average at Purchase College is 13.5:1.

Social Life

Making art, filming, writing, and getting loud. Purchase students love their traditions- and who wouldn’t? Each semester, the night before finals begin, college faculty and staff stay late on campus to serve breakfast to hungry, cramming, stressed-out students during Pancake Madness.

No small drag competition, Fall Ball has students spending months perfecting their acts and organizers bringing in some of the greatest guest drag performers in the country. Student-run (school supported) Culture Shock is off the charts when it comes to college musical festivals. And, of course, at Zombie Prom, students dress up as zombies to enjoy the DJ and live music at this huge event. 

86% of freshmen and 70% of all students live on campus, and community engagement is big. Students we met told us about working to help victims of the natural disasters in Puerto Rico by staying in hostels, stocking bags at food pantries, and painting homes in the affected areas.

From membership in any of the 30+ clubs and organizations, to performances at the PAC, to athletics in the NCAA Division III Skyline Conference, there is always something to do for students at SUNY Purchase.

Student Body

Diverse, Creative, Artsy, Edgy, Inclusive, Low-key, Non-judgmental.

Eighty-two percent of students are New York residents, and the remainder come from 40 states and 30 foreign countries. Most out-of-state students are in conservatory programs. Purchase College places an emphasis on access to higher education, and diversity is welcomed. 

The LGBQ+ friendly campus is 34% first-generation college students and 25% Hispanic or LatinX. 

The Cornerstone Program pairs Purchase students with autistic peers to help with social and academic support. A separate application process is required for admittance into this program.

While visiting, we met Angela, who described the internship she had her freshman year. She learned to program and coordinate events and now she books shows for students on campus, seeks out artists, and manages events. She is also a member of the Purchase Student Government.

Another student, Quinn, who studies digital editing, interned for the Buffalo Bills and learned to edit game day footage and get it out in real-time.   

Surrounding Area

Just a 35-minute train ride from Manhattan, SUNY Purchase, located in the scenic Hudson Valley, is an art-filled expanse in the middle of 500 protected acres of forest, fields, and wildlife. 

Admissions and Financial Aid

Students may apply to SUNY Purchase through the Common or SUNY Application. The average high school GPA for the incoming class is 88 .3, and 70% had a combined SAT score of 1000 or higher. The most recent average was 1160. Purchase college has a 43% acceptance rate. 

Interview and portfolio reviews for programs including Acting, Film, and Music, are a part of their specific application processes and are by invitation only.

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Theatre Design/Technology requires an interview of all applicants.
  • Film and Music students must submit a portfolio or video submission in Slideroom first – if selected, applicants will be asked to attend an in-person interview or audition. An emphasis is placed on writing and directing. Admissions is looking for applicants who can tell a story. 
  • Acting and Dance students must make a Slideroom submission in addition to attending an audition. For Acting, two monologues in contrasting styles are suggested. Twenty students are admitted and diversity is considered.
  • Creative Writing students must submit a writing portfolio (fiction or poetry) in Slideroom.
  • Art + Design students need to make a portfolio submission. 
  • Theatre & Performance students must submit a resume of theatrical experience.
  • EOP requires an in-person interview once a student has been deemed eligible for the program.

Applicants can select a first choice and second choice major. This creates two separate applications and students will get a decision for both. All artistic submissions should be framed through the lens of Think Wide Open.

SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine has an agreement with Purchase College that allows admitted Purchase students seeking any degree (BA, BS, BM, or BFA) to be guaranteed acceptance into Upstate’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program if they satisfy the following eligibility requirements:


  • An excellent high school GPA with a 90% average minimum
  • Extra-curricular activities that document some experience in a healthcare setting and commitment to service work.
  • Combined Math and Reading SAT scores of 1360 or better or ACT score of 29 Composite or better. Although Purchase is test optional.

While at Purchase

  • Completion of graduation requirements for the specific degree program
  • Completion of Medical School prerequisite courses: Biology 1 and 2, General Chemistry 1 and 2, Organic Chemistry 1, General Physics 1 and 2 including labs for all listed courses, Biochemistry and Statistics, with no grade lower than a B
  • Carry a full course load of at least 12 credits each semester
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher
  • Completion and documentation of 40 hours of volunteer service while an undergraduate

The MCAT requirement for admission into Upstate is waived for individuals that are accepted into the program. 

For all SUNY programs, financial aid is offered on a case by case basis through federal, state, institutional, and private funds. 


Purchase College is a hands-on, community-focused institution made up of artistic and open-minded individuals. This ideal-sized campus has a beautiful setting and a welcoming and collaborative atmosphere.

SUNY Purchase

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

Thanks for your e-mail. We’ll get back to you ASAP.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt