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U6950 English for International and Public Affairs

This course is designed specifically for students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) whose first language is not English. It is intended to assist such students with the linguistic and scholarly demands of their graduate coursework.

The course focuses primarily on improving participants' academic reading and writing skills in terms of developing genre awareness and linguistic proficiency, as well as analytical and critical thinking skills. Particular thematic emphasis is given to topics that will further the students' understanding of the United States and the role it plays internationally. In completing the assignments, students will ultimately have the opportunity to become familiar with the analytic discourse required of SIPA graduate students and to develop the skills necessary to evaluate texts critically, write effectively, and participate actively and successfully in their courses. 

The course is 3 credits and letter grade only. 

Participants will:

  • Develop an awareness of different academic writing genres relevant to graduate students. 
  • Develop familiarity with critical reading and analysis.
  • Develop writing process skills such as proofreading, drafting, editing, writing for different purposes, and reflecting. 
  • Develop knowledge of rhetorical structures, academic vocabulary, and appropriate style. 
  • Develop an understanding of academic integrity, including skills related to source-based writing, plagiarism, and citation formats, as well as academic expectations and norms. 

Dates and Times

This course is offered in Fall (2 or 3 sections) and Spring (1 section, subject to demand)

Classes meet either: 

Monday + Wednesday 11:00am-12:50pm


Tuesday + Thursday 11:00am-12:50pm


The course is open only to students in SIPA whose first language is not English. 

Spaces are given first to those who are required as part of their admission to SIPA. 

If space is still available after all these students have been accommodated they will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. 

How to Register

Students are not able to self-register in SSOL for this course.

If you have been mandated by SIPA to take U6950 you will be automatically registered by SIPA before the start of the semester. You do not need to do anything else.

If you are not required to take the class, but are interested in doing so, email Alleyne Waysome, Assistant Dean, Office of Student Affairs at SIPA: aaw54 [[at]] sipa [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu (aaw54[at]sipa[dot]columbia[dot]edu) or talk to your SIPA advisor. You will be put on the waitlist to take the class, and if spaces are available you will be added. 

Please do not email the course instructors as they are not able to register you or add you to the waitlist. 


This course counts as part of your 18 credit SIPA load and is not billed separately as long as you do not exceed 18 credits.