You must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and Vietnam Education Fund (VEF).
If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
Fee payment must accompany the online application.
In the Academic History section of your online application, you must list all institutions attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. This includes individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees.
Instructions for Submitting Transcripts When Applying
Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended for use in review of their application. Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and Community Standards.
If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all international post-secondary coursework (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. The official WES evaluation is required for your application to be reviewed for admission consideration.
When you submit a completed WES course-by-course evaluation for an international institution, we will review and verify its contents. If the WES evaluation meets our requirements, we will not require a separate official transcript from that school. If your academic study is in progress, you will be required to provide an updated WES evaluation prior to enrollment if you are admitted to the program.
Instructions for using WES
WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and credentials. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation to Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies.
WES evaluations will be reviewed, and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies.
Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and Community Standards. Applicants would not be entitled to request any refund of the application fee, enrollment deposit or tuition in the case that the official transcript deviates from the unofficial.
All enrolling students, before being permitted to register, must have all academic, professional, and reference information provided during the admissions process verified. For us to proceed with the reference verification, you must sign and date an authorization and release form. This form must be signed before your admissions decision is released. We will provide the link to do so once you have submitted your application.
For Spring 2021 Applicants Only - Due to the impact of COVID-19 on institutions of higher education, adjustments to our WES requirements have been made. Applicants who attended an institution outside of the United States will not be required to submit official World Education Services (WES) course-by-course evaluations in order to be evaluated for admission.
Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended for use in review of your application, as well as any certificates. For Indian universities, this includes all semester mark sheets. If your university provides transcripts in a language other than English, both the original language document and English translation are required. If admitted, you will be required to provide official WES course-by-course evaluations (international coursework) for all post-secondary academic coursework and credentials. Applicants for the Spring 2021 semester must provide official WES course-by-course evaluations by no later than December 21, 2020. We recommend starting the WES course-by-course evaluation process as soon as possible so that you are able to meet this deadline.
For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to transcripts [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu. If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to transcripts [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with the link to your prior U.S. institution’s webpage concerning transcript orders to confirm that paper is the only option and obtain permission to submit a paper transcript.
If a paper transcript is the only option, it must be sent directly from the institution to Columbia, and not delivered or forwarded by you. Please have the institution send the approved paper transcript to:
Office of Admissions
School of Professional Studies
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902
Letters of recommendation should be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied, who can assess your academic work, intellectual ability, academic potential for graduate work, address your suitability for the program and your ability to commit to the rigorous curriculum. If you own your own business and are your own supervisor, you may select a client as your recommender. Personal references are not appropriate.
All applicants are required to submit at least one academic reference, unless that applicant received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application. Applicants who received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit an academic reference.
You should request letters of recommendation as early as possible. To avoid any delay in the review of your materials, we urge you to verify that all your letters have been submitted by the time you submit your application. You may submit your application even if all of your letters have not yet been received, but your application will not be considered complete until the letters have arrived. After submitting your application, you may monitor receipt of recommendations by viewing your Applicant Status page. In addition, you will be notified via email when a recommendation has been submitted.
Please read this information carefully.
- Under no circumstances should you upload a letter on behalf of a recommender. Any person who writes a letter of recommendation must submit that letter themselves through the application system.
- Letters of recommendation may not be sent via email, nor may paper letters be sent via postal mail. All letters must be uploaded by the recommender directly to the application system.
- When entering contact information for recommenders, you must use their institutional or professional email address. References submitted from personal or anonymous email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, 123.com, 163.com, qq.com, etc.) will be subject to additional review and may result in your application being considered ineligible for admission.
- Columbia will use an outside verification vendor to verify all submitted letters of recommendation. You will be asked to authorize the vendor to contact your recommenders and specific instructions for doing so will be provided after submission of your application.
- You must indicate whether you waive your right to view your letters of recommendation.
Information to Share With Your Recommenders
- Before adding their information to the application, please contact your recommenders and inform them that they will receive an email from apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu that will provide instructions regarding their letters. They may wish to add apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu to their address book or list of contacts to ensure that the message is routed to their inbox.
- Ensure your recommender is aware that they will be asked to complete a brief evaluation form within the application system and upload a letter of recommendation on letterhead (whenever possible). Both components are necessary to fulfill the requirement and must be provided within the application system. We will not accept letters sent via email or post mail.
- Inform your recommender that they should expect to be contacted by a third party verification provider, Re Vera Services, who will reach out to them via email to confirm that they supplied the recommendation.
- We strongly suggest you give your recommender a timeline for providing the recommendation and that you proactively follow-up with them until the letter is submitted.
The statement of academic purpose should address the following:
- your purpose and interest in pursuing the program, focusing on how it relates to your immediate and long-term professional plans, and what your current role is
- the areas you hope to explore in our curriculum
- what you will contribute to the program and student cohort
- how you expect to contribute to the field
- a brief discussion of a particular risk field or issue of interest to you
Spring 2020 applicants and beyond will be required to submit a 1-minute video essay. Once the application and fee are submitted, the video essay section will become available. You will be given time to create test videos to ensure that your system is working properly. When you are ready, you will be given a randomly selected prompt for which you will have one minute to prepare and one minute to record a response. Please note that the video essay response should be your own thoughts and should not be rehearsed or prepared beforehand.
If you submitted your application prior to July 2, 2019, you will also be asked to complete the video essay. Instructions for fulfilling this requirement will be provided to you.
This may be required.
They are not required upon application submission; however, standard exams are a useful indicator of academic ability and applicants are strongly encouraged to consider submitting scores to further support their candidacy and strengthen their application.
Applicants who elect to submit exam scores will have them taken into consideration.
For Spring 2021 Applicants Only:
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on testing facilities, GRE/GMAT scores have been waived for the remainder of the Spring 2021 application cycle. However, applicants who take the online GRE/GMAT may still submit official scores for consideration.
Fall 2021 Applicants:
All official standardized test scores must be received in the SPS Office of Admissions within two weeks of the application deadline for the program to which you have applied. Your application cannot be reviewed until official test scores are received.
GRE test scores can be ordered at www.gre.org. Our school report code is 3602.
TOEFL test scores can be ordered at https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/send/. Our school report code is 2594.
IELTS test scores can be ordered and sent electronically to the Columbia University - School of Professional Studies. Alternatively, you can email your TRF number to us at transcripts [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
To be considered for admission, students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. If the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English and you completed two or more years at the institution, you need not take further steps to prove fluency. However, if your undergraduate education is not conducted in English, or you completed fewer than two years at your degree conferring institution where English was the language of instruction, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS.
Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) or 7.0 (IELTS). You will be required to enter your test scores or your anticipated testing date within the online application, and official test score reports will be required for your application to be considered complete and ready for admission review. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years after your test date. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)
For Spring 2021 Applicants Only - If you are applying for Spring 2021 semester and are unable to provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS due to the closing of testing centers, you may submit a request to use the DET Duolingo English Test in order to demonstrate English proficiency. Applicant DET Duolingo English Test scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 120. Applicants may also be asked to complete an interview using a video conferencing tool.
If you are unable to provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS due to the closing of testing centers, please email apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with the specific details of your situation.