Specific Program Qualifications and Application Requirements
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 and upload unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions you have attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. This includes any summer program(s), study abroad program(s), or transfer coursework (regardless of the number of credits received or whether these credits were transferred to your home institution) including any additional mark sheets, official translations, or degree certificates for international transcripts as needed.
Please note that applicants are required to submit grades for all coursework completed at the time they complete their application. Applicants who are currently enrolled in coursework and who submit transcripts with in-progress coursework for admissions consideration (official WES for international and unofficial for domestic) must provide an updated unofficial transcript showing the grades for that completed semester’s coursework as soon as one becomes available.
For Domestic Institutions
Unofficial transcripts for each institution listed are sufficient for the admissions review process. Note: Unofficial transcripts must include both the name of the student and the institution to be used for application review.
For International Institutions
Official ICAP course-by-course evaluation by World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency, for all post-secondary coursework completed outside of the United States is required for your application to be reviewed. 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.
Please note that applicants who have completed 18 credits or less abroad may submit an unofficial transcript for admissions consideration. If admitted, the applicant must submit an official transcript directly from the prior institution. WES is not required for a total of 18 credits or less completed outside the United States.
Instructions for using WES
WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and credentials. Please select the WES ICAP course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course levels) for the United States 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 the 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.
Requirements for Enrollment:
If offered admission, and before being permitted to enroll, you must submit official verified transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended for academic credit in the manner outlined under Policies in the Application Instructions section of this application.
If you are in the process of completing a degree at the time you apply, final official transcripts with degree conferral (for domestic institutions) or a final official WES evaluation showing degree conferral, including your degree certificate (for international institutions) will be required for enrollment. If you have completed your studies at the time of your application, we strongly recommend you submit your final official transcripts as soon as possible. Failure to submit an official transcript or WES within 30 days following the start of your first semester will result in a hold on your account and, if not remedied, can result in dismissal from the program.
Please upload your resume or CV. Be sure to include all work experience, professional certifications and activities that would be relevant to evaluating your candidacy for admission. Ideal applicants meet the following criteria:
Employment Experience: Include the positions you hold or have held in the past. Preference will be given to individuals with 2+ years of work experience in the insurance industry. However, given the breadth of the industry's impact on life and business, applicants who exhibit relatable, diverse expertise and skills are welcome to apply. If you do not have professional experience in insurance, please highlight the transferable skills you have acquired and explain how you will utilize them to succeed as an insurance professional.
We seek applicants who:
- Demonstrate a commitment to the insurance industry, and are eager to advance the industry's role as innovators and collaborative business partners
- Have career goals aligned with the Insurance Management program's goals and learning objectives
- Are participants in management training or other employer-sponsored career development programs
Special Projects, Volunteer and Public Service Activities: Provide details about your involvement in any special projects, volunteer and public service activities, and leadership roles--work or non-work related. They may involve industry associations, charitable organizations or other communities in which you have an interest.
Letters of recommendation must be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied in the classroom, 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. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation requirement, please contact apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu for assistance.
Important Policies Related to Recommendations:
- 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.
- All letters must be uploaded by the recommender directly to the application system. Letters of recommendation may not be sent via email, nor may paper letters be sent via postal mail.
- Letters of recommendation must 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.
- You are required to submit at least one academic reference, unless you 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. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation requirement, please contact apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu for assistance.
- Please note that an academic reference must be from a professor or faculty member at your degree-granting institution and should provide examples of your academic or professional contributions. If you are submitting a second academic reference, the other recommendation may be from a professor or faculty member with whom you have studied at another post-secondary institution. References from instructors for the following are not acceptable: not-for-credit programs, education companies, workshops, or trainings. Academic advisors are not acceptable.
- Please note that a professional reference must be from a supervisor or manager who can speak to your performance as a full-time employee, part-time employee, or intern employed at their organization. If you own your own business or are your own supervisor, you may select a client or peer within your organization as your recommender. Recommendations from professional mentors, or project advisors, and references of a personal nature are not acceptable.
- You must enter the institutional or professional email address of your recommender in the application system. If you are unable to provide a professional email address for your recommender, please email us at apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with an explanation of why a professional email address cannot be provided. References submitted from personal or anonymous email accounts without prior approval (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, 123.com, 163.com, qq.com etc.) may result in your application being considered ineligible for admission.
- If the current supervisor, former supervisor, or faculty member writing a letter of recommendation for you is a family member, this MUST be disclosed in the letter of recommendation. You must also request two additional letters of recommendation from non-family members, for a total of three letters of recommendation with your application. If the affiliation is not disclosed OR you lack two additional non-familial letters of recommendation, you will be considered ineligible for admission. Please email apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu to inquire about your specific situation.
- Under the guidelines of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all letters of recommendation are confidential during the admissions process, even if you have not waived your right to view them. This policy applies to both domestic and international applicants. If you did not waive your right to see one or more of the letters, you may view them only after you are enrolled in Columbia SPS. Students who do not receive an offer of admission, or those admitted who do not enroll, are not permitted access to the letters at any time. A complete explanation of the FERPA policy can be found here.
Share These Five Things With Your Recommenders
- Tell your recommender the name of the program you are applying to and the specific information they should address in their letter of recommendation (see Program of Study section).
- 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.
- Share our email address with them (apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu) so they can look out for the notification and add it to their address book or list of contacts to ensure that the message is routed to their inbox.
- They should expect and comply with outreach from Re Vera Services, a third party verification provider, who will reach out to them via email to confirm that they supplied the recommendation.
- Share the timeline for when you need the recommendation.
Important Tips About Recommendations
- You should request letters of recommendation from your recommenders as early as possible and be sure to provide your recommender with the information below.
- Track the status of your recommendation submissions within the application system on the Applicant Status page. 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, and re-notify your recommender through the application system if they are missing.
- 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 must do so before your admissions decision will be released. Specific instructions will be provided after submission of 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. In addition, you will be notified via email when a recommendation has been submitted.
The statement of academic purpose (500–750 words) should clearly and concisely address the following:
- Your current role and your area of insurance interest (if different from your current role), and why this is an area of interest.
- Describe how this Program complements your career goals and interests.
- Discuss a trend that you see that will drive change in the insurance industry, describe the possible change(s), and address how this program could help you convert it into an insurance-related opportunity.
In no more than 250 words, please answer one of the following prompts.
- What are your strongest attributes and how will they enable you to be a successful leader? OR
- If you could acquire an attribute or skill, what would it be and why?
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 your first or native language is not English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS Academic unless both of the following are true:
- the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English, and
- and you completed your entire undergraduate degree in English.
Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) or 7.0 (IELTS Academic) to be admissible. 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 Academic 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.
- To submit TOEFL iBT scores: Visit www.ets.org and send your official score to our school code 2594. Please note: we do not accept TOEFL best scores.
- To submit IELTS scores: Please include your TRF number on the English Language Requirements section of the application. Alternatively, you can also send us your official score through your testing center.
Applicants whose primary language is not English may be required to complete an intensive course with the American Language Program (ALP) prior to beginning their studies in the degree program as a condition for admission.
Applicants may also be asked to complete an interview using a video conferencing tool.
While standardized exams are not required upon application submission, applicants are strongly encouraged to consider submitting scores to further support their candidacy and strengthen their application.
The admissions committee pays particular attention to the quantitative reasoning score of the GRE.
GRE test scores can be ordered at www.gre.org. Our school report code is 3602.
For complete information regarding the GMAT, go to www.mba.com/exams/gmat. To send your scores, please choose "Columbia University - School of Professional Studies.
This may be required.