Frequently Asked Questions
A Master of Professional Studies (MPS) is designed for individuals who want to pursue only a particular career option which, in this case, is leading an insurance enterprise. An MPS usually takes less time to complete and is often taught by practitioners who are in the field or industry of study.
Columbia’s MPS in Insurance Management is a 16-month, 30-credit program that focuses on providing managerial level knowledge and skills to students who seek career advancement. Students will ideally have at least 5 years of work experience, and will, therefore, be expected to have a knowledge of basic insurance principles. Students will be challenged with situation-based, problem-solving exercises to hone their critical thinking skills in ways that meet employer expectations. They will be expected to effectively deliver presentations and viable solutions to real-world problems.
The MPS is also only available in an asynchronous online format, which provides maximum flexibility for students who work full-time. There are also two in-person residencies*.
*Domestic students are required to participate in the residencies on Columbia’s campus in New York City. International students are welcome to attend the in-person residencies. An online version of the residencies is available only for international students who cannot attend in person.
Asynchronous learning allows flexibility for the student to manage their learning around their busy professional and personal lives. While there is flexibility, there is still structure. The student does not have to “attend” class at a specified time, but they are required to access and satisfy course requirements within a flexible, yet finite, time frame.
During your course of study, the instructor will provide reading materials, recorded lectures, assignments, and exams for evaluation. Methods of asynchronous online learning include self-guided lesson modules, streaming videos, virtual libraries, lecture notes, and exchanges across discussion boards or social media.
Students are expected to spend as much time as they need to review the course content in preparation for their assignments and projects. Coursework must be completed in advance of the assignments and projects, which will be assigned over the course of the semester and for which there will be expected response/completion deadlines.
Residencies are required* in-person sessions for up to 2 ½ days on campus prior to at the start of the Program and at the end of the Program. During Residency I, students will meet with their peers, lecturers, the SPS administration, and guest speakers; participate in team-building activities, and share their experiences from the program.
*New students will begin the program with an online orientation on August 20 and 21, 2020. Later in the Fall, domestic students will participate in an in-person residency, to the extent possible, on Columbia’s campus in New York City. The second in-person residency will take place at the end of the program. International students are welcome to attend the in-person residencies. An online version of the residencies is available only for international students who cannot attend in person.
The program is completed in four consecutive semesters, including summer, for a total of 16 months.
The tuition covers the costs associated with the activities of the residencies, but does not cover housing and transportation.
No. Students will ideally have at least 5 years of work experience. While professionals from the insurance industry are a natural fit for the program, this is not a requirement. The program welcomes students from a variety of industries because the best insurance businesses are comprised of employees who have diverse interests, broad experiences, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to deliver value to companies in different ways.
No. Since this is a part-time program designed for working professionals, the expectation is that students will be working full-time; however, it is not a requirement that they are employed at the time that they matriculate. Students who are employed will have distinct opportunities to immediately apply what they learn to their work.
Yes. Students will be able to communicate directly with the lecturers and teaching associates. Lecturers will also have the option to offer in-person, in addition to virtual, office hours.
Yes. Students are encouraged to communicate with their peers in any forum they deem convenient or necessary in order to complete the coursework and network. In order to maximize the value of this shared experience and knowledge, students will be required to collaborate with each other and are strongly encouraged to engage with other students, lecturers, and anyone else who is supplementing the course.
Students will be able to communicate through the online learning management system as well as through email and other forms of communication. Lecturers will be available through virtual office hours, and in some cases can meet in person.
Yes. As long as a student is enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester, federal financial aid is available. In addition, industry associations and fraternal organizations provide scholarships for obtaining a master’s degree and grants for attending trade conferences and events. For example, students who enroll in the Insurance Management master’s program are eligible for scholarships from the Spencer Educational Foundation. Students may also inquire about tuition reimbursement programs that many employers offer as an employee benefit.
The Insurance Management program teaches students about the enterprises that create, provide, and manage insurance solutions for their clients. Enterprise risk management addresses the broad understanding of risks within any business and how to mitigate them. Insurance is often part of an enterprise risk manager’s portfolio of solutions.