Frequently Asked Questions
Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) programs are designed for enterprising and forward-thinking professionals, seeking to deepen their knowledge in a specific industry on a flexible schedule. Columbia’s M.P.S. programs are innovative and ground-breaking. The dynamic curricula, centered around problem-based learning, are created for career-long learners. All students have relevant professional experience, which expands the learning environment and facilitates knowledge-sharing in their field. Our faculty are leading scholar-practitioners, who have excelled in their careers and are eager to share their insights. In addition to seasoned faculty, the programs are supported by industry leaders and professionals who are committed to enriching our students’ academic experiences and offering high-level networking opportunities.
Online asynchronous instruction provides flexibility for students to manage their learning around their busy professional and personal lives. Students do not have to “attend” class at a specified time, but are required to fulfill course requirements within a flexible—yet structured—16-month timeframe. Students will also build community and connections through synchronous engagement, including faculty office hours, group projects, industry and career events, and various other student activities and clubs. There are also two in-person residencies lasting up to 2 ½ days, one prior to the start of the program and one at the end of the program*. Learn more about the M.P.S.
*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. Due to COVID-19, in-person residencies may be postponed or canceled.
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 presumption 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.