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 colleges and universities 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. You will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts before submitting your application. Students with international transcripts will also be required to provide a course by course evaluation from World Education Services (WES) for your application to be considered complete.
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 fall coursework for admissions consideration (official WES for international and unofficial for domestic) must provide an updated unofficial transcript showing the grades for that completed fall coursework by early February or as soon as one becomes available. Applications completed by February 15 should include transcripts with the final fall grades to be eligible for review.
Official 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. 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.
Unofficial transcripts for each institution listed. Note: Unofficial transcripts must include both the name of the student and institution to be used for application review.
Requirements for Enrollment:
See the Admitted Students pages
Please upload your résumé or CV. Please be sure to include all relevant work experience, professional organizations, or activities that would be relevant to evaluating your candidacy for admission.
Letters of recommendation should be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied in the classroom, who can attest to your capacity to engage in a rigorous academic program that calls for maturity and stamina, as well as the ability to receive and provide criticism. 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.
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.
- 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 must enter the institutional or professional email address of your recommender in the application system. References submitted from personal or anonymous email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, 123.com, 163.com, qq.com, info@, support@, email@, etc.) will be subject to additional review and 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 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.
Though most programs only require two letters of recommendation, you may designate up to three recommenders. The full list of program-specific requirements may be found in the Program of Study section of the application.
The statement of academic purpose should address the following:
- your purpose and interest in pursuing a degree program in narrative medicine
- how the degree program fits into your overall professional growth, focusing in particular on the connection between the program and your academic and/or professional experience
- your anticipated contribution to the program
- your anticipated contribution to professional field
You may fill this requirement in a number of ways, including:
- A piece of writing that demonstrates critical thinking (at least 3 pages)
- A scholarly paper (published or unpublished), article, or book
- An interpretive essay (e.g. examining a work of art or literature). This could be an old paper or a new piece.
Applicants are encouraged (though not required) to submit creative work in addition to an analytical piece of writing.
After you have submitted your application and fee, you will be required to submit a 1-minute video essay. 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. You will not be able to re-record your video. Please note that the video essay response should be your own thoughts and should not be rehearsed or prepared beforehand.
The Committee on Admissions reserves the right to interview candidates in instances where additional information would be helpful. All interviews are conducted by Zoom (or telephone if Zoom is not possible).
If your first and native language is not English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS.
The applicant's total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) or 7.0 (IELTS) 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 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 2954. Please note: we do not accept TOEFL best scores.
- To submit IELTS scores: After you have submitted your application, please upload your unofficial IELTS score report. Alternatively, you can also send us your official score through your testing center.
Applicants whose native 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.
International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. Since the program offers a full-time study option, international students enrolled in a full-time course load—registered for at least 12 points of credit-bearing courses a term—are eligible for a student visa.
Eligible international students who wish to apply for a student visa should do so immediately after they have received their letter of admission to Columbia University. This should be done by completing the Application for Visa Certificate (AVC). Applicants should be aware that after admission into a program it may take up to four weeks to receive the documents needed from Columbia to obtain a student visa, so please plan accordingly.
International students who require a student visa to study at Columbia are required to pay an International Services fee. See Tuition and Fees for more information.
You can find the online application for visa certificate by clicking here: http://isso.columbia.edu/. While you are not permitted to submit the application until you have gained admission, we strongly encourage you to read the instructional information provided.
For questions about individual cases, please contact:
International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
isso [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu