Carefully read the requirements for your specific program.
Fee payment must accompany the online application.
You are required to disclose and provide official academic transcripts for all post-secondary academic study completed and in progress. This includes individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees. All institutions attended must be listed in the Enrollment History section of the online application.
Official transcripts are required to complete the admissions process for every SPS program, and applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to arrange for the submission of official transcripts at the earliest possible stage. While applicants must upload unofficial transcripts at the time of application, any decision granting admission on the basis of an unofficial transcript will be provisional only, and subject to the receipt of official transcripts directly from the issuing institution.
If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation for admission consideration.
Instructions for Using WES
WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary 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 School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies. The evaluation provided to the School of Professional Studies becomes an official academic record and sole property of the School of Professional Studies upon its receipt.
WES evaluations will be reviewed by the School of Professional Studies administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies.
If offered admission, before being permitted to enroll, you must provide official verified transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended for academic credit, among these must include a transcript showing the conferral of your bachelor’s degree and the completion of any in-progress study reflected on transcripts provided for admissions consideration. Submission of these documents is required in the manner outlined here.
For Domestic Institutions
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
For International Institutions
Official transcripts from prior academic institutions outside the United States must be submitted through World Education Services, Inc. (WES) as a course-by-course evaluation. If a WES transcript was provided reflecting in-progress study, a follow-up WES course-by-course evaluation showing the complete academic record and degree conferral is required.
The statement of academic purpose should address your purpose and interest in pursuing the program, how the program fits into your overall academic and/or professional goals, focusing in particular on the connection between the program and your academic and/or professional experience.
Some applicants use their statements as an opportunity to amplify information contained on the application or academic transcripts. The statement provides an excellent forum for explaining any weaknesses that may appear on the transcript or to highlight any strengths that may not be evident elsewhere.
If your intentions include graduate school preparation, please indicate the graduate program(s) to which you intend to apply, cite the specific courses you plan to take, and discuss how that course plan will prepare you for admission to the program(s).
Be sure to write a statement that responds to the specific prompt provided by your program.
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.
All applicants are required to submit at least one academic reference, unless you have 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.
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.
Standardized exam requirements vary by program. Some programs require your official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Please be sure to carefully review your specific program's application requirements.
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.
All applicants are required to submit a video essay that is conducted within the online application system. Once the application is submitted and the application fee is paid, the video essay will be available to you. Your application is not considered complete and ready for evaluation until the video essay had been submitted.
An additional admissions interview may be required.
English Language Proficiency
To be considered for admission, you must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. If you have completed or are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program that was/is conducted in English, you do not need to provide proof of English proficiency. However, if your undergraduate education was not conducted in English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS.
To be considered for admission, applicants required to provide test scores must have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (600 paper based) or receive a 7.5 or higher on the IELTS. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program.
If test scores are required, you must enter your scores on the application, and you are required to upload a copy of each corresponding score report. Please upload either a scanned copy of your paper score report or a screenshot of your online scores. Scores entered on the application are considered unofficial pending receipt of official score reports from the testing agency. Candidates offered admission will later be required to supply official scores sent directly from either TOEFL or IELTS prior to enrollment for verification before the admission offer is considered official. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)
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. 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 your program's 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