Please read the requirements of your program carefully. Each program has a unique prompt for the statement of academic purpose and supplemental essay (where applicable), and other requirements may also differ, such as the need to provide standardized test scores.
Qualifications for all Master's Programs
- U.S. bachelor’s degree or international equivalent. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions 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. The Office of Admissions will use the credential evaluation provided by WES to determine if your undergraduate degree is the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree.
- Students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. Please review the English language proficiency details for your program of interest to determine if proof of English language proficiency is required. 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 7.0 or higher on the IELTS.
- Demonstrated ability for critical thinking and analysis
- Strong written and oral communication skills
See below for more detailed requirements.
Access your application on your select program's landing page.
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 all institutions attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. This includes individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees.
Instructions for Submitting Transcripts When Applying
Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended for use in review of their application. 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.
If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all international post-secondary coursework (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. The official WES evaluation is required for your application to be reviewed for admission consideration.
When you submit a completed WES course-by-course evaluation for an international institution, we will review and verify its contents. If the WES evaluation meets our requirements, we will not require a separate official transcript from that school. If your academic study is in progress, you will be required to provide an updated WES evaluation prior to enrollment if you are admitted to the program.
Instructions for using WES
WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and 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’s School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting 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.
Instructions for Submitting Official Transcripts (Admitted Students Only)
If admitted, you will be required to provide official academic transcripts (domestic coursework) and/or WES course-by-course evaluations (international coursework) for all post-secondary academic coursework and credentials.
All students who have attended a college or university in the United States must submit certified and secure electronic transcripts directly from their school or via the vendor that provides that service for their institution to transcripts [at] sps [dot] columbia [dot] edu.
If a school does not offer electronic delivery, you must write to transcripts [at] sps [dot] columbia [dot] edu to provide us with the link to your institution’s webpage regarding transcript orders. After verification, we will respond with further instructions.
If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, and you have completed additional international coursework since the initial WES evaluation was provided, you must request an updated report and have WES send your updated course-by-course evaluation to Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.
When you submit a completed WES course-by-course evaluation for an international institution, we will review and verify its contents. If the WES evaluation meets our requirements, we will not require a separate official transcript from that school.
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.
Applicants must list recommenders and their contact information within the online application. Please provide your recommender’s professional email address and note that your recommender will receive an email requesting the recommendation upon your completion of the recommendation section of the application. Your recommender will be asked to log into the online application system, answer a few questions, and upload a letter of recommendation typed on professional letterhead. Recommendations must be completed by the recommender and be submitted within the online application system. We strongly suggest notifying your recommender of these requirements prior to entering their information into the application system. You have the ability within the application system to re-notify your recommender of the request, and change your recommender if necessary. Apart from the initial notification sent through the application system, applicants are responsible for notifying and reminding the recommender about the request.
Recommendations must be submitted through the application system and by the recommender directly. Applicants who have uploaded their own recommendation letters are not admissible.
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 master's program. Some programs require your official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Law School Admission Test (LSAT), or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
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.
Please be sure to carefully review your specific program's application requirements.
- For complete information regarding the GRE, go to www.gre.org. School report code: 3602. The admissions committee pays particular attention to the quantitative reasoning score of the GRE.
- 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” as the recipient.
- GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores are considered valid for five years after your test date. MCAT scores are considered valid for two to three years after your test date.
Essay requirements vary by master's program. Please be sure to carefully review your specific program's requirements.
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.
An additional admissions interview may be required.
English Language Proficiency
Students whose native language is not English must include proof of English proficiency
To be considered for admission, you must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. The English language proficiency requirement varies by program so please carefully review your program’s specific requirements. 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 who are required to provide test scores must submit a current TOEFL iBT or IELTS score report and have a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT or receive a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS. If you have TOEFL paper scores, please contact apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu to discuss their use. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. Unofficial scores should be included as part of your application; however, official test scores 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. (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: