English for Professional Purposes: International and Public Affairs

Available in Summer.

An intensive four-week program in English for International and Public Affairs.

Please note: This course is open only to SIPA students who are entering SIPA in the Fall. 

This program has been designed in collaboration with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and is intended to prepare international students entering SIPA in the Fall for the demands of their graduate coursework. Although all language skills will be addressed, this course will focus primarily on improving participants' fluency and listening comprehension skills. In order to develop these skills, the course will cover topics relevant to professionals in the field of international and public affairs. Particular emphasis will be given to the topics of globalization and privatization and their impact on national governments and the international arena.

The program will include:

  • instruction in the professional language used to give formal presentations
  • special lectures by professionals and professors in international affairs
  • visits to important international and government institutions in the New York area
  • an orientation to the SIPA library and research tools available to graduate students

Participants will:

  • give impromptu speeches and prepared presentations on topics related to their areas of expertise
  • practice their listening comprehension skills in class and in the language laboratory
  • gain a better understanding of students' role in U.S. academic culture
  • increase their ability to participate in seminars and group projects, and to understand lectures

Those who successfully complete the seminar will become more comfortable discussing topics in their field and interacting with their professors and other graduate students.

If you have questions about this course please email: alp@columbia.edu

For a full explanation of fees, see below. 

Dates & Prices

English for Professional Purposes: SIPA

Application Deadline June 23
Course Dates July 22 – August 16
Tuition $4,812
Activity Fee $50
Instructional Support Fee $90
ALP Student Services Fee $20
Technology Fee $35
Housing $1,288
Living Expenses $2,654
Textbooks $150
Total $7,811

SPS Activity Fee: this covers SPS expenses relating to orientation, handbooks and events. 
Instructional Support Fee: this covers class materials and expenses such as playbooks, novels, newspapers, photocopying, theater tickets, museum or event entry. 
ALP Student Services Fee: this covers internal I-20 processing fees and other SEVIS transactions.
Technology Fee: this covers SPS technology expenses, including access to online course management software, Canvas, and tools used to develop online course content.  
Housing: this is the cost for students in Columbia University Housing. ALP/Columbia Housing is not available for EPP/AAEGS students. This information is provided for financial planning purposes only.
Living Expenses: this includes food, transportation, everyday expenses, and Housing. This gives an idea of how much money is needed to live in New York so you can plan financially. Students are not billed for living expenses. 
Textbooks: this is an estimate only and varies by course. Students are not billed for textbooks. 
Total: When you apply for an I-20 you must show you have this much money on your financial document. 


This course is only open to international students who are entering Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in the Fall. Students required to take this course will be notified by SIPA.

Application Materials

Applicants must apply online. Only applications submitted from the ALP Web site are accepted.

  1. Completed online application form.

In general, an F-1 (student visa) is required for study in the US. International applicants are required to request an I-20 for the American Language Program (not the SIPA program) in order to obtain the F-1 visa and must enroll in a full-time program (18 hours or more per week).

All international students taking EPP: SIPA must have an I-20 issued by the ALP. At the end of the summer, we will transfer your I-20 from the ALP to the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) so that you can begin your studies at SIPA.

If you are already holding an F-1 visa and attending another school you must also transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to the ALP. Please speak to your Advisor at your current school.

To receive an I-20, please upload your ALP admission letter with the following documents (see below) to the online I-20 application page (Compass). You will receive your admission letter and I-20 instructions after you are admitted to the program.

2. Bank statement: this document must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must be from a checking or savings account and must show sufficient available funds to pay the estimated tuition, fees and living expenses.

  • To see required balance for I-20, please see the "Total" amount for your program, above.

For ALP purposes, we need to see sufficient funds for the ALP I-20 only. However, when we transfer your record from ALP to ISSO at the end of the summer (and when you have your visa appointment at the US Embassy in your country), you must show financial documents with sufficient funds to cover EPP: SIPA+ one year of SIPA.

3. Sponsor letter: the letter must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must also be signed by the sponsor. If you are sending your own bank statement you are not required to submit a sponsor letter. The sponsor letter is necessary only if a bank statement will be submitted on your behalf by another person. The person whose bank statement you will submit is your sponsor.

Your sponsor must submit a letter (sponsor letter) stating that s/he will provide you with full financial support during the period of your study in the ALP. The sponsor letter must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must also be signed by the sponsor.

4. Photocopy of your passport's identification page.

  • The page in your passport that shows your photograph, your name and your date of birth.

Once your completed application and accompanying materials and fees have been received and processed, you will receive a U.S. government I-20 A-B form. Bring the I-20 A-B form, along with your letter of acceptance and original financial documents, to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to apply for a student (F-1) visa.

Students must apply online. Please select English for Professional Purposes: SIPA as your program. When prompted for an application identification code, please use the code PROSIPA. This will allow you to submit the application without an additional fee. If you have any questions regarding your I-20, SEVIS, transfers, or immigration in general, please contact ALPvisa@columbia.edu.

At the completion of the English for Professional Purposes: SIPA course, you will work with the ALP Visa Office to transfer your I-20 to Columbia’s International Students and Scholar’s Office (ISSO) for the completion of the degree program.