By Shana Childs
Through its Postbaccalaureate Studies program, the Columbia University School of Professional Studies offers more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate courses covering more than 100 academic and professional subject areas. Students take classes in the Postbaccalaureate Studies program for a range of reasons—among them, preparing for graduate school, advancing in their careers, or simply studying an interesting subject. Upon successful course completion, students receive a Columbia University transcript and/or credit.
While enrolled, Postbaccalaureate students gain access to extensive Columbia University support services, including academic advising, career counseling, wellness and tutoring resources, and on-campus housing during the summer.
We spoke with three students about why they enrolled in the program and how Columbia’s courses are helping them to achieve their goals.
Gabriella DiTraglia: A Recent College Graduate Preparing for Graduate School with Columbia Math Courses
I graduated from Wake Forest University in 2022 with a B.A. in economics. While I was an undergrad, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia, and I became determined to graduate in three years to give him the best chance of seeing me graduate. I did it (and my dad was able to see me graduate!), but I had to sacrifice the mathematics background that is crucial to further studies in economics.
The Postbaccalaureate Program is incredibly flexible; I’m currently working as an interim math teacher ... and applying for master’s programs in economics."
I am currently taking Linear Algebra with Professor Elliott Stein from the Department of Mathematics. Linear Algebra is an intermediate course that covers matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations, canonical forms, and other related topics. The concepts and theories in Linear Algebra are incredibly interesting. I really enjoy stopping by Professor Stein’s office hours to ask further questions.
I plan on taking two or three more courses in math in the spring semester. The Postbaccalaureate Program is incredibly flexible; I’m currently working as an interim math teacher at the Saint Stephen of Hungary School and applying for master’s programs in economics.
Myat Hein: A Business Intelligence Professional Upskilling Before Graduate School
I completed my undergraduate program in 2014 with a B.A. in economics. I’m currently working as a senior business intelligence analyst at Columbia. I decided to go back to school to bolster my résumé before applying to graduate school. I knew the Postbaccalaureate Studies program was the right place for me after speaking with an adviser from the M.S. in Applied Analytics program. Following that, I specifically grew an interest in the courses featured in the Applied Analytics program. He also told me about how prior students with similar career paths had also taken classes in the Postbaccalaureate Studies program to further their careers and prospects.
I decided to go back to school to bolster my résumé before applying to graduate school."
I’ve taken several classes in business and finance, such as Introduction to Finance with Professor Eleni Vrana, Managing Human Behavior in the Organization with Professor Young Mi Park (a personal favorite!), and, most recently, Introduction to Marketing with Professor Beth Hirschhorn in the fall semester. Introduction to Finance helps you to understand the fundamental corporate financial issues such as capital budgeting methods, managing growth, and securities issuance. In Managing Human Behavior in the Organization, we learned tactics for motivating employees, establishing professional interpersonal relationships, taking leadership roles, and conducting performance appraisals. In Introduction to Marketing, we use case studies to learn how to apply fundamentals like consumer research and pricing strategies.
The skills I’m learning in these classes extend beyond my workplace; the conflict resolution skills I’ve developed, particularly, have helped me in every area of my life. I am hoping to take the experience and skills I’m learning here to apply to the M.S. in Applied Analytics program at Columbia SPS.
Alejandro Galindo Lozano: An Industry Professional Expanding His Perspective and Capabilities
I work in the electric power sector, and I have often come across Columbia University publications on sustainability management and public policy. In 2020, I moved to New York City to start a new job; shortly after, I realized I had a unique chance to join the Columbia SPS community in person.
With an enhanced understanding of economics, financing, and policy, I believe I can leverage my varied experiences to bridge communications between policymakers and other participants in the electric power sector."
Last fall, I took Introduction to Infrastructure: Megaproject Management because it’s related to an area I’m interested in: electric grid infrastructure development. The course is taught by Francisco Pineda and Eve Michel—both of whom are very engaging. They challenge the students to prepare and perform in every class. In addition, they have an amazing depth of knowledge and experience from their respective career paths. In the spring, I look forward to taking two courses offered by the School of International and Public Affairs: Energy & Power Financing Markets and Electricity Markets.
Through these courses, I’m seeking to better understand the perspectives of a range of industry stakeholders, including planning and infrastructure project developers, lenders, owners, and market operators. I also want to learn how public policy can enable efficient, mutually beneficial interactions among these parties. With an enhanced understanding of economics, financing, and policy, I believe I can leverage my varied experiences to bridge communications between policymakers and other participants in the electric power sector.
Offered year-round to individuals with a bachelor’s degree, Columbia University’s Postbaccalaureate Studies offers more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate courses in 100-plus subject areas, empowering individuals to customize a course of study that suits their unique goals—from preparing to apply to graduate school to refreshing or expanding their knowledge in a subject area.
Academic-year terms run 14–15 weeks each. In addition, there are two 6-week Summer Sessions. Summer Session students may attend one or both sessions (12 weeks total), taking their selection from more than 300 courses in 50-plus subject areas. Prospective Summer Session students may also apply to one of our 4-course structured certification programs: Critical Issues in International Relations, Human Rights, and UN Studies.
The applications for summer 2023 and fall 2023 enrollment are open. Individuals who apply by February 1 will receive an application fee waiver. The final deadline for Summer Session A is April 10, and the final deadline for Summer Session B is May 22. Applicants who require an F-1 visa are encouraged to submit their applications by March 20 for Summer Session A and May 1 for Summer Session B. Review all application deadlines here.