Skip navigation Jump to main navigation

Applications for 2024 Columbia Summer Session programs are now open!

Close alert

Studying Online at Columbia SPS

Whether pursuing courses online or in person, School of Professional Studies students follow a rigorous Columbia University curriculum taught by world-class scholar-practitioner faculty and develop knowledge and skills they can apply immediately in the workplace.

To offer maximum flexibility, students may select from a range of online course options and, on a case-by-case basis, may switch between on-campus and online study.

Several of the School of Professional Studies’ master’s and certification programs can be completed fully online, while other programs can be completed in a hybrid format combining in-person and online study.

Three Online Formats




The Online Learning Experience with Columbia University

Studying online, SPS students attend lectures, receive and submit assignments, interact with faculty and students, and build their academic and professional networks through Canvas, Columbia’s learning management system. Canvas directs students through a course and provides assistance with time management and focused study.

Readings, videos, and other multimedia elements hosted on Canvas feature a rich network of University scholars and industry practitioners, lively discussion forums, and interactive activities including case studies, simulations, and group projects.

Completion of an online course depends on your ability to master technology, manage time efficiently, and work in an environment conducive to online learning. The following will enable your success:

Proficient in Technology
  • Access to a computer with high-speed, reliable internet that will support streaming, interactive video, a webcam and microphone
  • Ability to navigate a learning management system and other online tools, and to troubleshoot basic technology problems
  • Knowledge of how to install plug-ins and course-specific software on your computer
Strong Time Management Skills
  • Can work within a firm deadline structure with the self-discipline to complete your work without frequent reminders
  • Time to dedicate at least 10 hours per week per online course
Distraction-Free Place to Study
  • Well-lit workspace appropriate for interacting with faculty and fellow students on camera
  • Access to your computer on a daily basis
Comfortable with Online Interactions
  • Ability to collaborate with others in an online environment
  • Effective written communication skills
  • A schedule that permits you to connect with your fellow students online at different times during the week

Online Offerings


Fully Online

Master of Science Programs

Certification Programs

Master of Professional Studies Programs


Master of Science Programs


To see if a specific course may be offered online, and in what format, please refer to the Program Details and Courses webpages for the program you're interested in. In addition, you may also want to check the Columbia University Directory of Classes. There, course listings specify if a course is offered online in the optional “location” field.

Your Resources at Columbia

Online students receive ongoing course technology and instructional support, as well as access to resources open to all SPS students. Click here to learn more.