Visiting Students: Applying

Visiting Students

Application Requirements

Unless you are applying to a customized program, to take a course or classes as a visiting student, within the online application you should select, “Summer Session: Visiting Undergraduate” or “Summer Session: Visiting Graduate” as your program of study.

Application Requirements

Completed online application form
$80.00 nonrefundable application fee (U.S. currency)
Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

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 Academic 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.

For Applicants to the Summer Sessions: Undergraduate Visiting Program

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.

For Domestic Institutions

You are required to upload an unofficial copy of your academic transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended within the application system. These documents may be used for admissions consideration. If offered admission, before being permitted to enroll, you must provide official verified transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended for academic credit. For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu. If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to transcripts@sps.columbia.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
2970 Broadway
203 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902

For International Institutions

You are required to upload an unofficial copy of your academic transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended within the application system. Before your application can be considered complete and ready for evaluation you must submit official transcripts. You must submit an official translation of any foreign credentials that are not in English, including transcripts, along with the original documents. These materials must come directly from the translation agency or the school and not from the applicant. Admissions staff will carefully review these official translations for accuracy and authenticity, and investigate any credentials that seem suspicious if a student is being considered for admission.   

For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu. If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu with the link to your prior 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
2970 Broadway
203 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902

For All Other Visiting Undergraduate and Graduate Student Applicants

For Domestic Institutions

You are required to upload an unofficial copy of your academic transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended within the application system. These documents may be used for admissions consideration. If offered admission, before being permitted to enroll, you must provide official verified transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended for academic credit. For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu. If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to transcripts@sps.columbia.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
2970 Broadway
203 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902

For International Institutions

You are required to upload an unofficial copy of your academic transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended within the application system. 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 electronically to Columbia University’s 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 and if you have completed additional coursework since the initial WES evaluation was provided, you must request an updated report and have WES send your course-by-course evaluation to Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

Students whose native language is not English must include proof of English proficiency

For Applicants to the Summer Sessions: Undergraduate Visiting Program

To be considered for admission, students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. If the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English and you completed two or more years at the institution, you need not take further steps to prove fluency. However, if your undergraduate education is not conducted in English, or you completed fewer than two years at your degree conferring institution where English was the language of instruction, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL, IELTS, DET or PTE Academic.

Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT), 7.0 (IELTS), 75 (DET Duolingo English Test) or 68 (Pearson Test of English). You will be required to enter your test scores or your anticipated testing date within the online application, and official test score reports will be required for your application to be considered complete and ready for admission review. TOEFL, IELTS, DET and PTE Academic scores are valid for two years after your test date. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums should consider applying to the Business Plus Program which has an English language requirement of TOEFL iBT score between 85 and 99, or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)

For All Other Visiting Undergraduate and Graduate Student Applicants

To be considered for admission, students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. If the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution was English and you completed two of more years at the institution, you need not take further steps to prove fluency. However, if your undergraduate education was not conducted in English, or you completed fewer than two years at your degree conferring institution where English was the language of instruction, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS.

Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT), 600 (TOEFL pBT), or 7.0 (IELTS). You will be required to enter your test scores or your anticipated testing date within the online application, and official test score reports 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. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums should consider applying to the Business Plus Program which has an English language requirement of TOEFL iBT score between 85 and 99, or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)

See additional application requirements for Graduate Foundations, Custom Business, Arabic Summer, and all Certificate/CPA programs

Please note that the Custom Business, Graduate Foundations, and the Certifications in Critical Issues in International Relations, Human Rights, and United Nations Studies are open only to those who hold a bachelor's degree or undergraduate students who are rising juniors or seniors with strong academic records. Certificate programs are only open to those who hold a bachelor's degree.

Your résumé
Statement of academic purpose (in one or two paragraphs)

The statement of academic purpose should address the following:

  1. The subjects and course topics to intend to study
  2. Why you feel you are prepared for rigorous academic study at Columbia – for this you may highlight prior coursework completed, work projects and/or your employment history
  3. How the program fits into your overall academic and/or professional goals
  4. An explanation for any weaknesses that may appear on your academic transcript or a highlight of any strengths that may not be evident elsewhere (as appropriate)
Do I need visa sponsorship from Columbia University?

Unless one of the four situations below applies to you, you need to complete a new I-20 for visa sponsorship:

  1. You are a student in F-1 or J-1 status at another U.S. institution and you will be returning there to continue your studies in the fall.
  2. You are completing an academic program at another U.S. institution in F-1 status and the summer session will end before your 60-day grace period expires.
  3. You are on F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) and are interested in non-degree courses during the summer in your free time.
  4. You are in the U.S. in another legal immigration status that allows you to study incident to that status. This includes all non-immigrant statuses except B1/B2 or visitor status under the visa waiver program (ESTA) and F-2.

Note: Students who are not United States citizens or permanent residents must be a full-time student at Columbia – registered for at least 6 points of credit-bearing courses in a six week session or 12 points of credit-bearing courses in the entire 12-week summer period - in order to be eligible for a student (F-1) visa. Students apply for their I-20 through the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) upon admission and will receive instructions for doing so after you confirm your intent to enroll in the program.