Visiting Students: Applying

Visiting Students

Admissions

Application Deadlines

Other registration deadlines and session dates are listed on the Calendars page.

Enrollment Priority Deadline The $80 application fee is waived and priority course registration is given to students who apply by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. February 1
Application Fee Waiver Deadline March 1 is the final day to submit your application without the $80 application fee. March 1
Session I: Applicants with International Documents Students who require an F-1 visa or who have international transcripts are strongly advised to apply by this date. April 1
Session I: Final Deadline Application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. April 20
Session II: Applicants with International Documents Students who require an F-1 visa or who have international transcripts are strongly advised to apply by this date. May 1
Session II: Final Deadline Application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

June 1

 

Important Application Instructions

Note that the applicant 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). In addition, the applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office at apply@sps.columbia.edu.

Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admission reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process.

Please note that the applicant may upload unofficial transcripts at the start of the application process. Once an applicant has been admitted and has indicated acceptance of our offer of admission, certified and secure online official transcripts must be submitted directly to Columbia from the applicant’s prior institution(s)’ Registrar Office.

You may not apply to more than one program offered by the School of Professional Studies in any one semester. If an applicant submits applications to more than one program offered by SPS in the same semester, both applications may be denied automatically on that basis alone.

If you apply to a program and are denied admission to that program, you may not submit another application for admission to that same program for a year. For example, if you were denied admission to a program for Fall 2019, you are not eligible to apply again to that same program until Fall 2020. If you have been denied admission to the same program three times, you are no longer eligible for admission to that program and any further application will not be considered.

Application Requirements

Completed online application form

Apply here.

You will be required to select the appropriate category, "Visiting Undergraduate Student" or "Visiting Graduate Student", when starting your application. 

See additional Certificate, Certification, and Arabic Summer Program application requirements

Please note: Certifications in Business, Critical Issues in International Relations, Human Rights, and United Nations Studies are open only to undergraduate students who are rising juniors or seniors with strong academic records.

 

Statement of academic purpose (500 to 750 words)
The statement of academic purpose should address the following:

  • The subjects and course topics to intend to study
  • 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
  • How the program fits into your overall academic and/or professional goals
  • 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)

Optional: Letter of recommendation
This information is not required. However, if you feel it important to provide a letter of recommendation to support your candidacy, you may submit a letter. 

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 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.

Optional: Your résumé
This information is not required. However, if you feel it important to provide your résumé to support your candidacy, you may submit a résumé.

See additional application requirements for students taking one or more individual courses (that are not part of a structured program)

Optional: Statement of academic purpose (500 to 750 words)
This information is not required. However, if you feel it important to provide a statement of academic purpose to support your candidacy, you may submit one. The statement of academic purpose should address the following:

  • The subjects and course topics to intend to study
  • 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
  • How the program fits into your overall academic and/or professional goals
  • 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)

Optional: Letter of recommendation
This information is not required. However, if you feel it important to provide a letter of recommendation to support your candidacy, you may submit a letter. 

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 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.

Optional: Your résumé
This information is not required. However, if you feel it important to provide your résumé to support your candidacy, you may submit a résumé.

$80.00 nonrefundable application fee (U.S. currency)
Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

Transcripts are not required for applicants of the Arts in the Summer program.

Undergraduate Visiting Students

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

Graduate Visiting Students

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 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 Undergraduate Visiting Students

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 may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)

For Graduate Visiting Students

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 may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.)

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.

Notification of Admissions Decision

Decision notifications are sent via email. Admission decisions are typically communicated 2–3 weeks after an application is complete.

Application Contact Information

Application Document Submission and Application Processing Questions
212-854-9666
apply@sps.columbia.edu

Mailing Address and Campus Location
Office of Enrollment Management
School of Professional Studies
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902
212-854-9666

Office hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.