The non-degree Certification of Professional Achievement in United Nations Studies, offered by Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and School of Professional Studies, conveys the basic analytical issues, theoretical approaches, history, and policy debates in international relations and the UN.
Many program faculty teach in degree programs at SIPA in addition to holding high-level posts in agencies including the UNDP and the UN Security Council.
The certification is ideal for those who are looking to increase their understanding of the history, inner workings, and challenges associated with the UN’s role in the world today, whether they are recent college graduates who seek graduate preparation in the field or experienced professionals looking for career enhancement or personal enrichment. Advanced undergraduates with strong academic records and a foundation in political science and international studies are also eligible to apply. See eligibility requirements below.
Students wishing to complete a certification must take the following courses:
- INAF S6569. The UN and Development
- INAF S6554. The United Nations and the Challenges of Peace Building
- INAF S6559. The UN and the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
- INAF S6552. The United Nations and Human Rights
Please visit the courses page for detailed course descriptions for all International Affairs offerings.
The four required courses may be taken in one summer or divided between two. Students are required to maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 (B). Every course creditable toward the certification must be taken for a letter grade. Courses with a grade below a C will not count toward the completion of the certification.
- This certification program is offered at the graduate level. Undergraduate students are eligible to apply if they are rising juniors or seniors and have strong academic records and a foundation in political science and/or international studies.
- Current Columbia students are not eligible to earn the certification while enrolled in a degree program; however, they are eligible to take the individual courses for credit.
- Students enrolled in (or on leave from) a degree program at SIPA are not eligible to receive the certificate. Should SIPA students wish to take classes associated with the certificate they must first consult with their assigned academic advisor for guidance and approval. A person who earns the certificate and then later enrolls in a degree program at SIPA may not count any of the certificate courses towards the SIPA degree.
- B40U.S. bachelor’s degree or international equivalent. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions 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. The Office of Admissions will use the credential evaluation provided by WES to determine if your undergraduate degree is the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree.
- 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 or IELTS.
Applicant's total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) 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.)
If you are unable to provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS due to the closing of testing centers, please email email@example.com with the specific details of your situation.
- Demonstrated ability for critical thinking and analysis.
- Strong written and oral communication skills.
Meet with an Admissions Counselor
Are you a prospective student interested in learning additional information about this program? Schedule an on-campus or phone appointment with an Admissions Counselor online.
Appointment Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., ET, Monday - Friday
Effective immediately, the Office of Admissions is launching Virtual Walk-In Hours for prospective degree and non-degree students from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET (15-minute sessions), Monday through Thursday.
In-person Walk-In Hours in 203 Lewisohn are suspended until further notice.
To connect with an Admissions Counselor for Virtual Walk-In Hours, please visit this Zoom room. You can access the Zoom room through a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet.
If you are a current student or an admitted student starting next term, contact a member of our SPS Student Advising Team for information and guidance.
Application Document Submission and Application Processing Questions
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
Office hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.