Adults and Professionals: Applying

Adults & Professionals

Application Requirements

Unless you are applying to a customized program, to take a course or classes, within the online application you should select “Visting - Postbaccalaureate” as your program of study. 

Application Requirements

Completed online application form | Select 'Visiting - Postbaccalaureate' as your program of study

You 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). If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office at

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

In the Academic History section of your online application, you must list and upload unofficial transcripts for all colleges and universities you have attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. This includes any summer program(s), study abroad program(s), or transfer coursework (regardless of the number of credits received or whether these credits were transferred to your home institution) including any additional mark sheets, official translations, or degree certificates for international transcripts as needed. You will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts before submitting your application. Students with international transcripts will also be required to provide official transcripts for your application to be considered complete. 

Please note that applicants are required to submit grades for all coursework completed at the time they complete their application. Applicants who are currently enrolled in coursework and who submit transcripts with in-progress fall coursework for admissions consideration (official WES for international and unofficial for domestic) must provide an updated unofficial transcript showing the grades for that completed fall coursework by early February or as soon as one becomes available. Applications completed by February 15 should include transcripts with the final fall grades to be eligible for review.

International Coursework

For international coursework, before your application can be considered complete and ready for evaluation, applicants must submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. If admitted, you must provide an official course-by-course evaluation by World Education Services, Inc. (WES) for all post-secondary coursework completed outside of the United States from institutions where you completed more than two semesters of study. 

Domestic Coursework (Admitted Students Only)

For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to 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

203 Lewisohn Hall

2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119

New York, NY 10027-6902

Please note: The School of Professional Studies will not accept as official any transcript submitted directly by an applicant, either in person, via email or by mail.

Statement of academic purpose (in one or two paragraphs)

The statement of academic purpose should address the following:

  • The subjects and course topics you 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)
Application Accommodations

Applicants affected by special hardships (e.g. closed testing centers, closed educational institutions) may request application accommodations by emailing the Office of Admissions at

Proof of English proficiency (for students whose native language is not English)

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 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 with the specific details of your situation.

A résumé

Please upload your résumé or CV. Please be sure to include all relevant work experience, professional organizations, or activities that would be relevant to evaluating your candidacy for admission.


Do I need visa sponsorship from Columbia University?

NOTE: The following visa information applies to full-time, in-person study. Students who participate in summer online non-degree programs are not eligible to apply for a visa. 

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 seven-week session or 12 points of credit-bearing courses in the entire 14-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.