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, including official WES course-by-course evaluations for international transcripts

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).Your unofficial transcript must include your full name, the institution name, all courses and grades earned at that institution. Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and Community Standards.

International Coursework:

If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all international post-secondary coursework (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. The official WES evaluation is required for your application to be reviewed for admission consideration.

When you submit a completed WES course-by-course evaluation for an international institution, we will review and verify its contents. If the WES evaluation meets our requirements, we will not require a separate official transcript from that school. If your academic study is in progress, you will be required to provide an updated WES evaluation prior to enrollment if you are admitted to the program.


Instructions for using WES

WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and 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.

WES evaluations will be reviewed, and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies.

Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and Community Standards. Applicants would not be entitled to request any refund of the application fee, enrollment deposit or tuition in the case that the official transcript deviates from the unofficial.


Domestic Coursework:

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

The résumé is optional for applicants to the Visiting - Postbaccalaureate program. Applicants to all other programs must submit a résumé. 


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 electing to provide a recommendation 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.

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.