Frequently Asked Questions

 

Application Policies and Procedures

Where can I find answers to my questions about prerequisite requirement courses or a program’s content?

The Office of Admissions does not provide information regarding a program’s prerequisite requirements. Please consult the departmental websites for that information. All program related questions not covered on this website should be addressed directly to the department.

May I apply to more than one program?

You may not submit more than one application to a Ph.D. program or department within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and apply to any of the programs at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. However, you may elect to be reviewed by a second program or department within GSAS if you are not offered admission by your first-choice program. Please see the application instructions for a more detailed explanation of this policy and the various restrictions that apply to  a second choice. You may submit a GSAS application and apply to a program housed at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and to programs at other divisions of the University. However, since the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not share application materials with other divisions, you must complete the application requirements for each school.

How do I apply to a dual or joint degree program?

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences refers to these programs as dual degree programs. Applicants must complete the application requirements for both schools. Application materials are not shared between schools. Students can only apply to an established dual degree program and may not create their own. Students may not pursue more than one GSAS degree concurrently.

How do I become eligible for fellowship awards?

All applicants applying to a Ph.D. program are considered for Faculty Fellowships, which are awarded solely on the basis of merit. Fellowships are awarded by the departmental faculty admissions committees at the time admissions decisions are rendered.

What kinds of fellowships are available if I am applying to an M.A. program?

At this time fellowships for students admitted to M.A. programs are not available; please see the Financing Information for Master's Students page for more information on funding options.

Is there a separate form that I need to fill out to apply for fellowship funding?

The form is part of the application. The page is titled "Scholarships, Fellowships, and External Sources of Funding."

How can I obtain a Teaching or a Research apprenticeship?

Teaching and Research apprenticeships are solely part of the multi-year Ph.D. faculty fellowship awards.

Is there a profile of the GSAS entering class?

Given the variety of academic programs housed at GSAS, the Office of Admissions does not compile a general entering class profile or maintain aggregate admissions statistics. For more information about admission to a specific program, including such details as acceptance rates and GPA or GRE ranges, prospective students should contact the program directly.

Application Fee

Can I pay the application fee with a check instead of using a credit card?

We do not accept payment by check. Payment must be made by credit card.

Whom should I contact if the application fee has been charged to my credit card more than once?

If multiple charges have been posted to your account, you should send an email to gsas-admissions@columbia.edu. In the email, please provide your first and last name, date of birth, department to which you applied, date and time you submitted the application, and the last 4 digits of your credit card number. 

Note: An authorization for a charge is different from a charge that has been posted to your account and settled. In order to verify that your credit card has in fact been charged more than once, please wait until the charge has been posted to your account and settled before contacting the Office of Admissions.

How do I apply for an application fee waiver?

All requests for fee waivers must be submitted through the online application. See the Application Fee Waivers page for specific instructions.

Standardized Tests

What is the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ETS code for GRE and TOEFL?

Our institution code is 2162. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not use department codes, as all test scores are reported to the Office of Admissions. Scores are then forwarded to the appropriate department.  If ETS requires designation of a department code, please use a default code of all nines (9) or all zeroes (0).

What is the minimum GRE score needed to apply?

No department other than Psychology sets a minimum score requirement. For those applying to Psychology, although the department bases its decisions on an overall recommendation of applicants' scores, grades, recommendation letters and potential for scholarship in the program, it encourages applicants to have a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of 1200 (for tests taken prior to August 1, 2011) or 310 (for tests taken after August 1, 2011 and subject to the revised scoring system).

Is there a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score requirement?

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based test, 100 on the internet-based test or a 7.5 for the IELTS.

Under what circumstances will the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences waive the GRE or TOEFL requirement?

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not waive the GRE or the TOEFL under any circumstances.

Can I substitute any other test for the GRE?

Unless you are applying to the free-standing M.A. program in Mathematics of Finance which accepts the GMAT, you may not substitute any other test for the GRE. The GRE is mandatory for all those programs which require it.

Can I substitute any other test for the TOEFL?

Yes, you may substitute the IELTS or Columbia’s English Certification Test (ECT) for details. Click here for details.

If I earned a Master’s degree in the U.S. or from another English speaking country, but received my undergraduate degree in an international school, am I still required to submit the TOEFL?

If you took the TOEFL or IELTS exam when applying to a graduate program at another institution and scored above the Columbia GSAS minimum requirement of 100 (IBT), 600 (PBT),  or 7.5 (IELTS), you may fulfill the English proficiency requirement by uploading a scanned copy of the score report to the online application. However, if you did not score above the Columbia GSAS required minimum or do not have a copy of your old results, you must retake the exam.

Note: Applicants who upload a copy of the old score report should send an email to gsas-admissions@columbia.edu after they have submitted their application to request that the English proficiency test requirement be removed from their application record.

When should I take the GRE or TOEFL?

All tests should be taken at least 6 weeks before the application deadline to ensure timely receipt by the admissions office.

For how long are GRE and TOEFL scores valid?

GRE scores are valid for five years from the date taken. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) reports TOEFL scores for two years after the test date. Applicants who took the GRE more than five years ago and have subsequently been enrolled in a graduate program may petition the department or program to which they are applying to accept their scores.

If the department agrees to accept the scores, applicants will need to provide an official score report to the GSAS Office of Admissions.

Does GSAS accept the GMAT?

Yes, only for applicants to the Mathematics of Finance program.

What is the GSAS GMAT code?

There is no GSAS GMAT numerical code; you should select Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the scores will be reported to us.

What's the minimum score requirement for the GMAT?

There is no minimum GMAT score requirement.

Does GSAS accept the LSAT or the MCAT?

We do not receive electronic MCAT or LSAT scores, but you may upload a copy of your score report.

Supporting Materials

May I send supporting documents before submitting an application?

Although we recommend that you submit supporting materials through the Supplementary Media page on the online application, we will accept mailed documents if they cannot be submitted online. Supporting materials received will be held until the application is submitted.

May my supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation, transcripts, GRE or TOEFL scores, etc., arrive after the application deadline date?

Yes, materials may be received up to two (2) weeks after the deadline date for the specific department, with the exception of the Psychology Department which will only accept materials up to one (1) week after the deadline date.

Where should I send materials that cannot be submitted through the online application?

Materials may be sent to the Office of Admissions:

Columbia University GSAS
108 Low Library MC 4303
535 West 116th Street
New York New York 10027

Applicants should not send any materials to the department.

Does the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences accept letters from career or letter services?

We accept letters from dossier services, such as Interfolio, or university career services offices.  These letters may be submitted in two different ways.

  • Hard Copy Submission:

    If the letter service will be mailing hard-copy recommendations to our office, you are still required to enter the names and email addresses of your evaluators on the online application. You may inform your referees that they may disregard the email requesting a letter on your behalf. The letter service should then mail the letters to the Office of Admissions; we will then upload scanned copies of the letters into our application system. Please be aware that mailed letters require a longer processing time.

  • Electronic Submission:

    If you are using Interfolio, please see the Interfolio Help Center for instructions on how to use the Interfolio service to deliver the letters to your Columbia application.

    If a career services office will be submitting the letters on your behalf, you will have to contact that office to ascertain whether they have a system in place which permits electronic submission of individual letters to our online application.

    Note: In order to make use of electronic submission, the letters must be submitted as individual documents directly to our application system, using the unique link created by the application system for each recommender you list. We do not accept letters emailed from letter services to a Columbia GSAS email address.

Can a letter of recommendation be submitted without a GSAS cover sheet?

Yes, however, please be aware that if a letter is submitted without the accompanying form, your right to view the letter is automatically waived. Additionally, letters submitted without this form, MUST be written on official University or corporate letterhead.

How can I obtain a cover sheet for the letters of recommendation?

You can download the cover sheet in the Recommendations section of the online application.

May I submit more than the required three letters of recommendation?

Yes, we accept up to five (5) letters.

How long should my statement of academic purpose be?

For most programs, the statement of academic purpose should be no more than 1,000 words. Applicants to the Japanese Pedagogy Program or one of the Liberal Studies M.A. Progams should refer to the application instructions.

How can I get supporting materials (e.g. books, writing samples, portfolios, or tapes) returned to me?

Materials sent to GSAS cannot be returned.

Am I required to provide any financial documents as part of the application process?

No. If you are admitted, you may be asked to provide certain financial documents.

Can I submit my musical scores electronically?

Yes, they can be uploaded in the Supplementary Media section of the online application.

Transcripts

Can transcripts be sent directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or should I collect and forward them?

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded with the application. Official paper transcripts must only be mailed to us if you receive an offer of admission. Official paper transcripts may either be sent to GSAS directly from your school, or you may collect and forward them.

Do I need to submit transcripts if I only took a few courses at another school?

Yes. A transcript showing all courses and grades of any academic work must be submitted. However, if the courses and grades are listed on your main transcript a separate transcript need not be submitted.

Does GSAS accept scanned or web-based academic records?

Yes, we accept them for review and decision purposes.  However, we consider them unofficial.  If an offer of admission is made, you will be required to send us official paper documents for verification. Offers will not be considered official until we have received the official transcripts.

What suggestions do you have in uploading my transcripts?

  • Scan at the lowest dpi that results in a legible document (we recommend to use under 300 DPI whenever possible)
  • Ensure that the institution name and other identifying marks are not missed during the scanning process and that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter size paper (8 ½" x 11")
  • Include the transcript legend (back page in most cases)
  • Save your document as a PDF file
  • Make certain that its size is less than 2000kb (2.5 MB). Scanning in “gray scale” or black and white may produce the best results
  • If the scanned file is too large then make a photocopy first (experiment with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size) then scan the photocopy
  • You may upload an institutional web based transcript/academic record

Where do I upload my scanned transcript?

On the Educational History page of the online application.

Can I upload all my transcripts as one PDF?

No. Each transcript must be uploaded separately.

If I upload my transcripts do I still need to submit the originals?

You will be asked to submit originals only after you receive an offer of admission.

Do I need to upload both the foreign language and English translations of my transcripts?

Yes. Transcripts that are in a language other than English should be translated into English. The translation must be certified to be an accurate translation of the original and be notarized or otherwise authenticated.

When should I use the Fall Term Grade Report?

If you wish your fall term grades to be included in your application you should use this form to report them to us.

Whom do I contact if I cannot find my school code on the "Educational History" page of the online application?

When searching for your school, if you do not immediately find the name of your institution, please attempt to search using alternate spellings of the city name (Saint Petersburg vs. St. Petersburg) or under a possible variation of your school name (Oxford University vs. University of Oxford). If you attended a particular college within a larger institution, or a satellite campus of a larger school, please enter the name of the larger institution. (For example, if you attended Balliol College, please enter Oxford University.) The details of your study will be visible to the faculty when they review your transcript.

If, after carefully searching, you are certain that your school does not appear on our list, please choose the appropriate country (and city, if available; if not available, select “other”), and then select “other” for your school name. Space will be provided for you to enter the name of the institution. Please also confirm its city, state/region (if applicable), and country. Once you have entered your school information, you must also complete the Missing School Code form so that we may add your institution to our records.

My undergraduate degree is a three-year Bachelor's degree. Am I eligible to apply to your programs?

GSAS is now accepting applications from students earning three-year bachelor's degrees in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Australia, South Africa and any country which is a participant in the Bologna Process.

Tracking Your Application

Can I track my application online? 

Yes, you may check the status of your application on the Application Status screen. You will be able to access this screen only after your application has been submitted.

What information will I need in order to view my application status?

You will need your Slate PIN and password.

What should I do if my supporting documents do not appear in online tracking?

There may be a delay in the posting of information on the online tracking system. Please check periodically before contacting the admissions office (see question below).

If I still have a question or wish to amend any information concerning my application, whom do I contact?

If you have a question not answered on our website or need to update any information, please notify the admissions office directly via email at gsas-admissions@columbia.edu with "Question Not Answered on Website or Change Application Information" in the subject line. In the text of the email, you must include your name, date of birth and your application ID number.

Decisions and Reapplying

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Notification of decisions for all Ph.D. applicants generally takes place by March. The notification of M.A. decisions varies by department and application deadlines. Although some M.A. decisions are sent out in early Spring, decisions may be rendered as late as July. Notifications are sent by the Office of Admissions of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and not by the individual departments.

If I have selected review by a second department or program, when will I receive the second choice decision?

 If you receive an offer of admission from your first choice department or program, your application will not be reviewed by the second department or program.  Also, your application will be sent to the second choice department or program only after a decision has been rendered by the first choice.

What constitutes an official offer of admission?

Only the Dean of the Graduate School has the authority to make an offer of admission. A letter or email from a faculty member is not an official offer of admission. Only when you receive the official offer signed by the Dean of the Graduate School are you considered admitted. However, the offer of admission is only considered fully official after we have received your official paper transcript(s) and are able to verify authenticity.  Any discrepancies between the uploaded and official paper transcripts may result in the rescinding of the offer of admission.

Are admissions decisions made on a rolling-basis?

Ph.D. decisions are not made on a rolling basis. In some cases, admission to free-standing M.A. programs may be rolling.

How can I apply for advanced standing?

See the Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit page for instructions.

How do I reapply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?

In order to reapply, you must submit a new application and upload a statement of purpose, CV, and writing sample (if required). Any transcript already on file from last year's application need not be resubmitted, unless it does not reflect all currently completed academic work or the award of a degree. If test scores (GRE, TOEFL, etc.) are already on file, there is no need to resend those score reports. Through the online application, you have the option of reusing any or all of the letters of recommendation submitted in support of last year's application.

Does GSAS require a deposit if I'm accepting the offer of admission?

Upon accepting the offer of admission, M.A. students are required to submit a nonrefundable tuition deposit of $500. Ph.D. students are not required to submit a tuition deposit.

How will GSAS notify me of my admissions decision?

All notifications are made via email.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about my admissions decision?

The Admissions Office is unable to provide that information since the decision-making process is solely the domain of the Faculty Admissions Committee at the department. If you want specific information, you should contact the department to which you applied. However, please be aware that departments are not required to provide this information.

Tours and Interviews

How can I arrange a campus tour and attend an open house?

Please contact the Visitor’s Center at (212) 854-4900 to arrange a tour. Columbia GSAS does not offer open house meetings. You may come into the GSAS Admissions Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday for assistance with any questions regarding the admissions process.

How can I schedule an interview with the department?

As a rule, interviews are not part of the application process for GSAS departments. If the faculty wishes, they will contact you directly.