The Graduate School welcomes applications for admission from international applicants.
Judgments concerning equivalency of international baccalaureate degrees are made by the Graduate School. In general, only those international students who (a) have the equivalent of the U.S. baccalaureate degree with a superior examination record and (b) can understand rapid idiomatic English and can speak, write and read English with a high degree of facility are eligible for admission.
The Graduate School accepts applications from students who have earned or will earn 3-year bachelor's degrees in Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and any country which is a participant in the Bologna Process.
We encourage all international applicants to submit their admissions application as early as possible to allow enough time to process their applications.
English Proficiency Requirement
The following applicants must complete the English proficiency requirement:
- applicants whose native language is not English and who have received an undergraduate degree from an institution in a country where the official language is not English
- applicants who have received an undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking country and are now studying at the graduate level in the U.S. or another English-speaking country
Note: Applicants who have studied for at least two years at a U.S. institution or at an institution in a country where the official language is English and earned the undergraduate (or bachelor’s) degree at that institution are not required to complete the English proficiency requirement.
If you earned your undergraduate degree in a country where the official language is not English, but from an institution there where the official language of instruction is English, submission of TOEFL/IELTS results may not be required. If you believe this to be the case, please complete the English Proficiency Waiver Request form. The completed form and required supporting documentation must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the application deadline for the program to which you are applying. Your request will be reviewed, and you will receive notification when a decision has been made. Each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and submission of the waiver form does not guarantee approval.
Students who have earned a Master’s degree—but not an undergraduate or bachelor’s degree—in the U.S. or another country whose official language is English are required to complete the English proficiency requirement; however, students who previously earned a qualifying score on the TOEFL or IELTS may be eligible to fulfill the GSAS English proficiency requirement by following these procedures.
The English proficiency requirement can be fulfilled through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Applicants are strongly urged to make arrangements to take these examinations early in the fall. Scores more than 2 years old are not accepted. Student score reports are not considered official.
The Graduate School requires the following minimum scores:
- 600 on the TOEFL paper-and-pencil test
- 100 on the TOEFL internet-based test
- 7.5 on IELTS
The TOEFL is administered in foreign countries by the Educational Testing Service.
IELTS is administered in foreign countries by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), the British Council, and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia.
Non-native English speakers admitted to the Graduate School may be asked to take the ALP Essay Exam administered by the Columbia University American Language Program and may, depending on the results of this test, be required to take English language courses in addition to ordinary degree coursework.
Non-native English speakers who will be teaching fellows may also be asked to take the OWL/TOP test of spoken English, administered by the American Language Program, before beginning their teaching duties.
Resources for International Applicants
- International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) - the central office at Columbia that coordinates services for international students
- Study Guide to the States - an official government information hub from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- External Fellowships - links to databases and sources of external funding