Admissions Supporting Materials

Please see below for detailed instructions regarding letters of recommendation, transcripts, and standardized tests.

Note that the applicant must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). In addition, the applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the GSAS Office of Admissions at gsas-admissions [at]

Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admission reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the GSAS online application system. Letters of recommendation may not be sent via email, nor may paper letters be sent via postal mail. All letters must be uploaded by the recommender directly to the application system.

You may submit your online application even if your letters of recommendation have not yet been submitted. Once the letters are received, we will append them to your application.

Three letters of recommendation are required, but the Graduate School accepts up to five letters.


Applicants who applied previously should log in to the application account created during the prior application season and use the same profile to create an application for the new term. Letters of recommendation from the earlier application can then be included in the new application. See the Recommendations page in the online application for more information.


Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Applying

Applicants should upload a transcript or record (e.g., web-based transcripts, mark sheets, relevé de notes) of any academic work from each university-level institution you have attended for use in review of your application.

Applicants to the Sustainable Development and Climate and Society programs must upload a separate listing of specific courses.

Uploading Your Transcript to the Online Application System

Transcripts should be uploaded on the Educational History page of the online application. Transcripts should not be combined into one document; they should be uploaded as individual documents.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are able to upload your transcript:

  • 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 (found on the back page, in most cases).
  • Save your document as a PDF file.
  • Make certain that its size is less than 2000 KB (2 MB). Scanning in grayscale or black and white may produce the best results.
  • If the scanned file is too large, first make a photocopy (experimenting 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.

Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Accepting an Offer of Admission

Students who have attended schools in the US:

Please submit electronic transcripts directly from your school or via the vendor that provides that service for your institution to gsas-credentials [at]
If a school does not offer electronic delivery, you must write to gsas-admissions [at] to provide us with the link to your institution's webpage concerning transcript orders. After verification, we will respond with further instructions. 

Note: If a school’s transcript is not printed in English, please ensure that an English translation is submitted along with the secure electronic transcript in the original language. If this transcript and translation cannot be submitted electronically, please contact World Education Services (WES) and order a Course-by-Course Evaluation and an International Credential Advantage Package to be sent to gsas-credentials [at]

Students attending Chinese institutions:

You are required to contact CHESICC to arrange submission of a “Verification Report of China Higher Education Student's Academic Transcript” and a “Verification Report of China Higher Education Qualification Certificate” (for those earning a degree in China) to gsas-credentials [at]
All other students who have attended an international university:

If your school offers secure online delivery, please submit an electronic transcript to gsas-credentials [at]

If the transcript is not printed in English, please have the English translation submitted electronically as well. The transcript and translation must be sent together, directly from your school, to gsas-credentials [at]

If the school cannot send transcripts electronically via a secure, password-protected system, or if a required translation cannot be submitted directly from your institution, you must contact World Education Services (WES) and order a Course-by-Course Evaluation and an International Credential Advantage Package to be sent to gsas-credentials [at]

Standardized Tests

The Graduate School requires the following standardized tests:

The ETS (GRE and TOEFL) institution code for the Graduate School is 2162. The Graduate School does not use department codes; all test scores are reported to the GSAS Office of Admissions.

GRE scores are valid for five years from the date taken. For more information on the GRE General and Subject Tests, visit the GRE website.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information on the TOEFL, see the TOEFL website.


Applicants to the Master of Arts degree program in Mathematics of Finance only may substitute the GMAT for the GRE General Test. Applicants to any other program may not substitute the GMAT in place of the GRE General Test. 

There is no GMAT institution code for the Graduate School; select "Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences" and the scores will be reported to the GSAS Office of Admissions.