Admissions Supporting Materials

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

Applicants 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] columbia.edu.

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.

Columbia GSAS accepts up to four letters of recommendation.
Three letters of recommendation are required by most programs, but some MA programs may only require two letters. For application requirements for the program to which you are applying, please visit that program’s webpage on the GSAS website.  

Letter of recommendation to which an applicant has had access are not acceptable and are not considered official.

Reapplicants

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.

Transcripts

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 also must upload a separate listing of specific courses.

Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted.

GSAS retains official documents for admitted applicants only. If an official document is sent to us by an applicant who does not enroll, the document will not remain accessible, even if an offer of admission is made at a later time.

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.
Standardized Tests

Applicants may be required to take standardized tests to be considered for admission. 

You should confirm the particular admissions requirements for the PhD or MA graduate program to which you are applying. Consult this list of PhD programs or this list of MA programs.

Tests that may be required:

The ETS (Educational Testing Service) institution code for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is 2162, to be used with the GRE and TOEFL. GSAS does not use department codes. 

All test scores should be reported to the GSAS Office of Admissions.

GRE scores are valid for five years from the date taken. For more information, see the GRE website.

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