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HOW TO APPLY

Application Materials

1. Completed online application form with $150.00 nonrefundable application fee.

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 sustainability@sps.columbia.edu

2. Transcripts

In the Academic History section of the online application, applicants must list and upload unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions you have attended full-time for at least one term. This includes any summer program(s), study abroad program(s), or transfer coursework including any additional mark sheets, official translations, or degree certificates for international transcripts as needed with the exception of: 

  • Coursework where no credits are earned, 

  • Institutions where you completed a total of 11 credits or less (on a traditional U.S. credit system) outside of your degree granting institution and those credits appear on your degree granting institution transcript.

If requested, applicants may be required to provide transcripts from any and all post-secondary institutions. 

Please note that applicants are required to submit grades for all coursework completed at the time they complete their application. Applicants who are currently enrolled in coursework and who submit transcripts with in-progress coursework for admissions consideration (official WES for international and unofficial for domestic) must provide an updated unofficial transcript showing the grades for that completed semester’s coursework as soon as one becomes available. 

International Coursework:

Official ICAP course-by-course evaluation by World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency, for all post-secondary coursework completed outside of the United States is required for your application to be reviewed. 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. 

Please note that applicants who have completed 18 credits or less abroad may submit an unofficial transcript for admissions consideration. If admitted, the applicant must submit an official transcript directly from the prior institution. WES is not required for a total of 18 credits or less completed outside the United States.

Instructions for using WES

WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and credentials. Please select the WES ICAP course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) for the United States 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 the School of Professional Studies.

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

Requirements for Enrollment:

All students who have attended a college or university in the United States must submit electronic transcripts directly from their school or via the vendor that provides that service for their institution to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu.

If a school does not offer electronic delivery, you must write to transcripts@sps.columbia.edu  to provide us with the link to your institution's webpage concerning transcript orders. After verification, we will respond with further instructions.

If you are in the process of completing a degree at the time you apply, final official transcripts with degree conferral (for domestic institutions) or a final official WES evaluation showing degree conferral, including your degree certificate (for international institutions) will be required for enrollment. If you have completed your studies at the time of your application, we strongly recommend you submit your final official transcripts as soon as possible. Failure to submit an official transcript or WES within 30 days following the start of your first semester will result in a hold on your account and, if not remedied, can result in dismissal from the program.

3. Résumé


Your current résumé should include your employment history, academic history, relevant research experience, volunteer history, leadership roles and activities, awards and honors, and any additional activities related to your career and graduate program goals.

4. Statement of Academic Purpose (500 – 750 words) that addresses the following:


Your purpose and interest in pursuing a degree in sustainability science
how the degree program fits into your overall professional growth, focusing in particular on the connection between the program and your academic and/or professional experience.

5. Two Letters of Recommendation

For Spring 2024

Letters of recommendation must be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied in the classroom, who can assess your academic work, intellectual ability, academic potential for graduate work, address your suitability for the program and your ability to commit to the rigorous curriculum. If you own your own business and are your own supervisor, you may select a client as your recommender. Personal references are not appropriate. All applicants are required to submit at least one academic reference unless that applicant received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application. Applicants who received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit an academic reference. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation requirement, please contact apply@sps.columbia.edu for assistance...

6. Demonstration of English Proficiency

If your first or native language is not English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS Academic unless both of the following are true:

  • the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English, and

  • you completed your entire undergraduate degree in English.


Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) or 7.0 (IELTS Academic) to be admissible. 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 Academic 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. 

  • To submit TOEFL iBT scores: Visit www.ets.org and send your official score to our school code 2594. Please note: we do not accept TOEFL best scores.

  • To submit IELTS scores: Please include your TRF number on the English Language Requirements section of the application. Alternatively, you can also send us your official score through your testing center.


Applicants whose primary language is not English may be required to complete an intensive course with the American Language Program (ALP) prior to beginning their studies in the degree program as a condition for admission.


Applicants may also be asked to complete an interview using a video conferencing tool.

 

7. Video Essay


Applicants will be required to submit a 1-minute video essay. Once the application and fee are submitted, the video essay section will become available. You will be given time to create a test video to ensure that your system is working properly. When you are ready, you will be given a randomly selected prompt for which you will have one minute to prepare and one minute to record a response.

ADDITIONAL APPLICATION PROCESS FOR
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

The program welcomes international applicants. Please refer to the important information below regarding transcripts, English language proficiency, visas, and work-eligibility.

If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation for admission consideration.

Visa Requirements

  • International students must fulfill visa requirements.

  • Since the Sustainability Science program offers a full-time study option, international students enrolled in a full-time course load—registered for at least 12 points of credit-bearing courses a term—are eligible for a student visa.

  • Eligible international students who wish to apply for a student visa should do so immediately after they have received their letter of admission to Columbia University. This should be done by completing the Application for Visa Certificate (AVC). Applicants should be aware that after admission into a program it may take up to four weeks to receive the documents needed from Columbia to obtain a student visa, so please plan accordingly.

  • International students who require a student visa to study at Columbia are required to pay an International Services fee.

  • You can find the online application for visa certificate by clicking here: isso.columbia.edu. While you are not permitted to submit the application until you have gained admission, we strongly encourage you to read the instructional information provided.

For questions about individual cases, please contact: International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) 212-854-3587 isso@columbia.edu

Begin the Visa Process (Admitted Students Only)


Complete and submit the application for the form I-20 to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Please note that this is only required of international students requiring a student (F-1) visa. If you are not a United States citizen or permanent resident, you must be a full-time student at Columbia in order to be eligible for a student (F-1) visa. If you have questions about the visa application process, you can email the ISSO at newintlstudent@columbia.edu.

Fee payment must accompany the online application.

Application Timeline

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Spring 2024

November 1, 2023

Fall 2024

Priority Deadline: January 15, 2024

Final Deadline: May 1, 2024

SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION

  • Applicants are encouraged to submit all supporting application materials through the online application system. Unofficial documents will be used for admission consideration.

  • Applications are not considered complete until all required materials listed in the Application Materials section above have been received. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

  • Applicants who are admitted to the program must submit all official documents to the Office of Admissions before the offer is considered official.

  • All submitted materials should clearly bear the applicant’s name and the name of the program to which he or she is applying.

​​

Mailing Address and Contact Information:
 

Office of Admissions

School of Professional Studies

203 Lewisohn Hall

2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119

New York , NY 10027-6902

212-854-9666

sustainability@sps.columbia.edu

​​

If you are in New York City near campus and would like to speak with an available admissions counselor, walk-in hours are available Monday - Thursday from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (15-minute meetings) for general inquiries. *Proof of vaccination and masks are required.*​

If you are not near campus and would like to connect with an Admissions Counselor for Virtual Walk-In Hours, please visit the link below. You can access the Zoom room through a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Weekly virtual walk-in hours

Thursdays 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM EDT 

Important Application Instructions:

  • 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 sustainability@sps.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.

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