Visiting Student Program

General Information

The Visiting Student Program at Columbia College is an opportunity for students to broaden their college experience and supplement the undergraduate programs at their home institutions by studying at Columbia for up to two semesters. Please note that this is not the same as the Visiting Student program offered by the School of Professional Studies.

The Visiting Student Program application for spring 2017 admission is now available.


The program is open to students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree-seeking program at another college/university and will have completed at least one full year of college credit by the time of enrollment. While the program is designed for sophomore and junior undergraduate students, senior (or fourth-year) students may be considered.

Students who attend institutions outside of the United States are eligible to apply.


Visiting Students may be eligible to take any course in Columbia College excluding the courses in the Core Curriculum. Visiting Students are eligible also to enroll in select courses in Columbia Engineering and Barnard College, as long as those courses are open to Columbia College students.

Columbia does not guarantee that Visiting Students will be able to enroll in any specific class until the time of registration, and we therefore encourage students to have a wide selection of courses ready at the time of registration. Visiting Students may not enroll in any of Columbia’s graduate schools (including Columbia Business School) without first consulting their Advising Dean in the Center for Student Advising.

Visiting Students must maintain full-time status by registering for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and may take a maximum of 22 credit hours. Most students schedule 15-18 credit hours (approximately 5 classes) per semester. We recommend that you consult with your dean/academic advisor at your home institution to help plan your curriculum at Columbia and ensure that Columbia credits will transfer.

Life at Columbia

Visiting students may take advantage of most of the programs and activities available to Columbia College students. They have an advising dean through the Center for Student Advising who assists with course selection and connects them with campus resources. In addition, they may take advantage of certain resources through the Center for Career Education (such as career fairs, workshops and panels and networking nights) with the exceptions of on-campus recruiting, the national and international internship programs and individual counseling. Visiting students can participate in any extra-curricular organization with the exception of our Division I athletic teams.

Visiting Student Program Comparison

Columbia College

School of Professional Studies

Eligibility: only undergraduates in degree-seeking programs

Eligibility: high school students, undergraduates and graduate students

Classes primarily in Columbia College

Classes available across multiple University divisions (including graduate-level courses)

Students must study full-time

Students may study part-time

Tuition is charged per semester (plus mandatory fees and, if applicable, room/board)

Tuition is charged per class

Program is available during the academic year only

Program is available during academic year and summer term

Campus housing may be available

Campus housing is typically not available during the academic year

Application process directed by Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Application process directed by School of Professional Studies

Admissions Information

Please note that Visiting Students to Columbia College are not permitted to apply for transfer admission.

The Visiting Student Program accepts students to enter in either fall (September) or spring (January) semesters; students may enroll for a maximum of two semesters (either consecutive fall/spring semesters or spring/fall semesters).  

A completed application includes:

  • The Visiting Student Application, which includes short answer questions, submitted electronically
  • A signed Statement of Eligibility from the applicant’s academic advisor or an equivalent official (such as university registrar) who can attest to the fact that the student is in good academic standing at her or his university/college. This statement should not be a letter of recommendation from an instructor.
  • An official transcript from your current institution and/or school official (if not in English, an official English translation of the transcript is required). To be official, the transcript must come from directly from your institution or from a school official via email, fax or mail. We strongly prefer electronic transcripts for faster processing. If mail is the only option available to you, please send materials to the following address:
    • Office of Undergraduate Admissions
      Attn: Visiting Students Program
      212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807
      1130 Amsterdam Avenue
      New York, NY 10027  
  • A non-refundable $85 application fee, submitted electronically

Special note for non-English speakers: All Columbia students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. Please see our requirements for English language proficiency.

If, based on our requirements for English language proficiency, the results of the IELTS or TOEFL are required as part of your application, we must have official scores. For scores to be official, they must be reported directly to Columbia by the testing service; students cannot provide their own copies of score reports.

Admissions Requirements

  • Students must be eligible (see above).
  • Students should have a minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) and be in good standing at their home institutions
  • The responses to the short answer questions should clearly express an applicant’s knowledge of Columbia and how the Visiting Student program will help enhance his/her overall educational experience

Please note the importance of these requirements as the admissions process is competitive.

Request Information

Are you on the Columbia Visiting Student Program mailing list? Please make sure to fill out our inquiry form to receive more information about Visiting Student admission to Columbia.