Transfer Admission

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are the undergraduate divisions of Columbia University; both serve full-time students only. Potential applicants to Columbia College who have taken a break of more than a full year in their educations after high school (with the exception of those who must complete national military service) or those who wish to attend part time for personal or professional reasons should consider instead Columbia University's School of General Studies. Potential applicants to Columbia Engineering should proceed with this transfer application regardless of any break in schooling.

To be eligible to enroll as a transfer student at Columbia, you must have completed, or be registered for, 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) at another institution, as well as have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (by the application deadline). Candidates with more than four semesters of college coursework elsewhere are not encouraged to apply. Columbia’s academic requirements and institutional policies make completion of all graduation requirements in a reasonable and timely fashion unlikely. International students should read our International Transfer Students section.

If you left high school without receiving a diploma in order to attend an early college program, you are not eligible for transfer admission and must apply as a first-year student by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline. You will not be eligible to receive credit for such accelerated programs except for credit earned through standardized examinations (e.g., AP and IB exams); such credit will be limited to 16 points, the equivalent of one full semester at Columbia.

Columbia also offers a Visiting Student Program, which allows students to take courses at Columbia for a maximum of two semesters. Visiting Students to Columbia College are not permitted to apply for transfer admission, and you may not apply simultaneously as a transfer and as a Visiting Student.

All transfer applications must be submitted electronically – no paper applications are available – and the deadline for transfer admission is March 1, 2017. Entrance is for the fall semester only.

Requirements for Transfer Admission

Each year, we admit a small group of transfer students to Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Because space in the sophomore and junior classes is limited, admission is highly competitive. We typically admit fewer than 10 percent of the applicants for transfer admission each year. Potential transfers are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall; Columbia Engineering candidates are strongly encouraged to have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their mathematics and science courses.

Due to the timing of the transfer process, we are generally unable to consider grades earned in the second semester of the year of application; thus, high school grades, rigor of program and standardized test scores are all important in the evaluation of transfer credentials, especially for students applying for sophomore standing. If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over (with the exception of SAT or ACT scores); you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application.

 

The following are required components of a complete transfer application:

Application

The Coalition Application is for first-year applicants only. Transfer applicants must use the Common Application to apply for admission to Columbia.

Transcripts and School Forms

We cannot accept transcripts submitted by applicants as official unless they are mailed in a signed, sealed envelope; electronic transcripts are official if they are sent directly from an institution and/or from a school official.

Electronic transcripts are preferred for fastest processing. Please note that we receive many documents daily and that transcripts may take several days to process. We encourage you to submit official transcripts with your most up-to-date grades to facilitate the completion of your application.

  • An official high school transcript from all schools attended and the Common Application Secondary School Final Report, which collects information such as your graduation date and cannot be submitted electronically through the Common Application. This form is not required if your secondary school transcript clearly indicates the date of graduation. This form may be submitted by a school official and may accompany your official secondary school transcript.
  • Separate official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended. 
  • The Common Application College Report from the current institution, which collects information about your standing at your current institution and should be completed by a school official such as an advisor, dean or registrar. This form may be submitted by a school official and may accompany your official secondary school transcript.
  • The Common Application Mid-Term Report once mid-term grades are available, which collects information about courses in which you are currently enrolled. Please print this form and bring it to each professor to complete. If mid-term grades are not available and/or instructors are unable to provide a grade at this time, you may have instructors sign for a grade of “N/A.” Often times mid-term grades are not available by March 1, so we will accept this form after this date but no later than April 15. Mid-term reports may be submitted electronically.

Testing and Recommendation Letters

  • SAT or ACT scores (and TOEFL or IELTS scores if necessary; please refer to English Language Proficiency Requirements for further details). You must take or have taken either the SAT or the ACT to be considered for transfer admission, and the scores must be directly reported to Columbia from the appropriate testing agency. If you have previously taken the SAT Subject Tests, you may also report those scores; if you have not taken the SAT Subject Tests, they are not required to be taken at the time of the transfer application.
  • Two letters of recommendation (Academic Evaluations) from college professors. An optional third recommendation will be accepted from an advising dean or academic adviser.

Additional Materials

Transfer Credit

You must have completed or be registered for 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) at another institution. No more than 64 points in Columbia College or 68 points in Columbia Engineering will be awarded as transfer credit, including points earned through AP or IB examinations. We do not grant credit for college courses taken before a student's graduation from high school. If you left high school without receiving a diploma to attend an early college program, you must apply as a first-year applicant by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline. Course credit is not given for such accelerated programs except for credit earned through standardized examinations (e.g., AP, IB, A-level exams); such credit will be limited to 16 points, which is equivalent to one full semester at Columbia. For more detailed information, students should refer to the Academic Credit for Transfer Students section of the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising website.

Please note that transfer credit evaluation occurs at the time of acceptance. We cannot review transcripts and/or courses for transfer prior to application.

Columbia does not award transfer credit for courses that are not analogous to those available at Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. We encourage you to review our College Bulletin and Engineering Bulletin to become familiar with the types of courses that are offered here and therefore the courses that are more likely to be awarded credit.

Request Information

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