The Core is the cornerstone of undergraduate academic life at Columbia. Even those transferring in with advanced credit should expect to take elements of the Core, if not all of it. Students are very rarely exempt from Core classes like Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities.
Do I have to take the Core Curriculum, even if I’ve already taken similar courses at my current college/university?
May I study part-time?
You cannot study part-time in either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. If you wish to study part-time, you must apply to the School of General Studies.
Do you meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for transfers?
All transfer applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States are read in a need-blind manner. Foreign students applying for aid must understand that such aid is awarded on an extremely limited basis. Columbia meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students and Columbia does not give any scholarships for academic, athletic or artistic merit.
Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on financial aid for transfer students, including all required forms.
May I transfer for the spring semester?
No. We do not accept applications for January/spring enrollment from transfer candidates.
How can I get a paper application for transfer admissions?
Paper applications are not available. Transfers must apply online using The Common Application. We do not accept the Coalition Application for transfer candidates.
Must I have a minimum number of credits in order to transfer?
To be eligible to enroll at Columbia, you must have completed, or be in the process of completing, the equivalent of one full academic year, typically a minimum of 24 credits. Please review the Academic Credit for Transfer Students guide for more information.
If I am accepted, may I defer for a year?
Yes. A candidate who has been offered first-year admission may ask to defer enrollment for a year to work, travel, complete mandatory military service or pursue a special opportunity. A first-year student may not defer admission in order to enroll full-time at another college or university. A second year of deferral may be granted upon request. Students must request a deferral in writing by May 15 after submitting their first-year response form and deposit. Transfer students are not permitted to defer their admission. Visiting Students are permitted to defer their admission to a future term through the submission of the Visiting Student response form.
May I transfer from Columbia College to the Engineering School (or vice-versa) once accepted and enrolled?
If you are enrolled at either Columbia College or Engineering and you genuinely feel that you should attend the other, you may apply as an internal transfer student. Internal transfers must submit the Internal Transfer Application by March 1. There is no guarantee that you will be able to transfer to a different school. Undergraduate Admissions consults with the Center for Student Advising to review your academic performance and curriculum and determine if a change is appropriate.
My native language is not English. Do I have to take an English proficiency exam?
To be considered for admission to Columbia, you must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. There are several different ways to demonstrate that you are proficient in English on your application.
- Your home language is English.
- Your primary language of instruction at school has been English for the duration of your secondary school career.
- You earned one or more of the following subsection scores:
- 650 or higher on either the Critical Reasoning or Writing sections of the SAT before March 2016
- 700 or higher on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the redesigned SAT (beginning in March 2016)
- 29 or higher on the English or Reading sections of the ACT
If you meet one or more of the above criteria, you have fulfilled Columbia’s English Language Proficiency requirement. If you do not, you will need to take one of the following English Language Proficiency exams.
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Please visit www.toefl.org for more information on this examination. A minimum score of 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (Internet-based test) is necessary for admission to Columbia. Your score must be reported directly to Columbia by the testing service, using report code 2116.
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Please visit www.ielts.org for more information on this examination. A minimum score of 7.0 is necessary for admission to Columbia. Your score must be reported directly to Columbia Undergraduate Admissions.
- DET (Duolingo English Test). Please visit https://englishtest.duolingo.com for more information on this examination. A minimum score of 75 is necessary for admission to Columbia. Your score must be reported directly to Columbia Undergraduate Admissions.
Columbia does not accept other English Language Proficiency exams at this time.
Please note that our Required Standardized Testing policies are in addition to any testing required for English language proficiency.
What are the courses of the Core Curriculum for Columbia College students?
What is the Core Curriculum?
The Core Curriculum is the cornerstone of a Columbia education. Central to the intellectual mission of the Core is the goal of providing all Columbia students, regardless of their major or concentration, with wide-ranging perspectives on significant ideas and achievements in literature, philosophy, history, music, art and science.
The hallmark of the Core is its commitment to the critical examination of challenging ideas in the context of small and intensive classes. At its center stands Contemporary Civilization ("CC"), a course founded in 1919 which over the span of two semesters surveys the history of moral and political thought from Plato to the present. This course is required of all Columbia College sophomores. Masterpieces of European Literature and Philosophy, commonly know as Literature Humanities ("Lit Hum"), similarly surveys, over two semesters, some of the most influential works in all of Western literature and is required of all first-year students .
Over the years the Core has grown and expanded to include the study of science, art, music, writing and an in-depth understanding of creative works outside of the Western canon. These courses maintain the tradition of the Core in which the pursuit of better questions is presumed to be every bit as important as the pursuit of better answers. The small size of Core Curriculum classes provides students with the opportunity to develop early on in their Columbia careers close relationships with faculty and to participate with them in a shared process of intellectual inquiry.
The skills and habits honed by the Core-observation, analysis, imaginative comparison, argument, respect for others' ideas, nuances and differences-provide a rigorous preparation for life as an intelligent and engaged citizen in today's complex and changing world.