Columbia University School of General Studies campus

From the School

The School of General Studies (GS) of Columbia University is one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the United States created specifically for returning and nontraditional students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree full or part time. Most students at GS have, for personal or professional reasons, interrupted their education, never attended college, or are only able to attend part time. GS is unique among colleges of its type, because its students are fully integrated into the Columbia undergraduate curriculum: they take the same courses with the same faculty members and earn the same degree as all other Columbia undergraduates.

GS students come from varied backgrounds and all walks of life. Many students work full time while pursuing a degree, and many have family responsibilities; others attend classes full time and experience Columbia's more traditional college life. In the classroom, the diversity and varied personal experience of the student body promote discussion and debate, fostering an environment of academic rigor and intellectual development. GS has approximately 1,800 undergraduate degree candidates and more than 450 Postbaccalaureate Premedical students. The average age of a GS student is 28. More than 70 percent of GS students attend classes full time.

In addition to its bachelor's degree program, GS offers combined undergraduate/graduate degree programs with Columbia's Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Social Work, International and Public Affairs, Law, Business, Dental Medicine, Teachers College, Public Health, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. More than 70 percent of the students go on to earn advanced degrees after graduation.


From The School

The GS admission policy is geared to the maturity and varied backgrounds of its students. Aptitude and motivation are considered along with past academic performance, standardized test scores, and employment history. The School's admission decisions are based on a careful review of each application and reflect the Admissions Committee's considered judgment of the applicant's maturity, academic potential, and present ability to undertake course work at Columbia.

Admission requirements include a completed application form; a 1,500to 2,000-word autobiographical statement describing the applicant's past educational history and work experience, present situation, and future plans; two letters of recommendation from academic or professional evaluators; an official high school transcript; official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended; official SAT or ACT scores (applicants may take the General Studies Admissions Examination); and a nonrefundable application fee of $80.

Students from outside the United States may apply to the School of General Studies to start or complete a baccalaureate degree. In addition to the materials described above, international applicants must submit official TOEFL scores or take the Columbia University American Language Program Essay Exam.

Application and Information
Fall Early Action applications completed by January 15 will receive a March 1 decision; applications completed by March 1 will receive a decision by May 1. Spring Early Action applications completed by September 1 will receive an October 1 decision; applications completed by October 1 will receive a decision by November 15. Applications are reviewed as they are completed, and applicants are notified of decisions shortly thereafter.

For more information, please contact:
Curtis M. Rodgers, Vice Dean
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
School of General Studies
408 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway
Columbia University, Mail Code 4101
New York, New York 10027
Phone: 212-854-2772


Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49

Test Scores

Learn about new SAT scores and college admission here
SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
630 - 750
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
630 - 740
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
640 - 750
ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
29 - 32

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with or without Writing accepted


Early Action
January 15

June 1

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Academic GPA
Standardized Test Scores
Application Essay

Character / Personal Qualities
First Generation
Work Experience
Level of applicant's interest

Selectivity Rating


From The School

Academic Programs

The School of General Studies offers a traditional liberal arts education designed to provide students with the broad knowledge and intellectual skills that foster continued education and growth in the years after college, as well as providing a sound foundation for positions of responsibility in the professional world. Requirements for the bachelor's degree comprise three elements: (1) core requirements, intended to develop in students the ability to write and communicate clearly; to understand the modes of thought that characterize the humanities, social sciences, and sciences; to gain familiarity with central cultural ideas through literature, fine arts, and music; and to acquire a working proficiency in a foreign language; (2) major requirements, designed to give students sustained and coherent exposure to a particular discipline in an area of strong intellectual interest; and (3) elective courses, in which students pursue particular interests and skills for their own personal growth or for their relationship to future professional or personal objectives. Students are required to complete a minimum of 124 points for the bachelor's degree; 60 of these may be in transfer credit, but at least 64 points (including the last 30 points) must be completed at Columbia. In addition to the usual graduation honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude), honors programs for superior students are available in a majority of the University's departments.

Majors and Degrees Offered

The School of General Studies grants a B.A. degree and offers more than eighty majors and concentrations, which include: African studies; African American studies; American studies; ancient studies; anthropology; applied mathematics; archaeology; architecture; architecture, history and theory; art history; art history-visual arts; astronomy; astrophysics; biochemistry; biology; biophysics; business management; chemical physics; chemistry; classics; comparative literature and society; computer science; computer science–mathematics; computer science-statistics; creative writing; dance; drama and theater arts; earth and environmental science; East Asian studies; ecology, evolution, and environmental Biology; economics; economics-mathematics; economics-philosophy; economics-political science; economics-statistics; education; English; environmental biology; environmental chemistry; environmental science; ethnicity and race studies; evolutionary biology of the human species; film and media studies; financial economics; French; French and Francophone studies; German literature and cultural history; Hispanic studies; history; human rights; information science, Italian cultural studies; Italian language and literature; jazz studies; Jewish studies; Latin American and Caribbean studies; Latin American and Iberian culture; linguistics; mathematics; mathematics-statistics; medieval and renaissance studies; Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies; modern Greek studies; music; neuroscience and behavior; philosophy; physics; political science; political science-statistics; Portuguese studies; premedical sciences; psychology; regional studies; religion; Russian language and culture; Russian literature and culture; Slavic language and culture; sociology; statistics; sustainable development; urban studies; visual arts; women's and gender studies; and Yiddish studies.

GS is home to the oldest and largest Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program in the United States, as well as dual-degree programs with the French university Sciences Po, Hong Kong's City University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Students enrolled in these interdisciplinary programs can earn two bachelor’s degrees from two schools over four years.

The Dual BA Program is an intensive, transatlantic course of study in which undergraduate students earn bachelor's degrees from both Sciences Po and Columbia University in four years. Students will spend two years at one of three Sciences Po campuses, each of which is devoted to a particular region of the world and offers a heavy linguistic and cultural focus. After completing Sciences Po's interdisciplinary social-sciences curriculum, Dual BA students matriculate at GS to complete the requirements for a major, as well as fulfill core distribution requirements in a variety of disciplines, including literature, art, music, science, and the humanities. Upon graduation, Dual BA Program students are eligible for guaranteed admission to a graduate program at Sciences Po. Admission to the program is highly competitive, and high school seniors are eligible to apply. The Joint Bachelor's Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University offers students an international undergraduate educational experience a program spanning two continents, in cosmopolitan cities that allow students to engage directly with the world around them. Joint Bachelor's Degree Program students will earn two bachelor's degrees-one from City University of Hong Kong and one from Columbia University. Students who wish to be considered for admission to the Joint Bachelor's Degree Program must first apply and be accepted to the City University of Hong Kong, at which time they will be eligible for consideration for the Program.

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree

Most frequent lab / sub section size
2 - 9

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies

  • African Studies
  • African-American/Black Studies
  • American/United States Studies/Civilization
  • Area Studies
  • Asian Studies/Civilization
  • Asian-American Studies
  • Central/Middle and Eastern European Studies
  • Chinese Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • French Studies
  • German Studies
  • Hispanic-American, Puerto Rican, and Mexican-American/Chicano Studies
  • Italian Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Polish Studies
  • Regional Studies (U
  • Russian Studies
  • Slavic Studies
  • Spanish and Iberian Studies
  • Ukraine Studies
  • Women's Studies

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology
  • Biology, General
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General
  • Biomedical Sciences, General
  • Biophysics
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, and Population Biology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Neuroscience

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

  • Business Administration and Management, General

  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science
  • Information Science/Studies

  • Education

  • Education, General
  • Education, General

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • Creative Writing
  • English Language and Literature, General
  • Writing, General

  • Foreign languages, literatures, and Linguistics

  • African Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Comparative Literature
  • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures, General
  • French Language and Literature
  • German Language and Literature
  • Italian Language and Literature
  • Portuguese Language and Literature
  • Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Russian Language and Literature
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Slavic, Baltic, and Albanian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other
  • Spanish Language and Literature

  • History

  • History
  • History, General

  • Leisure and Recreational Activities

  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Theatre/Theater
  • Writing

  • Mathematics and Statistics

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Mathematics and Statistics, Other
  • Mathematics, General
  • Mathematics, Other
  • Statistics, General
  • Statistics, Other

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Ancient Studies/Civilization
  • Classical and Ancient Studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies

  • Natural Resources and Conservation

  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forest Sciences and Biology

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy, Other
  • Religion/Religious Studies
  • Religion/Religious Studies
  • Religion/Religious Studies, Other

  • Physical Sciences

  • Astronomy
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry, General
  • Chemistry, Other
  • Geology/Earth Science, General
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Physics, General

  • Psychology

  • Psychology, General
  • Psychology, General

  • Social Sciences

  • Anthropology
  • Anthropology
  • Anthropology, Other
  • Archeology
  • Archeology
  • Economics
  • Economics, General
  • Economics, Other
  • Political Science and Government
  • Political Science and Government, General
  • Sociology
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies/Affairs
  • Urban Studies/Affairs

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art History, Criticism and Conservation
  • Art/Art Studies, General
  • Dance
  • Dance, General
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
  • Film/Cinema Studies
  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies
  • Music
  • Music, General
  • Visual and Performing Arts, General
  • Visual and Performing Arts, Other


Post-Bachelor's certificate

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

Prominent Alumni

Simon Kuznets
Nobel Prize-winning economist

Louis Simpson
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Baruj Benacerraf
Nobel Prize-winning physician

R.W. Apple
Acclaimed journalist and author

Jacques Pepin
Emmy Award-winning chef and author

Kristi Zea
Academy Award-winning producer and set designer

Baruj Benacerraf
Nobel Prize-winning immunologist

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Colleges that Create Futures


From The School

Tuition, Room, Board and Fees

For the 2014-15 academic year, tuition was $1,570 per point, and annual living (room and board) and personal expenses (books, local commuting costs, and miscellaneous expenses) were $22,685.

Financial Aid

The School of General Studies awards financial aid based upon need and academic ability. Approximately 70 percent of General Studies degree candidates receive some form of financial aid, including Federal Pell Grants, New York State TAP Grants, Federal Stafford and unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, General Studies Scholarships, and Federal Work-Study Program awards. Priority application deadlines for new students are March 1 (early action) and June 1 (regular decision) for the fall semester and October 1 (early action) and November 1 (regular decision) for the spring semester. The average scholarship award ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 for first-year students.


Application Deadlines
Jun 1

Required Forms


Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

On-Campus Room and Board
Comprehensive Fee

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology
Federal and Institutional

Scholarships and Grants


Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid is available

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender


From The School

One student represents GS students in the University Senate, a decision-making body comprising students, faculty, and administrative staff members from each division of the University. In addition, two GS students sit as voting members on the Committee on Instruction, which oversees the curriculum of the School. The General Studies Student Council elects officers each year and sponsors activities for students. The Observer, the School's student-run magazine, is published several times each year. The Premedical Association (PMA) sponsors events related to the medical school admissions process. Additionally, students are eligible to participate in any of the more than 500 student organizations on campus.

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented



41% female
59% male
56% are out of state
77% are full time
23% are part time


From The School


Columbia University is located in Morningside Heights, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The University's neighbors include the Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Manhattan School of Music, St. Luke’s Hospital, Women's Hospital, Riverside Church, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The diversity of intellectual and social activities offered by these institutions is one of Columbia's great assets as a university; another is its location in New York City, which offers students at Columbia a rich and almost boundless variety of social, cultural, and recreational opportunities that are themselves an education.

Campus Facilities & Equipment

The Columbia University Libraries constitute the nation's fifth-largest academic library system, with a collection of more than 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, and an extensive array electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. Of the twenty-two libraries in the system, five are designated Distinctive Collections because of their unusual depth and nationally recognized excellence. The University's Computer Center is one of the largest and most powerful university installations in the world and has remote units and terminals in several parts of the campus to enhance its accessibility. The Fairchild Life Science Building houses research facilities, laboratories, electron microscopes, and a vast amount of biochemical equipment used for teaching and research. The University's physics building has been the scene of many important developments in the recent history of physics, including the invention of the laser and the first U.S. demonstration of nuclear fission.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Columbia students may enhance their academic experiences through various study-abroad programs around the world. For example, students may spend a term at the Reid Hall Program in the Montparnasse district of Paris, the Berlin Consortium for German Studies, Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies, or the Language Program in Beijing, China. Additionally, students may apply to participate in one of the Columbia approved study abroad programs located in countries all over the world.

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Large Urban

Housing Options

Apartment Married
Apartment Single
Dorms Coed
Frat Sorority
International Student
Theme Housing

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations


Athletic Division
Division I

Men's Sports (Lions)
15 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor
Women's Sports (Lions)
17 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Field Hockey
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor

Student Services

Womens Center
LGBT Support Groups
Minority Support Groups
Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Fordham University
Navy ROTC Offered on-campus
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Manhattan College


Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Description Apple Dell J&R Computer World

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Office of Admissions
Director of Admissions

408 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4101
2970 Broadway
New York, NY 10027



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Low Memorial Library
Butler Library
Alfred Lerner Hall
Miller Theater
College Walk
Low Plaza, Northwest Corner Building

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Metropolitan Musuem of Art
Museum of Modern Art
Statue of Liberty
Empire State Building
Madison Square Garden
Lincoln Center Carnegie Hall Greenwich Village Metropolitan Opera Wall Street United Nations American Museum of Natural History Central Park

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Monday through Friday
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Campus shuttle bus, subway, buses, taxis; LaGuardia, JFK, Newark airports accessible by rail via Penn Station and by bus via Port Authority Bus Terminal

Driving Instructions to Campus
Located at West 116th Street and Broadway in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan

Local Accommodations