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Admissions FAQ

Prospective Students
Begin your application by creating an account at the GSAPP Online Application Portal.
Application Deadlines and Policies
How does COVID-19 impact the admissions process and application review?

Please read the University’s Statement of Principle regarding impact of COVID-19 on the admissions process.

Columbia University’s graduate and professional schools, as well as their respective admissions committees, will take into account the important disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak when reviewing student transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their customary practice of performing holistic reviews of individual applications or dossiers. Specifically, we will respect decisions made by institutions or individuals regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail or similar grading options during the period in question.

What are the application deadlines?
December 14, 2023: Ph.D. in Urban Planning
January 3, 2024: Master of Architecture
January 4, 2024: Ph.D. in Architecture, Ph.D. in Historic Preservation
January 15, 2024: Master of Science programs
Rolling admission: New York/Paris, Intro to Architecture programs
May my supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation and official exam scores, arrive after the application deadline date?
No, late materials will not be accepted and all supporting documents must be received by the deadline date to ensure that they will be reviewed.
Where can I find the prerequisite requirements?
Each degree program offered by Columbia GSAPP has unique admissions requirements. Please see the Application Process page to review the program-specific application deadlines, processes, and requirements.
May I apply to more than one program?

Applicants may only apply to one GSAPP program per application cycle, with the exception of approved dual degree programs.

Only applicants applying to an approved dual degree program may submit two applications in the same cycle. Details can be found on the Dual Degree page.

How do I apply to a dual-degree program?

Columbia GSAPP has established several dual degree programs in conjunction with other departments and faculties at the University. Students who wish to enter one of these dual degree programs must apply to each of the participating programs and be admitted to both.

Students wishing to pursue a dual degree program with other schools at Columbia are responsible for consulting the respective school’s admissions office for additional information. Applicants must complete the application and meet the respective deadline and requirements of each program. Application materials are not shared between schools. Students can only apply to an established dual-degree program and may not create their own.

Does GSAPP offer deferrals?

Prospective students should apply in the year that they plan to enroll. GSAPP offers admission with the expectation that students will matriculate in the semester specified during the application process.

Requests for deferrals are only considered in the case of personal medical emergencies, and additional documentation is required. Please see the Deferrals Policy for more information

Does GSAPP accept transfer students?
GSAPP does not accept transfer students. All students must apply and be accepted to one of the School’s programs to enroll.
Can I get credit for courses taken in undergraduate to count toward GSAPP degree requirements?

GSAPP’s policies on transferring credit are determined by program, and transfer credit may apply to advanced standing or waivers.

For Master of Architecture there are two ways that a student may receive advanced standing:

  • Advanced placement into the second year of the MARCH program or
  • Advanced standing or waivers in individual required MARCH courses; credit will be evaluated on an individual basis (maximum 9 points).

For more detailed information on advanced standing and waivers, please see the Credit Transfer page.

May another person or entity submit my application materials on my behalf?

Applicants must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the following exceptions: submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST; submissions by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF); and submissions by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). In addition, the applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the Office of Admissions at arch_admissions@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.

Application Materials
May any of my supporting materials arrive after the application deadline date?
Supporting documents will not be accepted after the deadline date.
Resumé / CV
Resumes or CVs are required for all degree applicants and CVs are required for Visiting Scholar applicants.

A digital portfolio is required for admission to the MARCH, MSAAD, MSAUD, MSCDP, and MSCCCP programs.

Applicants to the PhD in Historic Preservation are encouraged to submit an optional portfolio if it speaks to their research interest in experimental preservation approaches that explore material intersections of the PAAST (Preservation Art Architecture Science and Technology) with urgent contemporary environmental and social issues.

Digital portfolios must be uploaded at the time the application is submitted. Portfolios should contain reproductions of original drawings, prints, graphic design, or sculpture.

The digital portfolio should be a single PDF document, maximum 20 PDF pages (including the cover pages and table of contents, if applicable), and should not exceed 32 MB. The digital portfolio should be optimized for viewing on a standard size computer screen.

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required for all degree program applicants. GSAPP does not have a special form for letters of recommendation. Recommenders may scan and upload recommendation letters to the online application. Letters received directly from applicants will not be accepted.
Can I submit additional recommendation letters?
Yes, you may add additional recommenders.
When are recommendation letters due?
All of the application materials including the recommendation letters must be received by the application deadline in order to ensure that they are reviewed.
My recommender is having trouble uploading their letter of recommendation.
They may email a copy of their recommendation letter directly to the Admissions Office at arch_admissions@columbia.edu and our staff will add it to your application.
I am applying to a dual degree program within GSAPP, how do I use the same recommendation letters?
Please add your recommender information as instructed in each online application. Recommenders need only upload the recommendation letter in one application, and our admissions staff will ensure that the letters are added to the second application.
Personal Statement
A personal statement is required for admission to each program.
How long should the Personal Statement be?

In approximately 500 words, describe your background, your past work in your intended field of study and your plans for graduate study and a professional career.

The MSUP program application requires a Personal Statement of approximately 800 words in length. Please describe your academic background, your motivation for studying urban planning, your past work and relevant experience, and your plans for graduate study and a professional career. In addition, please describe your experience with analytical reasoning including (but not limited to) statistics, GIS, data analytics, or qualitative methods.

The Introduction to Architecture program application does not require a Personal Statement.

Standardized Tests: GRE/GMAT
Is the GRE/GMAT required for 2023 admissions?

GRE/GMAT test scores are optional for 2024-2025 admissions.

MSRED applicants who do not have a strong background in finance, statistics, or analytics, and who do not have at least two years of relevant professional experience, are encouraged to submit GRE/GMAT test scores to supplement their application.

MSUP applicants who do not have strong analytical background or professional experience are encouraged to submit GRE results to supplement their application.

Each degree program offered by Columbia GSAPP has unique admissions requirements, please see the Application Process page to review the program-specific application deadlines, processes, and requirements.

When are GRE/GMAT test scores due?
Verified test scores must be received by the application deadline in order to be considered during the application review.
I have already taken or plan to take the GRE, can I still provide my scores?
If you have prior score results that you would like to include on the application, you may include them.
How do I submit GRE test scores?

Applicants need to contact ETS to have official test score reports sent to GSAPP at Institution Code 2164 (a department code is not needed). Scores sent to any other institution code will not be accessible to GSAPP staff. Please contact Educational Testing Service (ETS) (http://www.ets.org/gre/), 1-800-473-2252 for more information.

GRE scores are valid for five years after the test date.

How do I submit GMAT scores?

Applicants to the M.S. in Real Estate Development program may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. Applicants should contact GMAC to have official test scores sent to the GSAPP Admissions Office via Institution Code: QF8-73-53. Scores sent to any other institution code will not be accessible to GSAPP staff.

GMAT scores are valid for five years after the test date.

How can I tell if my test scores were received?
After submitting your application, you will be able to see which materials have been received by reviewing the application checklist on your status page. Please allow at least two business days for the application status to be fully updated.
What are minimum test score requirements?
GSAPP does not publish a minimum score requirement and encourages all to apply. Applications are reviewed holistically.
English Proficiency Tests
What is the English proficiency test requirement?

All applicants whose primary language is not English must submit English Proficiency Exam scores (with the exception of Introduction to Architecture applicants).

Columbia GSAPP accepts TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo test results. Self-reported scores must be verified by requesting official scores to be sent directly to GSAPP.

When are English Proficiency test scores due?
If test scores are required based on your primary language, the verified test scores must be received by the application deadline.
Can I waive the English proficiency test requirement?
Applicants whose primary language is not English and who have successfully completed two years of study in an English-speaking institution may waive the English Proficiency requirement.
Do you accept the TOEFL ITP?
No, the TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program) exams are not administered by ETS and are not for University-level admissions.
Do you Accept the ToefL IBT Home Edition?
No, GSAPP does not accept the TOEFL Home Edition.
If I took the TOEFL more than once, would you accept “MyBest” Score?
No, GSAPP does not accept TOEFL(iBT) “MyBest” scores.
Is there a minimum test score requirement?
GSAPP does not publish minimum test scores.
For how long are test scores valid?

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the TOEFL website.

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the IELTS website.

Duolingo scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the Duolingo website.

How do I submit TOEFL Scores?

TOEFL scores are reported to Columbia GSAPP in electronic format. Our ETS institution code is: COLUMBIA University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (2164).

Although GSAPP does not use department codes for test score reporting, ETS requires designation of a department code. Therefore, please enter the default code: 12. Scores sent to any other institution code will not be accessible to GSAPP staff. Please contact ETS (http://www.ets.org/gre/), 1-877-863-3546 (within US) or (609) 771-7100 (international) for more information.

How do I submit IELTS Scores?

IELTS scores are reported to Columbia GSAPP in electronic format. Please submit IELTS scores using the IELTS Results Service E-Delivery. You must contact the IELTS test center where the test was taken to request that your official electronic test results be sent to the address below. An institution code is NOT required.

E-Delivery account name: “Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation”

How do I submit Duolingo English Test Scores?

For the 2024 application, Columbia GSAPP is accepting Duolingo English Test scores. The official scores must be reported electronically.

Once you receive certified test results, log in to your account. Click on the “Send Results” button next to your test results. Filter the institution list for “Graduate Schools.” Select “Columbia University - Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation” as the institution to which you would like to send your results

How can I tell if my test scores were received?
After submitting your application, you will be able to see which materials have been received by reviewing the application checklist on your status page. Please allow at least two business days for the application status to be fully updated.
Academic History and Transcripts
An academic transcript/record from each university attended and credit earned is required for all applicants. All transcripts must be received by the application deadline. Applicants should upload a digital copy or scan of their transcript/s to the online application. We allow digital copies of transcripts for review purposes only.
What does “unofficial transcript” mean?

An uploaded scan or PDF of your transcript is considered “unofficial” if it is sent directly by you, rather than from the issuing institution. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the admissions process. You will be asked to provide an official copy of your records from your previous institutions only if you are admitted to GSAPP and choose to enroll in the school.

The unofficial transcripts uploaded as part of your application must be copies or scans of official transcripts. Course lists or registration records printed from your student account are not acceptable.

Do I need to submit official transcripts when I submit my application?

No. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted.

However, the unofficial transcripts uploaded as part of your application must be copies of official transcripts. Unofficial course lists or registration records printed from your student account are not acceptable.

If you have a copy of a World Education Services (WES) evaluation, we encourage you to upload it with your unofficial transcript.

Please note: GSAPP retains official documents for admitted applicants only. Official materials received from applicants who do not enroll will not be kept on file.

What does “certified translation” mean with regards to non-English transcripts?
The translation must be certified as an accurate translation of the original and should be notarized or otherwise authenticated (either by degree-granting University or third-party). Either WES or an official translation (certified/notarized/authenticated as accurate) is appropriate. Both the non-English and translated copies of your transcript should be uploaded.
Do I need to submit transcripts if I only took a few courses at another school?
Yes. A transcript showing all courses and grades of any academic work must be submitted. However, if the courses and grades are listed on your main transcript, a separate transcript need not be submitted.
Where do I upload my scanned transcript?
On the Academic History page of the online application.
What suggestions do you have in uploading my transcripts?

Scan at the lowest DPI that results in a legible document. (We recommend using under 300 DPI whenever possible.)

Ensure that the institution name and other identifying marks are clearly visible and that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter size paper (8 ½" x 11").

Include the transcript legend (sometimes found on the reverse or final page).

Save your document as a PDF file.

Make certain that its size is less than 2,000 KB (2.0 MB). Scanning in grayscale or black and white may produce the best results.

I am having difficulty uploading my transcript, what should I do?
You may email a copy directly to arch_admissions@columbia.edu.
Can I combine multiple transcripts in a single PDF?
No. Each transcript must be uploaded separately.
If I upload my transcripts, do I still need to submit the originals?

Once an applicant has been admitted and has indicated acceptance of the offer of admission, certified and secure online official transcripts must be submitted directly to Columbia GSAPP by the Registrar’s Office of the applicant’s prior institution(s).

Please see the “Admitted Student” tab for detailed instructions.

Do I need to upload both the foreign language and English translations of my transcripts?
Yes. Transcripts that are in a language other than English should be translated into English. The translation must be certified to be an accurate translation of the original and be notarized or otherwise authenticated.
Whom do I contact if I cannot find my school code on the “Academic History” page of the online application?

When searching for your school, if you do not immediately find the name of your institution, please attempt to search using alternate spellings of the city name (Saint Petersburg vs. St. Petersburg) or under a possible variation of your school name. If you attended a particular college within a larger institution, or a satellite campus of a larger school, please enter the name of the larger institution. The details of your study will be visible to the faculty when they review your transcript.

If, after careful searching, you are certain that your school does not appear on our list, please choose the appropriate country (and city, if available; if not available, select “other”), and then select “other” for your school name. Space will be provided for you to enter the name of the institution. Please also confirm its city, state/region (if applicable), and country. Once you have entered your school information, you must also complete the Missing School Code form so that we may add your institution to our records.

I attended an international institution. Am I required to submit a WES evaluation of each of my transcripts?
GSAPP does not require submission of WES evaluations for the application. However, WES evaluations may be submitted in place of the required certified English translations of international transcripts. Additionally, please see the text above concerning the submission of WES evaluations when accepting an offer of admission, which may be applicable to some admitted students.
Application Fee
Can I pay the application fee with a check?
We do not accept payment by check. Payment must be made by credit card using Visa, MasterCard or American Express only.
Do you offer fee waivers?

A $75 nonrefundable fee is required as part of an application to Columbia GSAPP. We are unable to refund the application fee under any circumstances, but you may qualify for a fee waiver.

Applicants must start an application to access the Fee Waiver Request Form. This form can be found on the online application and is open to all eligible applicants, international and domestic.

Please review the eligibility guidelines below. Official documentation is required. Documentation must include your full name as listed on your application. Screenshots are not accepted and unofficial letters are not eligible.

Below is a sample of some of the eligibility guidelines for application fee waivers for GSAPP:

  • You are a McNair Scholar, Fulbright Scholar.
  • You served with Peace Corps, AmeriCorps.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently on active duty in the U.S. military.
  • You currently receive financial aid from your home institution.
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in a federally subsidized public housing, a foster home or are homeless or unhoused.
  • You have other extenuating circumstances.

Applicants must submit an application in order to submit a Fee Waiver Request.

What should I do if I have technical difficulties when paying the application fee?

First check that you have correctly entered the following information on the payment page:

  • Name and Billing address (discrepancies can cause a card to be declined)
  • Credit card number
  • Credit card expiration date
  • Credit card verification code

If the above items do not resolve the issue:

  • Try logging in to the application using a different browser.
  • Try using a different credit card.
Tracking Your Application
Can I track my application online?
Yes, you may check the status of your application on the Application Status screen. You will be able to access this screen only after your application has been submitted.
What information do I need to view my application status?
You will need your email address and password.
What should I do if my supporting documents do not appear in online tracking?

You may check the status of your supporting materials on the Application Status screen. You will be able to access this screen only after your application has been submitted.

Once your application has been submitted, the status of your application will appear as “Submitted”. No further updates will be displayed until a decision on your application has been released.

If I still have a question or wish to amend information concerning my application, whom do I contact?

If you have a question not answered on our website or need to update any information, please notify the GSAPP Admissions Office directly via email at arch_admissions@columbia.edu with “Question Not Answered on Website” or “Change Application Information” in the subject line.

In the body of the email, you must include your name, date of birth, and your application ID number.

Please note that any changes must be received prior to the application deadline in order to be considered.

How will GSAPP notify me of my admissions decision?
All notifications are made via email to the address provided in the application.
When will I receive a decision on my application?

Notification of decisions for all Master’s applicants generally takes place by mid March.

All notifications are made via email to the address provided in the application.

How do I confirm my enrollment?

Master’s degree candidates must accept their offer of admission with a non-refundable enrollment deposit by April 15 using the link provided in their offer letter.

Please also see the Admitted Student FAQ and After You’re Admitted webpages for additional details on your next steps to enroll at GSAPP.

Can I request feedback on the application or admissions decision?
GSAPP understands and appreciates the commitment of time and energy put into each application. However, we are unable to provide individual feedback on applications and admission decisions.
How do I reapply to GSAPP?
In order to reapply, you must submit a new application and upload a statement of purpose, CV, and writing sample (if required). Any transcript already on file from last year’s application need not be resubmitted, unless it does not reflect all currently completed academic work or the award of a degree. If test scores (GRE, TOEFL, etc.) are already on file, there is no need to resend those score reports. Through the online application, you have the option of reusing any or all of the letters of recommendation submitted in support of last year’s application.
Tuition and Financial Aid
How do I estimate the total cost of attendance?

Please see the Tuition and Aid page for a summary of current tuition and fees.

GSAPP works closely with Columbia University’s Student Financial Services, which provides detailed information about current estimated total cost of attendance and works with students on FAFSA applications and loan processing.

Does GSAPP offer scholarships?

GSAPP scholarships are available for both international and domestic students. All applicants who submit a completed application for our degree programs are reviewed by the admissions committee for funding. GSAPP scholarships are merit based and awarded at the time of admissions to select applicants.

Additional scholarships are available to enrolled students during their studies. Please see the GSAPP Scholarships page for more details.

How do I apply for a GSAPP scholarship?
All applicants for full-time Master’s degree programs, domestic and international, are automatically considered for merit based funding during the application review. Scholarship allocations are based on recommendations by the Program’s Admissions Committee.
Is financial aid available for international students?

Yes, all applicants are considered for merit-based GSAPP scholarships regardless of citizenship.

International students may also be eligible to apply for student loans. A co-signer who is a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident and lives in the U.S is usually required. Please see the Student Financial Services website for details, or contact the Student Financial Planning office at 212.854.7040 for further information.

When should I submit my FAFSA?
Applicants should adhere to the FAFSA priority deadline listed on their website, but can submit at any time. Federal aid at the graduate level includes federal loan and/or work study eligibility. The FAFSA code for Columbia University is 002707. There is no GSAPP specific code.
Are there additional scholarship or fellowship opportunities?
Columbia University Student Financial Services has information about Institution Aid and Outside Awards, while eligibility may vary. For more information please visit the Student Financial Services page for Scholarships, Grants, and Work-Study and Financial Aid.
When should I start applying for external scholarships?
Applicants should start the scholarship search early. There are many scholarships for incoming graduate students that have deadlines consistent with the application deadlines. It’s important to note the deadlines prior to the release of admission decisions. You may reference the search engines located on the Student Financial Services website to begin your search. EduPass is also a good place to start for international student scholarship opportunities.
Are scholarships available to students in the Non-Degree Intro Program?
This program is not eligible for federal aid. However, admitted students are automatically invited to apply to the Hilyard Robinson Scholarship which generally has a May 15 deadline. Intro Program applicants are advised to apply by early May for consideration.
Are scholarships available to students in the Non-Degree New York/Paris Program?
Admitted students may reach out to arch_admissions@columbia.edu for consideration.
How can I obtain an Assistantship?

Columbia GSAPP offers a limited number of teaching and research assistantships to students enrolled in full-time degree programs and to continuing non-enrolled students. Applications are typically open in the summer for fall semester position, and in the fall for spring semester positions.

Remuneration is based on the expected workload and is disbursed via semi monthly paychecks. Please see the Assistantships page for additional details.

Academic Schedule and STEM Designation
What are the start dates of the programs?

Fall Semester start: MARCH, MSHP, MSUP, MSCCCP, and NY/P

Summer Semester start: MSAAD, MSAUD, MSCDP, MSRED

5-week Summer session: Intro to Architecture

Please see the Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Can I apply to enter in the Spring term?

GSAPP does not have Spring semester entries for any degree program.

Special Students and Visiting Scholars have spring term admissions, with a December 1 application deadline.

Can I start the MSAAD, MSAUD, MSCDP or MSRED program in the Fall?
Due to the nature of the program requirements and their course sequences, these programs have a Summer semester start and it is not possible to enter these programs in the Fall or Spring. Please view the Academic Calendar for more information.
What if my prior graduation date is after the start of the GSAPP program?
You must have completed your prior degree by the start of the GSAPP program. If your degree is not conferred at that time, you will be required to provide an official letter from your degree-granting institution stating that you have completed all degree requirements and when your degree will be granted.
Can I miss GSAPP classes to attend my prior graduation ceremony?
Students must be present on the first day of class, and cannot miss more than three classes during the semester.
Which GSAPP programs are STEM designated?

Columbia GSAPP’s Master of Architecture (MARCH) , Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD), Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design (MSAUD), and Master of Science in Computational Design Practices (MSCDP) are designated as STEM programs.

Please see the STEM page for additional information.

Currently, the CIP codes (Classification of Instructional Programs) for the MARCH Program, MSAAD Program, MSAUD Program, and MSCDP Program are eligible for a STEM OPT Extension if other criteria are met. Consequently, international MARCH, MSAAD, MSAUD, and MSCDP students are eligible to apply to extend their Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional 24 months of OPT authorization after the initial 12 months of OPT to work in the United States. Please visit the Columbia ISSO page for details.

Visiting GSAPP
How can I arrange a campus tour?
In-person tour schedules are posted on the Visit GSAPP page.
How can I attend Open House?
Please see the Open House page to sign up for a detailed schedule and event links.
How can I learn more about the programs?
Additional resources and upcoming Informational Sessions and Events can be found on the Thinking about Applying page.

Admissions Office Contact


+1 212-854-3414

GSAPP Admissions
407 Avery Hall
1172 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
  • Please note that in-person office hours are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Please email for a video conference.