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Admissions FAQ

For details and updates on GSAPP’s Fall 2020 semester, please see the dedicated COVID-19 FAQ.
2021 Admissions Updates

How does COVID-19 impact the 2021 admissions process and application review?

  • 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.

  • Please read the University’s Statement of Principle regarding 2021 admissions.

Have the Standardized Test Requirements changed for 2021 admissions?

  • Columbia GSAPP is waiving the GRE requirement on master’s degree program applications for 2021 admissions in recognition of limited testing availability due to the impact of COVID-19.

  • 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.

  • All applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. Columbia GSAPP will accept IELTS and Duolingo test results as alternatives to TOEFL scores on applications for 2021 admissions in recognition of limited testing availability due to the impact of COVID-19. (International students who have successfully completed two years of study in an English-speaking institution may waive the TOEFL exam requirement provided they can submit relevant transcripts.)

How to Apply
Application Process & Requirements

Begin your application by creating an account at the GSAPP Online Application Portal to start a new application.

What are the application deadlines?

  • January 3, 2021: Master of Architecture
    January 4, 2021: Ph.D. programs
    January 15, 2021: Master of Science programs
    Rolling admission: New York/Paris, Intro to Architecture programs

Do I need to have academic prerequisites completed by the application deadline?

  • You do not have to complete the prerequisites by the application deadline, but you will need to complete them before you start the program and register for courses.

Where do I learn more about the specific prerequisites and application requirements by program?

  • Each degree program offered by Columbia GSAPP has unique admissions requirements, please see the Application Process page to select your desired program from the drop-down menu and review the program-specific application deadlines, processes, and requirements.
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 application materials, including recommendation letters, need to 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.

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.

I am having difficulty uploading my transcript, what should I do?

What does “unofficial transcript” mean?

  • An uploaded scan of your transcript or PDF 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.

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.
Resumé / CV
Resumés or CVs are required for all degree applicants and CVs are required for Visiting Scholar applicants.
Standardized Test Scores

Columbia GSAPP is waiving the GRE requirement on master’s degree program applications for 2021 admissions in recognition of limited testing availability due to the impact of COVID-19.

I have already taken or plan to take the GRE, can I still provide my scores?

  • Yes, if you have prior score results you may submit them. GRE scores are valid for five years after the test date.

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), 1-800-473-2252 for more information.

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?

  • We do not publish a minimum score requirement and encourage all to apply. The average GRE scores for admitted applicants are 161 for the verbal section and 165 for the quantitative. All application materials are reviewed holistically.

I’m applying to the M.S. in Real Estate Development, is the GRE required?

  • Applicants to the MSRED program may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores.

  • Applicants need to contact GMAC to have official test score reports sent to GSAPP at Institution Code QF8-73-53. Scores sent to any other institution code will not be accessible to GSAPP staff. Please contact the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) for more information. GMAT scores are valid for five years after the test date.

English Proficiency Tests

All applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. We will accept IELTS and Duolingo test results as alternatives to TOEFL scores on applications for 2021 admissions in recognition of limited testing availability due to the impact of COVID-19.

How do I submit TOEFL scores?

  • Applicants need to contact ETS to have official test score reports sent to GSAPP at Institution Department 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. TOEFL scores are valid for two 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.

Can I waive the TOEFL/English proficiency test requirement?

  • International students who have successfully completed two years of study in an educational institution with English as the official language of instruction are eligible to waive the TOEFL/English proficiency test requirement. The exam can be waived directly in the online application for students who have met the requirements.

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.
Dual Degree Options

To utilize more fully the facilities and resources of the University and to provide opportunities for students to pursue studies in related fields, Columbia GSAPP has established several dual degree programs in conjunction with other departments and faculties at the University.

Each dual degree program leads to the award of two professional degrees. Students who wish to enter a dual degree program 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 further information.

Can I apply to more than one program?

  • You can only apply to more than one program if you are applying to an approved dual-degree program within GSAPP as described online.

  • The following programs are approved for dual degree within GSAPP:

    • MARCH & MSCCCP
    • MARCH & MSUP
    • MARCH & MSHP
    • MARCH & MSRED
    • MSUP & MSHP
    • MSUP & MSRED
    • MSHP & MSRED

Can I apply to both MSAAD and MSAUD, or another combination of two programs not included in the list of dual degree programs above?

  • No, applicants may only apply to one of the two programs. Duplicate applications will be rejected. If multiple applications are received, GSAPP will process the first application submitted and discard the others.
Academic Questions
Program Schedule

What are the start dates of the programs?

  • MARCH, MSHP, MSUP, MSCCCP, and NY/P programs begin in the fall semester.
  • MSAAD, MSAUD, MSRED, and Intro to Architecture programs begin in the summer semester. Please note that the start of the MSAAD, MSAUD, and MSRED programs is deferred in the 2020-2021 academic year only from Summer to Fall 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • Please visit the Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Can I apply to enter in the Spring term?

  • GSAPP does not have spring admissions for its degree programs. Special Students and Visiting Scholars have spring term admissions, with a December 1 application deadline.

Can I start the MSAAD, MSAUD, or MSRED program in the Fall?

  • Due to the nature of the program requirements and their course sequences, it is not possible to start 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 by that time, you will be required to send 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 class for my prior graduation ceremony?

  • Students must be present on the first day of class, and cannot miss more than three classes during the semester.
Credit Transfer

Do you accept transfer students?

  • GSAPP does not accept transfer students. Students must first apply and be accepted to one of our programs.
  • In some rare cases, MARCH applicants are admitted directly to 2nd year, allowing them to complete the degree in 2 years rather than 3. For more information please read about advance standing.

Can I get credit for courses taken in undergraduate to count toward the MARCH degree requirements?

  • A student admitted into MARCH with an undergraduate degree in architecture may receive credit for some courses; credit will be evaluated on an individual basis (up t a maximum of 9 points). For more information please read about advanced standing.
STEM Designation

Are your programs STEM designated?

  • Columbia GSAPP’s Master of Architecture (MARCH) , Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD), and Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design (MSAUD) are designated as STEM programs.
  • Currently, the CIP codes (Classification of Instructional Programs) for the MARCH, MSAAD, and MSAUD program are eligible for a STEM OPT Extension if other criteria are met. Consequently, international MARCH, MSAAD and MSAUD 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.
  • For details regarding OPT please see the Columbia ISSO website.
Financial Assistance
Scholarships

Does GSAPP offer scholarships?

  • GSAPP scholarships are available for both international and domestic students. All applicants who complete and submit a completed application for our degree programs or the New York / Paris program are reviewed by the admissions committee for funding.

  • GSAPP scholarships are merit based and need informed, and are awarded at the time of admissions to select applicants. Please see the Tuition and Aid page for more details.

How do I apply for a GSAPP scholarship?

  • The GSAPP scholarship application form is within the online application and must be completed before submitting the application. The deadline for the scholarship application is the same as the admissions deadline.

Is financial aid available for international students?

  • Yes, all applicants are eligible to apply for a GSAPP scholarship. Funding is determined by the Program’s Admissions Committee and based on a combination of merit and financial need. The GSAPP scholarship application is included within the online application and must submitted at the same time as the application.

  • 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 contact our Student Financial Planning office at 212.854.7040 for further information.

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 pages for Scholarships, Grants, and Work-Study and Financial Aid.
Cost of Attendance

How do I estimate the total cost of the program?

Fee Waivers

Do you offer fee waivers?

  • Fee waivers are granted to McNair Scholars, applicants in the Peace Corps or the military, and to those who currently receive financial aid from their home institutions. We will need documentation (i.e. a letter from official office or copy of student financial statement showing aid) to process your request. Applicants should create an application online before submitting documentation. Decisions are processed within three business days.
  • Documentation should be sent via email to arch_admissions@columbia.edu.
Policies
Deferral Policy

Do you offer deferrals?

  • Deferrals are only considered in the case of personal medical emergencies and additional documentation is required. Please see the policy online and contact the Admissions Office for details.
Admissions Office Contact

Kevin Smith, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
arch_admissions@columbia.edu

GSAPP Admissions
407B Avery Hall
1172 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
USA

Visit GSAPP

The Admissions Office has an open door policy and no appointments are required during business hours, although it is recommended that you email arch_admissions@columbia.edu in advance to let us know you are coming.

  • Please note that in-person office hours are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Please email for a video conference.

  • See the Visit GSAPP page for more detailed information and online resources, including the Fall 2020 Open House for Prospective Students.