Admissions FAQs

What is the application deadline?
Early applications are encouraged. The deadline to apply for Spring 2019 enrollment is November 1, 2018. The deadline to apply for Fall 2019 enrollment is May 15, 2019. Applications to the program are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants are notified of admissions decisions with 4 weeks of receiving their completed applications.

How long is the program?
Full-time students complete the program in three semesters. Part-time students can complete the program in as many as nine semesters. Students can enroll in classes in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

How do I apply?
For complete details on how to complete and application to the program, please visit the “How to Apply” section of our website. If you have begun a program application, but have any questions about using the online application system, submitting application components or checking to see if a component of your application has been received, please contact the School of Professional Studies Office of Admissions at apply@sps.columbia.edu or by phone at 212-854-9666.

Do I have to take the GRE?
Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test are not required but may be submitted in support of your application. GRE school report code: 3602.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?
Applicants whose native language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting official scores from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The requirement is only waived if:
• The applicant has completed all coursework for and earned their undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in a country where English is the sole official language. Please note that graduate level work does not exempt applicants from meeting this requirement.
• The applicant has completed at least two years at an undergraduate US institution or at an institution in a country where the sole official language is English and earned the undergraduate (or bachelor’s) degree at that institution.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit unofficial documents through the online application system at the time of application. Candidates offered admission will later be required to supply official scores sent directly from either TOEFL or IELTS prior to enrollment for verification before the admission offer is considered official. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.) Applicants taking the TOEFL must have a score of at least 100 on the Internet-based version (600 paper based). Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of 7.0 or higher. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program.

How do I submit my transcripts?
If your transcripts are from an institution in the U.S. or Canada, we ask that you submit unofficial transcripts within the application system at the time you apply. Candidates offered admission are required to supply official transcripts prior to enrollment for verification before the offer is considered official and before being permitted to register for classes. Official transcripts must be submitted by July 15 for new students enrolling in the fall term and by December 1 for new students enrolling in the spring term.

Official transcripts must be submitted electronically if the institution has a process for emailing electronic transcripts (such as services available through eSCRIP-SAFE, Parchment, or National Student Clearinghouse). The registrar’s office may submit the transcripts to apply@sps.columbia.edu.

If, and only if, the institution does not provide an electronic delivery option, official transcripts must arrive directly from the issuing institution, and in envelopes sealed by the issuing institution. Copies, opened or unsealed envelopes, unofficial printouts, or facsimiles will not be accepted. We will also not accept hard copy documents from institutions offering electronic delivery.

Official transcripts from your conferring undergraduate institution must include a notation certifying conferral of a bachelor’s degree. Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type, will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Standards of Campus Discipline.

If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the U.S. or Canada, the Office of Enrollment Management requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation.

WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation to Columbia University School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies. The evaluation provided to the School of Professional Studies becomes an official academic record and sole property of the School of Professional Studies upon its receipt.

WES evaluations will be reviewed by the School of Professional Studies administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies.

Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type, will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Standards of Campus Discipline.

What are the prerequisites for admission?
An undergraduate degree is the only formal prerequisite for admission to the program. There are several criteria, none of which in isolation plays a decisive in granting or denying admission to an applicant. These criteria include grade point average, coursework in math and science, work experience, familiarity with sustainability, clarity of professional goals, especially as they relate to the program, and recommendation letters.

Does the M.S. degree lead to a Ph.D.?
The M.S. in Sustainability Management is designed as a terminal, pre-professional degree. The program is designed for students seeking to further their careers as sustainability professionals or transition into a sustainability field. The program is not designed to prepare students to enroll in a Ph.D. in a related field.