How to Apply to Columbia University as an International Applicant

Columbia University School of the Arts is highly diverse: In Fall 2022, international students from 53 countries comprised 31 percent of the student body. Before you apply, read this addendum about funding from the School of the Arts Admissions Office:
  1. Funding for international students is limited. International applicants must have a plan for funding for the duration of their intended degree programs, including miscellaneous expenses and the cost of living. Proof of funding is required for attendance. Institutional scholarships are available, but do not replace the personal funding plan requirement.
  2. Monthly tuition payment plans are available to offset the cost of attendance. Find out how to enroll.
  3. To maintain full-time enrollment and retain the student visa, international students must not exceed an outstanding student account balance of $999.

How to apply


Columbia University uses the same holistic admissions process for international applicants. Admissions officers review applications by region and . Columbia College and the School of the Arts each have unique admissions criteria for international students:

Undergraduate applicants


International undergraduate applicants share the general admissions requirement and creative materials requirement with domestic students. Prepare to submit the following supplemental materials:
  • Proof of English language proficiency —Undergraduate international applicants must show mastery of English with one of the following:
    • 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 on the SAT or ACT:
      • 700 or higher on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT (either paper or digital administration)
      • 29 or higher on the English or Reading sections of the ACT

If you do not meet the English language proficiency requirements, you must take one of the following tests (plus minimum required scores):
  • TOEFL (iBT only): 105
  • IELTS: 7.5
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): 135
  • Cambridge English (C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency): 191

Click here to review the guidelines for international undergraduate applicants.

Graduate applicants


International graduate applicants share the general admissions requirement and creative materials requirement with domestic students. Prepare to submit the following supplemental materials:
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions of higher education (must be translated into English).
  • Proof of English proficiency — English language proficiency test scores must be sent to Columbia University School of the Arts Graduate Admission and meet the minimum required scores:
    • TOEFL: 100 (Internet-based) or 600 (paper-based)
    • IELTS: 7.5
    • Duolingo: 120
      • Alternatively, applicants can send proof of a bachelor's degree from an institution with English as its main language of instruction.
Applicants who are attending or have attended Chinese institutions of higher education must contact CHESICC to request the submission of a Verification Report of China Higher Education Student’s Academic Transcript and a Verification Report of China Higher Education Qualification Certificate. These reports must be submitted to soaadmissions@columbia.edu in advance of the application deadline.

International applicants from other regions who cannot supply digital copies of their transcripts must contact the World Education Services (WES) and order a Course-by-Course Evaluation and International Credential Advantage Package. These documents must be sent to soaadmissions@columbia.edu in advance of the application deadline.

If accepted, international graduate applicants must also obtain an F1 or comparable student visa. Columbia University supplies guidelines to obtain the student visa; students from certain regions may have limited work-study opportunities.

Click here to review the application guidelines for international graduate applicants.

Note: U.S. citizens and eligible non-U.S. residents studying in another country at the time of the application are not considered international students.