Application Process

All prospective students must apply using the online application. Printed applications are not available; the online application can be found here.

    You must specify in your application the department, doctoral program subcommittee, or free-standing master’s degree program in which you wish to study. If required, you must indicate the sub-field of study and the term for which you are applying. A complete application includes: 

    • A sample of scholarly writing
      • The writing sample should be 15 to 20 pages long (not including the bibliography) and demonstrate your academic writing ability. It need not be a sociological study or document, although we prefer to see your writing in the social science.
    • A statement of academic purpose
      • Your statement should be four (4) pages or 1,000 words in length.
    • A personal statement
      • We are committed to admitting candidates with a wide diversity of
        experiences and perspectives to our program. The Personal Statement
        (maximum of 1,000 words) should describe how your personal experiences
        and history will allow you to contribute to the wealth of perspectives
        in the entering class of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and
        in the Columbia community at large.
    • GRE scores
      • We do not require a minimum GRE score, and consider test results in conjunction with the other materials submitted for the application. No subject test is required for our program.
    • Transcripts of all previous post-secondary education 
    • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources
    • A curriculum vitae or résumé
    • Results of the TOEFL or IELTS examination to fulfill the English Proficiency Requirement, if applicable
    • Payment of the application fee

    Please note that all application materials become the property of Columbia University and are not returnable. Applicants who have not waived their right to view letters of recommendation may request to view the letters only after they enroll in the GSAS program to which they have been admitted. Under the guidelines of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students who do not receive an offer of admission, or who are admitted but do not enroll, are not permitted access to the letters at any time. View a complete explanation of this here: FERPA policy.

    The deadline to apply to the PhD program is Thursday January 4, 2024.

    The deadline to apply to the Freestanding MA program is Thursday, March 14, 2024.

    All deadlines are 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time for the published date. 

    Applicants may elect to apply to up to two programs—either one PhD program and one MA program, or two MA programs—by submitting a single application to the Graduate School.

    In any given term, an applicant may apply to only one PhD department, program, or subcommittee, including the biomedical PhD programs housed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Applicants who file more than one PhD application in a given admissions cycle will be required to withdraw one of the applications.

    The Graduate School permits applicants to be reviewed by a second program if they do not receive an offer of admission from their first-choice program, with the following restrictions:

    • This option is only available for fall-term applicants.
    • Applicants may apply to only one PhD program. All secondary options are for MA programs only.
    • The second program must be selected before the application is submitted. Applicants may not request review by a second program after submitting the application.
    • Applicants will be able to view and opt for a second choice (if applicable) after selecting their first choice. Applicants should not submit a second application. (Note: Selecting a second choice will not affect the consideration of your application by your first choice.)
    • Applicants must upload a separate Statement of Purpose and submit any additional supporting materials required by the second program. Transcripts, letters, and test scores should only be submitted once.
    • Your application will be forwarded to your second-choice program only after your first-choice program has completed its review and rendered its decision. Your file will not be reviewed concurrently by both programs.
    • GSAS cannot guarantee that an application will receive a second review. Review by the second-choice program is contingent upon the program's application deadline and available slots.
    • The option to select a second-choice program will not be available for applications submitted after May 1.
    • Applicants who receive an offer of admission from their first-choice program but who wish to be considered by their second-choice program instead must decline the offer of admission from the first-choice program. IMPORTANT: In this case, the offer of admission from the first-choice program will be rescinded, and you may enroll in GSAS only if you receive an offer of admission from the second-choice program.