Academics at Columbia University

Students in the Dual BA Program enroll at the Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) in their third year.

The School of General Studies of Columbia University is the finest liberal arts college in the country dedicated specifically to students with nontraditional backgrounds seeking a traditional education at an Ivy League university. Many students at GS have, for personal or professional reasons, interrupted their education, never attended college, are only able to attend part-time, or, in the case of Dual BA Program students, seek a nontraditional and innovative approach to their undergraduate education.

At Columbia, students will complete requirements for the University's historic Core Curriculum as well as for major fields of study. Over 1,500 course options are open to Dual BA Program students each semester. Class size at Columbia varies from class to class. In general, classes are lectures or seminars, with courses in the humanities and social sciences entailing a significant amount of written work and classes in more quantitative subjects requiring problem sets and exams.

The Core Curriculum

Columbia's Core Curriculum provides the foundation for a traditional liberal arts education, assuring that students develop critical skills in writing and quantitative reasoning while exposing them to a range of knowledge and disciplines. No two students complete the Core Curriculum in the same way; moreover, given the unique nature of the Columbia undergraduate environment, classes at Columbia contain a mix of age ranges and class years.

Flexibility within the Core allows students to choose from several different departments to fulfill specified requirements in science, literature, humanities, and social sciences, thereby encouraging students to explore new areas of inquiry and develop their intellectual interests.

Dual BA Program students will fulfill many of the Core requirements through transfer classes from Sciences Po. In most cases, students can expect to have completed at least the following requirements prior to matriculation at Columbia:

  • Humanities
  • Foreign Language
  • Global Core
  • Social Sciences
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Science (partial fulfillment only)

Read more about the Core Curriculum. 

Majors and Concentrations

After matriculating at GS, Dual BA Program students will choose from over 80 majors and concentrations. Dual BA Program students must successfully complete the requirements for a major in order to graduate. Concentrations (minors) are optional and often unadvised.

Credits from Sciences Po do not automatically count toward a student's Columbia major or concentration. Transfer credits toward the major/concentration are accepted at the department’s discretion. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in each department is authorized to accept up to 12 GS-approved transfer credits toward the major. Some departments accept fewer than 12 credits; students must check individual department policies concerning transfer credits.

Although Dual BA students may choose any major during their time at Columbia, please refer to the list below for information on the most popular majors within the Dual BA Program: 

Other Majors

Although it may be difficult to complete a non-social science major, in some cases it is possible. Consult the Majors and Concentrations page on the GS website to ascertain whether a particular major can be completed in two years (in addition to Core requirements).


Given the structure of the engineering degree requirements, it is not possible to complete an engineering major in the final two years at Columbia. Students who wish to earn both a liberal arts bachelor’s degree and an engineering degree from Columbia may wish to consider the Combined Plan offered by Columbia Engineering.

Premedical Curriculum

Dual BA students who wish to pursue premedical studies during their time at Columbia should make their academic plans in close collaboration with the GS academic advisor. It is important to note that science coursework completed abroad cannot be used to satisfy the requirements of the premedical curriculum. Consequently, it is not feasible to complete all degree and premedical requirements within a two-year period. Students with a strong commitment to becoming physicians should inquire to arrange for additional time in which to complete their requirements. We recommend that such students inform their advisors of their aspiration for medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine as early as possible to allow time for thoughtful planning. 

For more information please review the Premedical Handbook for GS Undergraduate Students.

Graduate School

Graduates of the Dual BA program do not have guaranteed admission into a graduate program at Columbia.