Columbia University

Columbia University

One of the world’s leading research centers, Columbia University in the City of New York offers a distinctive and distinguished learning environment. Columbia seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time through its mission of educating students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

School of General Studies

Founded in 1947, in large part to accommodate the wave of veterans returning from World War II, the School of General Studies (GS) is the liberal arts college at Columbia created specifically for students with nontraditional backgrounds who seek a traditional education at an Ivy League university. At GS, nontraditional students include students who have interrupted their educations or who have never attended college before, those who can only attend part-time, and students enrolled in dual-degree programs, such as the Joint Program with The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Joint Bachelor's Degree Program with City University of Hong Kong, or the Dual BA Program with Sciences Po. GS students are fully academically integrated and take the same courses, with the same professors, as students in Columbia’s other undergraduate colleges.

GS Enrollment

Note: The following enrollment statistics are based on 2017-2018 official reporting.

  • More than 2,100 undergraduate students
  • 78% full-time; 22% part-time
  • 41% female; 59% male
  • 26% of American students are Asian American, African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American
  • 21% international students (non-U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
  • Average age: 26

Tuition and Financial Aid

Note: The following tuition and financial aid statistics are effective for the 2018-2019 academic year.

  • $1,822 per point; Tuition and Fees
  • $24,170 estimated living and personal expenses, including room and board, books, commuting costs, and miscellaneous expenses
  • Approximately 70 percent of students receive some form of need-based financial aid and/or merit scholarship

Academic Program

  • GS students must fulfill core requirements in science, literature, art, music, humanities, social sciences, quantitative reasoning, and global studies, and demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.
  • GS students take the same classes, with the same professors, as students in Columbia's other undergraduate colleges.
  • GS is the historical home to dual-degree programs at Columbia University—the school was the first undergraduate college at Columbia University to offer joint programs with other universities
  • More than 80 majors available
  • More than 1,500 courses offered every year

Student Life

  • Over 500 student clubs, organizations, and volunteer opportunities
  • NCAA Division I member, with intramural and intercollegiate sports teams
  • Countless cultural offerings on- and off-campus
  • Full-time students are eligible for University housing


  • 6 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • 79 Nobel Laureates are affiliated with Columbia

University Resources

  • 13 Graduate and Professional Schools, 3 Undergraduate Schools, 4 Affiliated Institutions
  • More than 31,000 students enrolled
  • 22 Libraries
  • More than 70 centers and institutes for specialized research
  • Endowment of more than $9 billion
  • Galleries, theaters, performance spaces, and art and architecture studios
  • Extensive network of support services

After Graduation

  • More than 70 percent of GS graduates go on to earn advanced degrees.
  • More than 300 employers recruit on campus each year and approximately 1000 advertise employment opportunities to our students.
  • Students have access to a global network of more than 250,000 alumni throughout the U.S. and in 180 foreign countries.