The Transition

While students in the Dual BA Program come from all over the world, the one experience common to all students within the program is movement. Between campuses, and between continents, Dual BA Program students are always in motion, which allows them to take advantage of the best aspects of international education, not only in the classroom, but also as they apply to their day to day lives.

Students who are offered admission to the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po will have a robust support network available to help them prepare for their arrivals in France and New York.

Detailed information is included in the acceptance packet for incoming first-year students, as well as the third year transition packets that students receive in the spring term of the second year in the program.

Students who have confirmed their intent to enroll in the Dual BA Program and submitted their tuition deposits by May 1 will be assigned a Columbia University University Network ID (UNI) and a Sciences Po Student ID Number. This ID number allows students to activate their Sciences Po Student Space, access their Certificat de Scolarité, and begin the administrative registration process.

Certificat de Scolarité

The Certificat de Scolarité is issued by the main Sciences Po administrative offices in Paris during the first week of May, after all incoming students have confirmed their intent to enroll in the Dual BA Program. This document is the one that must be used to fulfill the “acceptance letter” requirement for obtaining a student visa, as it includes the beginning and end dates of students' terms in France as well as the relevant campus address.


Students who do not hold European Union citizenship or residency must apply for an Extended Stay Student Visa with Residency Permit (VLS-TS). For information on obtaining a visa to study in France, visit the Visa page.


As students begin their final semester at Sciences Po, they will receive a Third Year Transition Packet. This packet will contain information on what to expect when students arrive on the Columbia campus, instructions on how to apply for University Apartment Housing, student visas, English-language proficiency testing, and updates to their financial aid awards, if applicable.

In addition to Sciences Po student services, each student has a Columbia academic advisor. These advisors are available for curricular planning throughout the four-year program. Columbia will also evaluate Sciences Po transcripts for transfer credit, reviewing all eligible ECTS (European Credit Transfer & Accumulation) credits. Columbia also evaluates exams, including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Baccalauréat, A-Levels, and Abitur.

For Dual BA students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, the Guide for International Students has been created to assist international students in navigating Columbia University. The guide will answer many common questions posed by international students while also providing information about the purpose and scope of a wide range of on-campus resources.

While students are studying at Columbia in years three and four, they must obtain coverage with an American health insurance provider, either through the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan or, for some U.S. citizens and permanent residents, through their parents’ health insurance plan. Columbia University does not recognize international insurance plans for health insurance coverage while students are enrolled in Columbia classes.


Students who do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residence must apply for an F-1 student visa for the duration of their studies at Columbia University.

ALP Essay Exam

In the spring of their second year, students who are not native English speakers will also sit for the American Language Program’s Essay Exam, which will be administered virtually. The purpose of the ALP Essay Exam is to certify students' English proficiency before they begin classes on campus in New York.

Students will take part in a virtual exam which involves writing an essay in response to a short reading prompt. Every effort is made to offer passages that are easily understood and can be answered by any person from any field of study. There are new prompts for each administration of the ALP Essay Exam, and students will be given 120 minutes to complete the online test.