Admissions Supporting Materials

Please see below for detailed instructions regarding letters of recommendation, transcripts, and standardized tests.

Important: Applicants must submit all materials directly, and not through an agent, consultant, or other third-party vendor. The sole exception to this rule is for submissions by the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF) and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).

In addition, applicants will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the Admissions Office at [email protected].

Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist with the verification of application materials.

Under no circumstances should you upload a letter on behalf of a recommender. All letters must be submitted by the letter-writers themselves. If you upload a recommendation yourself, disciplinary action may be taken; consequences may include the immediate rejection of your application or the revocation of an offer of admission.

Letters of recommendation may not be sent via email, nor may paper letters be sent via postal mail. All letters must be uploaded by the recommender directly to the application system.

GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, though most programs require three letters of recommendation, some MA programs may only require two letters. For information about the application requirements for the program to which you are applying, please visit that program’s webpage on the GSAS website.  

Regardless of the number of letters required, at least TWO must be submitted by academic recommenders.

You may submit your online application even if your letters of recommendation have not yet been submitted. When the letters arrive, we will append them to your application.


Applicants who applied previously should log in to the application account created during the prior application season and use the same profile to create an application for the new term. Letters of recommendation from the earlier application can then be included in the new application. See the Recommendations page in the online application for more information.

Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Applying

Applicants should upload a transcript or record (e.g., web-based transcripts, mark sheets, relevé de notes) of any academic work from each university-level institution you have attended for use in review of your application.

Applicants to the Sustainable Development and Climate and Society programs also must upload a separate listing of specific courses.

Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted.

GSAS retains official documents for admitted applicants only. If an official document is sent to us by an applicant who does not enroll, the document will not remain accessible, even if an offer of admission is made at a later time.

Uploading Your Transcript to the Online Application System

Transcripts should be uploaded on the Educational History page of the online application. Transcripts should not be combined into one document; they should be uploaded as individual documents.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are able to upload your transcript:

  • Scan at the lowest DPI that results in a legible document. (We recommend to use under 300 DPI whenever possible.)
  • Ensure that the institution name and other identifying marks are not missed during the scanning process and that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter-size paper (8 ½" x 11").
  • Include the transcript legend (found on the back page, in most cases).
  • Save your document as a PDF file.
  • Make certain that its size is less than 2000 KB (2 MB). Scanning in grayscale or black and white may produce the best results.
  • If the scanned file is too large, first make a photocopy (experimenting with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size), then scan the photocopy.

Applicants may be required to take standardized tests to be considered for admission. 

You should confirm the particular admissions requirements for the PhD or MA graduate program to which you are applying. Consult this list of PhD programs or this list of MA programs.

Tests that may be required:

The ETS (Educational Testing Service) institution code for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is 2162, to be used with the GRE and TOEFL. GSAS does not use department codes. 

All test scores should be reported to the GSAS Office of Admissions.

GRE scores are valid for five years from the date taken. For more information, see the GRE website.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the TOEFL website.

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the IELTS website.

TOEFL Submission Instructions

TOEFL scores are reported to Columbia GSAS in electronic format. Our ETS institution code is: COLUMBIA U GRAD SCH ART&SCI/MORNG (2162).

Though GSAS does not use department codes for test score reporting, ETS requires designation of a department code. Therefore, please enter the default code: 99.

IELTS Submission Instructions

IELTS scores are reported to Columbia GSAS in electronic format.

Please submit IELTS scores using the IELTS Results Service E-Delivery. You must contact the IELTS test center where the test was taken to request that your official electronic test results be sent to the address below. An institution code is NOT required.

E-Delivery account name: "Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences"
New York, NY 10027

Duolingo English Test Submission Instructions

For the 2021 application, Columbia GSAS is accepting Duolingo English Test scores. The official scores must be reported electronically.

Once you receive certified test results, log in to your account. Click on the "Send Results" button next to your test results. Filter the institution list for "Graduate Schools." Select "Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences" as the institution to which you would like to send your results.

Duolingo scores are valid for two years from the date taken. For more information, see the Duolingo website.