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M.A. Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find your answer? Check the FAQ page of the Graduate School of Art and Sciences (GSAS) website for additional information on administrative matters and on the registration process.

Alternatively send us an Email.

1. What is the application deadline?

The M.A. application deadline is January 15th.

2. Can I apply for Spring admission?

There is no Spring admission for the M.A. program.

3. Is there a part-time option for the M.A. program?

Yes. Further information can be found on the GSAS web site.

4. How competitive is the admissions process?

Admission is competitive. In recent years, about 30% of applicants were accepted into the program - but the applicants are a self-selected and talented pool of potential students.

5. Should I visit?

Visiting Columbia is an excellent idea. A visit will allow you to get a first-hand and direct impression of our program, department, faculty and students. It will also help you to decide if New York City is for you. Before coming to visit, arrange appointments with faculty whose interests match yours.

6. Does Columbia provides housing for MA students? 

Housing is not guaranteed for Master's students, but students who do not get campus housing are generally able to find a place nearby.

7. What is an RU?

RU, or Residence Unit, and ER, or Extended Residence, are registration categories tied into tuition fees. A Residence Unit is equivalent to full-time registration for a semester. 2 RU's are a mandatory requirement for the MA degree (in Year 1). In the second year M.A. students register for Extended Residence, which allows them to register for classes at a reduced cost relative to the RU tuition.

8. What type of employment would I qualify for after the M.A. degree?

Although our program is relatively young, we can report that nearly 100 per cent of our graduates are either employed or have been accepted into a Ph.D. program. Our students are pursuing careers in government, NGOs, education, and research.

9. How many students are in the program?

There are currently 28 students in the program.

10. Can MA students fund their education through teaching assistantships?

No, this is not possible at Columbia. Nevertheless M.A. students are offered the possiblity of registering with the Department for paid Reading Assistantship in undergraduate courses.

11. How long does it take to finish the MA degree? Two years. Students doing a thesis-based degree should plan on using the summer between the two years for their research. Part time registration is possible, which would extend this period, but the degree must be finished within 4 years.

12. Can adjunct faculty be an MA student's thesis advisor?

Yes, any faculty member listed in the GSAS handbook is an approved E3B advisor.

13. You encourage perspective students to seek faculty mentors for their future thesis research. How do I go about this?

A good starting point is the faculty page of the E3B website. You'll find short bios which include research interests. Send an Email the the faculty members that share your same intersts and inquire about projects and opportunities.

Donít be discouraged if you donít get replies, all of our faculty have pretty busy schedules and may need a reminder to follow up. To ensure better response rates, make sure your emails are stimulating and clearly state your interests.

© Steffen Foerster