Columbia University

Initiatives

Graduate Student Initiative

One of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished graduate schools, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is central to the larger Columbia University mission of advancing knowledge through research while providing a distinctive and distinguished environment for academic instruction and professional development. The Graduate School administers a wide array of graduate programs in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences and confers the M.A., M.Phil., D.M.A., and Ph.D. degrees.

Some GSAS Master’s programs offer a high-level introduction to study within traditional academic disciplines, while others allow students to pursue new fields of inquiry through an interdisciplinary course of study, such as Philosophical Foundations of Physics or Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. Still others offer a chance to cultivate or enhance professional skills, such as the programs in Biotechnology and the Mathematics of Finance.

Study in GSAS doctoral programs begins with several years of rigorous coursework and culminates in the writing of the dissertation, a substantial piece of independent research (or, in the case of D.M.A. students, original compositions). The doctoral degree can be pursued in traditional disciplines as well as interdisciplinary research areas.

The Graduate School places a high priority on providing our doctoral students with adequate funding support. Students in years one through five, the years covered by multi-year support, receive full funding from a variety of sources. Full funding consists of a full-tuition fellowship, coverage of the health services and facilities fee, and enrollment in the University’s basic medical insurance plan, as well as a nine-month stipend and summer support. GSAS also provides competitive research travel and dissertation completion awards, and conference travel support for students giving papers. Our initiatives to enhance University funding of graduate students include increasing stipend amounts and establishing a child care subsidy for students who are parents.

The Graduate School also places a strong emphasis on our students’ professional development. The GSAS Teaching Center, which has served as a focal point for students looking to cultivate presentation and instruction skills, is now being reconceived to offer training in new platforms for communication and research, in addition to traditional pedagogical methods. Additionally, we have worked with departments to develop seminars on professional concerns, discipline-specific pedagogical training, and preparation for the academic job search.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that a graduate student center will be inaugurated in fall 2013 in Philosophy 301-302, which will provide a venue for graduate students from various departments and schools throughout the University to interact, exchange ideas, and host events.