If you’ve just completed your undergraduate degree or are currently pursuing it, it’s never too late (or early!) to consider graduate school. In the face of Columbia’s whopping 17 graduate schools, each with its own set of unique requirements and degrees, choosing the right program might feel like an overwhelming decision. To help you through your selection process, Spectrum has answered your most pressing questions and compiled a guide to every Columbia graduate school.
What’s the difference between a graduate school and a professional school?
The distinctions between graduate school and professional schools can often be blurry since many professional schools offer graduate degree programs and vice versa. But to put it simply, graduate schools award advanced academic degrees, following the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Graduate schools help individuals pursue additional education in a particular academic subject matter and often require a thesis or dissertation in order to graduate.
On the other hand, professional schools prepare students for a service profession in specific fields like medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, business, and law. Professional schools place a greater focus on research and real-world applications and often require students to complete an internship or other projects in their fields of study in order to graduate.
What’s the difference between an academic graduate degree and a professional graduate degree?
It’s important to note that many graduate schools and professional schools offer the same degrees, such as a Juris Doctor or a Doctor of Medicine. An academic graduate degree includes a master’s or doctoral degree in a particular discipline. Many professional degrees are required by law to work in certain occupations. Examples of professional graduate degrees include a Doctor of Education or a Doctor of Dental Medicine.
What are the different types of Master of Business Administration degrees?
There are three different types of Master of Business Administration programs you can pursue: a traditional two-year degree, an accelerated degree, and an executive degree.
Most students pursue either a full-time or part-time MBA, both of which are two-year programs. While a full-time MBA would have a similar schedule and course load as an undergraduate degree, a part-time MBA (also known as an Evening & Weekend MBA) allows students to continue working while attending classes on weekday evenings or weekends. Alternatively, an accelerated MBA takes only one year to complete.
An executive MBA program is designed for experienced working professionals with 10 or more years of career experience up their sleeves who work a full-time job while pursuing their degree. Class times are flexible and often occur in the evening or on weekends to accommodate students’ work schedules.
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation was ranked as the second-best graduate architecture school in America in 2020 by Architectural Record. Its school is split between four programs: architecture, urbanism, preservation, and real estate.
Master’s programs: Master of Architecture; Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design, in Architecture and Urban Design, in Urban Planning, in Historic Preservation, in Real Estate Development, and in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has 83 different programs ranging from the humanities to the natural and social sciences. It administers Master of Arts, doctorate, and dual degree and certificate programs.
GSAS’s master’s program offers academic study across several different fields, like classical studies and biotechnology. A complete list of its master’s programs can be found here.
GSAS’s doctoral programs require a dissertation on independent research or original compositions to graduate, on subjects in both traditional and interdisciplinary areas. A complete list of its doctorate programs can be found here.
GSAS has several dual degree programs with universities like the London School of Economics and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. A complete list of its dual degree and certificate programs can be found here.
The School of the Arts
The Columbia School of the Arts’s faculty includes artists, playwrights, film and theater directors, and poets. As a graduate professional school, it offers programs of study in film, theater, visual arts, writing, film and media studies, and sound art.
The School of the Arts also offers joint degree programs, which you can find here.
The Business School offers a wide range of programs, including a Master of Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, doctorate, undergraduate concentration, and predoctoral research.
The Journalism School offers 12 programs in several areas of study, including data, documentary, investigative, multimedia, broadcast, business, audio, arts, politics, international, science, and writing.
Depending on your program of choice, as well as your level of experience and future goals, you can choose to pursue a Master of Science, a Master of Science in Data Journalism, or a Master of Arts. The Journalism School also offers dual degrees and a doctorate in communications.
The Law School has an impressive share of alumni, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It provides several graduate degree options (Master of Laws, Executive Master of Laws, and The Doctor of the Science of Law degree), a Juris Doctor program, and 14 areas of study.
The College of Dental Medicine
The College of Dental Medicine offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery Program, postdoctoral and residency program, Advanced Standing Program for Foreign Trained Dentists, and courses for continuing one’s education.
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers both master’s programs and doctoral programs in 20 areas of study across nine departments to its students. It also offers currently-enrolled undergraduate students in SEAS, Columbia College, Barnard, and the School of General Studies the option to apply to integrated bachelor’s and master’s programs and accelerated 4+1 pathways.
The School of International and Public Affairs
In 2021, the U.S. News & World Report named the School of International and Public Affairs the best school for international/global policy. SIPA offers master’s, doctoral, and executive education programs. Compare them here to see which one is the right fit for you.
Master’s programs: Master of International Affairs, Master of Public Administration; Master of Public Administration in Economic Policy Management, in Environmental Science and Policy, in Development Practice; Executive Master of Public Administration.
Doctoral program: doctorate in sustainable development
The Jewish Theological Seminary
The School of Nursing
The School of Nursing offers several programs in both master’s and doctorate degrees.
Check out the School of Nursing’s website.
The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons offers doctoral and master’s degree programs, the Columbia-Bassett Track, M.D. dual-degree and special programs, and Master of Science dual-degree and special programs.
Doctoral programs: Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition and Metabolic Biology, Doctor of Education in Movement Science with a Specialization in Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Check out the Vagelos College’s website.
The School of Professional Studies
The School of Professional Studies provides many programs and academic resources such as master’s degrees, executive education programs, opportunities for certificates and certifications, and business offerings within many different fields of study.
The Mailman School of Public Health
The Mailman School of Public Health has several Master of Science degrees in fields like biostatistics and epidemiology. It also offers executive and professional education, dual-degree programs, a Master of Health Administration, a Doctor of Public Health, and a Doctor of Philosophy programs.
Check out the Mailman School of Public Health’s website here.
The School of Social Work
The School of Social Work offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work, as well as a Master of Social Work. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the School of Social Work has been the first among the top five schools of social work to offer its Master of Social Work degree online.
Teachers College offers over 100 programs in four primary areas of study: psychology, education, health, and leadership. In these fields, students can earn their Master of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy, among other degrees. The complete list can be found here.
The Union Theological Seminary
The Union Theological Seminary offers five degree programs, including Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Sacred Theology, Master of Divinity and Social Work Joint Degree Programs, and Doctor of Philosophy. More information on these degrees can be found here.