School of General Studies of Columbia University. The School of General Studies is commonly referred to as GS.
The School of General Studies of Columbia University is dedicated to students with nontraditional backgrounds who seek a traditional education at an Ivy League university. Most students at GS have, for personal or professional reasons, interrupted their education, never attended college, or can only attend part time. GS students are fully integrated into the Columbia undergraduate curriculum and take the same courses, with the same faculty, as all other undergraduates.
Columbia University has long been a pioneer in education for nontraditional, adult and returning undergraduates and enrolls students who have had a break of one year or more in their educational paths since high school. GS students are professional dancers, models, Olympic athletes, musicians, bankers, military veterans, programmers and small business owners; are from as far away as China, Israel and Germany; and have completed some or no college coursework or are professionals who wish to complete a second bachelor’s degree in a discipline different from their first.
Recognized as one of the most academically competitive four-year colleges in the United States in the 2009 edition of "Barron's Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges," GS applicants are pre-qualified prior to admissions materials submission. Like traditional undergraduate degree programs, the admissions process takes into account measures of academic success such as standardized test scores and high school and college grade point averages. GS also recognizes, however, traditional admissions metrics do not sufficiently convey a nontraditional student's ability to succeed.
Note: The following statistics are based on 2012-2013 official reporting.
- More than 1,600 undergraduate students
- 68% full-time; 32% part-time
- 43% female; 57% male
- 23% of American students are Asian American, African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American
- 17% international students, representing 62 countries
- Average age: 29
Academic Degree Program
As one of three undergraduate colleges at Columbia University, GS offers a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree. GS students take the same courses, are taught by the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other Columbia undergraduates. GS's academic program is composed of a major, the GS Core requirements, and electives. Students may choose from more than 70 majors and 1,500 courses taught by members of Columbia University's Faculty of Arts & Sciences. The GS Core provides a foundation for a solid liberal arts education, which assures students will develop critical skills in writing and quantitative reasoning.
Faculty and Administration
GS students take courses with professors who are members of the Columbia University Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The student-to-faculty ratio is six to one.
Tuition and Financial Aid
- $43,620 tuition (for a 30-credit program); $1,454 per credit hour
- $22,045 estimated living and personal expenses, including room and board, books, commuting costs and miscellaneous expenses
- Approximately 70 percent of students receive some form of need-based financial aid and/or merit scholarship
- Average scholarship awards for first-year students range from $7,500-$9,000
Special Scholarship Programs
The School of General Studies has several scholarship program partnerships with outside institutions. For a full list, please visit the Special Scholarship Program page.
GS students have access to more than 200 student organizations, intramural sports, and volunteer opportunities, as well as countless cultural offerings on- and off-campus. Columbia University is also a NCAA Division I member.
GS supports several dual-, combined- and joint-degree programs with Columbia’s graduate and professional schools as well as affiliates including The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia Business School and The Jewish Theological Seminary – Albert A. List College. GS also has a Dual BA Program with the French university Sciences Po.
- Notable alumni.
- More than 70 percent of GS graduates seek higher degrees such as a doctorate of medicine, doctorate of philosophy, juris doctorate and masters degrees at top-tier institutions such as Mount Sinai College of Medicine, Duke, Georgetown, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, etc.
- GS graduates work in many sectors including the arts, finance, law and non-profit.
- Graduates have worked for organizations such as Goldman Sachs; Merrill Lynch; Morgan Stanley; Axiom Legal; Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Linklaters LLP; Sawaya Segales & Co., LLC; Columbia University; U.S. Air Force; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.