International Students

Columbia Public Health is committed to welcoming students from all around the globe. As Dean Linda P. Fried has stated, human rights, access, and non-discrimination are integral to our field. The Mailman School will do all it can to welcome those who seek to be part of this community.

International Students & Scholars Office FAQs

1. Where Can I Learn More About the Visa Process and Materials I Would Need To Provide?
International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) is a great point of reference for international student questions on the visa, maintaining your status, etc. 

2. When Should I Get Into Contact With Someone From ISSO?
You are welcome to explore the ISSO website at any point from prospective to enrolled student status. Once a student is admitted, that is when ISSO establishes communication and provides additional information on next steps.

Admissions FAQs

1. Is the Admissions Process Different for International Students?
No. You will need to apply directly through either SOPHAS or HAMPCAS (for Exec MHA/MPH and Part-Time MHA only) as domestic students do. However, we may need some additional materials from you. See below for further details. 

2. I Graduated From a Non-U.S. University. Am I Eligible To Apply?
Yes. We will consider applicants who complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree in outside nations. This includes the three‐year bachelor's degrees from India, all European countries, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. We will need you to provide a WES course-by-course evaluation in order to show that your coursework is equivalent to at least a U.S. bachelor's degree. The WES evaluation should also show a breakdown of your coursetitles and cumulative grade point average (GPA) based on a U.S. 4.0 scale. Please have this evaluation submitted directly to SOPHAS or HAMPCAS.  If you have questions about whether your degree is acceptable for consideration for admission, contact us for more information.

3. My Coursework Was Not Completed in English. Do I Need To Provide TOEFL or IELTS Scores?
Yes. If you completed your bachelor's degree in a country where the primary language of instruction is not English, you must provide TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores. The minimum scores for TOEFL is 100 (or 600 paper based) and the minimum for IELTS is 7.5. TOEFL scores should be sent directly to SOPHAS or HAMPCAS using code 5688. IELTS scores for either SOPHAS or HAMPCAS should be sent directly to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

4. Do I Need To Submit Standardized Test Scores?
In effort to support our applicants during the CoVid-19 Pandemic, standardized test scores for applications to the 2021-2022 academic year are optional for all master’s degree programs. For doctoral programs please confirm requirements by checking the individual department page for detailed information on the application and/or department requirements. We will require evidence of quantitative and analytical ability. To demonstrate this ability, candidates must complete all questions under the Quantitative & Analytical Assessment section within the application. You will find these questions in your application under the Program Materials section under the Questions tab

If choosing to send test scores, SOPHAS accepts GRE & MCAT, whereas HAMPCAS accepts GRE scores only. All other test scores should be sent directly to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

5. When Is the Last Date I Should Take Standarized Test Scores for My Application?
An applicant should plan to take any exams in time for the scores to reach the admissions office by the application deadline. We recommend sitting for the test at least six weeks prior to the deadline. 

6. If I Am an Undocumented Student, Am I Still Eligible To Apply?
Yes. Undocumented students are eligible for the same need-blind admissions policy as US Citizens, permanent residents and eligible non-citizens, which means we evaluate admissions applications. 

7. Do I Need To Have Work Experience To Apply for These Programs?
The requirement varies according to degree and department. Check the Minimum Work Requirements section of our website for further information.

8. Can I Set Up an Appointment With Someone From Admissions?
Yes, you can set up an appointment in-person, by phone, and even through Skype! To schedule an appointment with an Admissions representative, please click here

Financial Aid FAQs

1. Are Loans and Scholarships Available to International Students?
All full-time master's degree applicants (including international students) are automatically considered for Columbia Public Health scholarships including that are merit, mission, and endowment based. For more information, please refer to Funding Options section of our website. At the doctoral level, international students may be eligible to receive funding from their academic department. Students must contact their respective academic department directly to review these funding opportunities. All international students are advised to seek financial aid through their country of citizenship, private foundations, and international agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and Rotary International. See attached pdf for programs providing loans and fellowships to international students and a list of support offered by country.

2. Can I Set Up an Appointment With Someone From Financial Aid?
Yes, you can set up an in-person or phone appointment with a Financial Aid representative for a day and time of your choosing by clicking here

International Admitted Student FAQs

1. Will There Be a Separate Orientation for Admitted International Students?
Yes. In addition to orientation meant for all admitted Columbia Public Health students, international students will need to attend an additional one-day session the week prior.

2. What Is Life Like for International Students?
With students hailing from 55 countries around the world, we are deeply committed to an inclusive culture for all members of our community. Read more about the international experience, directly from our students:

3. Are There Any Student Groups for International Students?
Yes. Student organizations serve to support our community, increase cultural awareness, and enhance the academic experience. There’s a large list of student organizations which may be of particular interest to international students, including Career China ClubAdvocates for Asian American Health, and Society for African Health Initiatives.

4. What Should I Know About Housing?
The Office of Housing Services has on-campus housing options which include single dorms, 2 and 3 person suites, one bedroom apartments and furnished/unfurnished studios. Newly admitted students will apply for on-campus housing between April 15th and June 1st. Notifications on whether you are granted housing will be sent between June and August. Housing is not guaranteed and based on a priority system. For more information on the process, please visit their Prospective Tenants webpage.  

Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for housing in non-Columbia owned buildings located in the metropolitan area. Read more about how one of our students found her way to a clear and bright apartment just a few steps away from campus.

Career Services FAQs

1. What Is the Career Trajectory for International Students? 
Every international student’s situation varies and employment/post-graduate outcomes vary based on a wide range of factors. The Office of Career Services conducts a survey 6 months after graduation to determine students’ post-graduate outcomes. In the 2018 survey, 87% of international student graduates were employed and 13% were continuing their studies following graduation. Because of the timing of the survey, it is not possible to know whether students eventually received H1B visa sponsorship, or whether they were hired under OPT only. You can view the most recent report on our graduate outcomes for further reference. 

2. How Does the Office of Career Services Support International Students?
The Office of Career Services provides online resources and ongoing outreach to employers to help students find jobs. Additionally, they host in-person and online events specifically for international students and alumni. There is typically an event every semester which includes a guest speaker from ISSO or an attorney to discuss post-graduate employment and visa options. Career Services does not guarantee specific employment outcomes for any student.