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Adult Learning and Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Adult Learning and Leadership

In the Department of Organization & Leadership

FAQs > Admissions


Prospective Students | Admissions | Adult Education Guided Intensive Study (AEGIS)
Doctoral Students | Employment & VolunteerFinancial Considerations
GeneralStudent DemographicsStudent Life

How do I apply?

Applications are available from the Teachers College Office of Admissions. Information and forms can be found at:

Are any standardized exams required?

The GRE scores are not required for the Adult Learning and Leadership program for any of the degree levels (M.A., Ed.M. and Ed.D.). The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all applicants who have received their undergraduate degree from an institution where the language of instruction is not English. Please visit the Teachers College Guide to Admission:

What is the time frame for admission decisions? When will I know if I have been accepted?

Generally speaking, the Teachers College Admissions Office notifies students who applied by the priority TC deadline at some point around mid-March. Applicants who met the final deadline tend to hear from the TC Admissions Office around early to late May. TC Admissions Office has information regarding these deadlines on their website:

Is there any way to speed up the application process?

Yes. Only completed application files are sent to our office, so the best thing you can do to ensure the quick processing of your file is to make sure that all materials are submitted in a timely manner and to do so long before the application deadline. Additionally, you should be certain that all College application requirements are met. For example, international transcripts need to be evaluated and verified by World Education Services, and international applicants for whom English is a second-language are required by the college to submit TOEFL scores. You should review the Guide to Admission for additional information on these and other requirements, and ensure that your own materials comply.

For which terms may I apply for admission?

Please refer to the Teachers College Guide to Admissions for application deadlines.

The application requires an academic writing sample. Are there specific topics that the admissions committee requires or favors?

Please see the outline for the academic writing sample here.

You are also free to address other topics related to adult learning and leadership.

Are you able to tell me whether all of my application materials have arrived in Admissions?

Unfortunately, the College does not have a centralized application system that allows each individual office to monitor the status of incoming applications. Should you have a question on where your application is in the process or whether any materials are missing, please contact the Admissions Office directly at

How can I increase my chances of being accepted?

  • Applicants should review their application thoroughly before submitting it to ensure that all requested information has been provided and any typos and errors have been corrected.
  • Applicants should ensure that their applications are complete and submitted by the deadline.
  • Applicants should ask individuals, who are familiar with their academic, research, and/or work experience and can provide detailed information, to write letters of recommendation.  At least one of these letters should comment on the applicant's scholarly strengths and weaknesses. It would be best if this letter came from an academic advisor or someone with whom the applicant took a course.
  • Applicants should clarify their career goals before applying. Consider the rationale behind obtaining a degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education and relationship to career goals.
  • Applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the field of higher and postsecondary education and understand the particular interests of the Program faculty within the larger field.
  • Applicants should gain relevant work experience, which can include part-time work or volunteer activities.

Will it help my chances of acceptance if I talk with faculty members before submitting my application?

Speaking with or meeting with faculty members prior to applying will not promote the chances of acceptance for any applicant. However, we do recommend that you acquaint yourself with the work of the faculty, especially for Ed.M., and Ed.D. applicants. Faculty members and current students are available to discuss additional questions about the program during the program's annual open house information session. Please visit our program website for more information on this year's open house. Once acceptance decisions have been made, accepted applicants might be afforded opportunities to meet with faculty or students to discuss the program. To speak with a faculty member or current student, contact the program secretary, Louise Singleton at

Can I defer my admission to the college?

Yes, admission to the college can be deferred for up to one year. Doctoral admits must have written permission from the Program faculty for such deferral. To defer admission, please contact the Admissions Office at (212) 678-3710.

In the application it states that I am required to submit a WES course-by-course for any studies outside the U.S. If I earned a degree at a university which uses an American grading system and curriculum am I still be required to submit WES evaluation?

Yes, you will need to submit a WES course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable) earned outside of the U.S.