FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

We offer programs across the fields of education, health, and psychology. To view our different programs, please visit our Programs Search page. You may search based on area of interest, department, or keyword. Click “Admission Information” to review a program's application requirements and deadlines, or visit the program’s website for details about faculty, courses, and outcomes.

You may request the most up-to-date Teachers College Academic Catalog online.

Please fill out an inquiry form to receive information about TC, or email us at admission@tc.columbia.edu with questions.

You are encouraged to first contact the Office of Admission by calling (212) 678-3710 or emailing admission@tc.columbia.edu. Each faculty member at Teachers College has a different degree of availability to communicate with prospective students, but the Office of Admission can facilitate communication with your program(s) of interest.

Each academic department at Teachers College is assigned an admission liaison to guide prospective students through the application process. Visit our liaison directory to identify your liaison and get their contact information.

Visit our Academic Programs page and search for your program. The department in which it is housed will be listed on the top of the program information card.

To learn more about financial aid at TC, you may visit the Financial Aid website. We recommend reviewing their extensive FAQs for the most up-to-date information. You may contact your financial aid liaison with specific questions. 

Teachers College Events

Campus tours of Teachers College are offered as part of our Prospective Student Campus Visits. We also offer Virtual Tours for those who cannot visit our campus in New York City. Please check our schedule to confirm availability and register to attend for either offering.

Class observation opportunities can be challenging to schedule and are typically not allowed at TC. However, you may contact your admission liaison to inquire about attending a class.

You can visit the Academic Program Events section of our Admission Events Page to view current program offerings.

Yes! We offer virtual information sessions covering general admission information, virtual tours, and specialized webinars focusing on particular programs, application tips, and student life at Teachers College. You can view our upcoming online events here.

Yes, our team travels across the United States to attend graduate fairs and conduct information sessions at universities and in major cities. Check out our Off-Campus Events for more information.

Degrees and Courses

The length of time to degree completion varies by program, degree, credit requirements, fieldwork or internship requirements, and whether or not students are pursuing their degrees on a part-time or full-time basis. In general, with a full-time course load, a 32-credit M.A. program may be completed in one calendar year and a 60 credit Ed.M. in two calendar years. The length of time to complete a doctoral program can range from four to seven years. Factors determining length of study of a doctoral program include the number of previous graduate credits transferred into the program and the nature of student's research and dissertation.

Teachers College offers some online courses. The majority of our programs must be completed, in large part, through courses on the TC campus, but some may be supplemented with online coursework.  Please check the schedule of classes to confirm if a course is taught online. In addition, TC offers four exclusively online degree programs. Please consult our Online Degree Programs page for more information.

Yes. Many classes at Teachers College can be taken in one of our two summer sessions. In fact, some programs can be taken entirely in the summer. Please consult the course schedule to see if your desired courses are available in the summer.

This may vary by program. While the majority of classes are held in the evenings, there may be programs that require daytime classes. Please visit our Course Schedule Search page to review class schedules based on your program of interest.

Yes, many programs at Teachers College allow for both part-time or full-time study. Two-thirds of TC students are part-time students. However, many programs at Teachers College require full-time study. Please consult your program’s website to learn more about whether or not your program requires full-time study.

Students who require visa sponsorship in order to attend TC may be required to maintain full-time status, depending on the requirements of their visa. For more information, please consult the Office of International Students and Scholars.

The Master of Arts requires the completion of a minimum of 30 points. The Master of Education requires a minimum of 60 points to complete the degree.

Depending on the academic program, the Ed.M. degree can sometimes be considered an advanced master’s degree, and applicants will often have professional experience and/or a previously completed master’s degree before applying.

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree emphasizes broad preparation for advanced professional responsibilities through a program based upon extensive study in a specialized branch of the field of education or in an area of instruction. The Ed.D. requires a minimum of 90 points to complete the program.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree emphasizes research and intensive specialization in an area of scholarship and is offered in selected fields of study at Teachers College. The Ph.D. usually requires a minimum of 75 points to complete the program.  However, there are some programs, such as the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, that require a minimum of 95 points to complete the program. Please confirm on your program’s website how many credits are necessary to complete the degree.

Transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of TC’s Transfer Credit Coordinator and the student’s faculty advisor after admission and enrollment in a program.

  • M.A.: No transfer credit accepted;
  • M.S.:  There are only 2 M.S. programs that allow transfer credit: (1) Math Education and (2) Teacher Education in Science
  • Ed.M. and Ph.D.: Maximum of 30 credits completed outside of TC may be transferred;
  • Ed.D.: Maximum of 45 credits completed outside of TC may be transferred.

Note: You must be accepted to and enrolled in TC before your transfer credits may be evaluated.  At that time, you may visit the Transfer Credit Website to fill out a transfer credit application, or contact tctransfer@tc.columbia.edu for more information.

No, undergraduate credits may not be transferred for graduate credit.

Yes. Matriculated degree students may cross-register for courses (that allow out-of-program students to enroll) in any graduate division at Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary, and Jewish Theological Seminary. Consultation with your departmental adviser is required prior to cross-registering.

Yes, students may register for courses without being admitted to a degree program. They must first submit a Non-Degree Application. Admission to a non-degree program does not guarantee admission to a degree-granting program in the future. For more information about applying for non-degree status, visit the Non-Degree Instructions page.

Students may not be enrolled concurrently in two different institutions and may not be in two different degree programs or areas of specializations at Teachers College or Columbia University. More information on the College's degree requirements can be found here.

Applying to Teachers College

You may apply to Teachers College online. This is the only application method.

No. Applicants may apply to only one program per term (Summer, Fall, and Spring).

Since the application review process is holistic, there is no minimum GPA requirement.

The application fee is $65. This fee is non-refundable.

Teachers College, Columbia University is a proud Yellow Ribbon School and we provide application fee waivers for U.S. veterans.

We offer application fee waivers to applicants who were formerly Pell eligible as well as those who have participated in specific organizations affiliated with Teachers College (see the FAQ below for a listing of affiliated organizations). In order to obtain a waiver on this basis, you will be asked to indicate on your application that you are/have been a part of one of these organizations and provide the dates of participation. Please note that if you indicate membership in an affiliate organization, we reserve the right to contact the organization to confirm participation.

If the non-refundable application fee poses a financial hardship, a request for an application fee waiver can be submitted for review. Application fee waiver requests may only be submitted after an application for the current cycle has been started. Once your application for admission has been created, contact your admission liaison directly or email admission@tc.columbia.edu with “Application Fee Waiver Request” in the subject line. Please note that you will be asked to provide supporting financial documentation demonstrating your need as part of your request for application fee waiver consideration. Teachers College is unable to refund any paid application fees, so we ask that you do not submit any payment until you receive a response pertaining to your waiver request.

Please note that all application fee waivers are subject to approval by the Office of Admission and if approved, are only valid for the current application cycle.

We offer application fee waivers to applicants who are alumnus/a of or currently participating in one of the following:

  • AmeriCorps
  • City Year
  • Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) or similar state-supported program outside of New York State
  • Fulbright
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Graduate Horizons
  • Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) or similar state-supported program outside of New York State
  • Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)
  • KIPP Student
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • Peace Corps
  • Point Foundation
  • Posse Foundation
  • Project 1000
  • Teach for All
  • Teach for America
  • Teach for China
  • Teaching Fellows Program
  • TRIO Programs (Upward Bound, SSS, Talent Search, etc.)
  • Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color
  • World Teach

Applicants who have previously applied to Teachers College and now wish to re-apply may do so by submitting a new application for admission. While this application provides applicants the opportunity to use recommendations that were submitted as part of a previous application in the past four years, they are encouraged to consider whether it may be more appropriate to have different recommendations submitted, depending on the time elapsed or any differences in program.

Your TC ID number is a unique eight-digit code that you will receive after submitting your application. This number should be used when submitting materials to the College or when contacting us with questions about your status as a student.

If you are a prospective student, you may notify either your admission liaison or admission@tc.columbia.edu to update your records. If you are a current student, you may complete the Change of Name form with TC’s Office of the Registrar.

Application Deadlines

The Priority Deadline is the deadline by which we recommend submitting an application in order to guarantee full consideration for both admission and scholarship funding.

If your program offers rolling admission, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as rolling programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met. Programs with rolling admission officially close their Summer applications on June 1 and Fall applications on July 1.

In general, we strongly encourage students to apply by their program’s Priority Deadline to ensure they will be reviewed and will be eligible for scholarship consideration.

Yes. In order to provide enough time for visa processing, applicants who will require a student visa to attend Teachers College must submit their application by the deadlines below. Please note that many programs accepting applications for Summer/Fall have Priority or Final application deadlines that precede these dates. If your program has an earlier deadline than what is listed below, you must abide by the program deadline. Visit the Programs Search page to confirm the application deadline for your intended program.

  • Spring: October 15
  • Summer: February 1
  • Fall: June 1

Our deadlines are received-by deadlines, which means that all required items must be submitted and received by the deadline at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). If any items are missing once the deadline has passed, we cannot guarantee that an applicant will be reviewed.

Statement of Purpose and Resume

The statement of purpose should be two to three pages double-spaced.

The three prompts we advise applicants to keep in mind when writing their statement of purpose are:

  • Why you?
  • Why now?
  • Why TC?

You should explain to the faculty why you believe TC is the right fit at this moment in your life. You should have a good idea what your short-term, post-graduation goals will be. Be as specific as possible when writing your statement. Do research on the College and the specific program by looking at the program's website. The more clarity you can provide about your decision to apply, the better.

Please note that some programs will include program-specific prompts for the statement of purpose. Be sure to read the instructions on the statement of purpose section of the application carefully.

There is no specific page limit or format required for your resume/CV.

Your resume should be a standard professional resume--a chronological listing of your employment history, educational history, academic endeavors, and other significant activities.

Recommendations

Recommendations should ideally be provided by individuals who have supervised you in an academic, professional, or community service setting. Personal recommendations (recommendations provided by friends or family members) are not acceptable. 

The choice of academic versus professional recommendations will vary depending on your personal situation. The recommendation letters should be reflective of your most current accomplishments. If you have not been enrolled in school for several years, you should utilize professional recommendations. If you recently graduated from college or are applying to a doctoral degree, you should utilize academic recommendations if possible. However, the recommenders should be those that can best speak on your ability to succeed in graduate school. The quality of the recommendation should not be sacrificed in order to provide a certain “type” of recommendation (professional or academic).

Please be sure to visit the Programs Search page to review your program-specific recommendation letter requirements, as some programs may specify the requirement or preference of an academic or professional reference.

Yes, the Office of Admission requires that recommendations be submitted online directly to your application via a unique recommendation letter link. The application will ask you to provide a professional email address for each of your recommenders, and our system will then send an automatic email with instructions to each of your recommenders so they can submit their letters through our system. It is suggested that you reach out to them to confirm they have received this email. If they have any trouble receiving our email or accessing the submission link, contact us at admission@tc.columbia.edu, and we will ensure your recommender is able to submit their letter. Applicants may NOT submit Letter of Recommendation on behalf of the author of the letter.

All letters of recommendation should be uploaded by the recommender using professional letterhead and the recommender's professional email address. Failure to follow this protocol may result in delays in application processing.

Recommendation letters should be submitted online. Only electronic letters of recommendation can be tracked by logging into the TC Pathway Portal. If, for some reason, a recommender cannot utilize the online recommendation system, they may contact admission@columbia.tc.edu for further steps.

As with the rest of your application materials, letters of recommendation are due by the program deadline. It is encouraged to be in touch with your recommenders to ensure they are aware of your program’s deadline.

No, the maximum number of recommendations you may submit is three. Teachers College requires two letters of recommendation, although some programs may require an additional letter, or a letter from a specific source. Refer to the Programs Search page to find the required number of recommendations for your specific program. If your desired program requires two, you are welcome to submit a third letter as well, but it must be received by your program’s deadline to be reviewed.

The verification process can take 4-6 weeks. Re Vera will only contact you if they need further information to verify your credentials.

Transcripts

Yes. Within the application, you must list all accredited postsecondary institutions where you obtained academic credit. This includes all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions, community colleges, and study abroad programs. If you attended an institution in the United States, you will have the option to upload a scanned copy of your transcript to allow for faster application processing. Transcripts uploaded by the applicant are considered unofficial. If you are admitted and choose to enroll, you will be required to have final, official transcripts submitted directly to the Teachers College Office of Admission by the Registrar at the issuing institution. 

Uploaded transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework completed should include the following information: full course titles, number of credits, final grades, a key/legend of grades, and a degree conferral date, if available.

If you have earned a degree from an institution outside of the United States (excluding study-abroad experiences), you are required to have official transcripts submitted to either World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators for a course-by-course evaluation. There are specific details for this process in our application instructions.

An “unofficial” transcript is a copy of a transcript issued by the institution’s Registrar. It must include the key or legend of grades, which is usually the reverse side of a paper transcript. Transcripts downloaded from a student portal are not acceptable.

An “official” transcript is submitted directly to Teachers College by the Office of the Registrar (or equivalent office) of the issuing institutions.

If your institution provides official electronic transcripts, you may have these transcripts emailed to transcripts@tc.columbia.edu. If the institution uses Parchment, please select the "In-Network" option to find Teachers College and submit your transcripts.

If your institution does not provide official electronic transcripts, please have your institution mail your official paper transcript to the following address:

Office of Admission
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W. 120th Street, BOX 302
New York, NY 10027

You must submit a transcript from each institution attended for academic credit for any period of time. Each transcript must include the following information: full course titles, number of credits, final grades, a key/legend of grades, and a degree conferral date, if available. You must submit separate transcripts from study-abroad programs and any transfer credit received (including college level credit earned in high school) if the full course titles, number of credits, and final grades are not listed on your home institution's transcript.

You are welcome to upload your TC transcript to the application, but you do not have to do so. When you list Teachers College as one of the institutions you have attended, our team will add your official TC transcript during application processing.

If the full course titles, number of credits, and final grades appear on your home institution's transcript, you do not need to submit a separate transcript from your study-abroad institution. If your home institution’s transcript is missing even one of these components, you must submit a separate transcript from your study-abroad institution.

Applicants who have completed, or are completing, undergraduate and/or graduate degrees at institutions outside of the United States are required to submit a course-by-course translation and evaluation. Teachers College will accept course-by-course evaluations from the following servicers:

Please note this requirement does not pertain to students from the United States who have spent a semester or year abroad, often referred to as "study abroad."

Applications are not considered complete without a course-by-course evaluation. The determination of equivalency to a U.S. degree is at the discretion of the College.

Please read our application instructions for more information.

Test Scores

Educational Testing Services (ETS) stipulates that GRE and GMAT scores are only valid for five years, and TOEFL scores are only valid for two years. ETS will not forward expired scores to our office, and unofficial scores provided by an applicant will not be accepted for admission. The score reporting school code for TC is 2905, and the department code should be left blank.

The GRE is not required for every program. Please consult the Programs Search page to determine if your program requires these scores. If the GRE is required, it will be listed under Supplemental Requirements. GRE scores are valid for five years, and only official scores sent from ETS will be accepted.

If you received your baccalaureate (undergraduate) degree from an institution where English is not the sole official language of instruction, you must submit official scores, no more than two years old, from an accepted English proficiency exam. We accept the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Applied Linguistics should review additional requirements on the program website.

If you have not earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where English was the sole official language of instruction, but you have successfully completed a graduate degree at a school that meets this criteria, you are not required to submit official results from an accepted English proficiency exam. If you meet these conditions, in order to qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS exam waiver, evidence of your conferred graduate degree must be displayed on the relevant academic transcript or course-by-course evaluation.

If you believe you qualify for an English proficiency exam waiver, but your application checklist is still showing a TOEFL/IELTS requirement, please reach out to us at admission@tc.columbia.edu and we will assist you.

The minimum score requirements are:

  • TOEFL: 100 internet based (IBT)
  • IELTS: 7.0

Note: The programs in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Applied Linguistics have a different minimum score requirements. Please refer to the TESOL/Applied Linguistics website for details.

If you have taken the TOEFL exam multiple times and your MyBest Score meets our minimum score requirement, please order an official score report that reflects your MyBest Score to be sent to Teachers College. Then, please contact the Office of Admission at admission@tc.columbia.edu to ensure that your MyBest Score is reflected in your application. We do not require individual score reports if a MyBest Score is submitted.

TC's institution code is 2905. Leave the department code blank.

If you have not earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where English was the sole official language of instruction, but you have successfully completed a graduate degree at a school that meets this criteria, you are not required to submit official results from an accepted English proficiency exam. If you meet these conditions, in order to qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS exam waiver, evidence of your conferred graduate degree must be displayed on the relevant academic transcript or course-by-course evaluation.

If you believe you qualify for an English proficiency exam waiver, but your application checklist is still showing a TOEFL/IELTS requirement, please reach out to us at admission@tc.columbia.edu and we will assist you.

Regardless of language of instruction, all previous international transcripts must be evaluated. Applicants who have completed, or are completing, undergraduate and/or graduate degrees at institutions outside of the United States are required to submit a course-by-course translation and evaluation sent directly by one of our approved servicers, World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)..

Admissions Decisions and Deferrals

In general, we do not offer enrollment deposit fee waivers. This nonrefundable payment is required following admission to a program at the College should you wish to enroll. However, special groups such as currently enrolled Teachers College degree students and active-duty U.S. service members, reservists, or veterans will receive a waiver. Please reach out to the Office of Admission for more information.

Once you have submitted your online application, you can check the status of your application by logging into your application account and viewing your TC Pathway Portal. There, you will find a checklist where you can see which application items we have received, and which (if any) are still missing.

The Office of Admission sends official admission decision notifications electronically. Once a decision has been made on your application, you will receive an email with instructions for viewing your decision, which will be available on your TC Pathway Portal.

These are estimated dates for decision notification based on past application review cycles. The Admission Committee may not be able to provide decisions in the timeframe listed below. 

  • Spring Applicants: Applicants who submit completed applications for the Spring term typically receive decisions by early to mid-December.
  • Priority Deadline: Applicants that meet the priority deadline for Summer or Fall programs typically receive a decision in mid-March.
  • Final Deadline: Applicants that meet the final deadline for Summer or Fall programs can expect to receive an admission decision toward the end of May.
  • Rolling Deadline: Applicants applying to a program with a rolling deadline typically receive an admission decision within six to eight weeks of completing their applications. 

Deferral requests are received by the Office of Admission but are rarely granted. Deferrals are only available to students admitted for summer or fall entry (deferrals are not available for those admitted for spring entry). Deferral requests may be for no more than one year from a student’s initial term of entry. Students cannot be deferred to an entry term that their program does not offer admission for (i.e. if one’s program only admits for fall entry, a student may not request to begin in the spring or summer). To request a deferral, an admitted student will need to submit a Deferral Request Form to the Office of Admission. The deadline to submit this form for consideration is the student’s enrollment response deadline indicated within their formal admission decision letter. Approved deferrals require a $300 enrollment deposit and an additional $300 deferral deposit ($600 total); these deposits are non-refundable but will be applied toward the first term tuition bill.

Teacher Certification

Refer to our Programs Search page and click on the Certifications dropdown menu to navigate the variety of programs offering certification options.

The non-certification tracks in teacher education at TC are intended for students who have already earned certification, as well as students who plan to work exclusively in private and independent schools or outside of the United States. This degree track can also be appropriate for individuals planning to work in and around education, but not necessarily in teacher roles.

If you wish to become certified in New York, you should confer with the New York State Department of Education to determine if/how your out-of-state certification may transfer to New York State: tcert@mail.nysed.gov. Based on the information they provide, you may consult with your admission liaison about the most appropriate degree track at TC.

Initial Certification: Applicants who do not currently hold any certification in the subject/content and/or grade level they would like to teach must apply to an initial certification program. Initial certifications will eventually lead to professional certifications, providing that, after obtaining initial certification, the student follows New York State regulations for obtaining the professional certification. If applicants have not yet completed a teacher preparation program and/or obtained certification, they must apply to an initial certification program.

Professional Certification: Professional certification programs are designed for students who already hold initial certification in the respective subject/content and/or grade level and would like to obtain the advanced level certification. These students either completed a teacher preparation program and obtained initial certification at the undergraduate level or have completed an alternative path to certification. Please note that some professional certification programs are available to applicants who have professional experience in the field, but who do not hold or are not seeking certification.

New York State has reciprocity with most other states. Since these reciprocity agreements vary from state to state, TC recommends that you contact the Department of Education in the state where you would like to eventually teach to learn more details about their individual requirements.

We strongly encourage students to explore the Teachers College Office of Teacher Education website for more information about certification requirements and for links to helpful sites within the New York State Department of Education website. You may also contact your admission liaison, who will direct you to the appropriate contact within your program of interest or the teacher education office, depending on the question.

Life at TC

TC's Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) is dedicated to providing services and access to opportunities for individuals with both physical and learning disabilities. For more information about services and accommodations, please visit the OASID website.

The Office of International Students and Scholars is responsible for the student visa process. They also assist international students in their transition to Teachers College. For more information regarding this office and the services they provide, visit their website.

Teachers College students may utilize Columbia Health Services. The office provides medical services (urgent and routine), counseling services, and sexual violence response services.  

For more information on the dynamic array of resources and student services offered at TC, please visit the Division of Student Affairs website.

TC does have on-campus housing, but you should apply for this housing as early as possible since it is highly competitive. If you are seeking on-campus housing, it is recommended that you submit your housing application as soon as you are offered admission. Both single student and family housing options are available at TC. Preference is given to students from outside the New York metropolitan area. Please refer to Residential Services for additional information.

There are many clubs and organizations that are specific to Teachers College. Our students may also join any of Columbia University’s nearly 500 clubs and organizations. Both TC and Columbia host fairs at the beginning of each year that allow students to gain more information about the organizations on campus. Stay up to date by visiting the Office of Graduate Student Life & Development website.

For more information on the many resources offered to students at TC, please visit the Division of Student Affairs website

Like most graduate schools, TC does not have a formal athletics program. However, TC students have full access to Columbia University's Dodge Fitness Center. This center offers a comprehensive recreation and wellness program, including but not limited to: intramural/club sports, group and personal fitness, diverse physical education curriculum, camps, clinics, and special programming.

In addition, Teachers College hosts several athletically focused clubs and organizations, and TC students often partner with Columbia University clubs and organizations to pursue their interests on the main campus.

The Office of Admission has a group of knowledgeable Student Ambassadors who would love to connect with you! Please note that there are 100+ programs at TC, so they may not be in the program you are interested in, but they'd be happy to answer general questions about life at TC and in New York City. To connect, please email them at tcstudent@tc.columbia.edu.

Back to skip to quick links