FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

We offer programs across the fields of education, health, psychology, and leadership. To view our different programs, please visit our Academic Programs page. You may search based on area of interest, department, or keyword. Click “Read More” to see application information, or visit the program’s website for details about faculty, courses, and outcomes.

The Teachers College Academic Catalog is available 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 campus visits, which are typically scheduled on Monday and Friday mornings. Please check our schedule to confirm availability and register to attend.

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.

Yes! We offer virtual information sessions covering general admission information, as well as 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.

The majority of classes are held in the evenings, although there are some offerings during the day.

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 Services.

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 contact 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.

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.

In general, we do not offer application fee waivers. However, we do offer fee waivers to applicants who have participated in specific organizations affiliated with Teachers College. In order to obtain a waiver on this basis, you will need to indicate on your application that you are part of one of these organizations and provide proof of participation. Please note that if you indicate membership in an affiliate organization, your application will not be considered complete and eligible for review until you have provided proof of participation.

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.

A Rolling Deadline means that we will continue to review applications on a space availability basis until August 1. Keep in mind there is no guarantee that a rolling deadline will remain open until August, so it's always best to apply as early as possible. We strongly encourage students to apply by the 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 following deadlines:

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: March 1
  • Fall: June 1

Please note that if your program has an earlier deadline than the above, you must abide by the program deadline. Please refer to the Academic Programs page to confirm your program’s application deadline.

All application materials must be received in the Office of Admission by the application deadlines listed on our Academic Programs page. These deadlines are received-by deadlines, so make sure you send in all of your materials with plenty of time to reach us.

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.

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 or professional 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).

Yes, the Office of Admission strongly prefers that recommendations be submitted online directly through your application. The application will ask you to provide a professional email addresses 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, contact us at admission@tc.columbia.edu, and we will ensure your recommender is able to submit his/her letter.

Recommendations must be submitted on professional letterhead from the recommender's professional email address.

No, the maximum number of recommendations you may submit is three. All programs require two letters of recommendation, but some require three. Refer to the Academic Programs 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 there’s no guarantee it will be reviewed with your application.

The Office of Admission strongly prefers that recommenders submit their letters through our application system. If, for some reason, a recommender cannot utilize the online recommendation system, they may contact admission@columbia.tc.edu for further steps.

Transcripts

Yes. If you have attended institutions in the U.S., you may upload unofficial transcripts as part of the application process. This transcript must be a copy of an official transcript, issued by the institution’s Registrar. 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. 

If you have attended institutions outside the U.S. (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 admission@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:

Final Transcript Processor
Teachers College, BOX 37
525 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027

You must submit transcripts from each college or university attended for academic credit for any period of time, showing all course titles, grades, credits, and degrees earned (if any). You must submit separate transcripts from study-abroad programs and transfer credit if the full course titles, credits, and grades are not listed on your home institution's transcript.

You do not need to send in an official transcript from your study abroad institution as long as the course titles, credits, and letter grades appear on your home institution's transcript. If all three of these components do not appear on your home institution's transcript, you must submit a separate transcript.

If you have attended institutions outside the U.S. (excluding study abroad experiences and English-language institutions accredited by the U.S. Department of Education), your official transcripts must be submitted to either World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators for a course-by-course evaluation. 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 Academic Programs 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.

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.

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

If you received your baccalaureate 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 the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. Applicants to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Applied Linguistics should review additional requirements on the program website.

If you received a bachelor’s degree from an institution where English is the sole, official language of instruction, 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.

If an applicant did not receive their undergraduate degree from an institution where the sole, official language of instruction is English, they must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, regardless of where they completed their graduate degree. Additionally, all previous international transcripts must still be evaluated, unless they are from an English-language institution that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

Admissions Decisions and Deferrals

Once you have submitted your online application, you can check the status of your application by logging into your application account and viewing your application status page. There, you will find a checklist where you can see if we have received supplemental materials, such as your letters of recommendation and transcripts.

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 on your application status page.

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. 

Generally, TC does not allow admitted students to defer their enrollment. In the rare instance that a deferral is granted, the student will be required to submit the standard $300 tuition deposit plus an additional $300 non-refundable tuition deposit for the deferral (totaling $600). This will be credited to the student’s account and applied toward the first term tuition bill.

Teacher Certification

Refer to our Teacher Education and Certification Programs Search page for a complete listing of all available teacher education programs and corresponding 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.

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.

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.

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 Services 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. In addition, TC maintains its own Office of Insurance and Immunization Records.

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 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