Admissions decisions for those who apply for fall admission are generally available in March. Admissions decisions for those who apply for spring admission are generally available in November. An email will be sent notifying you that your decision is available on the online application site. Your online acceptance letter may be used for any official purpose necessary. We cannot give notifications by telephone.

To ensure prompt notification, an applicant should keep the admissions office informed of any changes to his or her e-mail address, mailing address, or telephone number during the notification period.

To accept or decline your admission offer, please respond to your SIPA offer of admission through SIPA's application system.  If you plan to enroll, we require you to submit the Statement of Intent form and a non-refundable $2,000 USD deposit by the deadline date.

We cannot guarantee you a space in the incoming class if you do not respond by the enrollment date indicated in your admission letter.

Respond to your offer now

Enrollment Deposit

An applicant accepted into the School of International and Public Affairs is required to submit a $2,000 USD deposit to the university by the deadline stated in the acceptance letter. The deposit is credited toward the student's tuition upon matriculation and is nonrefundable. Under no circumstances can the acceptance deposit be waived. Students who fail to remit their deposit by the deadline forfeit their place in the entering class. Students who make deposits but do not enroll on the agreed date lose their deposits.

Waitlist

The school places a small number of applicants on an admissions waitlist each year. Students on the waitlist are notified when and if places become available in the entering class. The waitlist is not ranked, nor is there any guarantee that applicants on the list will be granted admission.

If your application has been placed on the waitlist, we ask that you respond to let us know if you would like to remain on the waitlist or be removed. Applicants who wish to remain on the waitlist will receive occasional updates via e-mail about their status; these updates may continue until our numbers for the incoming class are finalized. A final notice will be emailed to all applicants on the waitlist once the class has been finalized.  At any time you may contact us if you would like your application to be removed from the waitlist.

Can I submit additional materials to improve my application while on the wait list?
No. We do not permit applicants on the waitlist to submit any additional materials. These applications have already been evaluated by the Admissions Committee; newly submitted materials will not be reviewed.

Deferring Your Offer

Master of International Affairs or Master of Public Affairs candidates may submit a request to defer enrollment for one semester or one year with the permission of the Admissions Committee. Generally, requests are granted only for very compelling reasons. Reasons the Admissions Committee may consider include medical or family emergencies, or extraordinary professional opportunities. The Committee does not consider requests from candidates who wish to postpone their enrollment at SIPA in order to attend another academic program prior to enrolling at SIPA. Requests are also not granted if based solely on financial considerations. The Admissions Committee may ask for documentation to support the deferment request (i.e. letter from employer confirming extraordinary professional opportunity).

The following candidates are NOT eligible for deferment:

  • MPA-DP candidates
  • MPA-ESP candidates
  • MIA or MPA candidates admitted from the waitlist
  • MIA or MPA candidates admitted for spring

Deferral Process

In order to be considered for deferral, accepted applicants must first accept their offer of admission, and then email the Admissions Committee at sipa_admission@columbia.edu outlining their reasons for seeking a deferral. The request will be brought before the Admissions Committee for deliberation. If approved, a $1,000 USD deferral deposit is required to secure a space in a future term. The deferral deposit fee of $1,000 USD will be added to the enrollment deposit fee for a total deposit of $3,000 USD. If the deferral request is approved, the $3,000 USD combination of nonrefundable enrollment and deferral deposit is credited to the student's account and will count toward tuition if the student enrolls at the expected time.  

The deposit will be applicable only for the agreed upon matriculation date and will not be returned to the applicant under any circumstances. If the candidate does not enroll for the term agreed upon, the admission offer and deposit are forfeited.

The deferral deposit will not be waived or reduced. These policies are very strictly enforced, and we strongly encourage students who cannot enroll in the coming semester to consider reapplying for the semester in which they wish to enroll. The only candidates who should consider deferral are those who are absolutely certain that they can guarantee their enrollment in a specific future semester and who are willing to risk losing the $3,000 total deposit if their plans change.

Please also note that at SIPA only newly admitted students are eligible for fellowship consideration. This means that students who defer are not eligible for fellowship consideration. The reason for this is two-fold:

First, the applicant pool is different from year-to-year. Second, the Admission Committee is different from year-to-year. Because of these factors, only applicants who are reviewed during the corresponding admission cycle are considered for fellowship funding. The Admissions Committee looks very favorably upon reapplications from candidates who were previously offered admission, and although there is no guarantee of readmission, the likelihood is strong. For information on the reapplication process, please see the information below.