Responding to Your Admissions Offer
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, Slate. If you plan to enroll, we require you to submit the Statement of Intent form and a non-refundable 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.
An applicant accepted into the School of International and Public Affairs is required to submit a $2,000 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.
Typically the school places a small number of applicants on an admissions waiting list each year. Students on the waiting list are notified when and if places become available in the entering class. The waiting list is not ranked, nor is there any guarantee that applicants on the list will be granted admission.
The amount of Advanced Standing granted depends upon assessment by the Dean's Office of the quality and relevance of the work. Advanced standing will not be given for language courses and advanced standing will only be awarded for post-baccalaureate courses that were part of a completed graduate degree, with the exception of relevant post-baccalaureate courses taken at Columbia University. At the discretion of the Associate Dean, relevant post-baccalaureate classes completed at Columbia University may count toward advanced standing, but in no circumstances will advanced standing beyond 12 credits/1 residency unit be awarded.
Students must have a grade of B or better in courses for which they seek advanced standing credit.
Requests for advanced standing are evaluated by the Student Affairs Office. No evaluation can be performed until initial orientation/registration.
Students who have earned a Columbia degree may not apply those credits towards a second Columbia credential except where an accredited dual-degree program exists between the two schools and programs and the student is matriculated as a dual-degree candidate. Please see our list of accredited dual degree programs.
Please note that the following candidates are NOT eligible for deferment:
- MPA-DP candidates
- MPA-PESP candidates
- MIA or MPA candidates admitted from the waitlist
- MIA or MPA candidates admitted for spring
Master of International Affairs/ Master of Public Affairs
Master of International Affairs or Master of Public Affairs candidates may submit a request to defer enrollment for one year with the permission of the Admissions Committee. Applicants to the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice are not eligible for deferral consideration. Candidates admitted from the waitlist are not permitted to submit a request to defer. In addition, candidates admitted for spring term are not eligible for deferral.
Deferrals are not granted for more than one year.
In order to be considered for deferral, accepted applicants must submit an email request outlining their reasons for seeking deferral to the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. The request will be brought before the Admissions Committee for deliberation. If approved, a $1,000 deferral deposit is required to secure a space in a future term. The deferral deposit fee of $1,000 will be added to the enrollment deposit fee for a total deposit of $3,000. This amount acts as a credit on the student account upon enrollment.
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 upon financial considerations. The Admissions Committee may ask for documentation to support the deferment request (i.e. letter from employer confirming extraordinary professional opportunity).
Letters requesting deferral must include the following text:
"I understand that this $1,000 deferral deposit is nonrefundable. If I fail to enroll in the (insert appropriate semester), regardless of reason, both my deposit and my admission offer will be forfeited."
If the deferral request is approved, the $3,000 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.
SIPA welcomes applications from candidates who have previously applied for admission, regardless of the outcome. We recommend subscribing to our Admissions Blog to stay up-to-date on matters related to admission.
The Fall 2016 Application will be available in August through a new application system. Do NOT start or create new account if you intend on applying for fall until we announce that the application is live.
All reapplications are subject to the following guidelines:
- Applicants are subject to the same deadlines, fees, and regulations as first-time applicants.
- Applicants are limited to three applications overall -- one initial application and two subsequent applications.
Re-applicants are required to submit the following items:
- Start a new online application form. You will not be able to log into your old account and “renew” your old application.
- Transcripts of any college or university level work undertaken since your last application should be submitted.
- Upload an updated C.V./Résumé.
- Submit a new personal statement. Note that the questions/topics may change from year to year. This may be uploaded through the online application site.
- Re-applicants also must address how you have enhanced your candidacy since your previous application. Please detail your progress since you last applied.
- Test scores are self-reported in the application process. If you have taken any new tests since you last applied, self-report the new scores on your application.
***Application materials from all programs are kept on file for two years only.
The first step that should be taken is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating the intention to reapply to the school and noting the original application date. This email should precede the submission of a new application and the corresponding materials.
Due to the extremely large number of applicants and limited staff we are unable to respond to individual requests pertaining to why an applicant did not gain admission to our program. For some of the most common reasons regarding why applicants are not admitted to SIPA, please visit our Requesting Feedback page.