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Columbia University School of General Studies

Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the only college of its kind created to meet the needs of returning and non-traditional students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree full or part time. GS is home to a wide range of liberal arts courses, as well as the oldest and largest post-baccalaureate Premedical Program in the U.S. When you join us, you’ll become a fully integrated member of the global Columbia undergraduate community and will learn from world-renowned faculty. You’ll be guided by dedicated academic advisors experienced in supporting non-traditional students and will have access to extensive research-backed support programs.

New York, New York
Higher Education
51-200 employees
Founded 1947

Continue Your Story.


Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the undergraduate college created specifically for students with nontraditional backgrounds who, after a break of a year or more in their educational paths, are now seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League education. 

GS students earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, and take the same classes with the same professors as all Columbia undergraduates. In addition to the Core Curriculum, Columbia University provides the choice of more than 80 majors. 

GS is also home to the Columbia University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, the oldest and largest program of its kind in the United States. The Postbac Premed Program allows students to complete the academic prerequisites required for admission to medical school.

Undergraduate Application Deadlines:

Fall Admission

Early Action Deadline:  March 1
Regular Decision Deadline:  June 1

Spring Admission

Early Action Deadline: October 1
Regular Decision Deadline:  November 1

Postbac Premed Application Deadlines:

Fall Admission

Early Action Deadline:  February 1
Regular Decision Deadline:  June 15

Spring Admission

Regular Decision Deadline:  November 1

Summer Admission

Early Action Deadline: February 1
Regular Decision Deadline:  April 1

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis (typically six to eight weeks after receiving a complete application).


We have tailored our support services to meet the specific needs of non-traditional students. From veteran resources and academic advising, to career guidance and support for international students, you’ll find a wide variety of key support services at Columbia GS.


Our students each have their own unique story to tell, from our community college transfers, veterans, and parents, to our Olympians, professional dancers, first generation Americans, and more. No matter where you’re coming from, if you’re ready to continue your story in the Ivy League, you can at Columbia University School of General Studies.

Spring 2020 Incoming Class

  • 40% First-Generation College Students
  • 30% Pell Grant Eligible 
  • 28% Military Veterans
  • 25% Married
  • 23% International Students
  • 4% Parents 

GS Student Life encourages students to become involved in programs and activities that enhance their educational experience and personal growth. A wide range of student organizations include the General Studies Student Council, sports teams, our military veterans group, MilVets, and more.

"Before coming to GS, my educational journey was quite the trek. Having to flee my home country due to conflict, the responsibility of supporting my undocumented family, surviving domestic violence, and dealing with my depression—all at a very young age—took away from my ability to entirely focus on school. Hoping to attend law school one day, I sought out opportunities in the legal field. I now work for Center for Reproductive Rights as a Legal Assistant, where I've witnessed the power of litigation as a tool for social change. I also realized that I could only go so far without a BA; I knew it was time to go back to school to get my Bachelors. I needed a program that was both flexible with my work schedule and supportive of a non-traditional path. GS stuck out as the one school that would not only understand me for who I am, but that would also provide me with a rigorous education. In addition, I could not ignore the resources and opportunities that come with a Columbia degree! Throughout all this, I've learned that, although a path may be winding (sometimes to a dizzying degree!), it all eventually makes sense."
Serengeti Timungwa
"Columbia opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I entered GS with mixed feelings, constantly asking if it was too late for me. On the first day of orientation I met Dean Awn who challenged me to keep an open mind. This forever stays with me and that advice inspired me to be an active participant. Taking time to reflect and think about my passions helped me realize that I wanted to research particular populations of people, mainly prison populations and LGBTQ youth.” To those pursuing education, PJ says, “I give you the same advice that Dean Awn gave me - keep an open mind and participate in productive discourse. Who knows, a seed of doubt may be planted and change your views, or you may plant a seed in another person and challenge theirs and strengthen your own beliefs."
PJ Raftery

Opportunities at Columbia University School of General Studies