SIPA Application Checklist

The application deadline for our MIA/MPA two year program is Thursday, January 5th.

Below is a check list of all the documents we will need to receive by the deadline so go through the list as you edit your essays (for the third time) or rewrite your CV and make sure nothing is forgotten.

  • Application form – it’s online — All documents, including transcripts and test scores can be uploaded to the application Web site for admission consideration. We will use unofficial copies of transcripts and test scores for admission consideration. Candidates offered admission will later be required to supply official transcripts and test scores prior to enrollment. Sending hard copy materials can delay the evaluation of your application so we recommend that you submit as many materials via the online application site as possible.
  • Personal Statement – Questions are subject to change each year. The following questions are for those applying for 2012 admission.

First Topic (500 Word Maximum)

What distinct impact do you hope to have on the world in the future? Please be as clear as possible about your future goals, the policy/public service issue(s) you are passionate about, and your personal motivation(s). Be sure to include details regarding the features of SIPA that you believe are integral to helping you in your pursuits and what skills you need to develop to achieve a lasting impact.

Second Topic (300 Word Maximum)

Please CHOOSE ONE of these options to write about – do not address both, pick one or the other.

A competition is being conducted that will provide one million dollars as seed funding to start a new organization.  The competition requires a 300 word essay/statement.  Compose a 300 word essay/statement to submit in order to be considered for this seed funding.

You have just read a news story that has deeply moved you.  Compose a 300 word response in the form of a letter to the editor.  The news story you are responding to can be real or fictional and does not need to be limited to the present time – it can be framed in the past, present, or future.

Third Topic (200 Word Maximum)

Please share any additional information about yourself that you believe would be of interest to the Admissions Committee. Please focus on information that is not already reflected in the other parts of your application or might not be clear in the information submitted

  • Standard Résumé/CV
  • Test Scores

GRE or GMAT (GRE/GMAT scores are valid for five years.)

    • GRE Code: 2161 (do not list a department code)
    • GMAT for MIA: QF8-64-56
    • GMAT for MPA: QF8-64-99

TOEFL or IELTS exam for applicants whose native language is not English (TOEFL/IELTS scores are valid for two years.)

    • TOEFL code is 2161
  • Three letters of recommendation: If a person writing a letter of recommendation for you wishes to do so in another language, please have the letter sent to an official translator. The translator should include both the translated copy and the official copy of the letter in a sealed envelope, along with their contact information – these letters must be sent to us.
  •  Academic Transcripts: You are required to submit transcripts from all colleges, professional schools and universities attended (including Columbia University).

Our preferred method is that you upload unofficial copies of your transcripts to the application Web site. When scanning transcripts to upload, be sure to scan the reverse side of the transcripts if applicable or any additional pages that include comments on the grading system used.  Transcripts not in English must be translated into English prior to uploading.   If you cannot read the transcripts, we will not be able to either. Thus after scanning your transcript you should print it to see if it is legible. Once you have determined that it is legible please upload the transcripts.

Transcripts may also be mailed to our office; the registrar should seal the transcript in an envelope, sign across the seal and return it to you. Do not open these envelopes or break the seals. Some universities may prefer to send transcripts directly to our office. If this is the case, please have official transcripts sent to:

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
420 West 118th Street, 4th Floor
Mail Code 3325
408 International Affairs Building
New York, NY 10027

All documents, except foreign transcripts judged irreplaceable, become the property of Columbia and cannot be returned.  All documents must be in English or accompanied by certified translations.

  • Application fee – $85

One final note… The Admissions Committee only accepts documents that are specifically asked for in our instructions. As much as we would like to be able to read writing samples and other information you might wish to submit, our tight time line and desire to treat every applicant fairly means that we will only put required documents in your file for review – all other documents will be discarded.

Good luck!  And Happy Holidays!