Columbia University School of General Studies
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Coat of arms of the School
|Motto||Lux in Tenebris Lucet
The light that shines in the darkness
|Dean||Peter J. Awn|
|Address||408 Lewisohn Hall, New York City, New York, USA|
|Campus||Urban, 36 acres (0.15 km2; 0.056 sq mi) Morningside Heights Campus|
|Affiliations||Juilliard School, Sciences Po, City University of Hong Kong, and Albert A. List College (Jewish Theological Seminary of America)|
The School of General Studies is a liberal arts college and one of three official undergraduate colleges at Columbia University, situated on the university's main campus in Morningside Heights, New York. GS is known primarily for its traditional undergraduate degree program for non-traditional students (those who have had an academic break of one year or more, or are pursuing dual-degrees).
GS offers dual degree programs with Sciences Po in France, the City University of Hong Kong, and List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. GS is the historical home to dual-degree programs at Columbia University—the school is the first undergraduate college at Columbia University to offer joint programs with other universities. GS is also home to the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Admission
- 4 Sciences Po Columbia University Dual BA Program
- 5 Deans
- 6 Notable alumni and attendees
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
GS's evolutionary ancestor is Seth Low Junior College, which was established in Downtown Brooklyn to help alleviate the flood of Jewish applicants to Columbia College. The entrance requirements for Seth Low Junior College were reportedly the same as those enforced in Columbia College. Following completion of the two-year program, graduates could complete their undergraduate educations at the University's professional graduate schools (many of which still conferred bachelor's degrees) or earn B.S. degrees as University Undergraduates at the Morningside Heights campus.
However, Seth Low Junior College was closed in 1938 due to the establishment of Brooklyn College in 1930 and the concomitant economic effects of the Great Depression. Henceforth, its remaining students were absorbed into Columbia's undergraduate population as students in the University Undergraduate program (previously, University Extension, which was established by Nicholas Murray Butler in 1904). Admission to the degree program was contingent on a B average in the secondary school courses required by Columbia College.
The Establishment of the School of General Studies
With an influx of students attending the University on the GI Bill following the resolution of World War II, in December 1946, the University Undergraduate program was reorganized as an official undergraduate college for "qualified students who, because of employment or for other reasons, are unable to attend other schools of the University" and designated the School of General Studies as of July 1947. Additionally, the School was tasked with offering instruction to non-matriculated, part-time students on the adult level.
The Trustees Grant the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
In December 1968, the University Council permitted GS to grant the B.A. degree, which was a degree that was previously awarded only to Columbia College graduates (previously, GS graduates were granted B.S. degrees). Despite the objections of some members of the Columbia College Faculty, the Board of Trustees authorized the decision in February 1969.
The Merging of the Columbia College and General Studies Faculties
In 1990, the CC, GS, and GSAS faculties were merged into the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, which resulted in the complete academic integration between the School of General Studies and Columbia College. As a result, both GS and CC students receive degrees conferred by the Trustees of Columbia University through the Faculty of Art & Sciences, and GS is recognized as one of the two official liberal arts colleges at Columbia University, along with Columbia College.
The School of General Studies confers the degree of Bachelor of Arts (and until 2014, both the B.A. and B.S. degrees) in more than 70 majors. All GS students are required to complete the Core Curriculum, which includes classes in Writing, Literature/Humanities, Contemporary Civilization/Social Science, Art Humanities, Music Humanities, Global Core, Quantitative Reasoning, Science, and Foreign Language.
In addition to its bachelor's degree program, the School of General Studies offers combined undergraduate/graduate degree programs with Columbia's Schools of Law, Business, Dental Medicine, Social Work, International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as undergraduate dual-degree programs with the Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and the French University Sciences Po.
Admission to Columbia GS is highly selective and "extremely competitive." Admission standards are among the highest in the nation: the SAT score range (25th -75th percentiles) for admitted students is 650-760 for Critical Reading, 670-760 for Math, and 670-760 for Writing. The average GPA of admitted students is 3.9/4.0.
Admission requires a formal application as well as submission of official SAT or ACT test scores, academic transcripts, essays, and recommendations; if the test scores are older than eight years, applicants may instead take the General Studies Admissions Examination. Interviews are conducted in person and on the phone.
Eligibility for admission requires that applicants have taken a minimum of one year or more off from academic studies, or have extenuating circumstances which preclude them from attending Columbia College full-time. Prospective Columbia undergraduates who have had a break of a year or more in their education, have already completed an undergraduate degree, or are pursuing dual undergraduate degrees are considered non-traditional and are automatically ineligible for admission to Columbia College. GS students have the option to attend part- or full-time.
Sciences Po Columbia University Dual BA Program
The Dual BA Program is a unique and highly selective program in which undergraduate students earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees from both Columbia University and Sciences Po (one of the most prestigious and selective universities in France) in four years. The applicant pool consists almost entirely of high school students.
Students spend two years at one of three Sciences Po campuses in France (Le Havre, Menton, or Reims), each of which is devoted to a particular region of the world. At Sciences Po, undergraduates can pursue majors in political science, economics, law, finance, history, among others.
After two years at Sciences Po, students matriculate at Columbia University, where they complete the Core Curriculum and one of over 70 majors offered at Columbia. Graduates of the program are guaranteed admission to a Sciences Po graduate program.
- Frederick H. Sykes, (1904–1910) Director of Extension Teaching.
- James Chidester Egbert, Jr., (1910–1942) Director of Extension Teaching/University Extension.
- Harry Morgan Ayres, (1942–1948) Director of University Extension (re-established as School of General Studies in 1947).
- John A. Krout, (1948–1951) Acting Director of the School of General Studies
- Louis M. Hacker, (1951–1958), former student of University Extension. First Dean of the School of General Studies.
- Clifford L. Lord, (1958–1964)
- Clarence C. Walton, (1964–1969)
- Aaron Warner, (1969–1976)
- Ward H. Dennis, (1977–1991)
- Frank Wolf, Acting Dean, (1991–93)
- Caroline W. Bynum, (1993–1994)
- Gillian Lindt, (1994–1997)
- Peter J. Awn, (1997–Present)
Notable alumni and attendees
The following list contains some of the notable alumni and attendees of the School of General Studies and its extension school predecessors only. For a full list of people associated with Columbia University as a whole, please see the list of Columbia University people.
An asterisk (*) indicates an attendee who did not graduate.
Alumni of the School of General Studies and its precursors
- Ira Gershwin* (1918), Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer.
- Amelia Earhart* (1920), American aviator and early female pilot.
- Simon Kuznets (1923), Nobel Prize-winning economist.
- David O. Selznick* (1923), Hollywood producer, King Kong, Gone with the Wind
- Federico García Lorca* (1929), Spanish poet and dramatist; influential member of the Generation of '27
- Seymour Halpern (1934), United States Congressman from New York
- Red Auerbach* (1937–39), legendary basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and general manager of the Boston Celtics
- J. D. Salinger* (1939), Writer, The Catcher in the Rye
- Isaac Asimov (1939), science fiction writer and biochemist
- Jane Jacobs* (1940s), Attended for two years, author The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban theorist and activist.
- Baruj Benacerraf (1942), Nobel Prize-winning immunologist.
- Telly Savalas (1946), Actor, Emmy-award winner and Oscar nominee.
- Ossie Davis (1948), Actor and social activist, Emmy- and Golden Globe-award nominee.
- Matthew Lipman (1948), founder of the Philosophy for Children movement
- Louis Simpson (1948), Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet
- Gabby Gabreski (1949), American flying ace during World War II and the Korean War; headed the Long Island Rail Road
- Florynce Kennedy (1949), Feminist, Civil Rights advocate, Social activist
- John W. Backus (1950), Developer of Fortran, the first true computer language.
- Allen Forte (1950), music theorist and musicologist, professor at Yale University
- Anthony Perkins* (1950s), Actor and writer.
- Frank Sutton (1952), actor, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
- Donald Clarence Judd (1953), Artist.
- Donald Richie (1953), Film Critic.
- Sandy Koufax* (1955), Hall of Fame pitcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers
- Patricia Robinson (1955), First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago from 1997 to 2003
- Mike Gravel (1956), Former US Senator from Alaska and candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Released full Pentagon Papers.
- Pat Boone (1957), Singer and actor.
- Raymond Federman (1957), French–American novelist and academic; author, Double or Northing
- Gerard W. Ford (1957), Founder of the Ford Modeling Agency.
- Hunter S. Thompson*, (1958). Writer.
- Alfred Appel (1959), scholar on Vladimir Nabokov
- Mary McFadden (1959), Fashion Designer
- Stewart Rawlings Mott (1959), Lobbyist and Philanthropist
- Barbara Probst Solomon (1960), American author, essayist and journalist
- Edward Klein (1960), Author.
- R. W. Apple (1961), The New York Times associate editor.
- John Tauranac (1963), Chief designer of the New York City Subway map of 1979.
- Jehuda Reinharz (1964), President of Brandeis University
- Malcolm Borg (1965), Chairman of North Jersey Media Group (formerly Macromedia, Inc.) owner of The Record (Bergen County)
- Susan Mesinai (1965), activist, founder of the Ark Project that aimed to find out information on non-Russians taken prisoner by the former Soviet Union
- Cecil Brown (1966), African American writer and educator
- John Rousmaniere (1967), American sailor, author on sailing and yachting history
- Castle Freeman, Jr. (1968), author, Go with Me; contributor to Old Farmer's Almanac
- Bruce Mayrock* (1969) Student activist and self-immolator
- Lee Siegel (1980s), cultural critic
- Jacques Pepin (1970), internationally recognized French chef, TV personality, dean at the International Culinary Center
- Edward Cecil Harris (1971), Creator of the Harris matrix.
- Peter H. Kostmayer (1971), Former Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania.
- Roger Pilon (1971), Constitutional scholar and legal theorist.
- Kristi Zea (1974), Academy Award-winning producer, As Good as It Gets
- Howard Dean (1975), Attended post-baccalureate Premedical Program. Former Governor of Vermont and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Simi Linton (1977), author, consultant, public speaker who focuses on disability studies
- Steve Brozak (1982), retired marine, investment banker
- John Horgan (journalist) (1982), American science journalist, known for his 1996 book, The End of Science
- Howard G. Chua-Eoan (1983), News Director, Time.
- Joy Leftow (1983), poet, fiction writer, essayist
- Mykola Dementiuk (1984), American author; twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award
- Kevin Brown* (1990), biographer, essayist, translator
- Gil Shaham (1990), Violinist.
- Ted Rall (1991), Syndicated cartoonist, president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from 2008 to 2009
- Mark Rotella (1992), senior editor at Publishers Weekly
- Sasha Frere-Jones (1993), American writer, music critic, and musician
- Patrick Gaspard* (1994–1997), Obama Administration - White House Political Director
- Gillian Wachsman (1994), former skater; 1985 NHK Trophy champion and 1986 U.S. national champion
- Chris Dixon (1996), angel investor, co-founder of Hunch and SiteAdvisor
- Ingrid Bengis (1996), American writer
- Gale Brewer (1997), 27th Borough president of Manhattan
- Kelly Killoren Bensimon (1998), model, author, socialite, The Real Housewives of New York City
- Josh Waitzkin* (1999), Child chess prodigy and author.
- Princess Firyal of Jordan (1999) Jordanian princess, socialite, and philanthropist
- Robert Sean Leonard*, American actor
- Erik Courtney (2000) Bravo TV personality Newlyweds: The First Year
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt* (2000-2004), American actor and director
- Philippe Reines (2000), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
- Eytan Schwartz (2001), Israeli Reality television personality
- Larysa Kondracki (2001), Canadian film director, The Whistleblower
- Trent Dimas (2002), Olympic champion gymnast
- Steve Hofstetter (2002), comedian, host, and executive producer of "Laughs" on Fox television stations
- Eric Shaw (2003), Emmy Award-winning writer for SpongeBob SquarePants
- Julia Bacha (2003), Brazilian documentary maker, director of Budrus
- Kimberly Navarro (2004), ice dancer, 2008 & 2009 U.S. bronze medalist and 2008 Four Continents bronze medalist.
- Scott Brinker (2005), programmer and entrepreneur
- Matt Sanchez (2007), journalist and former Marine reservist
- Ray William Johnson* (2008), YouTube celebrity best known for his show "Equals Three"
- Mary Helen Bowers (2008), celebrity fitness guru, entrepreneur, former New York City Ballet dancer
- Thomas Reardon (2008), creator of Internet Explorer
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas (2010), Actor.
- Lena Park (2010), Korean-American singer
- Adriana Ferreyr (2011-), Brazilian actress, Marisol; known for her lawsuit against George Soros
- Sara Ziff (2011), American supermodel
- Jason Everman (2013), former member of Nirvana, Soundgarden, the Army Rangers, and Green Berets
- Cameron Russell (2013), model and activist.
- Sarah Ramos (2013-), American actress, American Dreams, Parenthood
- Alexandra Ansanelli (2010-), American ballet dancer for The Royal Ballet
- Troy Murphy (2015), former NBA player
- Robin Pecknold (2016), American musician and frontman of Seattle indie folk band Fleet Foxes
Notable students currently attending the School of General Studies
- Lipa Schmeltzer (2014-), American Jewish singer, entertainer writer, and composer
- Abby Stein (2014-), American transgender activist, Blogger, and speaker.
- Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York ... - Robert A. McCaughey - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 2 June 1942 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1942-06-02. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 10 November 1942 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1942-11-10. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- History of the School of General Studies
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 10 December 1946 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1946-12-10. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 6 December 1946 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1946-12-06. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 19 December 1968 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1968-12-19. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "The Core | General Studies". gs.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia University School of General Studies". Princetonreview.com. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Program Overview | General Studies". Gs.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-05.