Columbia University School of General Studies
|Motto||Lux in Tenebris Lucet|
Motto in English
|The light that shines in the darkness|
408 Lewisohn Hall,
New York, New York
|Campus||Morningside Heights Campus,|
urban, 36 acres (0.15 km2; 0.056 sq mi)
|Affiliations||Juilliard School, Sciences Po Paris, City University of Hong Kong, Trinity College Dublin, and Albert A. List College (Jewish Theological Seminary of America), Columbia Engineering|
The School of General Studies, Columbia University (GS) is a highly selective liberal arts college and one of the undergraduate colleges of Columbia University within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It is situated on the university's main campus in Morningside Heights, New York City. GS is known primarily for its traditional B.A. degree program for mature students (those who have had an academic break of one year or more, or are pursuing dual-degrees). GS students make up almost 30% of the Columbia undergraduate population.
GS is fully integrated into the traditional undergraduate curriculum at Columbia and shares the same courses, Core Curriculum, faculty, and degree as Columbia College.
GS is an Ivy League college that offers dual-degree programs with multiple leading universities around the world. It offers dual degree programs with Sciences Po in France, the City University of Hong Kong, Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin) in Ireland, and List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. It also offers dual degree programs with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of International and Public Affairs, and Columbia Business School. GS is the historical home to dual-degree programs at Columbia University, and the Post-baccalaureate Premedical Program, the oldest program of its kind.
Numerous GS students have gone on to win prestigious fellowships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and the Fulbright Scholarship. Since 2010, GS has been the only undergraduate college at Columbia to produce any Rhodes Scholars. Notable alumni include Nobel Prize winners Simon Kuznets and Baruj Benacerraf, as well as Isaac Asimov, J.D. Salinger, Amelia Earhart, and Princess Firyal of Jordan.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Admission
- 4 Dual Degree Programs
- 4.1 Joint Program with the Jewish Theological Seminary – Albert A. List College
- 4.2 Dual BA with Sciences Po Paris
- 4.3 Joint Bachelor's Degree with City University of Hong Kong
- 4.4 Joint Bachelor's Degree with Trinity College Dublin
- 4.5 Combined Plan with the School of Engineering and Applied Science
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 References
- 7 External links
GS's evolutionary ancestor is the now-defunct, all-male Seth Low College, which was established in Downtown Brooklyn in 1928 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 degrees at the University's professional schools, such as the School of Law, Business School, or School of Engineering and Applied Science (all of which conferred terminal bachelor's degrees at the time) or earn B.S. degrees in the liberal arts as University Undergraduates.
Seth Low Junior College was closed in 1938 due to the adverse economic effects of the Great Depression and concomitant popularity of the tuition-free Brooklyn College in 1930. Henceforth, its remaining students were absorbed into the Morningside Heights campus as students in the University Undergraduate program, which was established by Nicholas Murray Butler in 1904. University Extension was responsible for the founding of three schools at Columbia: the Graduate School of Business, the School of General Studies and the School of Dental and Oral Surgery (now the College of Dental Medicine). The School of Continuing Education (now the School of Professional Studies), a separate school was later established to reprise University Extension's former role.
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." Columbia University pioneered the use of the term "General Studies" when naming the college, adapting the medieval term for universities, "Studium Generale." Thus, the School of General Studies bears no semblance to general studies or extension studies programs at other universities in the United States. In December 1968, the University Council permitted GS to grant the B.A. degree instead of the B.S. degree, making it only one of two colleges at Columbia offering the B.A. degree.
Merging of Columbia College and School of General Studies Faculties
In 1991, the Columbia College (CC), School of General Studies (GS), and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (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 B.A. degrees conferred by the Trustees of Columbia University through the Faculty of Art & Sciences, and GS is recognized as an official liberal arts college at Columbia University.
GS students make up almost 30% of the Columbia undergraduate population and have been known to consistently earn the highest average GPAs among undergraduates at Columbia University. Approximately 20% of GS students are part-time students who have significant, full-time work commitments in addition to their academic responsibilities (which is also the case for some full-time students). Since 2010 (and until 2017), GS has been the only undergraduate college at Columbia University to produce any Rhodes Scholars.
The School of General Studies confers the degree of Bachelor of Arts in more than 70 majors. All GS students are required to complete the Core Curriculum, which includes University 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 undergraduate dual-degree programs with the Jewish Theological Seminary, the French University Sciences Po, and Trinity College Dublin.
Admission to Columbia GS is extremely competitive. The SAT score range (25th-75th percentiles) for admitted students is 1430–1530 out of 1600 on the new SAT (700-780 on Reading and Writing, and 680-770 on Math). The average GPA of admitted students is 3.9/4.0.
Admission requires an online application, official high school (or GED) transcripts, SAT or ACT test scores within the past eight years or a score on the General Studies Admissions Examination, an essay of 1,500-2,000 words, and two recommendation letters. Interviews are conducted in person and over phone.
Prospective Columbia undergraduates who have had a break of a year or more in their education, have already completed an undergraduate degree (and intend to pursue studies in a different discipline), or are pursuing dual undergraduate degrees are considered non-traditional and eligible to apply to GS. Applicants in extenuating circumstances which preclude them from attending Columbia College full-time are also eligible. GS students have the option to attend part- or full-time.
Dual Degree Programs
Joint Program with the Jewish Theological Seminary – Albert A. List College
Since 1954, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) and the School of General Studies have offered a joint degree program leading to a B.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from List College. Professor Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean of the School of General Studies, is an alumna of the Joint Program.
Dual BA with Sciences Po Paris
The Dual BA Program is a unique program in which undergraduate students earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees in four years from both Columbia University and Sciences Po, one of the most prestigious universities in France and Europe. This program is geared towards traditionally-aged applicants in high school, and is one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the nation.
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.
Joint Bachelor's Degree with City University of Hong Kong
This program is open to top-ranked undergraduates enrolled at the City University of Hong Kong and allows graduates to receive two bachelor's degrees from the City University and Columbia in four years. Undergraduates spend their first two years at the City University and their final two years at Columbia, where they complete the Core Curriculum and choose one of 70 majors offered at Columbia.
Joint Bachelor's Degree with Trinity College Dublin
The Joint Bachelor's Degree Program with Trinity College Dublin is a unique program in which undergraduate students earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees in four years from both Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin). Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland and is widely considered to be its most prestigious institution. This program is geared towards traditionally-aged applicants in high school.
Combined Plan with the School of Engineering and Applied Science
GS students are eligible for guaranteed admission to the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) through the Columbia Combined Plan program, under the condition that they complete the necessary pre-engineering courses with a high GPA and obtain recommendations from 3 instructors. Students in the program receive a B.A. in a liberal arts discipline from GS and a B.S. in an engineering discipline from SEAS. Students may apply for the Combined Plan program in their junior (3-2 program) or senior (4-2) year of undergraduate study.
An asterisk (*) indicates an alumnus who did not graduate.
- Simon Kuznets (1923), Nobel Prize-winning economist.
- Baruj Benacerraf (1942), Nobel Prize-winning immunologist.
- Isaac Asimov (1939), science fiction writer and biochemist, professor of biochemistry
- Allen Forte (1950), professor at Yale University, music theorist and musicologist
- Jehuda Reinharz (1964), President of Brandeis University
- Edward Cecil Harris (1971), Creator of the Harris matrix.
- Roger Pilon (1971), Constitutional scholar and legal theorist.
- Alfred Appel (1959), scholar on Vladimir Nabokov.
- Lisa Rosen-Metsch (1990), Stephen Smith Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, dean of the School of General Studies.
- Philippe Reines (2000), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
- Patrick Gaspard* (1994–1997), current United States Ambassador to South Africa, White House Political Affairs Director for U.S. President Barack Obama, former Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee
- Mike Gravel (1956), Former United States Senator from Alaska and candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Released full Pentagon Papers.
- Howard Dean (1975), Former Governor of Vermont and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Peter H. Kostmayer (1971), United States Congressman from Pennsylvania.
- Seymour Halpern (1934), United States Congressman from New York
- Gale Brewer (1997), 27th Borough president of Manhattan
- Stewart Rawlings Mott (1959), Lobbyist and Philanthropist
- Patricia Robinson (1955), First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago from 1997 to 2003
Literature and arts
- J. D. Salinger* (1939), Writer, The Catcher in the Rye
- Federico García Lorca* (1929), Spanish poet and dramatist; influential member of the Generation of '27
- Barbara Probst Solomon (1960), American author, essayist and journalist
- Louis Simpson (1948), Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet
- Ingrid Bengis (1996), American writer
- Sasha Frere-Jones (1993), American writer, music critic, and musician
- Ted Rall (1991), Syndicated cartoonist, president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from 2008 to 2009
- Simi Linton (1977), author, consultant, public speaker who focuses on disability studies
- Edward Klein (1960), Author.
- Kevin Brown* (1990), biographer, essayist, translator
- Joy Leftow (1983), poet, fiction writer, essayist
- Mykola Dementiuk (1984), American author; twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award
- Lee Siegel (1980s), cultural critic
- 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
- Raymond Federman (1957), French–American novelist and academic; author, Double or Northing
- Hunter S. Thompson*, (1958). Writer.
- Herbert Kuhner (1959), Austrian writer and translator
- Donald Clarence Judd (1953), Artist.
- Dolores Dembus Bittleman (1952), American fiber artist
- Alexandra Ansanelli (2010-), American ballet dancer for The Royal Ballet
- Arlene Shuler (1977), President and CEO of the New York City Center
Technology and entrepreneurship
- Thomas Reardon (2008), creator of Internet Explorer
- John W. Backus (1950), Developer of Fortran, the first true computer language.
- Scott Brinker (2005), programmer and entrepreneur
- Chris Dixon (1996), angel investor, co-founder of Hunch and SiteAdvisor
- Jane Jacobs* (1940s), author The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban theorist and activist.
- Florynce Kennedy (1949), Feminist, Civil Rights advocate, Social activist
- 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
- Matthew Lipman (1948), founder of the Philosophy for Children movement
- Irwin Kula (1978), co-president of CLAL, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
- Ira Gershwin* (1918), Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer.
- Leonard Cohen* (1957), Musician and poet
- Jason Everman (2013), former member of Nirvana, Soundgarden, the Army Rangers, and Green Berets
- Gil Shaham (1990), Violinist.
- Lena Park (2010), Korean-American singer
- Robin Pecknold (2016), American musician and frontman of Seattle indie folk band Fleet Foxes
- Pat Boone (1957), Singer and actor.
- Tamar Kaprelian (2016), Singer.
Film and entertainment
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt* (2000–2004), American actor and director
- Robert Sean Leonard*, American actor
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas (2010), Actor.
- Kristi Zea (1974), Academy Award-winning producer, As Good as It Gets
- David O. Selznick* (1923), Hollywood producer, King Kong, Gone with the Wind
- Telly Savalas (1946), Actor, Emmy-award winner and Oscar nominee.
- Sarah Ramos (2013-), American actress, American Dreams, Parenthood
- Eric Shaw (2003), Emmy Award-winning writer for SpongeBob SquarePants
- Ossie Davis (1948), Actor and social activist, Emmy- and Golden Globe-award nominee.
- Adriana Ferreyr (2011-), Brazilian film, television and stage actress, Marisol
- Julia Bacha (2003), Brazilian documentary maker, director of Budrus
- Larysa Kondracki (2001), Canadian film director, The Whistleblower
- Donald Richie (1953), Film Critic.
- Anthony Perkins* (1950s), Actor and writer.
- Frank Sutton (1952), actor, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
- R. W. Apple (1961), The New York Times associate editor.
- James S. Vlasto (1950s), American editor, public relations consultant for Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. and Herman Badillo; press secretary for Governor of New York Hugh Carey; father of Chris Vlasto, executive producer of Good Morning America
- Jacques Pepin (1970), internationally recognized French chef, TV personality, dean at the International Culinary Center
- Mary Helen Bowers (2008), celebrity fitness guru, entrepreneur, former New York City Ballet dancer
- Ray William Johnson* (2008), YouTube celebrity best known for his show "Equals Three"
- Trish Regan (2000), Fox Business Network anchor
- Steve Hofstetter (2002), comedian, host, and executive producer of "Laughs" on Fox television stations
- Erik Courtney (2000) Bravo TV personality Newlyweds: The First Year
- Mark Rotella (1992), senior editor at Publishers Weekly
- John Horgan (journalist) (1982), American science journalist, known for his 1996 book, The End of Science
- Howard G. Chua-Eoan (1983), News Director, Time.
- Malcolm Borg (1965), Chairman of North Jersey Media Group (formerly Macromedia, Inc.) owner of The Record (Bergen County)
- Eytan Schwartz (2001), Israeli Reality television personality
- Matt Sanchez (2007), journalist and former Marine reservist
- Red Auerbach* (1937–39), legendary basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and general manager of the Boston Celtics
- Kimberly Navarro (2004), ice dancer, 2008 & 2009 U.S. bronze medalist and 2008 Four Continents bronze medalist.
- Trent Dimas (2002), Olympic champion gymnast
- Gillian Wachsman (1994), former skater; 1985 NHK Trophy champion and 1986 U.S. national champion
- Sandy Koufax* (1955), Hall of Fame pitcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers
- Troy Murphy (2015), former NBA player
- Sasha Cohen (2016), Olympic Silver medalist in figure skating
- Gerard W. Ford (1957), Founder of the Ford Modeling Agency.
- Mary McFadden (1959), Fashion Designer
- Kelly Killoren Bensimon (1998), model, author, socialite, The Real Housewives of New York City
- Sara Ziff (2011), American supermodel
- Cameron Russell (2013), model and activist.
- Amelia Earhart* (1920), American aviator and early female pilot.
- Princess Firyal of Jordan (1999) Jordanian princess, socialite, and philanthropist
- John Tauranac (1963), Chief designer of the New York City Subway map of 1979.
- Josh Waitzkin* (1999), Child chess prodigy and author.
- Steve Brozak (1982), investment banker, retired marine
- Gabby Gabreski (1949), American flying ace during World War II and the Korean War; headed the Long Island Rail Road
- Adriana Ferreyr (2011-), Brazilian actress
- Lipa Schmeltzer (2014-), American Jewish singer, entertainer writer, and composer
- Abby Stein (2014-), American transgender activist, Blogger, and speaker.
- Grace Phipps (2016-), American actress
- Ayesha Kapur (2016-), Indian actress
- Michelle Page (2016-), American actress
- Tiiu Kuik (2016-), Estonian fashion model
- Alexandra Waterbury (2018-), American ballet dancer and fashion model
- "The Road to the Rhodes". Columbia Spectator. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York ... – Robert A. McCaughey – Google Books. Books.google.com. 2003. ISBN 9780231130080. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Columbia Daily Spectator 2 June 1942 — Columbia Spectator". Spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. 1942-06-02. 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.