Transfer of Credit Policies

Master of International Affairs
Master of Public Administration

Full-Time Enrollment

In addition to requiring 54 credits for graduation, both the MIA and MPA degree programs require students to enroll full-time for four semesters and thereby earn four full-time residency units.  Part-time attendance is not permitted.  Students who receive advanced standing based on graduate course work completed before enrollment at SIPA may reduce their period of study to three semesters of full-time enrollment. Please see below for policies and procedures for requesting advanced standing.

Advanced Standing for non-Columbia University graduate course work

Advanced Standing for the MIA and MPA degrees is awarded based on graduate degrees in relevant fields completed at non-Columbia academic institutions before enrollment at SIPA.

Examples are: MBA, JD, MPH, and Master’s Degrees in Political Science, Economics, History, Urban Planning, Sociology, and/or Anthropology, although advanced standing for other graduate degrees may be granted at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

The amount of Advanced Standing granted depends upon assessment by the Associate Dean of the quality and relevance of the work, but cannot exceed 12 credits (1 residency unit). Advanced standing will only be awarded for post-baccalaureate courses that were part of a completed graduate degree. Students must have a grade of B or better in courses for which they seek advanced standing credit. Advanced standing will not be granted for language courses, independent study credits or internships.

Advanced Standing for Columbia University graduate course work

Advanced standing for the MIA and MPA degrees is awarded based on graduate course work in relevant fields completed at other Columbia University schools before enrollment at SIPA. 

Students may apply for advanced standing for graduate level course work completed at other Columbia schools, as long as those credits are not being applied towards another Columbia credential. The amount of Advanced Standing granted depends upon assessment by the Associate Dean of the quality and relevance of the work, but cannot exceed 12 credits/1 residency unit. 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 http://sipa.columbia.edu/academics/degree_programs/dual_degree/ for a list of accredited dual degree programs.

Procedures for Applying for Advanced Standing

Requests for advanced standing are evaluated by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. No evaluation of prior graduate work can be performed until the student is matriculated at SIPA. Advanced standing should be evaluated and applied to degree requirements in the student’s first semester, observing the following deadlines. All Advanced Standing requests and official transcripts must be received by the Office of Student Affairs within 45 days of the first day of classes in the student's first semester of SIPA.  Advanced Standing requests submitted later than this will not be considered. A course syllabus (in English) must be provided for each requested course.

Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM)

PEPM Students who have previously completed a graduate degree in economics or a related discipline may apply to transfer up to 12 credits from their previous graduate degree toward the PEPM MPA degree.  Requests for advanced standing will be reviewed by PEPM’s directors and will include only courses from a completed graduate degree, with grades of B or better, and which the PEPM directors deem as fully satisfying the requirements of PEPM coursework.  Students who wish to apply for such transfer of credit should contact the PEPM Office prior to orientation or as early as possible in the fall semester. Criteria for determining whether credits may be transferred will include: whether the course(s) in question was part of a completed graduate degree, the degree to which the course(s) in question relates to the PEPM course(s) for which a transfer is requested, and the student's performance in the course(s) elected to be transferred.

Executive MPA (EMPA)

EMPA students who have previously completed a graduate degree in a related discipline may apply to transfer up to six credits from their previous graduate degree toward the EMPA degree. Students who wish to apply for such transfer should contact the EMPA office as early as possible in the fall semester. Criteria for determining whether credits may be transferred include: whether the course(s) in question was part of a completed graduate degree, the degree to which the course(s) in question relates to the EMPA course(s) for which a transfer is requested, and the student's performance in the course(s) elected to be transferred.