International Applicants to the Postbac Premed Program

International Students or Applicants with Foreign Credentials


Applicants with foreign credentials equivalent to a bachelor's degree from an American college or university may be admitted to the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program. U.S. medical schools, however, prefer applicants who received their undergraduate training, especially in the premedical sciences, from institutions of higher education in the United States. In many cases it may be necessary for international students to complete a bachelor's degree in the United States before applying to medical school. All international students should be aware that they may need to repeat previous work in the sciences and that they must ordinarily complete at least one year of college English at Columbia.

Upon admission, international students who are not U.S. citizens must complete the Application for Visa Certificate. Please note that international students who must maintain an F1 Visa must register for a full-time course load of at least 12 points. You must maintain full-time status each semester that you are enrolled in the Program.

ALP Essay Exam

All admitted students whose first language is not English are required to take the ALP Essay Exam before registration, offered by the Columbia University American Language Program (ALP), even if they have taken the TOEFL prior to admission. The results of this placement examination will be used by the student's academic advisor to determine the appropriate academic plan for the first semester. Students will be required to take additional English language courses if their scores on the placement examination are below level 10.

Disability Accommodations
If you have a documented disability that will prevent you from taking the test under standard conditions, you may request testing accommodations from the Office of Disability Service

Please note that you must request testing accommodations at least two weeks before the exam date.

For more information, please contact ODS by calling 212‐854‐2388 (voice/TTY), or emailing [email protected].

Applying to Medical School

It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for applicants to secure a place in a United States medical school if the applicant is not a permanent resident at the time of filing the medical school application.

Financing Medical School

The Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) guide notes that foreign applicants will not be eligible for any financial assistance for medical school and will be expected to provide a plan for how they plan to finance their tuition. It also notes that many countries impose severe restrictions on exportation of currency.

No federal financial aid is available for students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States, neither for postbaccalaureate nor medical school costs.