Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the undergraduate college created specifically for students like you—those with nontraditional backgrounds who, after a break of a year or more in their educational paths, are now seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League education. Most students at GS have, for personal or professional reasons, interrupted their education, never attended college, or are only able to attend part time.

Whether you've taken time off for personal reasons, parenthood, travel, or your career, the School of General Studies—Columbia University’s college for returning and nontraditional students—makes it possible for you to complete your degree at one of the finest institutions in the country. In fact, Columbia is the only Ivy League university with a freestanding college in which nontraditional undergraduates are fully integrated into the undergraduate curriculum.

Because the average age of GS students is 26, they usually have 8 to 10 more years of experience in life than traditional college students. That means that diversity at Columbia is not only measured by ethnicity and gender, but also by experience and maturity—a maturity we find leads to great academic success. At GS, you'll join a community of students who after graduation go on to pursue advanced degrees and lead stimulating professional lives.


Lux in Tenebris Lucet—"The light that shines in the darkness"