Frequently Asked Questions

Are official test scores and/or transcripts required?​

We require self reported, and/or scanned test scores and transcripts from all applicants, which must be submitted with the completion of your online application. We do not require you to send in an official transcript or score report for application to the Program. If offered admission, these documents will be required to validate the offer of admission.

Will I qualify for admission with a three-year undergraduate degree?

We do accept applications from candidates with three-year undergraduate degrees. We review such applications on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, applicants who hold three-year degrees demonstrate exceptional academic performance and strong professional promise may be offered admission.

May I submit my application if I have not yet taken the GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL?

We require self reported test scores from all applicants, which must be submitted with the completion of your online application. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Do I need to take the TOEFL/IELTS?

International students who do not have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an institution in which all instruction is conducted in English must take either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the PTE (Pearson Test of English), or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). You may be exempted if you have or are currently enrolled in a degree program from an institution in which English is the language of instruction. We will not accept requests for exceptions to this policy.

How many letters of recommendation can/should I submit?

We require a minimum of two letters of recomendation and a maximum of five.

My transcript(s) and/or letter(s) of recommendation are not in English. What should I do?

Materials that are not in English must be transcribed by an official and notarized transcription agency. Columbia Business School does not provide referrals to such agencies.

Do you accept letters from dossier services, such as Interfolio?

Our application system requires a letter writer's email address. You can input an Interfolio-generated email address in place of your letter writer’s email. This will allow Interfolio to upload the letter directly to the application, without bothering your letter writer. Interfolio refers to these as Online Application Deliveries.

  1. Check the documents in your Interfolio Dossier to make sure your letter writer has uploaded a letter to your account. Letters that have not been received cannot be used in an online application delivery, so they won't have a Document Email address yet.
  2. Locate the document you’d like to upload, and click the title to find the Document Email address.
  3. Select and Copy the Document Email address.
  4. In your online application, paste the document email address in place of your recommender's email to direct the letter request to Interfolio, rather than your letter writer.
  5. Repeat the same process for each letter you would like uploaded.
  6. When Interfolio is contacted by the institution, Interfolio will create a new Pending Delivery for each letter requested by the application.
  7. You’ll receive an email from Interfolio to alert you of your new delivery requests.
  8. Navigate to your Deliveries page on Interfolio to submit your pending deliveries.

It takes 1-3 business days for Interfolio to upload your documents to the online application system after you check out. If you’re worried about missing your application deadline, email [email protected] or call 877-997-8807 to expedite your delivery upload.

Note: Some applications require additional information (performance ratings, rankings, etc.) that Interfolio cannot provide on behalf of your writer. Interfolio will cancel your deliveries and contact you if Interfolio encounters any application questions that Intefolio cannot answer or bypass.

Why hasn't my Online Application Delivery been created as a Pending Delivery?

Occasionally, online application requests from third-party application systems do not reach Interfolio.

This can happen for a few reasons:

  • The application hasn't processed your letter writer data yet, and therefore hasn't sent Interfolio a request yet
  • The document email address was entered incorrectly
  • A special character (like an accent) is preventing Interfolio from processing the email request correctly
  • An error occurred within the third-party application

What you should do:

  1. Contact Interfolio immediately at [email protected]. Interfolio may be able to match an orphan request received by its server to your account
  2. If Interfolio can't match your request with your account, Interfolio will ask you to try to re-request the letter on the application system
  3. If you can't re-request a letter, Interfolio will need to contact the receiving institution to figure out the best way to resolve the situation

Note: Please monitor your pending deliveries closely and let Interfolio know if you’re expecting a delivery that hasn’t come in yet.

If I’ve been denied admission, may I appeal the decision?

We are well aware of the depth of investment our applicants make while participating in our selection process. Accordingly, the Doctoral Program reviews each candidacy with great care and thoughtful consideration. Our review process is extremely thorough and all decisions are final. Thus, there is no process for appeal.

What is the average GMAT or GRE score for a person accepted into the PhD Program?

Successful candidates have shown a tendency to score 90% and higher on each section (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of their chosen standardized exam.

Why do applicants have to take the GMAT or GRE?

All applicants are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These tests report to the Doctoral Program the verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills of the applicants and assess their suitability as a candidate for the program.

Does the Doctoral Program prefer GMAT or GRE?

For applicants to all Departments, the GRE or the GMAT will be accepted for application.

Do you offer a distance-learning program?

The Columbia Business School Doctoral Program does not offer a distance-learning program. Our Program requires a five-year full-time, in-residence commitment.

I have a master’s degree. Can I transfer some credits toward my Business PhD course requirements?

All admitted student requests for advanced standing are submitted to their departmental adviser and the doctoral office for consideration. A maximum of 10 courses of advanced standing (out of a 20-course requirement) may be transferred from your graduate studies. Most students do not receive the maximum allowable transfer of credits.


Prior to reapplying, we urge candidates to seek to strengthen their applications in any way possible.

If you are considering a reapplication, please consider the ways in which you might strengthen your candidacy. Consider the following:

  • Improved GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL scores
  • Refinement of your research goals
  • New essay
  • New recommendations

Please be aware that you must file a completely new online application, in addition to paying the current application fee.

From a previous application, we will allow re-applicants to use the following towards their new application: transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters are all transferable towards your new application.

All students reapplying are required to provide a new statement of purpose.

When reapplying, please use a new application form with the same login credentials from your previous application. The School's online technology will allow users to import the already mentions pieces of a given application.

Is there any financial aid available to students? What about TA positions?

All applicants who apply to the Columbia Business School Doctoral Program are considered for merit-based fellowships and tuition. There is not a separate financial aid application. TA positions are not a part of the financial aid package but may be sought by individual students.

May I apply to more than one department within the Business PhD Program?

You may apply to only one department within the Columbia Business School PhD Program. You are welcome to apply to other Programs at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Applicants must complete the application requirements for each school.

Other Questions

If you have other questions, please contact the Doctoral Program.