Columbia University Columbia College SPS Language Program

Language Standalone
Times Top 100
Delivery Method:
Multi Term, Single Term

About the Program

Program Suspended

As the oldest institute of higher education in New York, Columbia University, Columbia College has a long history of fostering academic excellence. Since its foundation in 1754, it has educated Founding Fathers, Nobel Prize winners, and award-winning artists, writers, and musicians. Study here to experience firsthand the history and prestige of this distinguished university and discover everything the iconic Big Apple has to offer. Opportunities abound.

At SPS, 90% of students are employed at graduation

Huge opportunities to visit Wall Street, the UN, and media giants

Enrich your student life at events and clubs through SPS Engage

Explore NYC’s biggest attractions: Central Park, Empire State Building

Program Advisor

Saffy Winter
Your Student Counselor is your study abroad ambassador and supporter. They join your application journey when you’ve confirmed you’re interested in studying abroad. At this point, they guide you through each stage of the application, notify you of the documents you need, let you know when your admission results are in, and walk you through the next steps, including class enrollment and organizing pre-arrival tests.
Schedule a Consultation

At a Glance

Language of Instruction:
Language Prerequisite Level:
Academic Level:
Undergraduate, Graduate
Academic Strengths:
Sociology, Biological & Physical Sciences, Computer Science & Math, Engineering, Music, Film & Performing Arts
On-campus dormitory
Visa Required:

Stay Healthy & Safe While You Study Abroad


Hyewook Jeong

I immersed myself in New York: I watched a lot of Broadway musicals and plays, went to restaurants, went to the Soho.

Columbia University SAF Alumni


About the University

Columbia University

As the oldest undergraduate college in the oldest institute of higher learning in the state of New York, Columbia College at Columbia University has a long history of fostering academic excellence. Since its foundation in 1754 has educated Founding Fathers and modern presidents, poets, musicians, and politicians. Among its notable alumni and faculty are 82 Nobel Prize winners, each one a champion of knowledge.

The abundant diversity of New York is an exquisite setting for being open to new experiences and enviable opportunities the Big Apple has to offer. From Wall Street to the headquarters of the United Nations, from Broadway to the Village, the city is alive with adventures and memories waiting to happen.

Learn more at Columbia University's official website.


Columbia University's Academic Approach

The American Language Program at Columbia University is one of the oldest English-as-a-Second-language programs in the United States. For over 100 years, Columbia has prepared English learners to function in academic, professional, and social settings.

Columbia uses a variety of teaching methods that represent a cross-section of American society and media, providing both the opportunity to learn English and to understand the culture behind the words. Class sizes are small, usually 15 students or fewer, so you have many opportunities for individualized language growth. Topics include grammar, pronunciation, reading and listening comprehension, and native writing techniques.

Other highlights of the program include:

  • Academic English – preparing you to study at the academic level
  • Integrated skills – each class focuses on more than one skill
  • Thematic learning – grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation learned in context
  • Error correction – feedback on spoken and written communication is encouraged
  • Team teaching – each intensive course is taught by two or three instructors who work together
  • Critical thinking – teaches you to engage with themes and topic in individual ways while encouraging inquisitiveness and curiosity in its learners
  • Authentic materials – newspaper and magazine articles, novels, plays, lectures, movies and music are used daily in the classroom
  • US Culture – learning about the city and country enhances your learning experience



Classroom Hours Per Week

You take classes for 18 hours each week during your 14-week term. 

Courses may include:

  • English Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Fluency
  • Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing

*SAF program fee tuition rate is based upon enrollment in 18 hours of language instruction per week. 

Language Levels

There are eight levels of instruction from pre-intermediate to very high advanced. Each level is mapped to the Common European Framework approximated below:

  • Level 2 = A2
  • Levels 3-5 = B1
  • Levels 6-7 = B2
  • Levels 8-9 = C1

Note: Level 1 (A1) courses are no longer available.

Elective Courses

There are no specific electives offered. However, you may work with the university staff to get specialized focus on certain aspects of the English language, including:

  • English Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Fluency
  • Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Application Requirements

When applying to study abroad, you must meet the entry requirements set by the host university—and SAF is here to set you up for success.

The requirements outlined in this section include the language proficiency scores you may need to demonstrate your language skills, a guide to the GPA range and other academic prerequisites required by your host university, and a list of documentation and other application materials you will need to finalize your application. You may need to supply additional information throughout the process, and you will be alerted through your emails and SAF Student Portal if this is the case for you.
  • Language Proficiency
  • Academics & GPA
  • Application Documents & Materials

Language Test Score Requirements

There are no requirements to join this program. You will take the Oxford Online Placement Test prior to arrival on-campus to determine your language skill level.

Learn More About Language Requirements

Program Dates

When studying abroad, you will want to consider the time of year and how long you are away. Most programs follow the host university's academic calendar.

The dates shown below are general estimates, and as you get closer to the start of the term, you will get more detailed information from SAF. If you have any questions, your Student Counsellor and Program Specialist are always here to support you and point you to the correct information.

Fall 2022

Program dates:
Early September - Mid December
Application Deadline:
Fees Starting From:

Fall 2022 + Spring 2023

Program dates:
Mid September - Mid May
Application Deadline:
Fees Starting From:

Housing Information


On-campus dormitory

You live in a double room in an on-campus apartment-style dormitory with a shared bathroom, living space, and kitchen. There’s also Wi-Fi and laundry units on each floor.

The SAF program fee does not include break stay housing or early arrival housing.

About New York City

Why New York City

The Big Apple is a thriving, vibrant, iconic city. It's a place of global go-getters and some of the most recognizable sights in the world with adventures and memories around every corner: think Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park. From Broadway to the Village, Wall Street to the headquarters of the United Nations, Pfizer, and American Express, New York truly leads the business world, too.

Learn more about New York City

The Student Experience


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Student Health & Safety

We champion health, safety, and security. As part of IES Abroad, the largest study abroad organization in the United States, we have set the standard for health and safety in study abroad for decades. We plan for the ‘what if’, so you can get on with the experience of a lifetime.
International Health Insurance

International health insurance included in the cost of your program

24/7 Emergency Phone Support

Total coverage to support you while traveling and in your new city

Location-Specific Information

Health and safety information prepared based on your destination

Health In Your Language

Highly trained multilingual staff to connect you to healthcare providers

Secure Housing

Quality, safe, secure housing within close proximity to your classes

Dedicated Expertise

Protection by a Dean of Students Office advocating for your interests


On Arrival

Your SAF pre-departure process will arm you with all the information you need for a smooth arrival to your new campus, city, and country.

To Housing

Your SAF program will include a safe transfer from your arrival airport to your new study abroad housing. We'll even provide you with top tips to make the most of your new city!

Home Sweet Home

Your SAF Program Specialist will coordinate with you to ensure you have arrived safely and settled into your new secure housing.

Keeping You Safe

As you settle in, you will learn about the SAF emergency alert system, our 24/7 phone support, and any safety concerns relevant to you.

Get Social

Your new university and SAF will arrange social and cultural events so that you can meet other study abroad and local students. Make the most of your adventure!

Advising and Support

The process of studying abroad could quickly feel overwhelming, but we have been doing this for decades and do everything we can to support you through it. 

Many SAF staff are alumni and have walked this path. They have real-life experience to draw on as they advise and support you through every step of our comprehensive services. They’re in your corner, taking care of all the details and explaining what you need to do next.

Take the first step in your study abroad journey by scheduling a consultation with your closest Student Counselor. You can discuss your for-credit academic courses and language programs and explore internships, research programs, and study tours. When you know what you want to do, we guide you through the pre-program steps, help you arrange your visa and transport, and finalize your accommodation or digital experience.

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Commonly Asked Questions About Studying Abroad

Student Blogs

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Why Travel With SAF?

Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience, one that stays with you in your career, your contacts, your future. It can define you. At any of our prestigious university partners, you can build personalized for-credit programs that can last up to a whole year.

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