The School of Professional Studies is one of the schools composing Columbia University. The School specializes in career advancement through professional and interdisciplinary education. It offers fourteen master's degrees, courses for advancement and graduate school preparation, certificate programs, summer courses, auditing and lifelong learning programs, high school programs in New York and abroad, and a program for learning English as a second language.
The predecessor of the School of Professional Studies was first established as the Division of Special Programs in 1995, and was later renamed the "Division of Continuing Education and Special Programs" in 1997.
In 2000, the Division began to consider offering degree programs, and was reorganized as the School of Continuing Education in 2002 under its founding dean, Frank Wolf. In 2002, the university's board of trustees granted final approval for the creation of the School of Continuing Education, the first new school at Columbia in 50 years. With this new status, the School became both a Faculty and a Department of Instruction in the Arts and Sciences, and was granted authority to offer the master of science degree. In the course of 2002–2006 it expanded its graduate offerings to eight M.S. Programs. A cross‑enrollment agreement with Union Theological Seminary was also established in 2002.
As of 2016[update], the school offers graduate degrees in actuarial science, applied analytics, bioethics, communications practice, construction administration, enterprise risk management, fundraising management, information and knowledge strategy, narrative medicine, negotiation and conflict resolution, sports management, sports law, strategic communications, sustainability management, and technology management.
The Postbaccalaureate Studies Program offers qualified individuals with bachelor's degrees the opportunity to take University courses for graduate school preparation and career advancement. Advisors help students develop a customized course of study. Certificates are offered in biotechnology; business; classics; critical issues in international relations; ecology, evolution, and environmental biology; executive education in strategic communications; psychology; quantitative studies for finance; and United Nations studies.
The Visiting Students Program allows undergraduate, graduate, and high school students with suitable academic records to study at Columbia on a nondegree basis.
The Summer Sessions offer a wide variety of undergraduate‑ and graduate‑level courses for Columbia students, visiting students, and new and continuing nondegree students.
The High School Programs allow highly motivated students to take intensive noncredit courses for enrichment during the summer. Students may live on campus or commute. The Barcelona Experience is a four‑week noncredit study‑abroad program for high school juniors and seniors. Culture and History: Understanding the Arab World is a pre‑college summer study‑abroad program organized in collaboration with King's Academy in Jordan.
The American Language Program offers a wide variety of English language courses to speakers of other languages.
The Auditing and Lifelong Learning Program enables adults not currently enrolled in college to sit in on select lecture courses in the Arts and Sciences. Auditors receive no credit and are silent participants in class. Adults over 65 are offered reduced tuition as part of the Lifelong Learners Program.
- Andrew Hawkins – Retired NFL Player, M.S. 2017
- Gayatri Devi, MD - Neurologist, Alzheimer's Researcher and Author, M.S. 2014
- Kira Peikoff – Journalist and Author, M.S. 2015