Modern European Studies FAQs


For Applicants

What kind of careers do Modern European Studies students pursue?

Graduates of Modern European Studies go on to careers in government, business, journalism, and the non-profit sector as well as doctoral and professional programs at North American and European universities.

Is the GRE required for admission to the program?

No, the GRE is not required. Applicants have the option of submitting GRE scores to be considered by the admissions committee.

Do you offer financial aid?

The European Institute offers tuition remission to highly qualified students, decided at the time of admission.

Students are also able to apply for financial aid through the Graduate School of the Arts.

Is there funding to go to Europe?

The European Institute offers competitive grants for Modern European Studies students who want to conduct thesis research in Europe. The funds may be used for travel expenses and research expenses.

How much does the program cost?

Please see the Graduate School’s Cost of Attendance page for the most detailed information.

A student who wishes to fulfill the program in 12 months, would pay for 2 full Residence Units (2 semesters total, and writing the thesis during the summer) at $52,000 total.

A student who wishes to finish the program in 18 months (3 semesters total), would take 1 RU in the first Fall Semester, and then 1/2 RU in the Spring Semester, and 1/2 RU in the second Fall Semester, at $54,000 total.

Can I receive transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere?

No Transfer Credit is granted toward the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree at Columbia for courses taken outside Columbia University.

For graduate courses taken previously at Columbia in their post-baccalaureate years, students registered in M.A. programs may request up to 15 points of Transfer Credit toward fulfillment of the coursework requirement for an M.A. degree. Credit must not have been used to fulfill requirements for any other degree previously awarded.  In this case, M.A. coursework requirements may be shortened by the amount of Transfer Credits, subject to approval by the department. For example, if the M.A. degree requires 30 credits and the student transfers 10 credits, he or she may only need to fulfill the remaining 20 credits. Transfer Credits for post-baccalaureate coursework may also partially fulfill the Residence Unit requirement for completion of the M.A. degree (2 RUs), subject to approval by the department.

  • 2 classes or 6 credits are the equivalent of 0.25 RU
  • 3 classes or 9 credits are the equivalent of 0.5 RU
  • 4 classes or 12 credits are the equivalent of 1 RU

Can I study part-time?

We accept part-time students, but favor applications from full-time students.

Do you accept applications to start studying in the spring semester?

No, all Modern European Studies students begin in the fall semester.

Does Modern European Studies have a PhD Program?

No. Most PhD programs at Columbia are offered through departments. Among the many departments that support the study of Europe at the doctoral level are History, Sociology, Film, Political Science, and departments of literature such as French and Romance Philology and Slavic Languages.

I am a native speaker of a language other than English. Do I have to fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

Students who have earned a degree at an institution where the language of study is a European language other than English are exempt from the language requirement. (Such students must supply TOEFL scores when applying.)

For Current Students

What are the “Pre-2013 Requirements”?

The European Institute redesigned Modern European Studies when it assumed responsibility for the program in 2013. The new program is shorter and allows students to focus their studies more effectively. Students who enrolled in fall 2013 or earlier may fulfill the pre-2013 requirements, although we encourage them to elect the new program. All students who enter in fall 2014 or later follow the new requirements.

Can I take a class that is not on the list of pre-approved classes?

You may be able to. Consult the Program Director.

How do I know if a class is a seminar or colloquium?

The Directory of Classes indicates whether a class is a lecture, seminar, or colloquium.

Can I count a 3000-level (undergraduate) class toward the degree?

All classes must be at the 4000 level or higher to count toward the degree, with the exception of some 4-credit, 3000-level history classes. The latter may be taken for graduate credit as HIST G6999 with the approval of the instructor and the History department. Consult the Program Director.

If I am doing the social science concentration, can I take humanities classes? What about the other way around?

The concentrations take up just four courses of the nine usually required for the degree. You may take courses outside your concentration as electives. In fact, we encourage you to do so, since interdisciplinary breadth is one of the program’s strengths.

Is there funding to go to Europe?

The European Institute offers competitive grants for Modern European Studies students who want to conduct thesis research in Europe. The funds may be used for travel expenses and research expenses.

How do I fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

You can fulfill the requirement by demonstrating advanced proficiency through an exam or by passing a 3000-level language class. Exams are generally offered by Columbia’s foreign-language departments at the beginning of each semester.

How do I know if a course fulfills one of the “geographical” requirements, for courses with Europe-wide focus, courses on Europe’s relations with other world regions, or courses on a country or region within Europe?

If in doubt, consult with the Program Director. Courses on the EU count as courses with Europe-wide focus. Courses on European colonialism and imperialism count as courses on European relations with other world regions, but courses on specific European colonies or former colonies do not. Courses on Russia and Turkey may count toward the degree.

Can I receive transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere?

The Graduate School determines whether courses can be transferred at the time you are admitted. After you enroll only Columbia courses may count toward the degree, with the exception of some courses at New York University, through an agreement between the European Institute and NYU’s Center for European and Mediterranean studies.

I am a native speaker of a language than English. Do I have to fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

Students who have earned a degree at an institution where the language of study is a European language other than English are exempt from the language requirement.

For Applicants

What kind of careers do Modern European Studies students pursue?

Graduates of Modern European Studies go on to careers in government, business, journalism, and the non-profit sector as well as doctoral and professional programs at North American and European universities.

Is the GRE required for admission to the program?

No, the GRE is not required. Applicants have the option of submitting GRE scores to be considered by the admissions committee.

Do you offer financial aid?

The European Institute offers tuition remission to highly qualified students, decided at the time of admission.

Students are also able to apply for financial aid through the Graduate School of the Arts.

Is there funding to go to Europe?

The European Institute offers competitive grants for Modern European Studies students who want to conduct thesis research in Europe. The funds may be used for travel expenses and research expenses.

How much does the program cost?

Please see the Graduate School’s Cost of Attendance page for the most detailed information.

A student who wishes to fulfill the program in 12 months, would pay for 2 full Residence Units (2 semesters total, and writing the thesis during the summer) at $52,000 total.

A student who wishes to finish the program in 18 months (3 semesters total), would take 1 RU in the first Fall Semester, and then 1/2 RU in the Spring Semester, and 1/2 RU in the second Fall Semester, at $54,000 total.

Can I receive transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere?

No Transfer Credit is granted toward the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree at Columbia for courses taken outside Columbia University.

For graduate courses taken previously at Columbia in their post-baccalaureate years, students registered in M.A. programs may request up to 15 points of Transfer Credit toward fulfillment of the coursework requirement for an M.A. degree. Credit must not have been used to fulfill requirements for any other degree previously awarded.  In this case, M.A. coursework requirements may be shortened by the amount of Transfer Credits, subject to approval by the department. For example, if the M.A. degree requires 30 credits and the student transfers 10 credits, he or she may only need to fulfill the remaining 20 credits. Transfer Credits for post-baccalaureate coursework may also partially fulfill the Residence Unit requirement for completion of the M.A. degree (2 RUs), subject to approval by the department.

  • 2 classes or 6 credits are the equivalent of 0.25 RU
  • 3 classes or 9 credits are the equivalent of 0.5 RU
  • 4 classes or 12 credits are the equivalent of 1 RU

Can I study part-time?

We accept part-time students, but favor applications from full-time students.

Do you accept applications to start studying in the spring semester?

No, all Modern European Studies students begin in the fall semester.

Does Modern European Studies have a PhD Program?

No. Most PhD programs at Columbia are offered through departments. Among the many departments that support the study of Europe at the doctoral level are History, Sociology, Film, Political Science, and departments of literature such as French and Romance Philology and Slavic Languages.

I am a native speaker of a language other than English. Do I have to fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

Students who have earned a degree at an institution where the language of study is a European language other than English are exempt from the language requirement. (Such students must supply TOEFL scores when applying.)

For Current Students

What are the “Pre-2013 Requirements”?

The European Institute redesigned Modern European Studies when it assumed responsibility for the program in 2013. The new program is shorter and allows students to focus their studies more effectively. Students who enrolled in fall 2013 or earlier may fulfill the pre-2013 requirements, although we encourage them to elect the new program. All students who enter in fall 2014 or later follow the new requirements.

Can I take a class that is not on the list of pre-approved classes?

You may be able to. Consult the Program Director.

How do I know if a class is a seminar or colloquium?

The Directory of Classes indicates whether a class is a lecture, seminar, or colloquium.

Can I count a 3000-level (undergraduate) class toward the degree?

All classes must be at the 4000 level or higher to count toward the degree, with the exception of some 4-credit, 3000-level history classes. The latter may be taken for graduate credit as HIST G6999 with the approval of the instructor and the History department. Consult the Program Director.

If I am doing the social science concentration, can I take humanities classes? What about the other way around?

The concentrations take up just four courses of the nine usually required for the degree. You may take courses outside your concentration as electives. In fact, we encourage you to do so, since interdisciplinary breadth is one of the program’s strengths.

Is there funding to go to Europe?

The European Institute offers competitive grants for Modern European Studies students who want to conduct thesis research in Europe. The funds may be used for travel expenses and research expenses.

How do I fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

You can fulfill the requirement by demonstrating advanced proficiency through an exam or by passing a 3000-level language class. Exams are generally offered by Columbia’s foreign-language departments at the beginning of each semester.

How do I know if a course fulfills one of the “geographical” requirements, for courses with Europe-wide focus, courses on Europe’s relations with other world regions, or courses on a country or region within Europe?

If in doubt, consult with the Program Director. Courses on the EU count as courses with Europe-wide focus. Courses on European colonialism and imperialism count as courses on European relations with other world regions, but courses on specific European colonies or former colonies do not. Courses on Russia and Turkey may count toward the degree.

Can I receive transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere?

The Graduate School determines whether courses can be transferred at the time you are admitted. After you enroll only Columbia courses may count toward the degree, with the exception of some courses at New York University, through an agreement between the European Institute and NYU’s Center for European and Mediterranean studies.

I am a native speaker of a language than English. Do I have to fulfill the foreign-language requirement?

Students who have earned a degree at an institution where the language of study is a European language other than English are exempt from the language requirement.

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