“My participation in the [program] was in one word--insightful. I gained an extensive amount of knowledge in my field that not only gave me a deeper understanding of the topic but also introduced me to practices I may want to go into in my future.”
– Aurora L. | Weston, FL
Choosing from over 40 courses in a dozen subject areas, students select up to four courses per semester for an exploratory examination of different subject areas, but we recommend that students take between one and three courses per semester.
Courses meet for two hours on Saturday or Sunday, either in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Students are normally given a ten-minute break halfway through each class meeting. See individual course listing pages for specific meeting times; fall courses and spring courses.
Classes are taught by scholars and practitioners who are experts in their fields and have a passion and demonstrated aptitude for teaching. All program instructors have undergone background checks and University-mandated training.
Instructor biographies appear at the bottom of each course page. Please note that in most cases a student will work with just one of the listed instructors.
While some courses may be team-taught, more often than not classes are taught in small discrete sections led by individual instructors.
Classes are experiential and collaborative. While course instructors do provide a significant amount of substantive instruction, students learn largely by engaging directly with the subject matter through activities such as simulations, workshops, meetings with guest speakers, assigned readings, and individual and group projects.
Students are encouraged to think logically, independently, critically, and creatively. Instructors guide them in learning how to do so. Even more important than the particular knowledge participants gain in any of these classes is the ability to think with both open-mindedness and precision about complex and challenging material. We believe that this skill will be essential to them, not only in their academic careers, but also in their lives as world citizens and future leaders.
Grades, Evaluations, and Credit
The Academic Year Immersion Program for High School Students is academically rigorous; courses do not carry college credit, however.
Grades are not assigned. Rather, upon successful participation in the program, students receive official Columbia University Certifications of Participation and written evaluations from their instructor.
Instructors comment candidly and constructively on students’ performance, as demonstrated by their in-class participation and submitted work. Students are evaluated on the basis of the effort they put in, their progress over the duration of the class, and their potential for future work in the pertinent field and in college.
Successful participation is determined by the instructors in consultation with program administration. Successful participation is based on attendance, class participation, satisfactory completion of assignments, and adherence to the program's community standards.
Evaluations and Certifications of Participation are typically issued within 4-7 weeks from the end of the program.
“When my students hear the phrase 'according to scientists,' I want them to have the tools to evaluate the quality of that research and decide whether they should accept those scientists’ conclusions."
– Dr. Alison Jane Martingano, Ph.D., “Social Psychology: Understanding Human Behavior” >>
Because learning in our courses is largely based on what takes place in class meetings, it is important that students attend all class sessions. A student who misses multiple class sessions may not receive a Certification of Participation, even if those absences are excused. Unexcused absences can lead to dismissal from the program. Attendance is carefully monitored.
The Virtual Classroom
Through Columbia's leading online interactive learning platform, which has been a hallmark of our graduate programs for nearly a decade, students across the globe can engage with one another through rigorous curricular instruction, inclusive student life activities, and informative college success events.
Additional information, including technology requirements, can be found on the Online Learning page.
Community Standards & Academic Integrity
Program participants are expected to function, both intellectually and in terms of maturity, at the level of University students. Program community standards can be found here.
Columbia University takes matters of intellectual integrity very seriously. Plagiarism is not tolerated. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, submitting work done by another person or purchased from any source; failure to document ideas found in sources, whether print or electronic, with appropriate notes and bibliographical references; failure to enclose borrowed phrases or sentences within quotation marks; and turning in the same assignment for two courses without advance permission from both instructors.
Plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, will result in dismissal from the program. Students who are unsure about the proper presentation of their work should consult their course instructor.