Academics

Hone Your Talent. Find your Path.

“The way we were encouraged to think so deeply about the most minute of details, critique our peers, and read such well-chosen pieces of writing has completely changed my perspective on writing.”
– Zyna D. | India

Overview

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 (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., EST) or the afternoon (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., EST). Students are normally given a ten-minute break halfway through each class meeting. See individual course pages for specific meeting times.

Before morning sessions and between morning and afternoon classes, students can participate in various co- and extracurricular activities offered as part of the Academic Year Immersion program that can boost your college application and connect you with the Columbia community.

Young student wearing headphone engaged looking at laptop

Instructors

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.

“I remember having my mind blown as a teenager by the thought that we, a bunch of primates walking on the surface of an average planet, could make sense of how the universe started. Modern cosmology connects what we know about the smallest scales we can test in labs with the largest scales we can observe with telescopes, and I think there lies the beauty of it.”
– Jose Zorilla, Ph.D., “The Origin and Evolution of the Universe” >>

Grades, Evaluations, and Credit

The Immersion Programs are 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 a written evaluations from their instructor.

Evaluation Letters

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.

Certification of Participation

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 by January for Fall Courses.

“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” >>

Attendance

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.

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.