The Office of Graduate Students Affairs no longer requires students to demonstrate their English proficiency upon admission to the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Language proficiency is the responsibility of the student. Regardless of previous TOEFL/IELTS test scores, students should continue to work on maintaining adequate verbal and/or written abilities for successful integration within their classes and future professional endeavors. We highly encourage students to be proactive in addressing their own proficiency deficiencies by utilizing the many resources available with Columbia University and throughout New York City.
As a rule, ISSO will not permit students to drop courses or fall below full-time registration for language proficiency deficiencies.
As a general guide, we encourage non-native English speakers to actively work on their proficiency through some of the many strategies:
- In classes, minimize or avoid workgroups that consist of only members of your own native language. Actively working in groups with diversity of students and backgrounds will ensure you resist the temptation of defaulting to your native language. Speaking and writing in English requires on-going practice. This technique also works with study groups.
- At social events, actively engage in dialog by meeting and greeting other students. This will ensure you have the opportunity to engage in dialog while practicing your language skills. Student leadership groups, such as EGSC (Engineering Graduate Student Council), are great ways to perfect your skills.
- Work with your faculty, department administrators, and the Center for Career Education to review your resume and to have the opportunity to practice for your future job/career interviews. Employers will expect our students to have honed their language proficiency to be successful employees. Our students are expected to not only have an expertise in their engineering disciplines, but also be experts in articulating their skills and job functions to their future supervisors, colleagues and clients. Even if your resume is perfect, your ability to articulate your thoughts and skills during an interview is imperative.
On and off-campus resources are also available, please contact our office for additional resources. Coursework credits earned through the American Language Program (ALP) do not count towards minimum engineering academic coursework requirements. Arrangements to take ALP courses will be at the financial responsibility of the student.
If you have any questions about any of these items, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Graduate Student Affairs at (212) 854-6438