New Dual Degree Program

A dual degree program leads to 2 degrees, either both from Columbia, or one from Columbia and one from a partner institution.  Students are enrolled in two different degree programs. A portion of the courses taken in one institutions is counted towards towards meeting the requirements for the other degree, relying on standard transfer credit policies. Please note that to initiate a dual degree program, both NY-based programs must already be approved and registered by NYSED.

The process to launch a new dual degree program is outlined below. Please consult with OVPAP ( if there are any questions regarding the necessary approval steps, appropriate forms to complete, or access to APAS (Academic Programs Approval System). Once a proposal has been submitted to APAS, those with APAS access at that school can log in and check the status at any time:

    The University Statutes give the individual schools the responsibility for organizing curricular programs leading to new degrees, defining their requirements and approving the courses that fulfill those requirements.  Each school relies upon a Committee on Instruction (COI), Curriculum Committee (CC),  or an equivalent faculty body, to ensure that its programs meet its standards of quality and contribute to its educational mission.  Therefore, every new  dual degree program, regardless of the level of the degrees, must first be reviewed and approved by the COI, CC,  or equivalent bodies, of the school(s) that will offer it.  The program also needs the approval of the deans of the participating schools.

    Schools should complete and upload the appropriate internal University proposal form to APAS. Forms can be downloaded from the sidebar on the right. Once both schools have completed their respective internal review processes, a representative for the COI/CC of both schools and a representative for the school dean of both schools must give their approval in APAS.

    The Vice Provost for Academic Programs evaluates proposals for new dual degree programs on behalf of the Provost and forwards them to other offices for the following reviews:

    • The University Registrar reviews proposals for conformity with University policies and New York State regulations;
    • The University Librarian certifies that the University has the information resources to support them;
    • The Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, who serves as the University’s Chief Digital Officer, evaluates any proposals involving  online education.
    • There is no decanal review of dual degree programs.

    Once a dual degree proposal has all of the approvals listed above, the Vice Provost for Academic Programs forwards it to the University Senate (unless the proposal leads to two bachelor’s degrees, in which case it does not need Senate approval).   

    If either of the degrees students will earn at Columbia in a dual degree program is at the Master’s or doctoral level, the proposal requires the approval of the University Senate. 

    The Senate's review of the proposal, when it is required, is conducted by its Education Committee.

    • The Committee establishes a subcommittee at one of its meetings to review the proposal and report back to the full Committee at a subsequent meeting.  As part of its review, the subcommittee may discuss the proposal with the faculty sponsors of the proposed program and may request additional information to complete their review. 
    • After receiving the subcommittee’s report, the full Education Committee discusses the proposal and votes on whether to recommend it to the full University Senate.

    Proposals that receive an affirmative vote in the Education Committee are forwarded to the Executive Committee of the University Senate for consideration at the next Plenary meeting of the full Senate.

    The Senate Education Committee meets monthly between September and April. It takes a minimum of 2-3 months (2-3 consecutive meetings) for the Senate Education Committee to complete their review. Therefore, it is advisable to submit proposals no later than November of the fall semester if the program is to make its way through the Senate process before the end of the academic year. 

    The approval of the University Senate is normally the final step within the University for starting a new dual degree program with at least one degree leading to a Master’s or doctoral degree.