Academic degrees

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An academic degree is a recognition awarded for having satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study. In short, it's what you get when you're done. A diploma is physical proof of having completed a degree.

Typically a degree is granted by one of the faculties of a university, e.g., Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Law, etc. Typically there's a strong correlation between what you might think of as a "school" and a faculty (though sometimes a faculty can have multiple schools, and things get a little confusing when dealing with the Arts and Sciences at Columbia.)

New degree programs are approved by the University Senate.


List of degrees offered at Columbia

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Columbia College

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

School of Continuing Education

School of International and Public Affairs

School of the Arts

School of General Studies

Faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Faculty of Business

Graduate School of Business

Faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism

Graduate School of Journalism

Faculty of Law

School of Law

Faculty of the School of Social Work

School of Social Work

Faculty of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Faculty of Medicine

College of Physicians and Surgeons

Faculty of the Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health

Mailman School of Public Health

Faculty of Dental Medicine

College of Dental Medicine

Faculty of Nursing

School of Nursing

Faculty of Teachers College

Teachers College

Faculty of Barnard College

Barnard College

Degrees Conferred Honoris Causa


Number of degrees conferred annually

Columbia has been 'accused' on occasion of being a "degree-mill", since Columbia grants degrees at a significantly higher rate than its peer private schools. In fact, Columbia confers more degrees each year than some large state universities. This is probably thanks to Columbia's expansive offerings of Masters degree programs relative to its peers (undergraduate degrees make up less than one fifth of the degrees conferred each spring). Consider:

School Degrees awarded (2010)
Columbia 12,575 [2][4]
Harvard 6,777 [3]
Yale 3,243 [4]
Princeton 1,979 [5]
Cornell 6,619 [6]
UPenn 7,432 [7]
Brown 2,259 [8]
Dartmouth 1,726 [9]
Stanford 4,717 [10]
University of California, Berkeley 10,387 [11]
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 11,594 [12]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Unique to the school of issue.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Overwhelming majority of degrees conferred.
  4. Includes 2,538 recipients of Columbia degrees at affiliated institutions (Barnard College and Teachers College)[1]
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