Do you want to transfer to Columbia University? If you want to transfer to Colombia Engineering automatically, 3-2 Combined plan is your answer. The 3-2 Combined Plan is frequently called a “hidden gem” because not many students are familiar with this excellent program. I will discuss more about the “hidden gem” in this article.

3-2 Combined Plan: Transfer to Columbia University

3-2 Combined Plan is a guaranteed transfer agreement between Columbia University’s School of Engineering with many liberal arts colleges. Under 3-2 Combined Plan, students study in liberal arts colleges for three years and then transfer to Columbia for two years as an engineering major. At the end of five years, students will receive two bachelor’s degree, a B.A from their liberal arts colleges and B.S. from Columbia. If you are not familiar with liberal arts colleges, read this post.

This program was established because many liberal arts colleges do not have an engineering program because of their small size and the high cost of operating engineering programs. Also, Columbia University desires qualified students from liberal arts colleges to study in its institution. As the result, the 3-2 Combined Plan was established, and hundreds of students from various liberal arts colleges take advantages of this program every year.

The 3-2 Combined Plan guarantees students to transfer to Columbia University if they meet certain requirements. Because every student who meets the guaranteed transfer requirements will be transferred to Columbia University, there is no cap set for the number of accepted transfer students.


Requirements for Guaranteed Transfer to Columbia University

Columbia University’s website states, “students who fulfill certain requirements are guaranteed admission [as a transfer to the engineering program]”. The certain requirements of guaranteed transfer to Columbia University are the following:

  1. Attended affiliated liberal arts school for three years
  2. Pre-engineering GPA of 3.3 or higher*. Also, students need to receive 3.0 (B) or higher in pre-engineering science and math courses.
  3. Three favorable recommendation: one recommendation each from a science professor, math professor, and Combined-Plan liaison
  4. Completion of specific prerequisite courses for the major that you will be studying in Colombia (different prerequisite courses for mechanical, chemical, civil, etc.)
  5. Completion of the major and minor requirements by liberal arts colleges.
  6. For international students, 100 on Toefl or 7.0 on IELTS

*Note: Students with a GPA that is lower than 3.3 may apply to Columbia as a transfer, but admission is not guaranteed.


List of Affiliated Liberal Arts Colleges with Columbia University

Many liberal arts colleges have a guaranteed transfer agreement with Columbia University. Only the students from the affiliated liberal schools can take advantage of the guaranteed transfer admissions program. To see the list of affiliated liberal arts colleges, click here.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Pros of 3-2 Combined Plan

  1. Liberal Arts education prepares students for the rigorous engineering program at Columbia University. Since liberal arts colleges offer small class size and more interaction with the professors, students can receive help more readily and also be motivated by their professors to study hard. The 3-2 Combined Plan’s coordinator in Columbia praises the transfer students from liberal arts college stating that they are very well-prepared for the engineering rigor after they have transferred to Columbia University.
  2. Columbia’s engineering program offers an excellent education and is extremely prestigious as one of the best engineering schools in the world.
  3. 3-2 Combined Plan is cheaper than paying for Columbia University all four years if a student is receiving a good scholarship in an affiliated liberal arts college. Students can receive huge scholarship from a liberal arts college rather than paying all four years of tuition to Columbia.
  4. It is an another chance for students who were denied at Columbia earlier.


Cons of 3-2 Combined Plan

  1. Students have to study an extra year to receive two bachelor’s degrees.
  2. 3-2 Combined Plan might be more expensive if a student does not receive huge scholarship at a liberal arts college because students have to pay for the extra fifth year.
  3. Students might not want to leave their college after their junior to transfer to another university. Many students who intended to transfer to Columbia at first do not end up transferring simply because they did not want to leave their home institutions.


Financial Aid Available Combined 3-2 Plan

Columbia University does not offer any merit-based scholarship but only offers need-based scholarships. Visit Columbia University Scholarships Page for more information.

For domestic students, Columbia University does not guarantee that it will meet 100% of demonstrated need. Also, Columbia University’s website states, “Financial aid is available for foreign students, but it is limited. Columbia does not guarantee that it will meet 100% of a foreign student’s demonstrated financial need.

It should be noted that there is a limited financial aid available for international students. For individualized information, you should contact Columbia’s financial aid office.


I hope that this article on 3-2 Combined Plan was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.