Columbia University in the City of New York

MARS-REERS and BA/MA Admissions

Application for admission to the Master of Arts in Regional Studies – Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe (MARS-REERS) – is made through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). This applies to both the stand-alone MA degree and the BA/MA program.


Application Deadlines

Fall Admission


MA Program: January 11, 2024

Applications will be accepted until May 1st on a space-available basis.

BA/MA Program: April 18, 2024*

* For current undergraduate Columbia students only.

Application Requirements

Applications are accepted online only and must include:

  • 10-15 page writing sample
  • Personal statement
  • Resume/CV
  • 3 recommendations
  • GRE scores (optional)
  • TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers


Financial Aid

First Year Fellowships

Merit-based fellowships are available for first-year MARS-REERS students. There is no separate application, the GSAS application will be used by the admissions committee to award funding.

Second Year Fellowships

There is significant funding for the second year of study for MARS-REERS students. The Institute’s Fellowship Committee makes all fellowship decisions. Candidates may apply for more than one fellowship.

Summer Opportunities

Every year the Harriman Institute awards funding for Columbia student travel, research, and language study in and about Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe.

General FAQs

Is the MA program 1 or 2 years?

The program can be finished in 1 year, however, it is designed to be a two-year program with summer funding available for internships, language study, or research in the region.

How many students enroll each year?

We aim to have 8-10 students in each cohort.

What is the cost of attendance?

Students must enroll in 2 full residence units in their first year. You can find the cost of a residence unit for the current academic year on the GSAS website.

In their second year, students enroll in extended residence.

What is a residence unit?

A residence unit is a term that refers to a full-time student that is eligible for 20 credit points of class. Students will enroll in a residence unit each semester.

Is there funding available for MA students?

Merit-based funding is available for first-year students. Applicants are automatically considered for funding when they apply by the January deadline.

Second-year students apply for merit-based fellowships in February of their first year. Significant funding is available for continuing students.

What do students do in the summer?

Summer activities include internships, thesis field research, and language study in the region.

Is there funding for summer travel/study/research/internships?

Yes.  There is funding for summer travel and research through Harriman Institute’s PepsiCo Research and Travel Fellowships. Internships can be funded through our European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Internship Program or the Civil Society Fellowship. Finally, Summer Language Fellowships are also available to MA students.

Learn more >

Does the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provide housing for Master's students?

GSAS does not guarantee housing for MA students.  Master’s students can enter a waiting list for housing.  As University housing opens, MA students will be chosen off of the list. It is important for admitted students to join the waitlist as soon as possible if they would like university housing.

More info >

Does the university offer any housing assistance for students moving to New York City?

The university has an office for off-campus housing (OCHA). Admitted students may search the database for open apartments or rooms to rent.  There is also an option to find a roommate through a roommate search board.

OCHA website >

Does Columbia offer health insurance to Master's students?

University policy requires all registered full-time students to have health insurance coverage that meets the standards set by Columbia Health. The Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan offers the 90 Plan (formerly called Gold Plan) and the 100 Plan (formerly called the Platinum Plan). The Columbia Plan is administered by Aetna Student Health and is underwritten by Aetna.

To ensure that international students have access to the highest quality care on and off-campus, the University requires that all international students (with the exception of non-degree special students and visiting exchange scholars) enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan. Part-time domestic students may elect enrollment in the plan.


Admissions and Application FAQs

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for fall admission is mid-January, with rolling admissions until May if space remains. We also allow for spring admission with a deadline in mid-November.

Merit-based funding is only available for fall admission at the mid-January deadline.

Exact application deadlines > 


Can I apply for admittance to the spring term?

No, applications for the MARS-REERS program are only accepted for a fall semester start. 

May I submit more than the required three letters of recommendation?

Yes, we accept up to five letters.

Can I submit letters of recommendation from people outside of academia?

Yes, although you should have at least one recommendation from someone who can attest to your academic capabilities.

How are letters of recommendation submitted?

Letters of recommendation along with all other application materials are sent through the GSAS application system, online.  If you have any questions about how to submit materials please contact GSAS.  Materials should not be sent directly to the Harriman Institute.

Is there a minimum GRE score required for admission?

There is no official score requirement and the department does not release information on the selection process.

Is there a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score requirement?

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based test, 100 on the internet-based test, or a 7.5 for the IELTS.


If I took the TOEFL or IELTS more than once, can I submit the results of more than one test to achieve the minimum score?

Applicants must achieve a minimum total score of 100 on the results of one test. The highest score obtained on the individual sections of the test cannot be combined to meet the minimum total requirement.

Do I need to submit official transcripts when I submit my application?

No. Unofficial paper transcripts or documents downloaded from your school’s student services website may be uploaded for consideration for admission. Official transcripts will be required only after an offer of admission has been made.

Do I need to uplod both the foreign language and English translations of my transcripts?

Yes. Transcripts that are in a language other than English should be translated into English. The translation must be certified to be an accurate translation of the original and be notarized or otherwise authenticated.

What if I have a longer writing sample than the 10-15 pages required?

Please do not submit a writing sample longer than 15 pages.  You may submit a chapter or excerpt of a longer paper if you prefer.

Questions about the MARS-REERS Program?

For further information, please email or call the Harriman Institute.