Skills Verification Letter Request

Academic department staff may receive requests from alumni for a letter verifying various skills acquired during their degree program. This may occur when they’re working with an immigration attorney on a permanent residency petition. Please follow the following guidance, approved by the Office of General Counsel (OGC) and the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). 

Step 1

Identify appropriate department representative

Identify the person in your department who has the authority to write and sign a letter verifying the skills obtained during the alum’s degree program (the director of graduate studies or academic dean, for example)

Step 2

Department representative sends the following to isso-pr@columbia.edu

All items must be attached in one email. 

Step 3

ISSO reviews Skills Verification documents

Keep in mind that:

  • Skills not mentioned in the course description/syllabus will not be verified. No further attestations regarding verification of skills can be issued other than those listed and submitted on the Skills Verification Form. 
  • It is not appropriate nor necessary for Columbia to define, provide context or opine on the application of an acquired skill or skills. 
    • For example, although it might be verified that "data visualization" was taught in a specific class, it would be inappropriate for Columbia to provide context or an opinion on the ultimate utility of the specific skill, as in "designed rich data visualization to communicate complex ideas to customers or company leaders." (emphasis added)

Step 4

ISSO will contact the department representative

Within 5-7 business days, the ISSO will provide  guidance for the completion of the skills verification letter. Your letter: 

  • will certify that the alum successfully completed specific course(s) 
  • will certify that the topics/skills to be verified are mentioned in the course description/syllabus
  • must adhere to University-approved specific text and language (that ISSO will provide)
  • must be prepared on academic department letterhead and signed by the academic department representative