About Us

Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher education in the State of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. It was established under a royal charter from George II in 1754 as Kings College. In 1767 the College opened the first medical school in the country to grant the MD degree. In 1896, the trustees formally designated the college a university and in 1912 the name was legally changed to The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York by order of the Supreme Court of NY State.

In 1928, Columbia University created the country's first academic medical center (CUMC) at its current location in Washington Heights in an alliance with Presbyterian Hospital. The campus covers several blocks (primarily between 165th and 169th Streets, from the Henry Hudson Parkway to Audubon Avenue) in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. The site and facilities are shared with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which serves as the College of Physician and Surgeons' chief clinical affiliate.

CUMC was built in the 1920s on the former site of Hilltop Park, the one-time home stadium of the New York Yankees. The land was donated by Edward Harkness, who also funded much of the construction of the original campus, which was built specifically to house both a medical school and a hospital. At completion, CUMC was the first academic medical center in the world.

Presently the College of Physician and Surgeons educates 663 medical students, 776 graduate students (including 179 physical therapy students), 105 MD/PhD students. It is comprised of 1,927 full-time faculty and 24 academic departments, including the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine under whose auspices the DPT program resides, along with the Programs in Occupational Therapy.