Graduate Admissions

The basic requirement for admission as a graduate student is a bachelor’s degree received from an institution of acceptable standing. Ordinarily, the applicant will have majored in the field in which graduate study is intended, but in certain programs, preparation in a related field of engineering or science is acceptable. The applicant will be admitted only if the undergraduate
record shows promise of productive and effective graduate work.

Students who hold an appropriate degree in engineering may apply for admission to study for the Ph.D. degree. However, students are required to obtain the master’s degree first. Applications for admission as a doctoral candidate may be made after completion of 15 points of work as a candidate for the master’s degree.

Students may be admitted in one of the following five classifications: candidate for the M.S. degree, candidate for the M.S. degree leading to the Ph.D. degree, candidate for the Doctor of Engineering Science degree, candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (see also the bulletin of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), or special student (not a degree candidate). Note: Not more than 15 points of credit completed as a special nondegree student may be counted toward a degree.


Applicants must submit an online application and required supplemental materials, as described below. The applicant must obtain one official transcript from each postsecondary institution attended and upload it to the online application. Consideration for admission will be based not only on the completion of an earlier course of study, but also upon the quality of the record presented and upon such evidence as can be obtained concerning the candidate’s personal fitness to pursue
professional work.

Additionally, candidates must provide three letters of recommendation and the results of required standardized exams. The Graduate Record Examination (general) is required for all candidates. GRE scores are valid for five years from the test date. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS ), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) is required of all candidates who received their bachelor’s degree in a country in which English is not the official and spoken language. TOEFL, IELTS , and PTE scores are valid for two years from the test date. Applicants can only apply to one degree program per admission term.


The Office of Graduate Student Affairs no longer requires students to demonstrate English proficiency as a graduation requirement at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Regardless of TOEFL, IELTS , or PTE scores submitted for admission, students should continue to work on maintaining adequate verbal and/or written abilities for successful integration within their classes and future professional endeavors. Students are highly encouraged to be proactive about addressing their English proficiency by utilizing the many resources available within Columbia University and throughout New York City.

Students have the option of enrolling in courses offered through the American Language Program (ALP) at Columbia University. However, course credits earned through ALP do not count toward the minimum engineering academic course work requirements. Enrollment in ALP courses is solely the financial responsibility of the student. As a rule, ISSO will not permit students to drop courses or fall below full-time registration for language


The nonrefundable application fee for all graduate degree and nondegree programs is $85.


Applicants are admitted twice yearly, for the fall and spring semesters.

  • Fall admission application deadlines: December 15 for Ph.D., Eng.Sc.D., and M.S. leading to Ph.D. programs and February 15 for most M.S. only and nondegree applicants. Please visit the Office of Graduate Student Affairs website for specific M.S. only program deadlines.
  • Spring admission application deadline: October 1 for all departments and degree levels.

Applicants who wish to be considered for scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships should file complete applications for fall admission.


Columbia Engineering seniors already enrolled in a B.S. program with a minimum GPA of 3.5 are eligible to submit an express application.

This online application, which waives the submission of GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts, streamlines and simplifies the application process for graduate study. Contact your academic department or the Office of Graduate Student Affairs for further details.


Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements, who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents, and who wish to take courses for enrichment, may secure faculty approval to take up to two graduate-level courses for one term only as a one-term special student. This option is also appropriate for individuals who missed application deadlines. Applications for special student status are available at the Office of Graduate Student Affairs and must be submitted during the first week of the fall or spring semester.

If a one-term special student subsequently wishes either to continue taking classes the following term or to become a degree candidate, a formal application must be made through the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.


Master degree students are not eligible for transfer credits.

Students possessing a conferred M.S. degree may be awarded two residence units toward their Ph.D., as well as 30 points of advanced standing toward their Ph.D. or Eng. Sc.D. with approval from the academic department and the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.