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. Students currently enrolled in the School's M.S. program may apply for admission to the doctoral program after completing 15 points of coursework. Completion of a relevant master's degree is required prior to entry into the Ph.D. program.

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 nondegree student (not a degree candidate). Note: Not more than 15 points of credit completed as a nondegree student may be counted toward a degree.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants can only apply to one degree program per admission term. Applicants must submit an online application and required supplemental materials, as described below. An official transcript from each postsecondary institution attended, personal statement, and resume or curriculum vitae must be submitted. 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 applicant’s personal fitness to pursue professional work.

Additionally, applicants must provide three letters of recommendation and the results of required standardized exams. The Graduate Record Examination (general) is required for all candidates. Applicants to the doctoral program in applied physics are also required to submit official GRE Physics Test scores. GRE general and subject test scores are valid for five years from the test administration date according to the Educational Testing Service (ETS). English language test scores are required of all applicants who received their bachelor's degree in a country in which English is not the official and widely spoken language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE) scores satisfy the test requirement and are valid for two years according to the test organizations.

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY

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 coursework 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

APPLICATION FEES

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

GRADUATE ADMISSION CALENDAR

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.

EXPRESS APPLICATION

Columbia Engineering, Columbia College, General Studies, and Barnard seniors as well as alumni from the same Schools, who have graduated within 3 years, may be eligible to apply to a master's program using the express application process. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 in an approved undergraduate program is required to be eligible to submit an MS Express application. For more information about eligibility visit the Office of Graduate Student Affairs website.

The MS Express 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.

ONE-TERM NONDEGREE STUDENT STATUS

Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements, who are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or hold an appropriate visa, 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 nondegree student. This option is also appropriate for individuals who missed application deadlines. Applications for the one-term nondegree 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 nondegree 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.

TRANSFER APPLICANTS

Master degree students are not eligible for transfer credits.

Students admitted to the doctoral program who have been conferred an appropriate 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.