Graduate Programs

The Department of Computer Science offers graduate programs leading to the degree of Master of Science and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Applicants for January admission should take these exams by April of the preceding year.

M.S. students must complete the professional development and leadership course, ENGI E4000, as a graduation requirement. Ph.D. candidates are strongly encouraged to complete ENGI E6001–6004 and should consult their program for PDL requirements.

M.S. in Computer Science Program

The Master of Science (M.S.) program is intended for students with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a strongly related field who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of computer science. Columbia University and the New York City environment provide excellent career opportunities with multiple industries. The program provides a unique opportunity to develop leadingedge in-depth knowledge of specific computer science disciplines.

Students in the M.S. program must complete a total of 30 points with a GPA of at least 2.7. Every student selects a track that focuses on a particular field of computer science. There are currently eight predefined M.S. tracks: Computational Biology; Computer Security; Foundations of Computer Science; Machine Learning; Natural Language Processing; Network Systems; Software Systems; Vision, Graphics, Interaction, and Robotics. Every track has a set of required courses and a wide range of elective courses that allow the students flexibility in designing their program according to their interests, under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Besides the eight predefined tracks, there is also the option of a M.S. Personalized track for students who want to study an area of computer science that is not covered by one of the eight tracks, and the option of the M.S. Thesis track for students who want to do extensive research in a subfield and write an M.S. thesis, under the supervision of a faculty member. Students in all the tracks are encouraged to pursue research if they wish, and many participate in research projects with the faculty. The faculty in the department conduct research in all areas of computer science. For detailed information on the M.S. program here.

Ph.D. in Computer in Science Program

The primary focus of the doctoral program is research, with the philosophy that students learn best by doing— beginning as apprentices and becoming junior colleagues working with faculty on scholarly research projects. The faculty in the department conduct research in all areas of computer science. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy requires a dissertation based on the candidate's original research, which is supervised by a faculty member, and all students in the Ph.D. program are actively engaged in research throughout the program. Ph.D. students spend at least half of their time on research under the direction of their faculty adviser from their first day in the program and devote themselves full time to research after coursework and other preliminaries have been completed. Ph.D. students are also expected to participate in departmental and laboratory activities full time on campus throughout the program, except possibly for summer internships elsewhere, and the department does not consider admission of part-time Ph.D. students. Further information is available here.

Dual Degree Program in Journalism and Computer Science

The Graduate School of Journalism and the School of Engineering and Applied Science offer a dual degree program leading to the M.S. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism and the M.S. degree in Computer Science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Admitted students will enroll for a total of four semesters consisting of 27 points of Computer Science coursework in which an overall 2.7 GPA must be maintained in addition to the Journalism requirements. In addition to taking classes already offered at the journalism and engineering schools, students will attend a seminar and workshop designed specifically for the joint program. The seminar will teach students about the impact of digital techniques on journalism; the emerging role of citizens in the news process; the influence of social media; and the changing business models that will support newsgathering. In the workshop, students will use a hands-on approach to delve deeply into information design, focusing on how to build a site, section, or application from concept to development, ensuring the editorial goals are kept uppermost in mind.

CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science

The CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science offers prospective applicants from non-computer science backgrounds, including those without programming experience, the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to build careers in technology.

Admitted students will first take a total of seven undergraduate courses (the bridge curriculum) over two to three semesters, which will build the necessary foundation of programming and mathematical skills. There is flexibility for both scheduling and the choice of courses depending on a student’s prior experience and concurrent obligations. Students will also be closely advised during this process in order to prepare for M.S. track selection. Once the bridge is completed with an overall 3.3 GPA or higher, students are then eligible for an automatic transfer into the M.S. in Computer Science program. Further information is available here.