Please refer to the appropriate section below:

Undergraduate Programs
MS Programs
Dual MS in Journalism and Computer Science
PhD Program


Undergraduates wanting to major in computer science first apply through one of four undergraduate schools:

Each school has its own application procedure; however, online information is centralized under Applying to Columbia.


The Master of Science (MS) program is intended for professionals 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 leading-edge in-depth knowledge of specific computer science disciplines.

MS applicants whose primary interests include software engineering, theory, AI, machine learning, vision/graphics, natural language processing, or other core CS areas should apply to the Computer Science MS Program.

MS applicants whose primary interests include computer architecture, parallel systems, embedded systems, or digital/VLSI design should apply to the Computer Engineering MS Program.

CS MS Application FAQ – Answers to common questions about the application process.

MS Application System – To apply to the MS program.

Students can choose from one of the following tracks:

Computational Biology
Computer Security

Foundations of Computer Science

Machine Learning

Network Systems

Natural Language Processing

Software Systems

Vision and Graphics


MS Thesis


Admitted students will enroll for a total of five semesters — approximately three in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and two in the Journalism School. In addition to taking classes already offered at the Journalism and Engineering schools, students will attend a seminar and workshop designed specifically for the dual degree 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 news gathering. 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. For more information, visit the program website.


The Columbia University Department of Computer Science is looking for top-quality students to join its PhD Program. The department hosts exciting projects in a growing number of research areas. (See below.) Columbia University is located in New York City, one of the cultural, financial, and communications capitals of the world. This central location makes it possible for the members of the Department of Computer Science to have close ties with the nearby research labs of AT&T, Google, IBM, NEC, Siemens, Verizon, and Yahoo!, as well as with a number of major companies including financial companies of Wall Street.


A small number of highly qualified students are admitted each year to the PhD Program in Computer Science. Admission is very competitive, based primarily on research-oriented reference letters, GRE scores, and academic grades. Applicants need not already hold a master’s degree; bachelor’s degree level applicants are also encouraged to apply.

Most admitted students receive full financial support through Graduate Research Assistantships, which consist of a monthly stipend plus full tuition exemption (continuation of support is, of course, contingent upon the students’ satisfactory progress in the PhD Program and availability of funding). In addition, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science awards a small number of prestigious “Presidential Distinguished Fellowships.” These fellowships provide full financial support to their recipients. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek external funding, such as government and industry fellowships. Also, Columbia rents low-cost subsidized apartments near campus for both single students and students with families.

All PhD students are expected to participate in departmental and laboratory activity full-time on-campus throughout the program, except possibly for summer internships elsewhere. Therefore the department does not normally consider admission of part-time students. Also, note that it is not possible to participate in the PhD Program through the Columbia Video Network.


All applications to our PhD Program must be made electronically. No paper-based applications will be accepted. Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions to this rule. The online application system is available at The deadlines for the submission of your fully completed application are:

  • To start the PhD Program in the Spring semester: apply by October 1 of the previous year.
  • To start the PhD Program in the Fall semester: apply by December 15 of the previous year.

You can still apply after these deadlines. However, be aware that applications are usually reviewed soon after the deadline, so late applications may not be processed as quickly or have the best chance of getting funding from our department.


The comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs) and the online application system both contain detailed information about all aspects of the application process.

You are also encouraged to investigate the research conducted in the Department of Computer Science prior to application. In particular, think about which faculty members share your research interests and also look at the research group homepages. Feel free to contact potential faculty advisors by email to request information about their recent research and publications, and to ask about opportunities in their research groups or labs.

Finally, become familiar with our PhD degree requirements.


We receive an enormous volume of email with application-related questions, so read this website carefully before sending us email. If you do not find an answer to your question, contact us by email. Questions about particular research groups or individual faculty members should be directed to the appropriate faculty members by email.

Questions about transcripts, GRE/TOEFL/IELTS score reports, and fee waivers should be sent to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs:

Questions about undergraduate admissions should be directed to the Office of Undergraduate

Questions about CS MS admissions:

Questions about CS PhD admissions: