M.S. Program Applications


How do I apply to the MS program?
To apply, submit an online application. Once you register with a valid email address, you can log on as frequently as you need to fill out your application data. Submit the application when it is complete.

What is the full application process?
Details of each step are included within this FAQ and within the online application, but in summary:

  1. You complete and submit an online application.
  2. You submit Official and valid GRE and TOEFL (if required) scores to Columbia University through ETS (code 2111).
  3. The departmental MS Admissions Committee members review your application.
  4. Email decision will go out to you.
  5. If accepted, the SEAS Graduate Student Affairs Office will send you an official acceptance email.

What official documents and information do I need in support of my application?
Official and valid GRE and TOEFL or IELTS (if required) scores. Scores should be sent to Columbia University through ETS or IELTS. The ETS institutional code for Columbia University is 2111. No department code is needed. 

Do I need to mail my official transcript?
You do not need to mail your official transcript at the time of application.

Who should I contact to confirm the receipt of my official documents?
Due to the high volume of inquiries, requests to check the receipt of materials cannot be granted.

What are the application deadlines?
Fall priority deadline is February 15; however, we will continue accepting applications on a rolling basis. Spring priority deadline is October 1. If you have any questions, please .

Can I apply for admission to the Summer semester?
No, we do not accept students in the summer. If you want to start taking graduate-level courses in the summer, you can do so through the School of Continuing Education’s summer session. You are allowed to transfer up to 15 Continuing Education credits (graduate-level courses) towards your MS degree.

What are the admission requirements?
You should have an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related discipline. If your undergraduate degree is in a different field, you are required to have completed at least four computer science courses covering foundations of the field and basic programming, and two mathematics courses. The four computer science prerequisites are Intro to Computer Science (COMS W1004 or COMS W1007), Advanced Programming (COMS W3157), Data Structures and Algorithms (COMS W3134 or W3137), which is a prerequisite for most of our graduate-level courses, and Discrete Math (COMS W3203).

Are there any specific pre-requisite courses I need to have taken before applying?
No, as long as the above requirements are met.

Is there a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for application?
Yes, a minimum of 3.3 (out of 4) is required. Most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.  Please see below regarding converting percentage grades to the GPA system.

Test Scores: 

What are the GRE and TOEFL institutional codes for the Columbia University Department of Computer Science?
Use the Columbia University code 2111. It is not necessary to enter the department code.

Do I have to take the general GRE Test before applying?
Yes. Your application will not be reviewed without your GRE test scores in the online application. 

Is there a minimum General GRE Test score?
No. Most admitted applicants, however, have scores of 750 or higher on the Quantitative section of the test.

Is the GRE Computer Science Subject Test required?
No, but taking it may strengthen your application.

Is the TOEFL test required?
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) or Pearson Test of English (PET Academic) official scores are required. An exception is made for applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree in a country where English is the primary language. Students who have received a graduate degree in the United States before enrollment are also not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission. 

What TOEFL test scores are required?
For Internet-based TOEFL test, a total score of 100, and for the paper-based TOEFL test, a total score of 600 is required. For IELTS, 7 is the minimum score for admission.

My TOEFL, IELTS, and/or GRE scores will expire right around the time of MS application deadline. Do I need to retake the exam?
We highly recommend you to retake the test as your test scores must be valid for the admissions review.

How long are my TOEFL, IELTS and/or GRE scores valid for?
TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid from two years from the date the test was taken. GRE scores are valid for five years. 

I have entered my TOEFL/IELTS and GRE test scores on my online application. Do I still have to submit an official score report to Columbia ?
Yes, you must report your scores on your application and must request ETS or IELTS to send official scores directly to Columbia University.

I have sent my official TOEFL/IELTS and GRE test scores to the specified address. Do I still have to report the scores on my online application?
Yes, you must complete the test score sections of the online application.


My transcripts are not in English. What should I do?
Your transcripts need to be translated by an official and notarized transcription agency. This is your responsibility and the CS department cannot provide referrals.

My course grades on my undergraduate transcript are based on a different scale from Columbia’s. What can I do?
You must have your transcript converted to the GPA scale by an appropriate agency (GPA is on a 0-4 scale) before sending it to the SEAS Graduate Student Services. It is your responsibility to find an agency that can do this conversion for you. The CS department cannot provide referrals.

Recommendation Letters: 

My recommenders cannot submit their letters of recommendation electronically. Can I have them sent as hard copies via mail?
We require electronic submission of recommendations.

Can my recommenders send letters of recommendation from their non-institutional email addresses (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo)?
The email address should correspond to the main institution (e.g. university or company) with which the recommendation provider is affiliated. Please avoid entering email addresses from providers such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.

Financial Support Document:

Do I need to submit the financial document along with my application?
You will be asked to submit the financial statement after you are accepted into the program. So, there is no need for you to submit it before the decision is made.

Technical Problems: 

I’m having problems entering data and/or uploading documents in the online application system, what can I do?
Make sure your internet browser is the most up-to-date version as possible; older versions can cause problems with the system. Try working on a different computer if your problems persist. Make sure you are not attempting to upload non-supported file formats. If you still have a problem, please notify the

Being forwarded to the MS application pool from the PhD application pool:

I applied to the PhD program, but I have received a notice that I have been admitted to the MS program. What does this mean?
Your application to the PhD program was unsuccessful, but since you indicated that you would like to be considered for the MS program, your application was forwarded to the MS application pool.

I applied for the PhD program, was unsuccessful, and have been offered a place on the MS program. If I join the MS program, can I reapply for the PhD program later?
Yes, after entering the MS program, you can apply for the PhD program the following year, and transfer into the PhD program if you are successful.


When will I receive a decision on my application?
The Masters Committee reviewers evaluate all applications and make admission decisions. As soon as that decision is made, you will be notified by email to the address specified on your online application. 

I submitted my application a while ago and still have not heard about a decision yet.  Has a decision been made?
If you have not received the email notification yet, that means the application is still being evaluated. As soon as a decision is made, you will be notified automatically via email. Due to the high volume of applications, we request that you do not contact the department inquiring about the decision.

If I am denied admission, may I receive feedback on the reasons behind the decision?
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications received, the Department cannot provide specific feedback on the decisions made.

Funding Information: 

How do I apply for departmental funding?
The Department offers a limited number of highly selective Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA); these fellowships provide partial/full tuition waivers and a stipend.

When will I be informed if I have been successful in application for departmental funding?
The funding-offer email will go out at the same time as the admissions email.

Are there other funding opportunities? 
US students are encouraged to apply for scholarships, merit fellowships, and loans. Visit the FFSEAS Official Financial Aid and Educational Financing for more information. International students are advised to pursue fellowship programs available through their countries of origin. 


I have been offered admission to the MS program. Yet my situation has changed, and I want to enroll in a later semester. What should I do?
You will have to reactivate your application and pass the review process again. Your online application and official documents are held for maximum of 12 months from your original submission date and can be reactivated once within this time without repaying the application fee. To do this, click on the reactivation link in the online application system and specify your desired semester of entry.

I want to apply for admission for the Fall or Spring semester in one year’s time or more, but I cannot see my semester of choice in the online system. What can I do?
Applications are only accepted up to a maximum of two semesters in advance. Check back at a later date when your semester of choice will be activated to receive applications.

I was denied admission. Can I reactivate my application?
No, you cannot reactivate your rejected application. You can reapply to the program by creating a new online application. Also, if you choose to reapply, please send us new supplemental materials. Please be aware that you will need to pay the application fee again when you create a new application.

I am reactivating my MS application. Do I need to submit my test scores?
If you have previously applied to the CS graduate program and submitted official scores the first time through ETS (and those scores are still valid), then you do not need to resubmit them with your current application. If your test scores have expired as of the new application deadline date, then you need to retake the exam and submit those new scores.

Columbia Video Network:

What is Columbia Video Network (CVN)?
CVN is the graduate distance learning program of Columbia University's School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS). CVN enables students globally to pursue residency-free, fully accredited engineering courses and degree programs completely via the Internet, allowing students to view their lectures anytime and anywhere.

If you are interested in the distance learning program, please visit their website here.

Contact Us: 

We receive an enormous volume of email with application-related questions, so we ask that you please read this website carefully before sending us email. If you do not find an answer to your question, then contact us by .



Last updated on 12/5/2014