M.S. Program Application FAQ

ESSENTIALS

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.

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.

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.

You do not need to mail your official transcript at the time of application.

Due to the high volume of inquiries, requests to check the receipt of materials cannot be granted.

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 email.

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.

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. For example, 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, or/and Discrete Math (COMS W3203).

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

Use the Columbia University code 2111. It is not necessary to enter the department code.

Yes. Your application will not be reviewed without your GRE test scores in the online application.

No. Most admitted applicants, however, have scores of 750 or higher on the Quantitative section of the test.

No, but taking it may strengthen your application.

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.

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.

We highly recommend you to retake the test as your test scores must be valid for the admissions review.

TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid from two years from the date the test was taken. GRE scores are valid for five years.

Yes, you must report your scores on your application and must request ETS or IELTS to send official scores directly to Columbia University.

TRANSCRIPT

Your transcripts need to be translated by an official and notarized transcription agency. This is your responsibility and the CS department cannot provide referrals.

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:

FINANCIAL SUPPORT DOCUMENT:

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:

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 webmaster.

BEING FORWARDED TO THE MS APPLICATION POOL FROM THE PHD APPLICATION POOL:

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.

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.

DECISION:

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.

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.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications received, the Department cannot provide specific feedback on the decisions made.

FUNDING INFORMATION:

The Department offers a limited number of highly selective Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA); these fellowships provide partial/full tuition waivers and a stipend.

The funding-offer email will go out at the same time as the admissions email.

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.

REACTIVATION:

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.

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.

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.

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:

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 email.