Align FAQ

If you have additional questions, please feel free to email our Align Admissions and Advising team at

Align Admissions FAQ

Align MS Program FAQ




How much is the application fee? 

The application fee is $85. 

What are the application requirements?

Please see the official application requirements on the SEAS website here.

  • Official transcript copies from every post-secondary institution attended
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Standardized Tests: Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test Scores*; TOEFLIELTS, or PTE if applicable
  • Personal statement
  • Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • An interview may be requested
  • $85 non-refundable application fee

Do I complete a 2nd application for the MS program after I finish the bridge coursework?

No, you will only complete one application. As an Align applicant you will apply to the CS@CU Align MS program and upon admission you will complete the bridge coursework as well as the MS coursework without a 2nd application into the MS program. This provides a seamless transition from the bridge coursework to the MS degree. 

What are the required statements or essays in the application? 

The Align MS program application requires both a Statement of purpose and a Career Essay. 

Personal Statement prompt: a brief description of your academic and professional activities and accomplishments, as well as any other information that you feel can help us evaluate your potential to succeed in the program.

Career Essay Prompt: describe your career objectives and specific goals in pursuing the MS Bridge to Computer Science Program. Why did you apply to this program? What do you hope to do after graduation?

Is the Align application open yet?

The application is now open! 

When is the Align application deadline?

The priority deadline for complete applications is March 1st. We will continue to review applications  after this date on a rolling basis. 

In order to be considered complete for review your application should be submitted and all materials should be received including letters of reference. 


Can I apply to both the Align and regular MS program? I’m not sure which I qualify for yet. 

No,  it is against school policy to apply to more than one program at SEAS however if the Align MS Admissions Committee or the MS Admissions Committee determine that your are not a good candidate for their program, they will have the discretion to send your application for a 2nd review by the other admissions committee. This 2nd review is not guaranteed and only at the discretion of the individual admissions committee. 

Is this program BS/MS or 4+1 type program where I earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree? 

No, this program does not award an undergraduate degree. A minimum qualification to apply is that you must already hold an undergraduate degree by the time you start the Align MS program. Upon successful completion of the program you will be awarded the Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Columbia University. 



Is the GRE required? 

Yes, the GRE is required for the Align MS program. Please see the SEAS application requirements online here

Is there a minimum GRE score for admission?

No, we do not have a minimum GRE score required for admission. We anticipate that applicants to the CS@CU Align MS program will come to us with a variety of different backgrounds. The GRE will help, along with the rest of your application, to identify your strengths and areas in which the program can benefit you. 

What are the GRE and TOEFL institutional codes for the Columbia University Department of Computer Science? How do I send IELTS scores to Columbia University?

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

Please have your official GRE and TOEFL scores sent to us directly by ETS, using the Columbia University institutional code 2111. It is not necessary to enter the department code.

For IELTS scores, enter your TRF number on the application for admission. Our office downloads IELTS scores that have been transmitted to our e-download account. Please contact your test center and​ request that your scores be sent to ​the IELTS e-download account. You may select Columbia Engineering, by searching for Columbia University under “List of Organizations subscribing to the E-TRF Query” and then selecting “The Fu Foundation School.” We will not accept paper IELTS test report forms.

Please refer to the SEAS Standardized Test Scores FAQ for more information on this process. For followup inquiries, we encourage you to contact directly.

Who is required to submit standardized test scores?

Please refer to the SEAS Standardized Test Scores FAQ for more information on this process. For followup inquiries, we encourage you to contact directly.

Do you have minimum language scores? 

No, for Internet-based TOEFL test, we recommend a total score of 101. For IELTS, 7 is the recommended score for admission. These are not strict cutoffs, we will of course, consider applicants with other scores.  


What is the duration of the program?

The Align MS program consists of both bridge coursework (1 summer & 2 semesters) in undergraduate courses as well as 3 semesters of MS program coursework. The curriculum can be customized to each student’s unique needs if they have some of the bridge coursework already completed at the time of admission. 

How much does the program cost?

Tuition rates are set by the University and updated each summer. Tuition and fees are posted online here

What does the Align program curriculum consist of?

Admitted students will complete three terms of bridge coursework before they are moved directly into Columbia University’s Master’s program in Computer Science. Please refer to the Align Quickguide for a breakdown of program requirements. 

Can I waive some of the program requirements, if I already took some classes elsewhere?

Yes! You can consult with your Align Faculty Advisor to discuss your eligibility to waive out of some of the bridge courses. If they determine that you have an equivalent course or background then the course may be waived. Email is if you have specific questions about your prior coursework