Computer Science PhD Pre-Submission Application Review (PAR) Program

The PhD PAR program offers a one-time review of an applicant’s Personal Statement and CV. The review is done by a current computer science PhD student.



As we enter the 21st century and beyond, Science, Technology, and its related fields – including Computer Science – will play a key role in shaping the future of our society. Institutions such as Columbia University will be instrumental in working on the most important problems in the field as well as educating the next generation of academics and researchers who will go on to make their own invaluable contributions. 

In light of this reality, a group of current PhD students in the department is helping to establish the most accessible PhD application process possible, to promote a diverse and welcoming intellectual environment for all. This volunteer-run program is one part of our ongoing efforts to achieve this goal.

The CS Department recognizes that our field as a whole has not succeeded in empowering under-represented populations to take advantage of CS research and professional opportunities.

This lack of representation in CS leads to systematic disadvantages to applicants in those communities which can manifest in several ways, including (1) difficulty in accessing research mentorship at their university or elsewhere, (2) lack of exposure to seminars and events around recent research, and (3) difficulty in accessing application mentoring on how to best advertise their past experiences and aspirations when applying to a specific discipline within CS.

Motivated by this, the CS Department is running a program where PhD applicants can receive a one-time review of their Personal Statement and Resume/CV before making their final submission. The review will be done by a current PhD student (from the sub-area of CS that the applicant is interested in pursuing). Note that this program is separate from the admissions process: program reviewers do not sit on the admissions committee, and whether or not an applicant is selected to receive a review does not reflect their chance of admission to the PhD program.

Please note that this is a Student-Run Volunteer Program. Participation in this program is first-come, first-served, and dependent on the availability of our volunteer PhD reviewing pool. The form for submitting your Personal Statement and Resume/CV is here. The deadline for submitting your materials is November 7, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST. You will be notified by November 15, 2022 if your personal statement and resume/CV will be reviewed. And you will hear back from the reviewer no later than November 20, 2022.



All applications to our PhD Program must be made electronically. The online application system is available on the SEAS Admissions website. The deadlines for the submission of your fully completed application are:

  • To start the PhD Program in the Spring semester: apply by November 15 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 SEAS Admissions website 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. To learn more about the process of applying watch Demystifying the PhD, a seminar series that highlights current PhD students who discuss different elements of applying to the PhD program.

If you are interested in learning more about a day in the life of our PhD students, check out the Demystifying the Dissertation: PhD Research Discussions seminar series, which highlights several computer science PhD students. In their videos, these students discuss their experiences and research projects.