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Admissions Information

Thank you for your interest in our CS@CU programs! Please be sure to read through our pages, and complete keyword searches to help you gather information and make the most informed decision possible regarding the next step in your educational career.


Application Deadlines Dual MS in Journalism and Computer Science
Undergraduate Programs PhD Program
MS Programs CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science
MS Express – CU Seniors only FAQs


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

  Still have questions/ ready to apply? Click here 


Applications received and considered complete by the priority deadlines will be reviewed first. We recommend you submit your application a couple of weeks before the priority deadline to ensure that all materials, including recommendation letters, are received in time for priority review.

 CS Programs  Fall   Spring
 Doctoral: MS/PhD*, PhD  December 15 October 15
 Master of Science (CS MS)  Priority: January 15   October 15
 Final Deadline: February 15
 MS Express Application
 (Columbia Undergrads only)
Priority: February 15  October 15
 Final Deadline: May 1st
 Dual MS, CS & Journalism  January 15  N/A
 CS@CU MS Bridge Program  Priority: February 15th
 Final Deadline: March 1st

* This is NOT a CS MS; it is a degree earned en route to the PhD. CS MS applicants need to follow the Master of Science Deadlines.


The Master of Science (MS) program is intended for those who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of computer science. Columbia University and the New York City environment provide excellent career opportunities in 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.

 MS Application Priority Deadlines 

Applications will be accepted after priority deadlines; however, we encourage you to submit your application as early as possible after we open the application. 

  • Fall: January 15th (Priority), February 15th (Regular)
  • Spring: October 15


 Track Options 

Computational Biology
Natural Language Processing
Computer Security
Software Systems
Foundations of Computer Science
Vision and Graphics
Machine Learning
Network Systems
MS Thesis

  Still have questions? View our CS MS Application FAQs  


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.

  Want to learn more? Visit the program website!  


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, academic grades, and overall experience and record. 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 student’s 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. The online application system is available on the SEAS Admissions website. The deadlines for the submission of your fully completed application are:

  • Starting the PhD Program in the Spring semester: apply by November 15 of the previous year
  • Starting 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 SEAS Admissions website contains 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.

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.


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. For more information, please visit PhD Pre-Submission Application Review Program.


We receive an enormous volume of emails with application-related questions, so read the FAQ page carefully before sending us an email. Questions about particular research groups or individual faculty members should be directed to the appropriate faculty members by email.

 Transcripts, GRE/TOEFL/ IELTS, fee waivers   Office of Graduate Student Affairs
 Undergraduate Admissions   Office of Undergraduate Admissions
 CS MS Admissions   MS Admissions
 CS PhD Admissions   PhD Admissions
 CVN MS Program   CVN


Updated 11/06/2023