Please refer to the appropriate section below:
MS Express – Columbia University Seniors only
Dual MS in Journalism and Computer Science
CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science
Who to Contact with Questions
Undergraduates wanting to major in computer science first apply through one of four undergraduate schools:
- Columbia College
- Barnard College
- School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)
- School of General Studies
Each school has its own application procedure; however, online information is centralized under Applying to Columbia.
APPLICATION PRIORITY DEADLINES
Applications received and considered complete by these priority deadlines will be reviewed in the first or second priority group of applications. 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.
|Doctoral: MS/PhD, PhD, EngScD||December 15||November 15|
|Master of Science||1st Priority: January 15||November 15|
|2nd priority: February 15|
| MS Express
(Columbia Undergrads only)
|Priority: November 1||November 15|
|Final Deadline: May 30|
|Dual MS, CS & Journalism||January 15||N/A|
|CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science||Summer/Fall start: March 1||N/A|
The Master of Science (MS) program is intended for professionals who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of computer science. Columbia University and the New York City environment provide excellent career opportunities with 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 (1st Priority), February 15th (2nd priority)
- Spring: November 15
CS MS Application FAQ – Answers to common questions about the application process.
Students can choose from one of the following tracks:
DUAL MS IN JOURNALISM AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
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. For more information, visit the program website.
The Columbia University Department of Computer Science is looking for top-quality students to join its PhD Program. The department hosts exciting projects in a growing number of research areas. (See below.) Columbia University is located in New York City, one of the cultural, financial, and communications capitals of the world. This central location makes it possible for the members of the Department of Computer Science to have close ties with the nearby research labs of AT&T, Google, IBM, NEC, Siemens, Verizon, and Yahoo!, as well as with a number of major companies including financial companies of Wall Street.
OVERVIEW OF THE PHD PROGRAM
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, GRE scores, and academic grades. 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 students’ 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.
HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY TO THE PHD PROGRAM
All applications to our PhD Program must be made electronically. No paper-based applications will be accepted. Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions to this rule. 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.
HOW TO GET MORE INFORMATION
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 14 computer science PhD students. The handpicked group of students host individual Zoom sessions to discuss their experiences and research projects.
This weekly series is a CS Student Services initiative and its goal is to help undergrads, master’s students, and alumni understand the often mystifying world of PhD research and the dissertation process. Watch the series here.
PRE-SUBMISSION APPLICATION REVIEW (PAR) PROGRAM
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 (and a similar initiative underway in the Stanford CS Department), the CS Department is running a pilot program this year 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 review does not reflect their chance of admission to the PhD program.
The form for submitting your Personal Statement and Resume/CV is here. The deadline for submitting your materials is November 7th at 11:59 pm EST.
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. You will be notified by November 14th if your personal statement and resume/CV will be reviewed. And you will hear back from the reviewer no later than November 21st.
COVID-19 Accommodation for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 PhD Applications
We are fully aware of the COVID-19 crisis and the challenges it poses to many. If you have experienced any pandemic-related hardships, you should detail that in the appropriate space within the Computer Science PhD application so that the admissions team may better understand your application portfolio in its proper context. In particular, this would be the place to request consideration by the admission office of the School for a waiver of the GRE requirement. Applicants are advised that any requests for a testing waiver under these special circumstances will be reviewed alongside a complete application, and receive consideration on a case by case basis.
We receive an enormous volume of email with application-related questions, so read this website carefully before sending us email. If you do not find an answer to your question, contact us by email. Questions about particular research groups or individual faculty members should be directed to the appropriate faculty members by email.
Questions about transcripts, GRE/TOEFL/IELTS score reports, and fee waivers should be sent to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about CS MS admissions: email@example.com
Questions about CS PhD admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about the EdX Micromasters programs should be directed to email@example.com.