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. Complete and submit an online application.
  2. Submit Official and valid GRE and TOEFL (if required) scores to Columbia University through ETS (code 2111).
  3. After you submit the application, reference requests are sent to your recommendation providers.
  4. The departmental MS Admissions Committee members review your application.
  5. You may be asked for an interview.
  6. Email decision will go out to you.
  7. 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. Please see the official application requirements online here: https://gradengineering.columbia.edu/graduate-admissions/application-requirements

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

Fall 1st priority deadline: January 15
Fall 2nd priority deadline: February 15
however, we will continue accepting applications on a rolling basis

Spring priority deadline: October 1

We will begin application review after the 1st & 2nd priority deadlines for all complete applications. A complete application consists of all application materials being uploaded and entered in the application system including reference letters. Those applications that are completed after the 2nd priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis with later batches of applications.
NOTE: We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible in order to give your reference providers ample time to fill out the reference form and write a letter. Our system will only send them the request AFTER you submit your application. Rest assured, you may log in to make changes after you submit, however please complete your changes by the 1st priority deadline.

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 Professional Studies summer session. You are allowed to transfer up to 15 credits of graduate-level courses that were taken at Columbia University (and not used toward any prior degrees) towards your MS degree in Computer Science.

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).

If you do not have this foundational coursework but still feel you are qualified for the MS program then your qualifications should be clearly outlined in your application through your resume, statement as well as through your reference letters.

If you are interested in pursuing this foundational coursework at Columbia then you may be interested in the CS@CU MS Bridge program which incorporates all the foundational/bridge coursework and the MS coursework into one program. Learn more about CS@CU MS Bridge Program here.

No, you do not need to take the coursework at Columbia however graded coursework from a reputable institution may be more efficient to review in the application review process.

If you are interested in pursuing this foundational coursework at Columbia then you may be interested in the CS@CU MS Bridge program which incorporates all the foundational/bridge coursework and the MS coursework into one program. Learn more about CS@CU MS Bridge Program here.

You may be interested in the CS@CU MS Bridge program which incorporates all the foundational/bridge coursework and the MS coursework into one program. Learn more about CS@CU MS Bridge Program here.

While there is no minimum GPA requirement to apply for admission consideration the program is highly selective. Successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Information regarding converting your GPA can be found on the Graduate Student Affairs website.

Applicants who were previously admitted and did not attend, may reactivate their applications for one of the two terms following their original application. Candidates who do not request reactivation within the year are required to submit a new application.  Please be aware that candidates who reactivate their applications are essentially reapplying for admission, as admission will not be guaranteed. Columbia does not defer admission.

Applicants who were not previously admitted are not eligible to reactivate their application. Instead they must complete an entirely new application for admission.

For more information on this topic please contact seasgradmit@columbia.edu or visit their website.

TEST SCORES

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 seasgradmit@columbia.edu directly.

Yes. Your application will not be reviewed without your GRE test scores in the online application. However, you may submit the anticipated test date to submit the application and return to update the scores after submission when available.

No. Most admitted applicants, however, have scores of 750 or higher on the Quantitative section of the test. If you are not able to convert the score into the current version please refer to the ETS website for concordance table information.

No. Only the GRE general test is required.

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. See the SEAS policy for more information on possible exceptions or contact seasgradmit@columbia.edu to discuss it further.

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.

Yes. All standardized test scores need to remain valid through the start of classes. If your scores will expire prior to this, we strongly encourage you to retake the exam. See the SEAS policy for more information.

TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid from two years from the date the test was taken. GRE scores are valid for five years. However, per SEAS policy, all standardized test scores need to remain valid through the start of classes. See the SEAS policy for more information.

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

TRANSCRIPT

If your official transcripts are not originally in English and the college/university you attended does not provide a translation of your official transcript into English, you must include a notarized translation to English for each of your non-English transcripts along with proof of graduation. The translation must include complete contact information for the service provider. You may find and select a translation service of your choice. The official or original language transcript must be sent in addition to the translated version. SEAS Graduate Student Affairs administers this policy, please see their website on this topic and send follow up questions directly to their team.

SEAS Graduate Admissions advises the following on their website:

Many translation or evaluation services can convert your grades to the U.S. scale. We recommend you use a NACES accredited evaluator to accurately determine what your GPA would be on a U.S. grading scale.

For application purposes, it is necessary for you to have your GPA self-reported on your application on the US 4.0 scale. This can be done here: WES iGPA Calculator.

Please also see the grading scale on the SEAS website for additional help.

Follow up questions can be sent to the SEAS Graduate Admissions team: seasgradmit@columbia.edu.

RECOMMENDATION LETTERS:

It is in your best interest to complete your application before the priority deadline. Our application system sends the email request for reference letters AFTER you submit your application for admission. For this reason we recommend you submit your application a couple of weeks prior to the priority deadline.

You should use the professional email address/contact information for all of your recommendation providers.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT DOCUMENT:

International students will be asked to submit the financial statement after you are accepted into the program through the I-20 application process. 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 Mice Support.

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.