M.S. Program Application FAQ


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:

STEP 1: Complete and submit an online application including:

  • Official transcript copies from every post-secondary institution attended
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test Scores (optional for Spring and Fall 2021 applications)
  • Personal statement
  • Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • An interview may be requested
  • $85 non-refundable application fee
  • International applicants or applicants whose undergraduate degree was received in a country in which English is not the official and widely spoken language must submit the following additional requirements with the application for admission:
  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic), or Duolingo English Test (DET). For the 2021 application year, we will accept the IELTS Indicator, TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, and TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution.
  2. Translation of the official transcript(s) and degree/diploma certificate(s) if the institution(s) attended does not issue transcripts in English. The translation must be conducted by a reputable service provider.

STEP 2: After you submit the application, reference requests are sent to your recommendation providers.

STEP 3: Your application will be assigned to the faculty on the MS Admissions committee and pass through several stages of review.

STEP 4: Official decision notifications will be sent out via email.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for 2021 admission cycle. This includes Spring 2021 and Fall 2021. If you have taken the exam and would like to provide your scores, you may, but it is not required. Students who do not submit scores will not be penalized in the graduate admissions review process.
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.

Official deadlines are posted by SEAS here: https://www.gradengineering.columbia.edu/graduate-admissions/application-requirements

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: November 15

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.

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.


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.


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.


The purpose of the Personal Statement is for you to share more about your past experiences and to discuss how these experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth. It allows the applicant the opportunity to explain to the admission committee the distinct qualities and commitment they can bring to the Columbia Engineering community.

A few topics that you may want to address in your Personal Statement include:

  • Describe the reasons you are interested in this program and discuss any relevant past experience.
  • If you have relevant work or research experience, please indicate how it helped you decide on your career path.
  • What are your post-graduation plans or career goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from this program?
  • What about this program excites you?
  • If there are any special circumstances that need to be brought to the attention of the Admission Committee, please include that information.

We recommend that your Personal Statement be 250 – 500 words. (Use your best judgement on the final word count you submit!) If possible, the following format is preferred:

  • All margins should be at least one inch, and the left and right margins should be equal.
  • Text should be double spaced.
  • The preferred fonts are 10-point Arial or 12-point Times New Roman; however, any legible serif or sans-serif standard font may be used. Do not use script or ornamental fonts.
  • Your name should appear in the Header or Footer of every page.

It is integral to the admissions process that you write and submit this Personal Statement on your own. Any evidence of plagiarized materials may result in denial or revocation of admission.

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


Your entire application including recommendation letters should be complete by the priority deadline.

You should use the professional email address/contact information for all of your recommendation providers. Email seasgradmit@columbia.edu with any related issues.

They can upload a current employee ID or badge. Email seasgradmit@columbia.edu with any related issues.


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.


New applicants as of Spring 2021 and beyond should email seasgradmit@columbia.edu.

Applicants who are reactivating using our previous application system should contact Mice Support.


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.


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.


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.


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, complete this form to notify us of your interest in reactivating. We will manually process it and notify you directly.

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.


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.


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.