Breadth Requirement

Blue CS@CU logo for MS students

Breadth Requirements

All students must complete the 4 course Breadth Requirement. To fulfill this requirement, take 1 course from Group 1 (Systems), 1 course from Group 2 (Theory), 1 course from Group 3 (AI and Applications), and 1 more course from any of the three approved lists for a total of 4 courses.

Only the courses listed in the table below may be used for Breadth. Exceptions to the table below will not be made. 6000-level courses cannot be used for Breadth. 

The only joint-CS courses permitted are as specified below; all other breadth courses must be strictly “COMS.”  Regardless of the course number, courses labeled “certificate only” or named “xxx for Data Science” or similar may not be applied to the MS breadth requirement.

Breadth courses may overlap with a required track or track/general elective course. Refer to your track page for more details. For a course overlap to be possible, the course must be listed on your track page and in the chart below. Please be advised that all students will still need 30 credits to complete the CSMS degree. All breadth courses must be taken at Columbia and cannot be waived or substituted.

Group Approved Courses
1. Systems All COMS 41xx courses plus COMS W4995 “Engineering Software as a Service” except COMS 4121, COMS 416x and COMS 417x 
All COMS 48xx courses
COMS 4444
The following cross-listed courses also count toward the Systems breadth requirement: CSEE 4119, EECS 4340, CSEE 4823, CSEE 4824, CSEE 4840, CSEE 4868
2. Theory All COMS 42xx courses plus COMS W4995 – “Advanced Algorithms”, “Randomized Algorithms” and CSOR 4231 (not CSOR 4246) 
3. AI & Applications All COMS 47xx courses except COMS 4721 and COMS 4776
All COMS 416x and COMS 417x
CBMF 4761
plus COMS W4995 – “Machine Learning Theory” (Spring 2020 ONLY) & COMS 4995 “Causal Inference” (Spring 2020 ONLY)


Updated: 09/21/2023