M.S. Leading to Ph.D.

This policy applies only to students who enter the PhD program without a Masters degree recognized by Columbia. Every MS/PhD track student (registration status ETCOMS) must apply for MS graduation in order to receive the MS degree from Columbia University and be awarded advanced standing towards the PhD.

The faculty will approve the MS degree application following successful completion of six (6) breadth requirement courses completed in the Computer Science Department at Columbia, not including imports, including all four (4) distribution courses and two electives. The student must have also satisfactorily completed at least 30 graduate points as required by SEAS.

It is important to apply for the MS the same semester that the last requirement for the MS is expected to be completed, do not wait until afterwards, since you cannot receive advanced standing from GSAS and start accumulating RUs (residence units) until after the MS has been granted.  Note that the MS is not awarded automatically after the requirements are completed, the student must explicitly apply for the degree.

[Revised by full faculty vote, 11/6/13, to remove 4701 from the core.  Revised again by full faculty vote, 4/4/14, to abolish the core entirely and institute the distribution requirement.  Students enrolled in Spring 2014 or earlier may choose either four core courses or the four-course distribution requirement, plus two electives, to fulfill the MS/PhD requirements.  Students enrolled in Fall 2013 or earlier may treat 4701 as core for this purpose.]

Last updated on May 8, 2021.