CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science FAQ

If you have additional questions, please feel free to email our CS@CU MS Bridge Program Admissions and Advising team.

CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science Admissions FAQ

CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science FAQ




Visa Information for International Students

Bridge Program Terms 2-3,  Summer/Fall, Part-time “bridge coursework”

Eligibility for a student visa requires admission to and enrollment in a full-time program of study. The first 3 terms are part-time and therefore students are not eligible for F-1 student status. 

  • Visitors to the United States in B-1, B-2, WT or WB (ESTA) visa status are not permitted 
  • to enroll in academic courses of any type, including the MS degree program.
  • Prospective students with a valid visa status that permits study may enroll in the Bridge program. Refer to this chart Who Can Study?
  • F-1 students currently enrolled in another degree program may enroll in the Bridge program, but they must maintain full-time enrollment for their degree program. 

Students on OPT

Prospective students who graduated from another degree program in the U.S. and are currently authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) with employment are eligible to enroll only in the non-degree Bridge program (Terms 1-3). Once the full-time degree program begins (Terms 4-6), students must discontinue OPT employment and apply for an initial I-20 to begin the MS degree program and enroll full-time.  

Admission to the MS Degree Terms 4 – 6 Summer/Fall/Spring, Full-time  

Admitted students may request an initial I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 status  from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). To apply, please go to the ISSO website  Applying for Your I-20/DS-2019  (http://bit.ly/applyCOE).

International students must register for a minimum of 12 points of credit-bearing courses at the beginning of each semester. Failure to do so or subsequently dropping below a full-time course load without authorization is a violation of F-1  status. 

Students who complete the MS degree will be eligible for Post-completion OPT and the STEM OPT extension. 

For questions about individual cases please contact:

International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) isso@columbia.edu, www.isso.columbia.edu

How much is the application fee? 

The application fee is $85. 

What are the application requirements?

Please see the official application requirements on the SEAS website here.

  • Official transcript copies from every post-secondary institution attended
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Standardized Tests: Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test Scores*; TOEFLIELTS, or PTE if applicable
  • Personal statement
  • Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Online recorded interview
  • $85 non-refundable application fee

Do I complete a 2nd application for the MS program after I finish the bridge coursework?

No, you will only complete one application. As a CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science applicant you will apply to the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science and upon admission you will complete the bridge coursework as well as the MS coursework without a 2nd application into the MS program. This provides a seamless transition from the bridge coursework to the MS degree. 

What are the required statements or essays in the application? 

The CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science application requires both a Statement of purpose and a Career Essay. 

Formatting your essays: 

  • Limit 2 pages
  • 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.


Personal Statement prompt: a brief description of your academic and professional activities and accomplishments, as well as any other information that you feel can help us evaluate your potential to succeed in the program.

Career Essay Prompt: describe your career objectives and specific goals in pursuing the MS Bridge to Computer Science Program. Why did you apply to this program? What do you hope to do after graduation?

When will the Summer and Fall CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science application open?

In October. 

When is the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science application deadline?

The priority deadline for complete applications is February 15th. We will continue to review applications  after this date on a rolling basis. 

In order to be considered complete for review your application should be submitted and all materials should be received including letters of reference. 


Can I apply to both the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science and regular MS program? I’m not sure which I qualify for yet. 

No, it is against school policy to apply to more than one program at SEAS however if the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science Admissions Committee or the MS Admissions Committee determine that your are not a good candidate for their program, they will have the discretion to send your application for a 2nd review by the other admissions committee. This 2nd review is not guaranteed and only at the discretion of the individual admissions committee. 

Is this program BS/MS or 4+1 type program where I earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree? 

No, this program does not award an undergraduate degree. A minimum qualification to apply is that you must already hold an undergraduate degree by the time you start the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science. Upon successful completion of the program you will be awarded the Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Columbia University. 

What is the minimum GPA required to be admitted?

There is no minimum however the average GPA of the admitted Bridge students is 3.7 on a 4 point scale. 



Is the GRE required? 

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is currently optional. 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.

We expect the GRE to be required again in the future for the CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science. Please see the SEAS application requirements online here

Is there a minimum GRE score for admission?

No, we do not have a minimum GRE score required for admission however the average GRE scores of admitted Bridge students is:

Average GRE Q: 161
Average GRE A: 4
Average GRE V: 159

We anticipate that applicants to the CS@CU MS Bridge program will come to us with a variety of different backgrounds. The GRE will help, along with the rest of your application, to identify your strengths and areas in which the program can benefit you. 

What are the GRE and TOEFL institutional codes for the Columbia University Department of Computer Science? How do I send IELTS scores to Columbia University?

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.

Who is required to submit standardized test scores?

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.

Do you have minimum language scores? 

No, 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.  


What is the duration of the program?

The CS@CU MS Bridge program consists of both bridge coursework (1 summer & 2 semesters) in undergraduate courses as well as 3 semesters of MS program coursework. The curriculum can be customized to each student’s unique needs if they have some of the bridge coursework already completed at the time of admission. 

How much does the program cost?

Tuition rates are set by the University and updated each summer. Tuition and fees are posted online here

What does the CS@CU MS Bridge program curriculum consist of?

Admitted students will complete three terms of bridge coursework before they are moved directly into Columbia University’s Master’s program in Computer Science. Please refer to the CS@CU MS Bridge Program Quickguide for a breakdown of program requirements. 

Can I waive some of the program requirements, if I already took some classes elsewhere?

Yes! Once admitted, you can consult with your CS@CU MS Bridge program Faculty Advisor to discuss your eligibility to waive out of some of the bridge courses. If they determine that you have an equivalent course or background then the course may be waived.