Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs at Columbia University in the City of New York

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Admission to Columbia University's graduate programs is highly competitive, and the specific requirements and procedures vary depending on the program and school. Here is a general overview of the admissions process for graduate programs at Columbia:

  • Application: Prospective students must submit an online application through the specific graduate program's website or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website for certain programs. The application typically includes personal information, academic history, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, resume/CV, and any program-specific requirements such as writing samples or portfolios.
  • Academic Requirements: Applicants are expected to meet the academic criteria set by the specific program. This typically includes a minimum GPA requirement for previous degrees, such as a bachelor's degree for master's programs or a master's degree for doctoral programs. Some programs may also require standardized test scores, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for business-related programs.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most graduate programs at Columbia require applicants to submit letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or professionals who can assess their qualifications and potential for success in the program. The number of letters required can vary but is typically between two and three.
  • Statement of Purpose: Applicants are typically asked to submit a statement of purpose that outlines their academic and professional background, research interests, career goals, and reasons for applying to the specific program at Columbia. This is an important opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their fit with the program and articulate their motivations.
  • Transcripts: Applicants must provide official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. These transcripts should show the courses taken, grades received, and any degrees earned.
  • Standardized Tests: Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit scores from standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The specific test requirements vary by program and are often waived for certain applicants, so it's essential to review the program's admission requirements.
  • Interviews: Some graduate programs may require applicants to participate in an interview as part of the admission process. This is an opportunity for the program's faculty or admissions committee to assess the applicant's qualifications, fit with the program, and potential for success.


What is the average GRE/GMAT/LSAT score for admissions to Columbia Graduate programs?

The university demands SAT scores between 1450 and 1560 or an ACT score of 33 and 35. As per the official website, about 50% of students who get admitted to Columbia University fetch a score of 710 to 760 on the GMAT while 25% are below 710 and the rest 25% earned above 760.


Are there No GRE, No GMAT masters programs at Columbia?

Columbia University offers some graduate programs that do not require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for admission. However, it's important to note that the specific requirements can vary depending on the program and school. Some programs may still require these tests, while others have made them optional or waived the requirement altogether. Here are a few examples:

  • Columbia Business School: Some specialized Master of Science (MS) programs at Columbia Business School, such as the MS in Business Analytics or MS in Marketing Science, do not require the GMAT or GRE. However, it's advisable to review the program-specific requirements as some programs may still recommend or accept test scores.
  • School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): SIPA offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) program. While the GRE is not required for admission, applicants have the option to submit scores if they believe it will strengthen their application.
  • Graduate School of Journalism: The Master of Science (MS) in Journalism program at the Graduate School of Journalism does not require the GRE or GMAT for admission.
  • School of Social Work: The Master of Science (MS) in Social Work program at the School of Social Work does not require the GRE for admission.


How difficult is it to get admission to Columbia Master’s programs with a low GPA?

Admission to Columbia University's master's programs is highly competitive, and a low GPA can pose a challenge. While Columbia considers various factors during the admission process, including test scores, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and relevant work experience, GPA is an essential component that demonstrates academic performance and potential. A low GPA can diminish the overall competitiveness of an application.

However, it's important to note that Columbia University takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering the entirety of an applicant's profile. They understand that GPA is not the sole determinant of an applicant's abilities or potential for success in a master's program. Admissions committees also evaluate an applicant's research experience, work experience, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and other achievements.

If you have a low GPA, there are several steps you can take to strengthen your application:

  • Highlight other strengths: Emphasize your research experience, relevant work experience, internships, publications, or other achievements that demonstrate your skills and potential in the field.
  • Strong letters of recommendation: Obtain strong letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or professionals who can speak to your abilities, potential, and dedication.
  • Relevant work experience: Gain practical experience in the field through internships, research positions, or employment. This can demonstrate your commitment and readiness for the program.
  • Address the GPA in your application: If there were extenuating circumstances that affected your GPA, you may choose to address them in your personal statement or an optional addendum. Explain any challenges you faced and how you have grown or overcome them.
  • Standardized test scores: A strong performance on standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT can help offset a low GPA and demonstrate your academic abilities.
  • Preparatory courses: Consider taking additional courses or earning certificates in relevant areas to showcase your academic abilities and dedication to the field.

While a low GPA may present a challenge, it does not necessarily eliminate your chances of admission to Columbia University's master's programs. 


How difficult is it for an International student to get admission to Columbia?

Admission to Columbia University for international students is competitive, but it is important to note that Columbia values diversity and actively seeks to enroll students from around the world. While the admission process can be challenging, Columbia University welcomes applications from qualified international students and provides support throughout the process. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Academic Excellence: Columbia University is renowned for its rigorous academic standards, and international applicants are expected to meet the same high standards as domestic applicants. Admissions committees review academic transcripts, and standardized test scores, and evaluate the applicant's academic preparedness and potential for success in their chosen program.
  • English Language Proficiency: Proficiency in the English language is essential for success at Columbia University. International applicants whose native language is not English are typically required to demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting scores from standardized tests such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). These scores help assess an applicant's ability to communicate effectively in an English-speaking academic environment.
  • Comprehensive Application: International applicants must submit a comprehensive application that includes academic records, letters of recommendation, a personal statement or essay, standardized test scores (if required), and any additional program-specific requirements. It is crucial to follow the application instructions carefully and ensure that all necessary documents are submitted by the specified deadlines.
  • Financial Resources: International students are required to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to cover their educational expenses, including tuition, fees, living expenses, and healthcare costs. This is typically done through providing financial documentation and, in some cases, completing a Certification of Finances form.
  • Visa Process: Once admitted, international students must navigate the visa application process, typically obtaining an F-1 student visa to study at Columbia University. The university provides support and guidance to help international students through this process, including issuing the necessary documents, such as the Form I-20.


Are there interviews for Columbia’s Masters or joint-degree programs?

The interview requirements for Columbia University's master's or joint-degree programs can vary depending on the specific program and department. While some programs may require interviews as part of the admissions process, others may not.

Generally, interviews are more commonly conducted for professional programs such as business, journalism, or public administration, where personal qualities and professional experiences play a significant role in the evaluation process. These interviews may be conducted by faculty members, alumni, or admissions staff.

For academic or research-oriented programs, interviews may be less common unless they are specifically requested by the program or department. Instead, the admissions committee typically evaluates applicants based on their academic record, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and other application materials.

To determine whether interviews are required for a specific master's or joint-degree program at Columbia University, it is best to review the program's website or contact the admissions office directly. They can provide the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding interview requirements for the program you are interested in.



Lets explore the admission requirements for various graduate programs at Columbia University in the City of New York that do not require GRE scores.

Mechanical Engineering Online Master's Degree

Students admitted to the program must possess a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering or other related field (subject to the approval of the Mechanical Engineering Program) from an accredited academic institution. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.

GPA required: Minimum of 3.0

GRE requirements: General test required

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required. If you have not earned a degree from an undergraduate or graduate institution in which the instructional language was English, you may be required to take the TOEFL/IELTS. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application.

The program leading to the Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering requires completion of a minimum of 30 points of approved course work via CVN consisting of no fewer than ten courses. A minimum grade point average of 2.5 is required for graduation. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.

Master of Education in Counseling Psychology - No GRE required

The admission requirements for Master of Education in Counseling Psychology:

  • Statement of Purpose and Resume
  • Official Transcripts
  • $65 Application Fee
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Application Supplement to be included in the online application.
  • GRE scores are not required.

Counseling Psychology Ed.M. program- No GRE required

  • GRE scores are not required.
  • Statement of Purpose and Resume
  • Official Transcripts
  • $65 Application Fee
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Application Supplement to be included in the online application.


Operations Research - Methods in Finance Online Master's Degree: GRE required.

Admission Requirements for Operations Research - Methods in Finance Master's Degree

  •  A bachelor's degree in mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, or Economics with a minor in Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, or another technical discipline from an accredited academic institution is required for admission.
  • Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission. 
  • Students need a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • GRE general test scores are required.
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Transcripts
  • Resume
  • A personal statement

MPH in Biostatistics - GRE Required

Applicants should have some background in college mathematics, including at least a year of calculus. A semester of linear/matrix algebra is highly encouraged. Students with strong scores on the quantitative section of the GRE are given first preference.

Masters of Science in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis: GRE required.

Admission Requirements for Masters of Science in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis:

  • An essay
  • Résumé or CV
  • A minimum of two letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended after high school.
  • GMAT or GRE scores