Admissions at Columbia University are extremely selective. Even then, the university has the fourth-largest international student population in US. According to the Fall 2019 survey, Columbia University received 40,203 applications and admitted 2,214 students from 152 countries into its various undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs.

Latest Admission Updates:

  • In response to continued disruptions to standardized testing availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia University is extending test-optional policy for one year, effective for first-year applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the fall of 2022.
  • ACT and SAT test results will not be a required component for the first-year 2021-2022 application cycle.
  • Regular Decision Release Information: The joint notification date for the Ivy League this year will be Tuesday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ADMISSION FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

As per the student profile of the class of 2022, more than 90% of the admitted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class.

  • The university grants degrees in humanities and social sciences departments with more than 60 majors, proving itself as one of the best places to study in the USA. 
  • About 50% of the admitted freshmen of Columbia University had an SAT score ranging from 1480-1560
  • Graduate applicants have a separate application form for each program at Columbia University.
  • For Ph.D., the students are also required to submit their GRE score, without which their application won’t be considered. The admit rate for an M.D./Ph.D program is 84%


Admission to Columbia University Top Programs

Programs Fees per annum Application Deadlines
M.Sc Computer Science $60,540 Fall: January 15, 2021
Spring: November 1, 2020
M.Sc Data Science $60,540 February 2021
M.B.A $77,376 Early October 2020
M.Sc Mechanical Engineering $60,540 November 1, 2020
B.Sc Computer Science $61,850 Fall: January 15, 2021
Spring: November 1, 2020
M.A Health Education $53,040 Fall: January 15, 2021
Master of Public Health $58,764 Fall: January 15, 2021
April 1, 2021
June 1, 2021
Master of Architecture $58,980 Fall: January 15, 2021
M.Phil Psychology $58,764 December 2, 2020
M.Sc Financial Engineering $58,764 January 5, 2020
M.Sc Marketing $58,764 January 7, 2021
M.Sc Business Analytics $58,764 February 15, 2020
B.A Economics $58,920 December 1, 2020
B.A Psychology $58,920 December 1, 2020
M.Sc Financial Economics $60,912 January 5, 2020

Columbia University Admission Highlights

In a nutshell, the university follows something called a ‘holistic admission process’, meaning that each and every part of your application is important and considered seriously by Columbia’s admission office. Your personal statements, your motivation, your family circumstances, overall character, teacher recommendations, and your overall personality determines if you will be an asset to this university. Make no mistake, the university will expect you to be a high performing intellectual, but admission alone on the basis of grades is not granted at Columbia University.

Application Portal UG: Common application/Coalition application
PG: University website
Application Fee UG: 85 USD
PG: 85 – 250 USD
Acceptance Rate(Combined data for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, Class of 2022) 5.5%
Average SAT Score 1480-1560
Average ACT Score 33-35
Academic Calendar Semester-wise
Intake Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer
Financial Aid Available, must be applied along with the admission application
International Admissions ISSO Columbia University

Columbia University Important Deadlines

The Regular decision application deadline for top universities in USA is January 1, however, some postgraduate programs have different deadlines.

Fall Applications

Program Deadlines
Doctoral: MS/PhD, PhD, EngScD December 15
Master of Science Financial Engineering – January 5
Dual MS, Computer Science & Journalism Program, Computer Science (priority), Data Science (priority) – January 15
Civil Engineering Programs – February 1
All Other MS Programs – February 15
MS Express November 1 (priority)/May 30 (final deadline)
Integrated BS/MS April 30 (of Junior year)
BARNARD 4 + 1 Pathway December 1 (of Junior year)
Certificates Data Science Institute – February 15th
CAMPEP Accredited Certificate of Professional Achievement in Medical Physics – August 1

Spring Applications

Master of Science + Doctoral: MS/PhD, PhD, EngScD November 1

Spring admission is not available for the following programs: Applied Mathematics (Ph.D.), Applied Physics (Ph.D., M.S.), Materials Science  (Ph.D., M.S.), Medical Physics (M.S.), Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Science, Data Science (M.S.), Business Analytics (M.S.), Financial Engineering (M.S.), Industrial Engineering (Ph.D.), Management Science and Engineering (M.S.), Operations Research (Ph.D.), and Mechanical Engineering  (Ph.D., M.S.). For the Spring 2021 cycle, the following programs will be reviewing a select number of applications: Business Analytics (M.S.), Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Science, Data Science (M.S.), Financial Engineering (M.S.), and Mechanical Engineering (M.S.). All other MS, MS/PhD, PhD, and Eng.Sc.D. programs will be accepting Spring applications unless otherwise stated.

International Admissions at Columbia University

International students have slightly different requirements for admission at Columbia University. However, following only the institution’s instructions are not enough for non-US students. If you wish to pursue higher education from the US, all requirements as per federal laws ought to be met properly. They need to provide the following documents to be eligible for admission at Columbia:

  • Official transcripts
  • English language proficiency proof
  • Additional program-specific documents like recommendations, resume, etc
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Copy of the biographical page of the passport
  • Essay and/or SOP for US
  • Letters of recommendation to study in US

English Language Requirements for International Students

English Language Proficiency Tests Minimum Score Requirements
DET(Duolingo English Test) 120 on the current DET or 75 prior to July 2019

Scores should be directly reported to Columbia University by the testing service.

Visa Process for International Students

In order to be able to study in the USA, students require a student visa. An I-20 form will be issued by the Columbia University to the student once they provide :

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
  • Proof of financial resources

Once Columbia University issues the I-20 form, students can proceed with either F-1 or J-1 student visa and SEVIS Fee payment. Students must then contact the US Embassy or consulate to learn about visa specifics and requirements.

Visa application includes the following general documents:

  • Copy of the Passport
  • Columbia Acceptance letter
  • I-20 form issued by Columbia University
  • Completed visa application
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Scholarship/Sponsorship Letter(If needed)
  • Immunization form
  • Health Examination Form

Once approved after the visa interview, a stamp will be issued on the passport.

Columbia University Undergraduate Admissions

Bachelor’s programs offered by Columbia University to international students are over 80 areas. Art History, Visual Arts, Applied Mathematics, Financial Economics, Data Science, Computer Science, Music, And Information Science are some of the most popular choices.

Application Portal: Coalition Application or the Common Application

Application Fee: 85 USD

Academic Requirements: International applicants must include the following items required for Columbia University admissions:

  • Autobiographical information
  • A list of student’s activities, achievements, employment, etc
  • Personal essay
  • Official high-school transcripts
  • One recommendation from high school’s counselor
  • School profile
  • Completed Mid-year report
  • SAT/ACT test scores
  • Test scores of standardized exams to study in USA
  • Teacher recommendations (from the teachers who taught you in the discipline)
  • For Engineering applicants, one letter should be from a science or maths teacher

Please note that all extra-curricular pursuits should be contained within the activities section of the admission application in a brief manner.

Supplementary Materials: Not require supplements for the Columbia University admission process.


Columbia University Graduate Admissions

Graduate programs at Columbia University are offered in the field of arts, science, business, medical, public affairs, journalism, professional studies, engineering, etc. International applicants must keep the following in mind before applying for admission at Columbia University graduate program:

Application Portal: Varies for each program

Application Fee: Varies for each program

Academic Requirements:

  • All academic transcripts
  • Relevant undergraduate degree as specified by the program
  • Statement Of Purpose
  • Letters Of Recommendations for MS in US
  • Standardized tests scores, usually GRE or GMAT or LSAT,
  • All other program specific additional requirements.

Please Note that Science, Engineering and other Academic research work in the related field may provide an abstract in one or two page supplement.

Popular Graduate Programs offered by Columbia University

Some of the most preferred and highest paying programs by Columbia University are discussed below.

Columbia University MBA Admissions

Offered by Columbia Business School, Masters in Business administration is a program with one of the highest-paid graduate employability.

Deadlines April 10
Application Fee 250 USD
Application Portal Business School Application Portal
Requirements Transcripts, Two Letters of recommendations, Essays, Interview(by invite only)
Test Score Requirements GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS

Columbia University Engineering Admissions

Columbia University’s Engineering and Applied Science is an extremely coveted college for pursuing various masters, doctoral or certificate programs in Engineering.

Deadlines February 15 (Fall); October 1 (Spring)
Priority Deadlines MS Financial Engineering- January 5
Dual MS, Computer Science- January 15
Civil Engineering- February 15
Application Fee 85 USD
Application Portal Columbia Graduate Engineering Application
Requirements Relevant bachelor’s degree, Official transcripts, Three letters of recommendations, Personal statement, Resume/Curriculum Vitae, Interview(if requested)
Test Score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

Columbia University Computer and Information Science Admissions

MS in Computer and Information science is a popular course for those who wish to enhance their knowledge about the discipline.

Deadlines Fall: Priority 1 – January 15; Priority 2- February 15
Spring: October 1
Application Fee 85 USD
Application Portal Columbia FFSEAS Application System
Requirements Relevant bachelor’s degree, Official transcripts, Three letters of recommendations, Personal statement, Resume/Curriculum Vitae, Interview(if requested)
Test score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

Columbia University Masters in Psychology Admission

Columbia’s Program in Psychology dates back to 1890 and continues to be one of the top choices for studying psychology in the world.

Deadlines International students must apply at least 12 weeks before the May 1 deadline
Application Fee 115 USD
Application Portal Columbia GSAS Application Portal
Requirements Transcripts, Three Letters of recommendation (Academic), SOP
Test score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS

Most of the international students need to keep in mind the tests and exams required to study in the USA as well as if their program of choice has other requirements as well. Different departments may require varying test scores of varying exams.


International students can also avail financial assistance through Scholarships available in the US.

Columbia admission office follows a holistic process, that is every part of the application needs to be kept in mind and provide relevant information that strengthens the candidate’s case.