What are your application deadlines?

We have rolling admissions, so there are no hard deadlines to apply. You should submit your MS and DES application at least 10 weeks before you wish to enroll to ensure timely consideration of your application before the semester begins.

Do I need to take the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for the spring 2024, summer 2024, and fall 2024 application cycles. If you have taken the exam and would like to provide your scores, you may do so, but it is not required. Students who do not submit scores will not be penalized in the graduate admissions review process.

How can I learn more about the coursework for a particular program?

Please note that only courses referenced on the Fields of Study page are offered through CVN. After you have reviewed the Fields of Study page, please contact the department that manages that program to learn more about the curriculum:

I am unsure whether my background meets the prerequisites/requirements listed. May I provide you with any background information about myself, such as GPA, education/experience, and/or GRE scores to learn about my chances for admission before applying?

Unfortunately, we cannot evaluate your candidacy prior to the submission of a complete application. 

I would like to apply to the MS in CS, but I do not have an undergraduate degree in CS. May I still apply?

Yes, provided that you have taken at least four undergraduate/graduate-level CS courses and two math courses, preferably linear algebra and differential equations. Any CS course will meet the requirement, but all CS and math courses must be grade- and credit-bearing and issued on a university transcript. Work experience and massive open online courses (MOOCs) do not satisfy this requirement.

Can you review my transcript to confirm that my CS coursework meets the requirements?

We cannot review transcripts prior to submission of an application. Contact the institution at which you took those courses to confirm whether your courses meet the criteria above.

What is a personal/professional statement?

The personal/professional statement is an essay that serves as both a writing sample and an opportunity to discuss who you are and why you are a good fit for our programs. A wide range of topics—including background information, descriptions of professional experiences or important personal choices, and reflections on life—may be addressed in the essay. Ideally, applicants should reveal qualities demonstrative of their intelligence, compassion, good judgment, energy, leadership, communicative ability, self-awareness, commitment, motivation, and integrity. It should be roughly 250–1000 words.

Can I begin as a non-degree student?

You can apply up to six credits or two classes taken as a non-degree student toward the coursework of the MS degree. Doing well as a non-degree student does not guarantee admission to the MS Program.

Can I start as a certification student and then apply to an MS program?

Since Columbia University's policy prohibits the double counting of coursework between programs, Certification students admitted to and enrolled in the Master of Science program will forego their Certification in order to allow these courses to count towards their Master of Science. Only six of the 12 credits earned from the certificate may be applied toward an MS. Instead, consider enrolling in one or two non-degree courses before applying to the MS.

After taking two courses (or six credits) as a certificate student, please reach out to the CVN team to confirm if you would like to continue pursuing your certificate or if you are thinking of applying to the MS program.

Can online students take classes on campus?

Yes, CVN students may enroll in on-campus classes, provided that there is space in the course. Please note that on-campus students do receive priority.

Can I switch to the on-campus program once admitted (or vice versa)?

Requests to switch must be sent to the department. Requests are not automatically guaranteed. You must demonstrate your need to switch. Additionally, the department may not be able to accept any additional students into their on-campus programs. Please keep in mind that online students will have access to University e-resources to give them the necessary tools to succeed in their coursework. 

How long before I hear back about my application?

You should allow at least 10 weeks to hear back from the department regarding an MS or DES application. Non-degree and Certification applicants should allow 2–4 weeks after all of their materials, including the application fee, have been submitted.

What is the status of my application?

Please log into your application to confirm the status of your application and materials. If you have submitted the application, we will reach out to you should we need anything further. You will be informed, via email, once a decision has been rendered on your application.

Can I apply to more than one program at Columbia Engineering? Can I apply to both the online and on-campus versions of a program?

Applicants may only apply to one graduate engineering program per term and can apply to only the online or on-campus version of a program. Do not apply to more than one program at Columbia Engineering for a given term or both applications will be denied.

Recommendation letters.

Recommendation letters must be submitted through the application system. Once you provide the contact information of your recommenders on the application, they will receive an email instructing them on how to submit letters of recommendation online, via the application system. Any person who writes a letter of recommendation must submit the letter themselves. We do not accept letters of recommendation through email or through a third party. 

I received an error message while completing my application.

Please send an email and a screenshot of the error message to [email protected].

Have you received my test scores?

Please self-report your test scores in your application, and upload a pdf of your score report in the Status Portal. If we have trouble confirming or verifying your test scores, we will contact you. Please do not ask us to confirm receipt of your official test scores, as this will create unnecessary delays.

Can I add a new transcript, resume, etc to my application?

If you have new, or additional, materials you would like to include with your application you may upload them as a "Supplemental Material" via your Status Portal. We cannot guarantee that these documents will be reviewed with your application, but you are welcome to include them. Examples of Supplemental Materials include awards, certificates, school papers, etc.

Can I pay my application fee online?

Yes! Application fees can be paid by Visa or Mastercard through the application portal. 

Can you waive my application fee?

Eligible students are welcome to apply for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers may be available for students who meet certain criteria including, U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled in a U.S. institution with financial need, U.S. Military personnel/veterans, and students who participate in special programs (listed on the waiver form). Please do not submit a request if you do not meet these criteria. A request may be submitted here: https://apply.engineering.columbia.edu/register/feewaiverform.

What if I do not meet the GPA minimum?

If you do not meet the GPA minimum of 3.0 (3.3 for Computer Science), consider enrolling in one or two non-degree courses to strengthen your application and aim for at least a B+ average in these courses. Please note that completion of non-degree courses does not guarantee admission to a degree program.

Who should I use for my letters of recommendation?

The best options for recommendation letters are former professors with whom you have taken courses or done research. Supervisors who work with you on a day-to-day basis in engineering fields are also good recommenders.

Can I defer my offer of admission?

Yes, you can defer your offer of admission by one year.

How are exams issued? Do I need to come to campus?

You do not need to come to campus to complete exams. We have two remote options for testing. An online remote-proctoring service and having an approved proctor physically administer the exam to you. Both options can be used by CVN students.

Can I participate in Commencement?

Absolutely! We encourage our graduates to come to the University Commencement Ceremony, Class Day, and the CVN Graduation Party.

Will my degree say online or distance learning?

There is no difference between a degree received online via CVN and one received by a full-time on-campus student. There is no mention of CVN, online learning, or distance education on the transcript or diploma.

Do I have to begin in the fall semester?

We are on a semester system and have three semesters per year—fall, spring, and summer. You can enroll in any program before any semester.

Do I need to sit for the lecture as it streams live?

You will not be required to sit for a live lecture, with a few exceptions for discussion-based courses. If live participation is required, it will be noted on our Schedule of Classes. You will be able to stream lectures live or watch the recorded lectures at your convenience.

Will I be able to utilize the resources of the career center?

Matriculated students do have access to the career center. After graduation, CVN alumni also have access to the alumni network.

Can I access online library resources as a CVN student?

Non-matriculated and matriculated students do have remote access to library resources.

Am I able to come to campus?

Please see the Columbia University COVID-19 guidelines for visitors: https://covid19.columbia.edu/.

Should I mail in my application?

No, all application materials must be submitted online.

Can I transfer classes that I have taken at another university?

You can transfer up to two classes or six credits taken previously towards the coursework of an MS degree. You must complete the transfer credit section of the application. Transfer credits are subject to approval by the faculty committee of the equivalent courses at Columbia Engineering.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in a non-engineering field. Can I still apply?

With the exception of Computer Science, all of the programs require a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Math, Physics, Computer Science, or a related field. If you are interested in the MS in Computer Science but do not have a background in Computer Science, you must complete six prerequisites (four undergraduate-level and two math courses, preferably linear algebra and differential equations) to apply.

How much does the MS in Engineering cost in total?

In total for 10 courses, the cost is about $70K.

Do I qualify for financial aid?

Contact Student Financial Services to learn about options for funding your education. Information on loan eligibility is also available on the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing page.

Are online students required to submit proof of immunizations/COVID vaccination?

Students who will remain fully remote for the duration of their program are not obligated to submit any proof of vaccination to Columbia Health. Please see our Campus Visits and Immunization Requirements policy page for more information.

Once admitted, would I be eligible for the Columbia University health plan?

Columbia Video Network (CVN) students are not eligible for the Columbia University health plan.

How long does it take to complete a degree?

You have two years to complete the Certification, five years to complete the MS, and seven years to complete the DES. While enrolled in these programs, you are required to maintain continuous enrollment or a minimum of two classes per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. You can take up to two courses each term, including during the summer. It can take anywhere from one-and-a-half years to five years to complete the degree, depending on how many courses you take each semester. On average, students earn their MS degrees within three-and-a-half years, however, we encourage each student to take courses at a pace that suits their schedule.

What are the technology requirements for CVN students?

Please see the Technology Requirements page.