Answers to questions students ask about academic programs.

There are two doctoral degrees offered: Eng. Sc. D. and Ph.D. What is the difference between these two degrees?

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science awards the Doctor of Engineering Science (EngScD) degree. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is administered through and awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Both programs have identical academic requirements with regard to courses, thesis and examination, but differ in residence requirements and in certain administrative details. For further information, please see Requirements for the Degrees.

See the online bulletin under Graduate Programs for details.

Can I apply to the doctoral program without a Master of Science degree?

Yes. However, if you are accepted, you must complete the MS at Columbia University before continuing toward the PhD. This is referred to as the MS-PhD Track Program.

I applied to the PhD program, but was admitted to the MS only. What does this mean? Can I still apply to the PhD program again later?

On your application for admission you indicated that you wish to be considered for the MS only should your application be denied to the PhD program. Your application was denied to the PhD, reconsidered, and accepted for the MS only.

You may apply again to the PhD program as a current MS student.  If you do not enroll, you may apply by reactivation of your previous application for one of the two terms following your initial application term.  We encourage you to update already submitted material to enhance your application. 

I am not sure which MS program I want to pursue. Where can I find out more about the program options?

You should review the department websites for the programs that interest you most to find out more about the program including, descriptions of courses, faculty, degree requirements, and much more. In addition, you may watch videos about the MS programs offered at Columbia Engineering.

Can I enroll part-time in the MS program?

International students, including students on an F1 Visa, must enroll full-time (12 + credits) per term or semester.

Domestic students may enroll part-time (fewer than 12 credits) per term if the program allows for this. Most MS on campus programs allow part-time enrollment. However, some MS programs may require students to enroll full-time, such as the Chemical Engineering MS program. As an alternative, if you have other obligations or require a flexible schedule you may consider applying for CVN which allows all students to enroll part-time. Visit the department websites for more program details.

I am enrolled in an MS program at another School, but I want to transfer to Columbia. How can I transfer?

In this case, you would apply for admission just as any other prospective student following our usual application process.

If you are admitted, you should be aware that the on campus MS program does not accept credits earned at another School toward the degree here. In other words, if you have taken similar courses at another School and you are accepted at Columbia those courses would not count toward your degree here. You may be able to replace courses you already took at another School with different courses at Columbia to make up the degree requirements. The degree requirement for the majority of MS programs at Columbia Engineering require 30 credits to complete. This may vary slightly depending on the program and whether the student has any deficiencies to make up. Upon admission, students may discuss their program coursework with an advisor. Prior to admission prospective students should review the department website for details about the programs.

How can I apply to the MS/MBA program offered with the Business School?

Students interested in the combined MS/MBA program for Industrial Engineering, must apply to both programs separately, meeting the application requirements at both the engineering and business Schools. If accepted to both, the combined program is designed to be completed in 5 semesters instead of 6.

Note, the MS/MBA combined program is not offered in all engineering programs of study. It is only an option for some programs within the department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Reasearch. Please review the department websites for program information. 

Dual MS in Computer Science and Journalism

For information on the dual MS program between Columbia's Engineering and Journalism schools please visit the program webpage.