Standardized Test Scores

Answers to questions students ask about standardized test scores.

What if my GRE or TOEFL scores from ETS do not arrive by the priority deadline?

You must self-report your full scores (each section with percentiles) for the GRE onto your online application in the space provided.

Scores sent from ETS to our School, code 2111, will typically arrive within two weeks.  

Your self-reported scores will be verified during the review process and if you are recommended for admission after the priority deadline.

My test date is after the priority deadline to apply what should I do?

This School has a rolling admission process. Therefore, you may submit your application or test scores after the priority deadline.  We strongly encourage you to apply and complete your application close or within a few weeks of the priority deadline for best results.  To submit your application without test scores, enter your expected test date in the space provided. Once you know your scores you can login and update the application with your full test score information (each section), include percentiles for GRE.  Note, the application may not be evaluated until all the required documents are received or may be marked incomplete and no longer considered for admission if scores or other material do not arrive in a reasonable amount of time.

My GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS score(s) will expire soon. How do I know if the scores are still valid?

GRE scores expire in five years. TOEFL and IELTS scores expire in two years. Expired test scores will not be accepted.  If you are still not sure, contact the testing service directly.

Who is required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic?

Applicants who earned their undergraduate degree in a country in which English is not the official and widely spoken language must submit either the TOEFL,  IELTS, or PTE Academic test with their application. Only one English language test is required.  Applicants who earn combined, joint, or dual program degree/s from both an institution in a country where English is not the official or widely spoken language and an institution in the UK or US are also required to submit one of the English language tests with their application even if they are awarded a degree from a UK or US institution.  

An exception is made for applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree from a US institution and completed their study on campus in the US or will complete a Master of Science degree on-campus in the US before enrollment, in these cases the applicant is not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores for admission consideration.

Current Columbia Engineering graduate students enrolled in a degree program who are applying again to another degree program do not have to send the official scores again if they have already done so previously, but will have to report their scores again on the new application for admission.

What is the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic score required?

There are no minimum test score requirements to apply for admission consideration.  However, admitted students that were required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic test for admission are encouraged and may be advised to work on their verbal and/or written English proficiency skills by utilizing the resources available for them through Columbia University’s American Language Program. It may be necessary to improve your English proficiency if you scored:

  • 99 or lower on the TOEFL internet-based test; or
  • 6.5 or lower on the IELTS
  • 68 or lower on the PTE Academic

What is the minimum GRE score?

There are no minimum test score requirements to apply for admission consideration.  The average GRE quantitative scores for past entering classes, in recent years, rank around 91%. Therefore, it is recommended that your scores in this section be comparable.  You can check the percentiles provided along with your scores from ETS to find your ranking and compare. When entering your scores onto the online application be sure to enter your score on each section of the test and to include the percentiles.

Do I need to take the GRE subject test?

If you are a doctoral applicant (MS leading to PhD, PhD, Eng.Sc.D.) applying to the Applied Physics program you are required to submit the official GRE Physics test score. It is not required for any other program.

I have taken the GMAT, can I use this test in place of the GRE?

Unfortunately, the GMAT may not replace the GRE test requirement.  Applicants applying to graduate programs within the departments of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research or the Data Science Institute are encouraged to submit their GMAT scores along with the GRE, if they have taken the test.

I have entered my scores in the “test scores” section. Do I still need to get an official score report sent to Columbia University?

Yes. Although copies or self-reported scores can be used for review purposes, admission may not be granted without official test scores.

Send official scores from ETS to our institutional code 2111. No other code is necessary for your scores to arrive at our office. 

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.  We will not accept paper IELTS test report forms.

I have earned an MS degree in the US do I still need to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test?

No, you are not required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test if the School is located within the US and you were enrolled on campus for the entire program.

I am required to take the English test according to your policy, but I am very fluent in English, I have resided in the US for years, and or my prior education was taught in English. Do I still need to take the test?

Unfortunately, no exceptions will be made for reasons outside of the policy.

I am a US Citizen or Permanent Resident of the US do I still have to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test?

The test requirement is based on where you studied, not your citizenship status, so you may still be required to take the test. 

My prior education includes exchange program/s with a US School do I still have to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test?

The test is only waived if you are awarded your Bachelor or Master of Science degree from a US school. In addition, you must have been on campus in the US for the duration of your program.  

I took the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE, when I first applied to Columbia and it is now expired. I want to apply to another program or degree do I need to take the test again?

Current Columbia Engineering graduate students are not required to submit the test a second time. If you not enrolled and your test expired please retake the test and submit valid scores with your new application.