Application Process

How do I apply to Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)?

Applicants must apply online. Applying online will give you greater control of your application and will allow us to process it more efficiently.

Do I need a degree in engineering to apply?

Ordinarily, applicants have majored in the field in which graduate study is intended. However, in certain programs, preparation in a related field of engineering or science is acceptable. The applicant will be admitted only if the undergraduate record shows promise of productive and effective graduate work.

May I provide you with background information about myself such as GPA, prior education, work experience, and test scores, to learn about my chances for admission and the possibility of financial aid before applying?

Unfortunately, we are unable to evaluate your candidacy prior to the submission of a complete application. There is no minimum score requirement for standardized test scores or GPA in order to apply for admission consideration. If you are interested in admission, we encourage you to submit a complete application along with the required documents.

Which semesters or terms can I apply for?

Admission is available for the spring or fall term. Some programs only offer admission for a fall term start. Check the department websites for more information about programs.

What is the deadline to apply?

Applicants should apply on or within a few weeks of our priority deadlines for the best chances of admission. Admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis, typically beginning four-six weeks after the priority deadline.

What is the deadline for the arrival of the recommendations or other materials supporting my application?

References can be added to your submitted application after the priority deadline, if necessary. It is in your best interest to complete your application close to the priority deadline. The contacts you list as reference providers will be able to add their letters directly to your online application after submission. 

What if I apply after the priority deadline? Do I still have a chance for admission?

Sometimes students miss the priority deadline for good reasons. However, this may cause chances for admission to decrease when the application is completed more than a few weeks after the priority deadline.  Be advised that Columbia reserves the right to evaluate and render a decision on the application even if all the pieces of the application have not been received after the priority deadline. Once a decision is rendered the decision will be final. 

What happens to my online application after it is submitted?

As soon as you submit your online application, with all the required materials, you will receive access to your Status Portal. You can log in to your Status Portal at any time to view the status of your application materials. If you have new, or additional, materials you would like to include with your application you may upload them as a "Supplemental Material." 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. In addition, if you would like to provide updated or new test scores with your application, you will have access to the Updated Test Score form. This form should only be used if you have received new scores since submitting your application.

I am interested in two different programs at SEAS — can I apply to both?

No. You may apply to only one program at a time. Do not apply to more than one program at SEAS for a given term or the applications you submit may be invalidated. Do not create new accounts to create additional applications. 

I am interested in an on-campus program and Columbia Video Network (CVN) program, can I apply to both?

No. You may apply to only one program at a time either on-campus or through CVN. Students may not apply to more than one program at SEAS for a given term or applications may be invalidated.

I have changed my name. What name should I enter on the application?

Enter your legal name on your application for admission. If you are an international student, use the name as it appears on your passport. If your name differs in any way on your official documents from what you indicated on the application this can cause a delay or a rescinding of an admission offer. Be sure to enter any alternative name(s) on the application for admission in the space provided. Please read the application carefully and follow the instructions.

I only have one name. How should I enter this on the application?

If you only have one name, please enter that name in both the first name and last name sections of the application.

Where do I mail official transcripts?

Copies of your official transcripts should be uploaded to your online application for review purposes. Our office will require official transcripts sent electronically after admission.  Check our FAQ section on transcripts if you have additional questions. 

Can I submit additional materials once my application is under review or evaluation?

After your application is submitted you may not update it. However, 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. All materials submitted in support of an applicant, whether official or unofficial, become the property of Columbia University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies. We suggest that you keep copies of any documents you may need for your personal use.

Do all of my application materials need to be submitted online?

Yes, applicants must submit all application requirements online. This includes uploaded copies of official transcripts and recommendations. No exceptions are made to the requirement.

Are certain recommendation letters deemed more effective for the application?

A letter that addresses recollections of favorable personal interactions in a classroom or a laboratory setting is very valuable. Letters from professors in the student's department who have direct experience with the student and can clearly compare him or her to others from classes they taught are effective. If a student has professional experience that is relevant, either because of the skills developed or the type of work experience, a letter from professionals can be very useful. Also, letters from research supervisors in the student's chosen area are important. Research-oriented letters are encouraged for those applying at the Ph.D. level.

How long should my personal statement be?

We recommend you not to exceed 1,000 words. However, this is a recommendation and not a requirement. Brevity is preferred. The statement serves as both a writing sample and an opportunity for you to explain why you are applying, what makes you a good fit, and anything that may be unclear elsewhere on your application.

Do you accept international/foreign checks or other methods of payment for the application fee?

No, the application fee must be paid using a major credit card via the online application system.

I am having technical problems with the online application system. Who should I contact?

Technical questions related to the application can be sent to [email protected].

How can I check the status of my application?

After submission, applicants should monitor their Status Portal. You will receive an email when a decision is made. Be advised that after the deadline Columbia reserves the right to evaluate an application and render a final decision even if all pieces of the application have not been received.

Contacting our office for your status interrupts and can delay the processing of applications for review.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

A decision can be expected to be made within six to eight weeks from the time the application came under review, or after the application deadline, whichever comes later. Be advised, the decision could take more or less time depending on a variety of factors, including the selection of students for funding.

How will I be notified of the decision on my application?

The official notice of an admission decision will be communicated to you in a formal letter within your Status Portal.  Be sure you provide a current and valid email address to ensure you receive all correspondence.

Can my reference providers submit their letters of recommendation by postal mail or via email to someone directly?

We are unable to accept hard copy reference letters by mail. References sent this way will not be reviewed. Exceptions are not made.  If your reference provider has trouble submitting their reference online, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for assistance at [email protected].

I am an international student. Do I need to submit financial documents along with my application for visa purposes?

There is no need to submit financial documents before the decision is made on your application for admission. You will be required to submit financial statements to the International Students and Scholars Office after you are accepted into the program.