Standardized Test Scores

Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test required?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for the 2024 admission cycle. This includes Spring 2024 and Fall 2024. If you have taken the exam and would like to provide your scores, you may, but it is not required. Students who do not submit scores will not be penalized in the graduate admissions review process. 

What if my test scores do not arrive by the priority deadline?

If you provide test scores, you must self-report your full scores (each section with percentiles) for all exams in your online application in the space provided. Your self-reported scores will be verified during the review process and if you are recommended for admission after the deadline. If you accept the offer of admission, you will need to submit official test scores at that time. Scores sent from ETS to our School, code 2111, typically arrive within two weeks.  

My score(s) will expire soon. Do I need to retake the test?

GRE scores expire in five years. TOEFLIELTS, and Duolingo scores expire in two years. Expired test scores will not be accepted.  All standardized test scores must remain valid through your first semester. If your scores expire prior to this, we strongly encourage you to submit your official score report to us before their expiration. 

Who is required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, or Duolingo English Test (DET)?

Applicants who earned their undergraduate degree in a country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the United States of America must submit an official score from an approved English language proficiency exam. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Korea, Africa, Southeast Asia, and most European countries.

Approved English language proficiency exams are the TOEFL iBT - including TOEFL iBT Home Edition,  IELTS Academic, PTE Academic test, or Duolingo English Test. TOEFL MyBest scores are not accepted. Only one English language test is required.

Applicants who transferred from or have combined/joint program degrees from an institution in a country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the United States of America, are also required to submit one of the English language tests with their application.

An exception will be made for applicants who have earned or will complete a Master's degree in the United States before enrollment. In this case, the applicant is not required to submit English language proficiency exam scores for admission.

Current Columbia Engineering graduate students enrolled in a degree program who are applying again to another degree program do not have to submit TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, or Duolingo English Test. 

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

There are no minimum test score requirements to apply for admission consideration.  However, it may be necessary to improve your English proficiency if you score:

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

What is the minimum GRE score required?

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 and your ETS scores 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 include the percentiles.

Do I need to take the GRE subject test?

If you are a doctoral applicant (MS leading to Ph.D., Ph.D., Eng.Sc.D.) applying to the Applied Physics program, you must 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 may upload their GMAT score report as a Supplemental Material if they have taken the test and wish to provide the score.

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

Please upload a copy of the corresponding score report for any test scores you have provided in your application. This is the only score report required at the time of application. You should have official scores sent to us directly from your testing agency (ETS code 2111). Your self-reported scores will be verified during the review process. If we cannot verify your test scores, we will contact you. Please do not contact our office to confirm if your scores were received, as this will create a backlog.

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

If you are including test scores with your application, you must include these prior to submission. We strongly encourage you to apply and complete your application close to or within a few weeks of the priority deadline for the best results. 

I have earned an MS degree in the U.S. Do I still need to take an English language proficiency exam?

No, you are not required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo test if the university 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident of the U.S. Do I still have to take the TOEFL, IELTS, DET, 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 programs with a U.S. institution. Do I still have to take the TOEFL, IELTS, DET, or PTE test?

The test is only waived if you are awarded your Bachelor's or Master of Science degree from a school where English is the official and widely spoken language. In addition, you must have been on campus in the country for the duration of your program.  

I took the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo when I first applied to Columbia Engineering, which 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 are not enrolled and your test expired, please retake the test and submit valid scores with your new application.