Admissions FAQ

See below for the most frequently asked questions about PhD admissions

The application deadline is January 4th. 

Generally not, but under special circumstances, we may consider outstanding applicants to begin in January. However, we prefer to judge all applicants at the same time for comparison purposes, and all fellowship funds are awarded to Fall entrants.

Yes, there is an application fee. However, GSAS offers fee waiver options for eligible applicants. For more info, see:

No. DEES does not require applicants to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).

Yes. All PhD students admitted receive fellowships or assistantships including full tuition, health insurance, and a uniform monthly stipend for the academic year. 12 months funding is guaranteed for five years for PhD students in good academic standing; petitions are required for a sixth year of support.

GSAS supplements the fellowship package by providing a one-time stipend to selected incoming PhD students. Prospective doctoral students must submit a diversity statement as part of the admissions application to be considered. For more info, see:

Each admitted student is offered Columbia housing near the main campus in NYC for five years (up to two more years are possible depending on timely progress toward the degree and the approval of the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences). Some Lamont-based students who prefer to live outside the Columbia area choose to live in Rockland County or nearby New Jersey.

On average, students take between 5 and 5.5 years to complete the program and earn their doctorate degree. 

Students entering with a master's degree follow the same program milestones as students who enter with a bachelor's degree. Students are able to transfer up to 15 graduate credits that can be used towards their 45 credit program requirement.

No. Our program is a full-time PhD program.

Accepted students will be invited to visit in the spring. Students who wish to visit before admission may contact any of the faculty or research scientists whose work is of interest to arrange a visit. This allows prospective students to arrange their schedules with the person or persons they would like to meet. With so many commitments and travel, we find this works the best. The department staff is then happy to coordinate other aspects of the visit.

More information on admissions can be found in the GSAS Admissions Toolkit.