Introduction to GSAS Admissions

The 2018 GSAS Application is available here.

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University. One of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished graduate schools, GSAS confers graduate degrees in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Our renowned faculty works with students to cultivate advanced knowledge and offer preparation for a variety of careers.

Approximately 3,400 students study and conduct research alongside more than 800 faculty members at our home in New York City. The Graduate School offers master’s and doctoral programs in the departments of Columbia’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as interdisciplinary and interschool programs that link GSAS with other schools at the university and throughout the world.

Application Deadlines

View a list of application deadlines.

The Application Process

All prospective students must apply using the online application. Printed applications are not available.

You must specify in your application the department, doctoral program subcommittee, or free-standing master’s degree program in which you wish to study. If required, you must indicate the sub-field of study and the term for which you are applying. A complete application includes: 

Please note that all application materials become the property of Columbia University and are not returnable. Applicants who have not waived their right to view letters of recommendation may request to view the letters only after they enroll in the GSAS program to which they have been admitted. Under the guidelines of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students who do not receive an offer of admission, or who are admitted but do not enroll, are not permitted access to the letters at any time. A complete explanation of the FERPA policy may be found here.

Biological Sciences and Biomedical PhD Program Applicants: 

  • If you are applying to the PhD program in Biological Sciences, you must apply through the GSAS online application.
  • If you are applying to any of the following Biomedical PhD programs, you must apply through the Biomedical PhD programs application.
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
    • Biomedical Informatics
    • Cell Biology
    • Cellular Physiology and Biophysics
    • Genetics and Development
    • Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biophysical Studies
    • Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection
    • Neurobiology and Behavior
    • Nutritional and Metabolic Biology
    • Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine
    • Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling

Applying to Multiple Programs

Applicants may elect to apply to up to two programs—either one PhD program and one MA program, or two MA programs—by submitting a single application to the Graduate School.

In any given term, an applicant may apply to only one PhD department, program, or subcommittee, including the biomedical PhD programs housed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Applicants who file more than one PhD application in a given admissions cycle will be required to withdraw one of the applications.

The Graduate School permits applicants to be reviewed by a second program if they do not receive an offer of admission from their first-choice program, with the following restrictions:

  • This option is only available for fall-term applicants.
  • Applicants may apply to only one PhD program. All secondary options are for MA programs only.
  • The second program must be selected before the application is submitted. Applicants may not request review by a second program after submitting the application.
  • Applicants will be able to view and opt for a second choice (if applicable) after selecting their first choice. Applicants should not submit a second application. (Note: Selecting a second choice will not affect the consideration of your application by your first choice.)
  • Applicants must upload a separate Statement of Purpose and submit any additional supporting materials required by the second program. Transcripts, letters, and test scores should only be submitted once.
  • Your application will be forwarded to your second-choice program only after your first-choice program has completed its review and rendered its decision. Your file will not be reviewed concurrently by both programs.
  • GSAS cannot guarantee that an application will receive a second review. Review by the second-choice program is contingent upon the program's application deadline and available slots.
  • The option to select a second-choice program will not be available for applications submitted after May 1.
  • Applicants who receive an offer of admission from their first-choice program but who wish to be considered by their second-choice program instead must decline the offer of admission from the first-choice program. IMPORTANT: In this case, the offer of admission from the first-choice program will be rescinded, and you may enroll in GSAS only if you receive an offer of admission from the second-choice program.

Admissions Policies

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree by the date in which they enroll at the Graduate School.

Applicants who hold American doctorates or their international equivalents in the same or similar fields as those to which they propose to apply, or who have completed most of the work required to earn the PhD elsewhere, are not eligible for admission to the Graduate School.

Applicants who hold American master's degrees or their international equivalents in the same or similar fields as those to which they propose to submit MA applications, or who have completed most of the work required to earn the MA elsewhere, are not eligible for admission to the same master’s program.

Applicants may submit the application up until 11:59 p.m. of the day on which their program's application deadline falls.

In order to receive a degree from a particular program, applicants must be formally admitted to that program. Students may not pursue a degree in more than one Columbia program concurrently.

Only the Dean of the Graduate School has the authority to make an offer of admission.

Columbia University is committed to providing a learning, living, and working environment free from unlawful discrimination. Read the Notice of Non-Discrimination.


Applicants denied admission may reapply in a subsequent year if further training or experience is presented to strengthen the application. However, applicants who have submitted three (3) applications to a single department or program without being offered admission may not reapply to the same program.

Office of Admissions Mailing Address

Please note: only applicants who are admitted should send materials (i.e., official transcripts) by mail to the Office of Admissions. Unofficial transcripts and other supplemental application materials should be uploaded through the online application system.

GSAS Office of Admissions
Columbia University 
107 Low Library, MC 4303
535 West 116th Street 
New York, NY 10027