Q: What will the 2020-21 academic calendar look like? 

A: Columbia will operate on a three-term cycle for the 2020-2021 academic year. Most graduate classes, however, will be concentrated in the fall and spring terms. Classes for the fall term will begin on schedule on September 8; please see the 2020-21 Academic Calendar for more detail.

Please regularly visit Columbia University's Resource Guide for COVID-19


Q: What will the format of the classes be? 

Courses will be offered in multiple formats. Classes will have hybrid modalities to provide flexibility as the semester progresses. GSAS students will have the opportunity to take classes in-person when available, and all courses will be offered online to accommodate students who cannot or do not wish to attend in person. 

Q: What health and safety protocols do we have to follow? 

Campus health policy will require that people wear a face covering at all times while on campus, unless they are in a private room with the door closed. Physical distancing will be enforced throughout campus.

A detailed overview of public health protocols on Columbia’s campus includes symptom screening, mandatory and periodic testing, contact tracing, face covering, social distancing, and quarantining.

Q: What is the Columbia Community Health Compact? 

It is the shared community pledge to the highest standards of health and safety. See here:  Columbia Community Health Compact

Q: I am an admitted student, but currently not located in the US. What happens if I can’t secure my visa and/or I am not able to enter the US in time? 

Prospective students are advised to visit the ISSO COVID-19 FAQs

Our Department will be as flexible as possible in regards to instructional design and format in order to best accommodate our incoming students regardless of their location and the status of the pandemic.  It is also possible to defer to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021.  The deadline to request a deferral is August 15. 


Q: I am admitted into the On-Campus Program and I am considering deferring. Is it possible to defer until the spring semester? 

The option to defer to the Spring is available only for 2020, given the unprecedented circumstances.  

The deadline to request a spring deferral is August 15th, 2020

There is  more information about deferral on the GSAS Website.  Read carefully, as there are important updates. 

We will also continue to honor one year deferrals until next fall with a deadline of August 15th. For more information on a one year deferral process, please read HERE.

Q: I have already deferred and now I have changed my mind. Can I still join with a Fall 2020 start? 

Please read the details about deferral on the GSAS Website HERE

If after a deferral request, you find you are able to attend in Fall 2020 after all, you may cancel your deferral and join the incoming cohort in Fall 2020 by writing to, with the subject line, “CANCEL MY DEFERRAL.” We understand that, depending on current location, you may have additional challenges in attaining a visa on short notice. We will work with you so that you may join us for the earliest semester possible. 

This option is available for this exceptional year only. 

General Questions

Q: What are students, faculty and alumni saying about the MA Program? 
This is a recent VIDEO about the MA Program in the Department of Statistics. 
In addition, here are: 
Q: What do you look for in an applicant? 

The Admissions Committee looks for applicants with a compelling background and strong grades in quantitative and related fields such as statistics, mathematics and computer science. Applicants need a thorough knowledge of linear algebra and advanced calculus. Successful candidates have experience in theoretical or applied probability and statistics.  Familiarity with computer programming is highly recommended. 

Interested applicants lacking background in these areas should make up the deficiency before applying. We do not offer conditional acceptance.

Due to the large number of applications received, the MA in Statistics staff does not answer inquiries about specific applications nor give advice or direction to applicants before they are admitted. Although we appreciate interest in the program, please note that emails sent to the Department expressing interest have no bearing on the outcome of your application being reviewed. Your candidacy is decided upon by your application materials only. Any specific interest and rationale should be conveyed in your personal statement within the application. 

Q: How many students are enrolled in the program? 
The number of enrolled students varies every year according to our admission needs and the number of qualified applications received.
Q: What are the application deadlines for both programs? 

Please refer to the GSAS Admissions website for all deadline information

Q: What are the minimum GPA/GRE Scores for a successful applicant? 

There are no minimum GPA or GRE scores set by the Department. The Admissions Committee looks competitively at the overall application including the grades received in relevant coursework, the prerequisites needed for the program, recommendation letters, test scores, and other supporting documents. 

Q: May I apply for more than one program? 

To apply to more than one program in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, please review the Frequently Asked Questions on the GSAS Website.   Note that besides applying to GSAS, it is fine to apply to other schools within Columbia University, like the School of Professional Studies or the School of Engineering

Q: May I arrange for a personal interview or visit the Columbia University Campus? 

Due to the number of applicants we do not meet with prospective students.   An interview is not part of the Admissions Process.   Nor do we provide tours or interviews with faculty or students. 

You may visit the Columbia Campus Visitor Center (213 Low Library).  HERE is a link for visiting the Columbia Campus.  HERE is a link for tours, including the self-guided tour.   HERE is more detailed information about Columbia University and visiting New York City. 

Thoroughly review the MA Website and the GSAS Website including the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). If questions remain and you are on campus, visit the GSAS Admissions Office (107 Low Library) between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. 

Q: Are TOEFL Scores required? 

GSAS requires a minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL (600 on the paper-and-pencil test) or 7.5 on the IELTS test.  Please refer to GSAS Admissions for timing and more details on the English Proficiency Requirement.  Write to for specific questions. 

Q: How long does it take to complete the program? Is there a part-time option? 

The typical full-time schedule is three semesters (Fall, Spring, Fall) with summer courses as optional.  Students in F1 status must be full-time and must finish within three semesters, according to their visa.   The number of courses taken per semester can vary as long as the program requirements are completed within the three semesters. 

Part-time domestic students complete the program in a maximum of four years. 

Q: Where can I find additional information about admission requirements and other GSAS policies? 
Q: May I pursue another degree when enrolled in the MA Program? 

No, you may not.  Here is some general information on Statistics on the GSAS Website

Q: Which are the software packages/data technologies we will use in the program (SAS/R/Hadoop, etc.)? 

Most instructors use R, which will be used in the course GR5206, Statistical Computing and Introduction to Data Science. A good website to have time to prepare in advance for programming options is located here.

Q: Do MA students take courses with PhD students? 

Generally, MA students may not take PhD-level courses. However, a well-prepared student may be permitted to take a certain PhD-level course with the approval of their Faculty Adviser and the  course instructor.

Q: Are there TA or RA opportunities for MA students? 

You may apply for a grader position after you complete your first semester in the MA Program.  Keep reading the MA Newsletter and checking your emails as this opportunity will be announced.     We do not offer RA or TA positions within the Statistics Department for Master's students, but there may be TA opportunities available outside the Department. 

Q: Is there a Facebook page for the MA Statistics Program? 

 Yes, we have a Facebook page.

Q: Where do graduates work? 
Our graduates pursue careers in diverse areas including but not limited to the following:  the pharmaceutical industry, education, finance, insurance, market research, public health, government, academia and consulting. To get a sense of where our recent graduates have landed, please click HERE.  International students should consult with ISSO counselors about eligibility to work in the US. 
Our career development team provides individual and group guidance to help students find jobs. This includes resume and cover letter reviews, training through mock interview sessions and networking events with employers and alumni.

Statistics Career Information

o   Graduate Placement

o   Alumni Profiles

o   Alumni speaking about their Statistics Careers

Decisions & Waitlists

Q: I applied a while ago and still haven’t received my decision. When will I hear back about my status? 

If you have not heard back, it means your application is still under review.  There are no expedited reviews.  Although the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences begins accepting applications to the M.A. program in September, the decision-making process may not begin until February.  Once the decision-making process is under way, decisions will be made on a rolling basis until the deadline. 

Since space is limited, prospective applicants are encouraged to submit all application materials as early as possible. 

Q: My application was rejected. May I receive feedback? 

We appreciate the time and commitment you put into your application; however, we are unable to offer individual feedback on why you did not gain admission. This is a highly selective program and decisions are competitively based upon a thorough review of all application materials.

Q: What is my number on the waiting list? 

We do not have a number system for our wait list, nor do we share where you rank.  Interested applicants must wait. 

Q: May I submit additional materials to improve my application while placed on the wait list? 

No. If you are on the waitlist, you must simply wait to see if available slots open. You will be contacted if there is an open spot available for you. 

Q: I was accepted. May I request an extension to the time I have to pay the deposit? 

We are not allowing any extensions to the date of the deposit.  You need to pay the deposit in time or forfeit your place to another student.