General Questions

Q: Will students in the Hybrid Program receive the same diploma as those in the regular On-Campus Program? 

Yes. The diplomas for the two programs are exactly the same.

Q: Once I arrive to campus, may I take other courses online? 

The MA Program encourages Hybrid Students to take all classes on campus once you arrive.  There are no online courses available during the spring semester within the Department. For extenuating circumstances, please reach out to your Faculty Adviser. 

F-1 regulations permit international students to take one 3-credit online course in the spring term toward your full-time status and one in the fall term. However, if you are in your final term of the program, your last 3 credits cannot be online.

Q: Will the lectures be available to view at a later time? 

Yes. If you cannot attend class lectures on the scheduled time, recordings will be made available. However, please refer to each course syllabus as to the preference of the faculty member in terms of attending class live versus watching a pre-recorded session.  Students must be available to take tests and quizzes live. 

Q: How many classes should I take during the online portion? 

International students are expected to take all four online courses offered during the first semester and achieve 1 Residence Unit (RU) worth of courses for a full time schedule

Q: May I take more than the ten courses required for the degree? 

Yes, with the approval of your Faculty Adviser.  Once you are a student on campus, you will have a variety of approved electives to choose from. 

Q: How do I apply for University Housing? 

Application for housing will be available mid-October for the Spring Semester.  Information will be communicated via the weekly MA Newsletter.  Please read carefully and check your emails regularly. 

University-owned housing is extremely limited and most MA students do not receive housing. To apply (in October), follow the directions at University Apartment Housing (UAH).   MA students granted housing are limited to one-year and must be enrolled full-time in both semesters.

Columbia’s Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) Office provides assistance in finding rentals and prospective roommates (Columbia students).  Reach out to OCHA at least a few weeks before you need housing. 

Q: Is there a time limit to complete the On-Campus portion of the program? 

International students in F-1 status are expected to enroll full-time in the Spring Semester (year-1) and complete the program no later than the Fall Semester (year-2). For others, the maximum duration is four years.

Visa Questions

Q: Once an international student joins the on-campus portion of the program, when will they be eligible for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)? 
Federal regulations require that international students complete two full-time academic terms on campus in F-1 status before they are eligible for OPT. This may include 1 RU in the first semester on campus, and 1 Extended RU in the subsequent second semester on campus.
Q: Does the on-line portion of the program qualify an international student for the I-20 and F-1 student status? 
No, the on-line portion of the program does not qualify for the I-20 form or for F-1 student status.
Q: For an international student admitted to the Hybrid Program, what is the requirement to be eligible for F-1 status while in the on-campus portion of the program? 
The student must register fulltime for the spring term (i.e., 1 Residence Unit (RU)) followed by 1 Extended RU, for the final semester.
Q: Can an international student currently in the US in F-1 status at another institution apply for an I-20 form for the Hybrid Program? 

As in the response above, a student is eligible for a transfer I-20 in the spring term and may apply no earlier than September following admission to the program.  The ISSO email for this is  Questions about visas are best directed to ISSO - the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office. 

Q: If an international student residing abroad is admitted to the Hybrid Program, when can they apply for an I-20? 

An international student residing abroad, who is admitted to the Hybrid Program, may apply for an I-20 form for the spring term no earlier than September, following admission to the program.  The ISSO email for this is  Questions about visas are best directed to ISSO - the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office. 

Admissions Questions

Q: If accepted, do I attend the New Student Orientation on campus in the fall? 

No, the live orientation session is for new on campus students only. There is a special orientation session to welcome our Hybrid class before spring classes start. 

Q: What are the application deadlines for the hybrid program? 
The application deadlines for the hybrid program are the same as those of the regular on-campus program. Please refer to the GSAS Admissions website for all deadline information
Q: Can I be considered for the hybrid program if I am not admitted to the regular on-campus program? 
No, the admission criteria are the same for both programs.
Q: If waitlisted for the regular on-campus program, can I request to be switched to the Hybrid Program? 

Yes, contact the GSAS Office of Admissions directly at If you request to have your application considered for the Hybrid Program, your place on the waitlist will be forfeited. 

Q: Where can I find additional information about admission requirements and other GSAS policies? 
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 into this program.

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. Any specific interest and rationale should be conveyed in your personal statement within the application. 

Q: If admitted to the On-Campus Program, may I switch to the Hybrid Program, instead? 

One may request a transfer only before June 15.  The request must be approved and will be allowed only if there is space available in the Hybrid Program.  The Hybrid Program is open to a limited number of qualified applicants. 

To request a transfer before June 15, please send an email to with your name and "request to transfer to Hybrid Program" in the subject line.  This request will be sent for approval.  If approved, the Department will send a request to GSAS. 

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: Are TOEFL scores required? 

GSAS requires a minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL (600 on the paper-and-pencil test) or 7.0 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: May I arrange for a personal interview or visit the Columbia 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 the self-guided tour. 

Thoroughly review the MA Website including the FAQ's (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: I applied a while ago and still haven’t received my decision. When will I hear back about my status? 

The majority of M.A. decisions are not communicated until the end of April.  Applicants on the waitlist have to wait until they are contacted directly by the school for updates. 

Although the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences begins accepting applications to the M.A. program in September, the decision-making process will not begin until March.  Once the decision-making process is under way in March, decisions will be made on a rolling basis.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. 

Q: I was admitted to the Hybrid Program. May I change my status to the non-hybrid program? 

Unfortunately we are not able to transfer your application to the regular On-Campus Program.

Q: My application was placed on the waiting list. When will I receive a final decision? 

Most decisions for applicants on the waiting list will be communicated by the middle of May.

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

No. If you are on the wait list, you must simply wait to see if available slots open. You will be contacted if there is an opening.  Please do not contact the Department at this time. 

Q: What is my number on the wait list? 

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

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: 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: 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: 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 officer 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. We typically offer over 40 events per semester.