Frequently Asked Questions on Ph.D. Admissions

  1. [International students only] I have earned a master’s degree in xxx at University of xxx in the US. I am wondering whether I can obtain a waiver for the TOEFL. The TOEFL exam is required by the graduate school for anyone who has had an undergraduate education in a non‐English speaking country. Our department does not issue waivers.
  2. [International students only] I took the TOEFL more than two years ago. I am wondering whether your department will accept my score. As long as ETS can still send an official transcript of your score, we will accept it.
  3. Is the GRE subject exam required? If I haven’t taken it, will I still be qualified for admission or financial aid? The GRE subject exam is recommended since it provides more information about the applicant.
    However,  it is not required, and not taking it will not disqualify you.
  4. How many students are you going to admit next year? How many of them will receive financial aid? How many of them will be from country xxx? We don’t decide how many students we are going to admit until late December or even early January. And we don’t discuss this matter with applicants (especially over email). ALL students admitted will receive financial support for their graduate study. Admission is based on merit, not nationality.
  5. Below are my grades and standard tests […]. Can I apply to your program? What are my chances of being admitted? We receive more than 300 applications a year and there are many students in our applicant pool who are qualified for our program. However, we can only admit a few top students. Before seeing the entire applicant pool, we cannot comment on admission probabilities.
  6. What is the deadline for the application? What is the deadline for financial aid? We only have one deadline for application (Ph.D. program), which is January 14, 2021. 
    Newly admitted and continuing students matriculating in the Fall should submit their Financial Aid documents by June 1 to receive priority processing.
  7. What is the minimum requirement for TOEFL, GRE, and GPA for admission? For the standard tests, please read:

    We don’t have a threshold for GPA and will read applicants’ transcripts for grades on individual courses.

  8. How many years does it take to pursue a Ph.D. degree in your program? Our students usually graduate in 4‐6 years. Some students take less time to graduate, others slightly more.
  9. My transcript is not in English. What should I do? You would have to submit a notarized translated copy along with the original transcript.
  10. What is the distribution of students currently enrolled in your program (their background, GPA, standard tests, etc)? We don’t post such information.
  11. Can I send a photocopy of my GRE score in with my application? Yes, but make sure you arrange for ETS to send the official score to the graduate school.
  12. What is the mailing address for your Ph.D. admission office? Students are encouraged to apply online. From GSAS guideline: “Please use the cover sheets provided below when mailing us any supporting materials for your application. All materials should be sent to the Office of Admissions, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 107 Low Library, 535 West 116th Street, MC 4304, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.”
  13. What are the required application materials? Specific admission requirements for our programs can be found here. The general required materials for admission by the graduate school can be found here.