Dive Into the Columbia Blue

Founded in 1754, Columbia University in the City of New York is at once a small college and a major research university: an Ivy League education on a human scale. That means working in small classes and labs with pioneering faculty in every field from the classic to the cutting edge. It means being part of one of the most diverse, talented student bodies in the world. It means our signature Core Curriculum along with stellar undergraduate research with world-renowned faculty. It means living in a city driven by the smartest, newest ideas. It means any pursuit, every opportunity is here.


Through both Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, students can take classes and conduct research that advances what the world knows in every area. Our imperative is to involve around 6,000 undergraduates in major research with world-renowned faculty and help students find their strengths and true passions. With over 100 areas of study, there is a 6:1 student-faculty ratio (3:1 in most science departments), and 80% of undergraduate classes have 20 students or fewer.

The intimate academic environment is further distinguished by pluralism of thought and diversity, as evidenced by Columbia’s esteemed Core Curriculum, a series of small discussion-based seminars exploring foundational texts, enduring documents and exemplary experiments in literature, philosophy, history, music, art, writing, science and more. Taken by students from all majors, including engineers, the Core challenges students to make connections across the world of ideas, deepening their insights together at every turn. From understanding the forces of globalization to grasping life through the prism of a gene to expressing human yearning through the arts, intellectual vitality is uniquely central to Columbia’s identity. Celebrating a century of tradition, the Core is a singular intellectual experience that not only unites and connects students across disciplines but also defines a Columbia education.

Columbia Engineering’s unique program is defined by an unparalleled breadth and depth of majors and minors, including liberal arts options; The Art of Engineering, a first-year design course; hands-on design projects; and research in New York City and around the world. Our engineers are training to create a more sustainable, healthy, secure, connected and creative humanity and world and are leaders, global citizens and entrepreneurial thinkers. We call this Engineering for Humanity.

Residential Life

At Columbia, you benefit not only from all of the advantages of New York City but also from a traditional college campus with guaranteed campus housing for all four years. A 36-acre campus on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Columbia is a quintessential residential university with one of the most diverse, talented student bodies in the world and nearly all undergraduates live on campus. One of the reasons housing here is so appealing is the depth of variety and flexibility in living options, from traditional corridor- and suite-style residence halls right at the center of everything to apartment buildings, townhouses, duplexes and classic New York brownstones in the Columbia neighborhood. Some students take full advantage of our urban backyard, while others choose to spend most of their time on campus and around Morningside Heights; ultimately, the balance between the city and the campus is a personal decision, one you can explore and change throughout your education.

Extracurricular Life

Outside of the classroom, students can join over 500 clubs and organizations, including over 60 multicultural and religious affinity groups. Columbia fields 31 Division I Ivy League athletic teams and dozens of club and intramural sports. Annual traditions bring the Columbia community together to connect and celebrate with one another, from Homecoming, the Tree Lighting Ceremony and the President’s Fun Run to the Holi Festival and the Varsity Show.

Going to college in New York City means living in one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world, where you are at the center of every industry—research, business, technology, arts, media, publishing and more. The city is not just a home and a classroom, but a living laboratory and a source of inspiration, with hundreds of service and research partnerships and thousands of jobs and internships. Going to Columbia means free and discounted tickets to theatre productions, concerts and museums, ensuring you’ll have access to all that New York City offers. Columbia students cheer on friends running the New York City Marathon, visit the Museum of Modern Art after class, intern in startups in Silicon Alley and relax in Central Park, all within a few subway stops of campus.

Admissions Website

Please see the Columbia Undergraduate Admissions website for more information about the undergraduate experience and application guidelines.

Deadline Information

  • Early Decision: November 1
  • Regular Decision: January 1
  • Transfer: March 1

Early Decision candidates will be notified of their admission status in mid-December, and Regular Decision candidates will be notified in late March. Early Decision is a binding commitment; applicants are encouraged to review Columbia’s policies prior to submitting an application. Transfer candidates will be notified of their status in May.

Required Application Materials

Applicants to Columbia must submit only one complete application, including the Columbia-specific application questions.

  • Coalition Application, Common Application or Questbridge Application
  • $85 application fee or fee waiver request
  • Secondary School Report
    • An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
    • One high school counselor’s recommendation and school profile
    • The completed Mid-Year Report
  • Standardized Testing
    • See revised testing policy for the 2021-2022 application cycle
    • SAT or ACT are not required
    • The appropriate SAT code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717
    • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • These recommendations must come from teachers who taught you in academic disciplines
    • For engineering applicants, one must come from a math or science teacher

Required application materials for transfer applicants can be found here

Financial Aid

Columbia University believes that cost should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s educational dreams, and we offer one of the most generous need-based financial aid programs of any school. Our approach to affordability is simple: Need-based. Need-blind. Full need. We determine financial aid eligibility by evaluating your family's ability to pay for education costs. We evaluate admissions applications of US Citizens, Eligible Non-Citizens, and undocumented students without regard to your financial need. We meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all first-years and transfers pursuing their first degree.

Financial aid at Columbia is need-based in the form of grants and student work only; there are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships. Instead, we evaluate each family’s ability to pay based on the information provided to us in the financial aid application. And then we cover 100% of the financial need for all admitted students for their time at Columbia. Loans are not used to meet financial need or included in initial financial aid awards. For students coming from families with calculated total incomes of less than $60,000 annually (and typical assets), parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance. Students coming from families with calculated total incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 annually (and typical assets) have a significantly reduced parent contribution. Our financial aid analysis considers many factors in determining eligibility; there are no income or asset cutoffs. A Columbia education is possible for students from families of all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Net Price Calculator
  • Graduation rate: 96%
  • Total amount of financial aid and scholarships awarded annually: $177 million, including more than $20 million for international undergraduates
  • Percent of students receiving Columbia grants: 50%
  • Total 2020-2021 Cost of Attendance: $80,339
  • Average Columbia grant: $57,274

Learn more about how aid works at Columbia by visiting our Financial Aid & Educational Financing website.

Additional Information