If you have come to this page, it's because you have questions that haven't been answered on other parts of our website. Find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions, whether you want to know more about how Columbia students take advantage of the arts in New York City, what campus dining is like or which application type is right for you.
Should I apply to the Combined Plan after three years or after four?
You should speak with the liaison at your school, who can advise you on an appropriate course of study and/or other institutional requirements that may determine when you will apply. While most students apply in their third year, you may apply in your fourth year and still be considered for guaranteed admission. Students may apply only up to one year after they have graduated.
Can I apply if I do not attend an affiliate school?
Yes. You are permitted to apply, and your materials will be reviewed by the Combined Plan Admissions Committee in a competitive review process.
Which classes count towards Columbia’s prerequisite courses?
Please speak with the liaison at your school in order to determine which classes fulfill Columbia pre-engineering and major course requirements. Our Pre-Curriculum Course Descriptions describe the topics covered through our prerequisite courses, which may help you guide you and your school liaison.
What courses are used to calculate my GPA?
Your pre-engineering GPA includes all of the science and mathematics prerequisite Foundation Courses and Major-Specific Courses, as listed in our Curriculum Guide. Your overall GPA includes all courses you have completed towards your home institution's degree, up through the spring semester of application.
Will any advanced credits I earned in high school (e.g., AP or IB courses) transfer?
Please speak with your liaison. If the course appears on your home institution’s transcript and if your liaison approves by noting this in the recommendation letter, we will accept credit taken at other institutions. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are required. Please note that additional information on your school’s credit policies may be required as part of your application.
Will any courses I’ve taken elsewhere (at non-affiliate institutions and/or study abroad programs) fulfill Columbia's prerequisite courses?
Please speak with the liaison at your school, who should be familiar with your school’s policies. If the course appears on your home institution's transcript and if your liaison approves by noting this in his/her recommendation letter, we will accept credit taken at other institutions as fulfillment of the prerequisite course. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are required. Please note that additional information about your school's credit policies may be required as part of your application.
Can I apply to the Combined Plan program if I have not fulfilled all of the requirements for guaranteed admission?
Yes. Your application materials will be reviewed by the Combined Plan Admissions Committee.
I received a B- in a required prerequisite class. Do I still qualify for guaranteed admission?
For students who began at an affiliate school in fall 2011 or later, the minimum grade for each pre-engineering prerequisite course must be a B (3.0) on the first attempt. As a B- is less than a B on a 4.0 scale, receiving a B- or less would preclude a student from guaranteed admission, and would put the student in our competitive review process. Students who began at an affiliate school prior to fall 2011, there are no minimum grade requirements for guaranteed admission.
What if a prerequisite class is not offered at my affiliate school?
Please speak with the liaison at your school to determine how the prerequisite class may be taken. Depending on the course, you may be able to take the class at another institution or through independent study.
How many Combined Plan students are at Columbia?
We have a total of approximately 150 students in the two years of the Combined Plan.
What are your admissions statistics for the Combined Plan Program?
We do not release any admissions statistics for the Combined Plan Program. There are no quotas, as each application is reviewed individually. There are approximately 275 students currently on campus as part of the program.
Are there quotas for the number of Combined Plan students admitted?
No. The Combined Plan Admissions Committee will review applications individually.
Why can’t I apply to the Financial Engineering major?
Financial Engineering is a concentration in the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research department that requires an application after at least one semester of study at Columbia. Entrance in this program is very competitive.
Students interested in the Financial Engineering track should consider Operations Research, Engineering Management Systems or Industrial Engineering as fields of study.
Do you offer a Combined Plan program for the M.S. in Engineering degree?
For all information about the graduate study of engineering at Columbia, please contact the Office of Graduate Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May I reapply to the Combined Plan program?
Yes. You will need to resubmit a new application with an updated transcript and materials. Please note that students reapplying will be considered in a competitive and holistic review process.
How many classes will I take in a typical Columbia Engineering semester?
Depending on the course of study, Combined Plan students will take five or six classes per semester (including laboratory supplements to classes).
Will I be able to take non-technical liberal arts electives at Columbia?
Depending on your department and schedule, you may be able to take non-technical elective courses.
Do I have to take physical education classes?
No. Combined Plan students are exempt from the Columbia Physical Education requirement.
What kind of housing do Combined Plan students receive?
Combined Plan students are guaranteed housing in their first year.
While Columbia will do its best to accommodate students’ requests to live on campus after the first year, there is no guarantee that Combined Plan students will be offered a room on campus beyond the first year. Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for housing in non-Columbia owned buildings in the metropolitan area. OCHA maintains a website and regular office hours to provide advice, resources and an online database of available housing.
If I am a Combined Plan student, can I pursue an internship while I am at Columbia?
Yes! Combined Plan students have access to the Center for Career Education, which assists students with finding appropriate internship opportunities and preparing for postgraduate careers.
What assistance is available to help Combined Plan students with their post-Columbia plans?
Combined Plan students have full access to The Center for Career Education, Preprofessional Advising, and Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, which provide individual advising, programming and rich resources to help students explore and prepare for internships and jobs, graduate school and fellowship programs. Graduating student survey results demonstrate that Columbia engineering students are equipped to pursue a variety of paths upon graduation.
Will I get the same financial aid package from Columbia as I received from my affiliate school?
As Columbia awards only need-based financial aid, your aid package may change. Please see the financial aid section on our website for more information.
Can foreign/international Combined Plan applicants get financial aid?
Financial aid is available for foreign students, but it is limited. Columbia does not guarantee that it will cover 100% of a foreign student’s demonstrated financial need. A “foreign” student is one who has neither U.S. citizenship nor U.S. permanent resident status.
Do you offer fee waivers for the Combined Plan application?
Yes. Please obtain documents demonstrating eligibility from your Financial Aid office and contact the Combined Plan program by email.
I’m planning to visit Columbia. Are there any Combined Plan specific things I can do?
In addition to a general information session and campus tour, you may be interested in our Engineering tour. Spaces are limited, so we encourage you to RSVP.
If you have any specific questions regarding the Combined Plan program, you may speak to an admissions officer available during your visit, or you may e-mail us at email@example.com.
How long can I study at Columbia in the Visiting Student Program?
Visiting Students are eligible to study at Columbia for up to one year (two semesters), pending successful academic standing and completion of their first semester on-campus.
Can I take any course at Columbia as a Visiting Student?
Columbia does not guarantee that Visiting Students will be able to enroll in any specific class until the time of registration, and we therefore encourage students to have a wide selection of courses ready at the time of registration. Visiting Students may not enroll in any of Columbia’s graduate schools (including Columbia Business School) without first consulting their Advising Dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Visiting Students must maintain full-time status by registering for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and may take a maximum of 18 credit hours. Most students schedule 15-18 credit hours (approximately 5 classes) per semester. We recommend that you consult with your dean/academic advisor at your home institution to help plan your curriculum at Columbia and ensure that Columbia credits will transfer.
Is the Visiting Student Program open to high school students?
No, only undergraduates in degree-seeking programs may apply for the Visiting Student Program.
How can I get more information about Columbia?
We encourage you to browse our website for lots of helpful information on campus life, academic life, applying, the admissions process, required standardized exams, financial aid, visiting Columbia, events, international students, diversity, parents and families, guidance counseling, alumni, frequently asked questions and more!
Students interested in receiving additional information from Columbia may fill out our inquiry form.