Prospective Students


Data has transformed the study of medicine and biology — and here at Columbia DBMI, we have been a key part of that revolution. We are one of the oldest biomedical informatics departments in the world, and with the unique ingredients that comprise our program, we offer a truly distinctive experience for students looking to prosper in this field.
Year after year, our graduates go on to successful careers in academia and industry. DBMI students come from diverse backgrounds, including medicine, biology, computer science, mathematics, engineering, and public health. They build on the training they receive in biomedical informatics to become tenured faculty and academic chairs at top-tier institutions as well as leaders in healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and founders of innovative new startups.
From interactions with our renowned faculty to collaborations with fellow students who have a range of expertise, the relationships you forge here will inspire and guide the rest of your career. The breadth and depth of the DBMI experience will provide a solid foundation as you develop state-of-the-art computational tools to address critical challenges facing healthcare and medicine today.

We offer several different graduate program options.  Each requires receipt of a previously earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.


Applications are available online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Coordinated PhD program in biomedical sciences on the uptown CUMC campus. Only electronic applications are accepted. The PhD application consists of applicant information, official transcripts, GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, and a personal statement  All application materials must be received before the application deadline for consideration.  PhD finalists selected for an interview will be notified through the admissions portal by late December.  Non finalists are notified of their status through the admissions portal by February.

US Citizen and Permanent Resident applicants for the NLM funded postdoctoral research fellowship apply online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Finalists will be invited for interviews.  Only MA applications may be accepted past the December deadline on a case by case basis.  MA applicants are not interviewed.

Is the GRE required?
Yes, GRE scores are a GSAS admission requirement.  Applicants who took the GRE more than five years ago but have subsequently enrolled in a graduate-level program at a US institution may petition the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs to accept their old scores. Any applicants who wish to substitute MCAT scores for the GRE must contact the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs (, 212.305.8058) for special permission in advance.  See test scores under Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for code for GSAS to send your score report.

Are there minimum GRE scores? Should I take the GRE subject test?
Your application is not enriched by taking the GRE subject test.  The general test is the only requirement.  Our program is highly competitive.  As such, it is recommended you score as high as possible.

May I take the GRE after the official admissions deadline and still be considered for admission?
If you are a PhD applicant, you will not be considered for admission if you take the GRE test after the official application deadline has passed and your score is not received by the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs by the application deadline.  Per the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs, test scores must be submitted 6 weeks prior to the admission deadline. See Test Scores section of the Frequently Asked Questions of the GSAS admissions website.

Are there minimum score requirements for the TOELF or IELTS?  Under what conditions may I request a TOEFL or IELTS waiver?
See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the GSAS website on English Proficiency Requirement. Contact the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs (, tel. 212.305.8058) with any questions.  Our office is not able to provide any waivers.

Where may I find information on cost of attendance?
See here for information on MA and PhD tuition and fees.  See HIT program tuition and fees.

Do you hold open houses?
The HIT program offers virtual information sessions in the spring term (dates TBA).

May I apply for Spring entry?
There is no admission nor enrollment for Spring term for any of our programs.

We have a long and distinguished 27 year history of funding by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to support pre and postdoctoral fellows as part of our training program.  Fellows specialize in health care informatics, clinical research informatics, translational bioinformatics, public health informatics.  In all of these areas, biomedical data science concepts and methods are part of the core curriculum.  NLM funded trainees join a rich network of NLM supported programs, attend annual conferences to present their research, and are pioneering alumni who found and lead informatics programs nationwide. Per the NIH, NLM eligibility is limited to US citizens and permanent residents.