How to Apply


The basic requirement for admission as a student in the Biomedical Informatics program is a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, biology, nursing, medicine, public health, information management, or similar discipline. The general requirements for admission are determined by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

Students who enter without requisite coursework in computer science from previous study may be required to take remedial coursework at Columbia University to ensure fulfillment of program requirements.


GSAS only accepts applications to the PhD and MA program for entrance in the Fall term. There is no Spring term admission.  The application deadline for Fall 2019 admission is early December.  See Application Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions from the GSAS admissions website for official deadlines, address to send transcripts, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS institution codes, etc.  All tests should be taken at least 6 weeks prior to the application deadline to ensure timely receipt by the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs at CUMC.

Interested students are urged to submit their completed application and supporting materials as early as possible, though there is no rolling admissions and applications are reviewed as a group immediately following the admissions deadline.  It is not possible to be considered for our PhD program if your application is incomplete by the admissions deadline (inclusive of receipt of official GRE scores by the GSAS Office of Graduate Affairs at CUMC).

Application Package

A complete application package should include the following items:

  • GSAS online application
  • GRE scores (Required for both PhD and MA applicants. NLM Postdoctoral MA applicants may submit MCAT scores instead of GRE scores if they have not taken the GRE test. Physicians should also submit USMLE scores if they have taken these exams).  All GRE tests should be taken at least 6 weeks prior to the application deadline and sent to Institution Code 2619 by ETS.
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable (see International Students section below), sent to Institution Code 2619 by ETS
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resumé

The department conducts personal interviews with selected PhD or postdoctoral candidates by early February.  If you haven’t received an invitation to interview for the PhD via email by mid-February, you are not a finalist for admission and will receive a rejection letter by March from the GSAS Graduate Affairs Office over email. Final admissions decisions for the MA and PhD program are made no later than April 15th.

International Students

All international students whose native language is not English and who have not received an undergraduate degree from an institution in which English was the medium of instruction must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.

Information regarding minimum scores and the assessment of English speaking ability post-admission is available from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website. Requests to waive the TOEFL requirement should be directed to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Graduate Affairs [telephone (212) 305-8058, e-mail]. Only the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has the authority to waive TOEFL scores or grant exceptions.

Once admitted, international students may find information on applying for their I-20 and other essential information from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences International Students and Scholars Office.