Please review the questions below to help you in your preparation. More questions? View our detailed Admissions FAQ and Timeline for information specifically about the current application cycle.

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Program Preparation

What type of students do you look for?

The Columbia IEOR graduate programs look for candidates with a background in engineering, mathematics, computer science, statistics, economics, finance, or other similar quantitative fields.

What are the pre-requisites?

All applicants to all our graduate programs should have a solid foundation in mathematics, including multivariate calculus, linear algebra (MATH V2010 or its equivalent) and probability and statistics (IEOR E3658 & IEOR E4307, IEOR E4150 or their equivalent). Some programming proficiency is desirable, such as Python, R, etc. 

For MSOR & MSIE applicants:

○ 1 course on multivariate calculus
○ 1 course on linear algebra 
○ 1 additional math course (for example, differential equations, discrete math, analysis of algorithms, real analysis)
○ 1 course on probability (or a joint course in probability and statistics)
○ Programming experience preferred (admitted students without sufficient experience will be required to take a programming-based course)

When will I know the decision?

PhD applicants will be notified of their admissions decision or contacted for more information late-February to early-March. The MS programs (Financial Engineering, Management Science & Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research) applicants for the Fall semester will be notified of their admissions decision or contacted for more information mid-March to late-April.

Do you recommend preparatory math classes?

For applicants who have not taken a math course for several years, we do recommend some type of refresher course in order to excel in the program. If you are required to take a math course as part of conditional acceptance to the program, we will accept the grades from any accredited college or university. For high quality courses offered online, we recommend Columbia Video Network.

Is there a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for application?

Yes, a 3.0 (out of 4) GPA is preferred. Most successful applicants have a GPA higher than 3.0. 

Is work experience required?

For MS applicants: While not required, we do recommend that prospective students have some professional experience, either in the form of a full time position or an internship.

For PhD applicants: For PhD studies, research experience is more valuable than work experience.

Career Placement

Where can I find more information about careers after IEOR?

This information, including a listing of companies where our graduates work after graduation, please see the career section for each program: MSBAMSFEMSEMSOR, and MSIE.

What kind of professional development opportunities are there within the department?

Career placement and career development opportunities are offered by the IEOR Department, the Professional Development & Leadership team, and the Graduate Career Placement team. Many resources are available to Columbia Engineers and Scientists in their job search and career exploration. The Department expects all students to fully engage in the required ENGI E4000 Professional Development and Leadership course that educates students to enhance their professionalism, maximize performance and achieve their full potential to become engineering leaders. The course offers over 300 sessions annually covering many topics to enhance our students' marketability and skillset.

In addition, the IEOR Career Placement Team offers one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, employer info sessions, an exclusive job board, and student-alumni networking events and mentorship programs. These resources contribute to the growth and development of each of our students—something we take great pride in. The team is also continually forging strategic industry partnerships so that students are exposed to a broad range of professional growth opportunities.

Student Life

Is financial assistance from the department available for graduate studies?

The Department does not offer financial assistance for MS students. Departmental financial aid is reserved for support of PhD students. Visit the Graduate Engineering Aid site for financial aid information. Interested students may want to also consider applying for a Course Assistantship upon arrival.

Is housing available for accepted graduate students?

Housing questions should be directed to University Apartment Housing. While not guaranteed, all admitted PhD students have been offered housing in the past.

How long does it take to complete the MS program?

Students can easily complete the MSOR or IE program in two semesters by taking 15 points (usually five courses) per semester. Students also have the option to complete the program three semesters by taking fewer courses each semester, which costs less per semester, and allows for part-time employment.