Please review the questions below to help you in your preparation. More questions? View our detailed 2021 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.   

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?

The Department encourages all students to engage in professional development activities including professional etiquette workshops, interview workshops, taped mock interviews, resume workshops, employer presentations, industry speaker events, networking socials, recruiting events, etc. These initiatives are largely sponsored and offered by the IEOR Department and/or the Columbia University Center for Career Education.

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.