columbia university graduate programs phd

Graduate Student Handbook (Coming Soon: New Graduate Student Handbook)

Phd program overview.

The PhD program prepares students for research careers in probability and statistics in academia and industry. Students admitted to the PhD program earn the MA and MPhil along the way. The first year of the program is spent on foundational courses in theoretical statistics, applied statistics, and probability. In the following years, students take advanced topics courses. Research toward the dissertation typically begins in the second year. Students also have opportunities to take part in a wide variety of projects involving applied probability or applications of statistics.

Students are expected to register continuously until they distribute and successfully defend their dissertation. Our core required and elective curricula in Statistics, Probability, and Machine Learning aim to provide our doctoral students with advanced learning that is both broad and focused. We expect our students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress in their advanced learning and research training by meeting the following program milestones through courseworks, independent research, and dissertation research:

By the end of year 1: passing the qualifying exams;

By the end of year 2: fulfilling all course requirements for the MA degree and finding a dissertation advisor;

By the end of year 3: passing the oral exam (dissertation prospectus) and fulfilling all requirements for the MPhil degree

By the end of year 5: distributing and defending the dissertation.

We believe in the Professional Development value of active participation in intellectual exchange and pedagogical practices for future statistical faculty and researchers. Students are required to serve as teaching assistants and present research during their training. In addition, each student is expected to attend seminars regularly and participate in Statistical Practicum activities before graduation.

We provide in the following sections a comprehensive collection of the PhD program requirements and milestones. Also included are policies that outline how these requirements will be enforced with ample flexibility. Questions on these requirements should be directed to ADAA Cindy Meekins at [email protected] and the DGS, Professor John Cunningham at [email protected] .

Applications for Admission

  • Our students receive very solid training in all aspects of modern statistics. See Graduate Student Handbook for more information.
  • Our students receive Fellowship and full financial support for the entire duration of their PhD. See more details here .
  • Our students receive job offers from top academic and non-academic institutions .
  • Our students can work with world-class faculty members from Statistics Department or the Data Science Institute .
  • Our students have access to high-speed computer clusters for their ambitious, computationally demanding research.
  • Our students benefit from a wide range of seminars, workshops, and Boot Camps organized by our department and the data science institute .
  • Suggested Prerequisites: A student admitted to the PhD program normally has a background in linear algebra and real analysis, and has taken a few courses in statistics, probability, and programming. Students who are quantitatively trained or have substantial background/experience in other scientific disciplines are also encouraged to apply for admission.
  • GRE requirement: Waived for Fall 2024.
  • Language requirement: The English Proficiency Test requirement (TOEFL) is a Provost's requirement that cannot be waived.
  • The Columbia GSAS minimum requirements for TOEFL and IELTS are: 100 (IBT), 600 (PBT) TOEFL, or 7.5 IELTS. To see if this requirement can be waived for you, please check the frequently asked questions below.
  • Deadline: Jan 8, 2024 .
  • Application process: Please apply by completing the Application for Admission to the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences .
  • Timeline: P.hD students begin the program in September only.  Admissions decisions are made in mid-March of each year for the Fall semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the application deadline? What is the deadline for financial aid? Our application deadline is January 5, 2024 .
  • Can I meet with you in person or talk to you on the phone? Unfortunately given the high number of applications we receive, we are unable to meet or speak with our applicants.
  • What are the required application materials? Specific admission requirements for our programs can be found here .
  • Due to financial hardship, I cannot pay the application fee, can I still apply to your program? Yes. Many of our prospective students are eligible for fee waivers. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of application fee waivers . If you have further questions regarding the waiver please contact  gsas-admissions@ .
  • How many students do you admit each year? It varies year to year. We finalize our numbers between December - early February.
  • What is the distribution of students currently enrolled in your program? (their background, GPA, standard tests, etc)? Unfortunately, we are unable to share this information.
  • How many accepted students receive financial aid? All students in the PhD program receive, for up to five years, a funding package consisting of tuition, fees, and a stipend. These fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success; they are contingent upon the student remaining in good academic standing. Summer support, while not guaranteed, is generally provided. Teaching and research experience are considered important aspects of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship. PhD students are given funds to purchase a laptop PC, and additional computing resources are supplied for research projects as necessary. The Department also subsidizes travel expenses for up to two scientific meetings and/or conferences per year for those students selected to present. Additional matching funds from the Graduate School Arts and Sciences are available to students who have passed the oral qualifying exam.
  • Can I contact the department with specific scores and get feedback on my competitiveness for the program? We receive more than 450 applications a year and there are many students in our applicant pool who are qualified for our program. However, we can only admit a few top students. Before seeing the entire applicant pool, we cannot comment on admission probabilities.
  • What is the minimum GPA for admissions? While we don’t have a GPA threshold, we will carefully review applicants’ transcripts and grades obtained in individual courses.
  • Is there a minimum GRE requirement? No. The general GRE exam is waived for the Fall 2024 admissions cycle. 
  • Can I upload a copy of my GRE score to the application? Yes, but make sure you arrange for ETS to send the official score to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • Is the GRE math subject exam required? No, we do not require the GRE math subject exam.
  • What is the minimum TOEFL or IELTS  requirement? The Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences minimum requirements for TOEFL and IELTS are: 100 (IBT), 600 (PBT) TOEFL, or 7.5 IELTS
  •  I took the TOEFL and IELTS more than two years ago; is my score valid? Scores more than two years old are not accepted. Applicants are strongly urged to make arrangements to take these examinations early in the fall and before completing their application.
  • I am an international student and earned a master’s degree from a US university. Can I obtain a TOEFL or IELTS waiver? You may only request a waiver of the English proficiency requirement from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by submitting the English Proficiency Waiver Request form and if you meet any of the criteria described here . If you have further questions regarding the waiver please contact  gsas-admissions@ .
  • My transcript is not in English. What should I do? You have to submit a notarized translated copy along with the original transcript.

Can I apply to more than one PhD program? You may not submit more than one PhD application to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. However, you may elect to have your application reviewed by a second program or department within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences if you are not offered admission by your first-choice program. Please see the application instructions for a more detailed explanation of this policy and the various restrictions that apply to a second choice. You may apply concurrently to a program housed at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and to programs housed at other divisions of the University. However, since the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not share application materials with other divisions, you must complete the application requirements for each school.

How do I apply to a dual- or joint-degree program? The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences refers to these programs as dual-degree programs. Applicants must complete the application requirements for both schools. Application materials are not shared between schools. Students can only apply to an established dual-degree program and may not create their own.

With the sole exception of approved dual-degree programs , students may not pursue a degree in more than one Columbia program concurrently, and may not be registered in more than one degree program at any institution in the same semester. Enrollment in another degree program at Columbia or elsewhere while enrolled in a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences master's or doctoral program is strictly prohibited by the Graduate School. Violation of this policy will lead to the rescission of an offer of admission, or termination for a current student.

When will I receive a decision on my application? Notification of decisions for all PhD applicants generally takes place by the end of March.

Notification of MA decisions varies by department and application deadlines. Some MA decisions are sent out in early spring; others may be released as late as mid-August.

Can I apply to both MA Statistics and PhD statistics simultaneously?  For any given entry term, applicants may elect to apply to up to two programs—either one PhD program and one MA program, or two MA programs—by submitting a single (combined) application to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Applicants who attempt to submit more than one Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application for the same entry term will be required to withdraw one of the applications.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences permits applicants to be reviewed by a second program if they do not receive an offer of admission from their first-choice program, with the following restrictions:

  • This option is only available for fall-term applicants.
  • Applicants will be able to view and opt for a second choice (if applicable) after selecting their first choice. Applicants should not submit a second application. (Note: Selecting a second choice will not affect the consideration of your application by your first choice.)
  • Applicants must upload a separate Statement of Purpose and submit any additional supporting materials required by the second program. Transcripts, letters, and test scores should only be submitted once.
  • An application will be forwarded to the second-choice program only after the first-choice program has completed its review and rendered its decision. An application file will not be reviewed concurrently by both programs.
  • Programs may stop considering second-choice applications at any time during the season; Graduate School of Arts and Sciences cannot guarantee that your application will receive a second review.
  • What is the mailing address for your PhD admission office? Students are encouraged to apply online . Please note: Materials should not be mailed to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences unless specifically requested by the Office of Admissions. Unofficial transcripts and other supplemental application materials should be uploaded through the online application system. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions Columbia University  107 Low Library, MC 4303 535 West 116th Street  New York, NY 10027
  • How many years does it take to pursue a PhD degree in your program? Our students usually graduate in 4‐6 years.
  • Can the PhD be pursued part-time? No, all of our students are full-time students. We do not offer a part-time option.
  • One of the requirements is to have knowledge of linear algebra (through the level of MATH V2020 at Columbia) and advanced calculus (through the level of MATH V1201). I studied these topics; how do I know if I meet the knowledge content requirement? We interview our top candidates and based on the information on your transcripts and your grades, if we are not sure about what you covered in your courses we will ask you during the interview.
  • Can I contact faculty members to learn more about their research and hopefully gain their support? Yes, you are more than welcome to contact faculty members and discuss your research interests with them. However, please note that all the applications are processed by a central admission committee, and individual faculty members cannot and will not guarantee admission to our program.
  • How do I find out which professors are taking on new students to mentor this year?  Applications are evaluated through a central admissions committee. Openings in individual faculty groups are not considered during the admissions process. Therefore, we suggest contacting the faculty members you would like to work with and asking if they are planning to take on new students.

For more information please contact us at [email protected] .

columbia university graduate programs phd

For more information please contact us at  [email protected]

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Message From Dr. Cory Abate-Shen

Read a message from the Chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Featured Lab: Concepcion Lab

The Concepcion lab studies how chromatin deregulation impacts tumor evolution with a focus on lung cancer.

Graduate Program

Learn how to apply.

Get all the details on how to apply to The Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics Graduate Program.

Welcome to our new Graduate Program!

Pharmacology – the study of how drugs or other agents affect cells and living organisms - is a foundational science that intersects with many disciplines in basic science and human disease. Our graduate program emulates the breadth of pharmacology by providing our students with a solid foundation and broad training in cellular and organismal mechanisms, as well as translational science.  The scientific focus of the program is to merge basic science research with emergent research in developing new avenues for therapeutic interventions. Faculty in the program can be focused on developing a basic biological understanding of mammalian organ systems, developing conceptually new avenues/technologies for therapeutics, or combining both of these approaches in an interdisciplinary manner.

Our graduate program has recently been re-vamped to create a modern, vibrant program that is well-aligned with both the historical foundations and new strategic vision of the department. To realize this vision, we have new leadership, co-directors Dr. Nikhil Sharma and Dr. Yonghao Yu, whose research is focused in areas that are vital to pharmacology.  

Our program is ideal for students who are interested in studying basic cellular mechanisms with an emphasis on their application to human disease.  The research interests of our program faculty encompass all areas of modern pharmacology, including cancer pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, and neuropharmacology. The incorporation of novel interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., chemical biology) towards the development of therapeutic strategies is also emphasized. Our graduate program faculty draw from several basic science and clinical departments at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as well as Columbia University, which enables seamless collaborative and interdisciplinary interactions for our students.

Although rigorous, our program is individualized to each student, allowing students to gain a strong foundation in pharmacology, while adapting the specific educational components to the specific research interests of each student. Training in the first year consists of courses aligned with the integrated program in cellular, molecular, and biomedical studies (CMBS), as well as research rotations in the laboratories of approved program faculty.  In the second year, students begin their thesis research and continue to take their remaining core courses as well as elective courses relevant to their thesis work. At the end of the second year, students take their qualifying exam, for which they prepare and defend a research proposal that is related to their intended thesis research. Subsequent years are devoted to the research, writing and defense of their PhD thesis. As they advance in their degree, students benefit from the advice of their faculty mentor, an advisory committee of expert faculty with whom they meet regularly, and our outstanding and dedicated program co-directors, Dr. Nikhil Sharma and Dr. Yonghao Yu.

Students benefit from the rewarding environment at Columbia University, which is rich in diversity and has unparalleled faculty. Students also benefit from the cultural environment of New York City, with its many museums, theaters, and historical venues.

Nikhil Sharma, PhD

Yonghao Yu, PhD

Participating Faculty

Graduate program requirements.

Get more information on applying or answers to questions about the Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics Graduate Program.

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Graduate Programs at Columbia University

Columbia University has two graduate programs. Please visit the site you are interested in by using the buttons below.

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columbia university graduate programs phd

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The Graduate Program

Columbia has been one of the most important centers of graduate education in history since modern Ph.D. programs began in America over a century ago. Our Department has a strongly international character, and our faculty and students are diverse in interests, origins, and intellectual orientations.

The History Department currently offers two graduate degrees: a Ph.D. program in which the M.A. and M.Phil. degrees are earned sequentially; and two M.A. programs associated with the department which are administered independently.

Our Ph.D. program produces innovative and rigorous research, and it is considered one of the best in the world. Its graduates hold distinguished positions in major universities across the United States and abroad, as well as in archives, libraries and research centers. We also train doctoral students in Sociomedical Sciences in collaboration with the Mailman School of Public Health .

The first of the M.A. programs is a dual MA/MSc degree in International and Global History , offered in partnership with the London School of Economics. The second is an M.A. in History and Literature , which is administered independently of the Department and is based at Reid Hall, Columbia’s campus in Paris.

View the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information about the graduate program.


Director of Graduate Studies Catherine Evtuhov 420 Fayerweather Hall (212) 854-2420 [email protected] 

PhD Program Coordinator Azalia Resendiz 413 Fayerweather Hall (212) 854-7001 [email protected]

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PhDs in Biomedical Sciences

The Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences are part of the medical school and the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The programs are located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus. PhD students have access to more than 250 training faculty when selecting their research direction, ensuring that each student receives optimal training and research experience. We also provide a supportive environment which goes beyond academics. 

Programs include:

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columbia university graduate programs phd

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Graduate Professional Development for PhD Students

Earning a PhD can be a rigorous journey that demands years of intensive research. Regardless of which academic area you are studying, it is important to be prepared with the proper knowledge and tools to be successful in your program. We've compiled several resources to build your skillset in eight key areas: research & research impacts, teaching & mentoring, communication, career management, leadership, entrepreneurship & innovation, wellness & life balance, and equity & inclusion. Explore both internal and external resources for each category below.

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Career Management & Self Development

Resources for career exploration strategies, job search strategies, CV writing, converting your CV to a resume, resume writing, alumni networking, career panels and more.

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Find resources for writing, publishing, presentation skills, communicating your research, dissertation workshops and more.

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Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Find resources for entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and innovation.

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Resources on diversity statements, DEI training and more.

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Resources for team building, supervising, lab/group management, conflict resolution and more.

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Research & Research Impacts

Get resources about grant writing, fellowships, study design, research ethics and more.

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Teaching & Mentoring

Find resources to develop mentoring skills, teaching skill development, effective teaching for academic careers and more.

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Wellness & Life Balance

Find resources for conflict management, stress management, financial management, time management, productivity and more.

The Graduate School co-sponsors a number of events for graduate and professional students. Our featured events are focused on networking, financial and mental wellness, career readiness and more. From workshops to seminars to world-renowned speakers, there are hundreds of opportunities to learn at UB. Visit the  Events for Graduate and Professional Students page  to view upcoming events and recordings to past workshops.

  • Guide to Applying for Graduate School

The process of preparing for and applying to a PhD program can be overwhelming. The University of Pennsylvania has created this webpage to help prospective PhD students think through the process so you can put together a strong application.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree one may obtain within a particular field of study. This ranges from studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; Social Science fields such as Education, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology; as well as Humanities fields such as English, History, Music, Philosophy, and more. The PhD degree aims to prepare people to think critically, develop research, and produce scholarship that may be used for further research or implementation. The PhD historically prepared students to take on faculty roles in colleges and universities, and that is still the goal for many students pursuing the PhD. However, today the PhD is a sought-after degree in many other industries including pharmaceutical research, arts organizations and other nonprofits, publishing, government policy, big tech, finance, and more.

  • Who can apply to a PhD program?  PhD education is available to people from various educational, occupational, socioeconomic, and demographic backgrounds.
  • Who should get a PhD?  People interested in uncovering new ideas, solutions, processes, etc. within a specific area of study through conducting independent research.
  • Why is it important for diverse candidates to become PhD holders?  Our world thrives on heterogeneous ideas and experiences, which is why it is indispensable to include students with diverse perspectives in our PhD programs. These students will generate important and original research.

Most PhD programs are fully funded, meaning that for a specific number of years, the program will pay for your tuition and fees and health insurance, as well as provide you with a stipend for living expenses. The structure of this funding varies by field. Below is an outline of general funding information as well as trends according to field of study.

  • Funding packages provided by educational institution.
  • Funding packages provided through faculty research grants: Many STEM fields fund students through research grants awarded to faculty. In these cases, students perform research alongside the faculty. 
  • Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships: Part-time service that provides teaching and research training opportunities within your area of study.
  • Fellowships: Internal or external merit-based funding. Some fellowships require an application while others are given via nomination. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing fellowship opportunities. Winning a competitive fellowship looks good on your resume.
  • Grants: Requires an application with supporting materials of either your grades, scholarly work, and/or anticipated research. These are available through internal and external means. Grants greatly vary so be sure to always understand the requirements. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing grant opportunities. Winning a competitive grant looks good on your resume.
  • Employment: For example, serving as a residential advisor, on-campus jobs, etc. Some PhD programs restrict additional employment, so be sure to check before applying for jobs.
  • The funding opportunities described here often can be combined.

Choosing a school or program that provides the most potential funding may be a challenging decision. The value of the same amount of funding will differ depending on the cost of living in different geographic locations. Admitted applicants should investigate cost-of-living tools (available on the web) and be sure to understand how their funding will be structured. Ask questions when you are admitted, such as: 

  • Could you share more about your program’s funding mechanism?
  • For how long is funding guaranteed? How does that compare to the average time-to-completion? Historically, what percentage of students have received funding beyond the guaranteed funding package?
  • Does funding cover tuition, fees, books, etc.?
  • Does the funding rely on teaching, research, or other service? How much and for how long? 

Choosing a program for your studies is a personal decision that should reflect not only your research interests, but your work style, and interests outside of the classroom. Here we have identified five key tips to consider when selecting schools. 

  • Ask about which programs are strong in your area of interest, which have high completion rates, which have career outcomes that align with your goals, etc. 
  • Conduct a general internet search with terms related to your research interest.
  • Determine your geographic and personal preferences. Does the area meet your community needs? Is it important that the university aligns with your sociopolitical values? Do you prefer a large city or a smaller/college town? Is there a particular region(s) that has better access to resources needed to conduct your research?
  • Access your current or former university career center. These services are often still available for former students!
  • As you narrow your choices, try to identify at least 3 faculty in the programs of interest with whom you’d like to study. Also note how many of them have tenure. If relevant, research which of those faculty are taking on advisees in your year of matriculation.
  • Read articles from faculty with similar research interests.
  • Note the number of awards, publications, and service activities of faculty.
  • Identify research opportunities funded by both your program and university at large.
  • Connect with current and former students in the program for informational interviews.
  • Connect with campus Diversity Offices.
  • Whenever possible, before submitting your applications, make an appointment to visit the campuses and department(s) that interest you.
  • Use  LinkedIn  to see what graduates of your program are doing and how they are involved in their communities.
  • Estimate your feasible cost of living by geographic location and compare to the funding package offered.
  • Consider availability of health insurance, childcare, housing, transportation, and other fringe benefits.
  • Connect with a local bank or your prospective university’s financial services office for budgeting, savings, and other financial wellness advice.
  • Your First Year in a Ph.D. Program
  • What Does Academic Success Mean and How to Achieve it?  (STEM)
  • Pathways to Science  (STEM)
  • 7 Advantages PhDs Have Over Other Job Candidates  (Industry)
  • During your undergraduate/master’s education, you should pursue coursework and/or research that will prepare you for the higher expectations of a PhD program; for example, taking a research methods course, pursuing a summer research experience, or conducting research with a professor at your home institution.
  • Identify instructors who could write a letter of recommendation. Ask them to write letters even if you do not intend to apply to PhD programs immediately. Their letter will be stronger if they draft it while their memory of you is fresh.
  • Experiences outside of higher education can also strengthen your PhD application. These may range from project management to volunteer work.
  • Develop soft or hard skills. A soft skill that is most useful from the first day of your PhD program is networking. This is necessary not only for meeting other students but also to find collaborators with similar research interests and selecting faculty for your dissertation committee. Learning how to negotiate will also serve you well when approaching collaborative projects. Hard skills related to your field might include learning statistical analysis software, economic theory, a foreign language, or search engine optimization. In short, identify a few soft and hard skills that you can familiarize yourself with prior to your program’s start date.
  • Finally, prepare by identifying leading researchers and practitioners in your field, exploring peer-reviewed literature and/or publications, and gain familiarity with research methods.
  • Be sure to address all the specific questions/topics in the personal statement prompt. 
  • Clearly state why you want to pursue a PhD.
  • Propose your research interest.
  • Identify the faculty you’d like to study under. 
  • Discuss the unique qualities/experiences you offer to the program/school.
  • Outline what you hope to do with your degree.
  • Ask for recommendation letters early in the process, at least 2-4 weeks before the deadline. A good letter takes time to write!
  • Provide recommenders with your resume, information about the program, your personal statement and/or information about your research interests and research goals.
  • Consider your current/former instructors, supervisors, colleagues. These should be people who can speak to your work ethic, academic abilities, and research interests.
  • Test scores (i.e. TOFEL, GRE, GMAT, etc.) may or may not be required.
  • All transcripts including those for coursework completed abroad and transfer credits. Some programs require official transcripts, which take longer to procure.
  • Writing sample (field dependent): Include a graduate-level sample and update any statements, statistics, etc. as needed. It is highly encouraged that you edit your previous work.
  • Diversity statement: Many institutions offer an optional short statement where students can expand on their diverse backgrounds and experiences that may contribute to the diversity interests/efforts of the school.
  • Typically, PhD applications are due 10-12 months in advance of the program’s start date (i.e. apply in November to start the following September). A good rule of thumb is to begin your application process 6 months before the deadline. 
  • The availability of reduced application fees or fee waivers varies and sometimes depends on financial status and/or experiences (AmeriCorps, National Society of Black Engineers, attending certain conferences, etc.). If you are interested in a reduced fee or waiver, reach out to the program coordinator for details.
  • Dress professionally, even if the interview is virtual. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit but dress pants/skirt and a blouse/button down shirt would be appropriate.  
  • Develop an engaging elevator pitch, a 30-60 second summary, of your research interests and what you hope to gain by becoming a student at that particular university. Practice your pitch with friends and ask for honest feedback.
  • Prepare 2-3 questions to ask during the interview. These could include questions about program expectations, the experience and success of their PhD students, and (academic/financial/mental health) support for PhD students.
  • Some interview programs will include multiple activities including a social event. Be sure to maintain a professional attitude: do not drink too much and keep conversation on academic/professional topics.
  • This is also your opportunity to decide whether this campus is a good fit for you.
  • Academia Insider  is a good resource. 

Unlike undergraduate and master’s level education, coursework is just one component of the degree. A PhD comes with additional expectations: you must independently conduct scholarly research in your field of study, train in specific activities such as teaching or lab/field research, pass “milestone” requirements along the way, such as comprehensive exams, and complete the process by writing a dissertation. Furthermore, some fields require you to write multiple articles (number varies by field/program) for conference presentation and/or peer-reviewed publication.

There are other important elements as well:

  • Student/Advisor relationship. This is one of the most valuable relationships you can have as a PhD student. Your faculty advisor not only assists you with learning how to approach your research topic, but also typically serves as the lead supervisor of your dissertation research and writing, and ideally mentors you throughout the PhD experience. The selection process of choosing your advisor varies so be sure to know what is expected of you as a student and what is expected of the faculty member. Whenever possible, it is important to align your personality and work style with that of your faculty advisor. Many universities publish expectations for the PhD student/faculty advisor relationship;  AMP’ed  is Penn’s guide.
  • Other relationships: Your faculty advisor is far from the only important person during your PhD career. Other faculty members will also serve on your dissertation committee and be potential mentors. Other students in your program can also provide good advice and guidance along the way.
  • Coursework: Most programs have a number of required courses all students must take regardless of research interests. Once you have finished this requirement, the classes you choose should closely align with your research topic. Choose courses that will help you learn more about your dissertation topic and research methods. It is a good idea to discuss elective course selection with your advisor. 
  • The dissertation is a large-scale, written document that explores a narrow research topic of your choice. It is the final step before receiving your degree and must be presented and “defended” to your dissertation committee (made up of faculty members) for approval. Defending means that you have to answer in-depth questions about your topic. While this might sound daunting, the dissertation is simply a demonstration of all the knowledge and expertise you have acquired through your PhD education. 
  • Networking comes in many forms and includes connections with your fellow classmates, faculty members, and scholarly community. Formal networking events typically take place at academic conferences, where scholars and students present research. Increasing your academic circle will not only allow you to have study buddies, but offer you the opportunity to collaborate on articles or even gain employment. Your school’s career center can provide best practices for effective networking. 

Explore  graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania  and click on the programs that interest you to learn more about admissions and academic requirements.

Upcoming Penn recruitment events include:

  • Fontaine Fellows Recruitment Dinner (by invitation only): Friday, March 22, 2024
  • IDDEAS@Wharton  (Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship): April 18-19, 2024. Deadline to apply is January 31.
  • DEEPenn STEM  (Diversity Equity Engagement at Penn in STEM): October 11-13, 2024. Application opens in March 2024.
  • DivE In Weekend  (Diversity & Equity Initiative for Mind Research): Fall 2024

National conferences to explore:

  • The Leadership Alliance  supports students into research careers
  • McNair Scholar Conferences
  • SACNAS , the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the U.S.
  • ABRCMS , the annual biomedical research conference for minoritized scientists
  • The PhD Project  for students interested in business PhD programs


  1. Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 2019 PhD Class Day Ceremony

    columbia university graduate programs phd

  2. Master's

    columbia university graduate programs phd

  3. Department of Statistics

    columbia university graduate programs phd

  4. Doctoral Specialization in Teacher Education

    columbia university graduate programs phd

  5. How Hard Is It To Get Into Columbia University Grad School

    columbia university graduate programs phd

  6. How I Finished My PhD at Columbia While Blogging Full Time

    columbia university graduate programs phd


  1. 2023 Undergraduate Commencement

  2. Choosing the Right University for Undergraduate Admissions

  3. A community of scholars: celebrating spring 2022 PhD graduates


  1. PhD Programs

    The departments and programs listed below offer courses of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. To learn about PhD programs offered by Columbia's professional schools, please visit this page. A doctoral program in the Arts and Sciences is an immersive, full-time enterprise, in which students participate fully in the academic and intellectual life on campus, taking courses ...

  2. Degree Programs

    Thank you for your interest in applying to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University. One of the nation's oldest and most distinguished graduate schools, GSAS confers graduate degrees in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. ... Arts & Sciences PhD Programs. 46. Arts & Sciences MA Programs. 6. Dual ...

  3. Apply

    Columbia Video Network. Engineering Student Affairs. 500 W. 120th Street. New York, NY 10027. Admissions. (212) 854-4688 |. Academics and Student Affairs. Explore the options available to pursue a Master of Science, Doctoral, or Certificate program at Columbia Engineering.

  4. Columbia Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior

    A Portrait of the Scientist presents a selection of Columbia University's many outstanding graduate students pursuing PhDs in fields related to neuroscience. These photographs (by Thomas Barlow, graduate student in the Axel lab) document their daily lives and their crucial work advancing what we know about mind, brain and behavior."

  5. Doctoral Programs

    Engineering Student Affairs. 500 W. 120th Street. New York, NY 10027. Admissions. (212) 854-4688 | [email protected]. Academics and Student Affairs. (212) 854-6438 | [email protected]. As a doctoral student, you'll have the opportunity to contribute to new knowledge by working on pioneering research with leading faculty in their ...

  6. Department of Statistics

    The PhD program prepares students for research careers in probability and statistics in both academia and industry. ... Please apply by completing the Application for Admission to the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences ... The Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences minimum requirements for TOEFL and IELTS are: 100 ...

  7. PhD

    Columbia University in the City of New York 665 West 130th Street, New York, NY 10027 Tel. 212-854-1100 Maps and Directions

  8. Anthropology PhD

    Program Category: PhD Programs Chair: Claudio Lomnitz Director of Graduate Studies: Zoe Crossland Website: Degree Programs: Full-Time: MA, MPhil, PhD The department offers a full-time program of instruction which prepares students for research and teaching at the university level, for museum and archaeological work and for independent research and writing.

  9. Department of Mathematics at Columbia University

    Information for Prospective Doctoral Students. For information on the application process: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Columbia University. Office of Student Affairs. 107 Low Library, MC 4304. New York, NY 10027. 212-854-6729. [email protected].

  10. PhD Program

    Graduate ; Graduate Program Overview; PhD Program; PhD Program. Expand all Collapse all. Admission. All applications for admissions must be submitted electronically, ... Columbia University is committed to training its Ph.D. students to become distinguished teachers as well as distinguished scholars in their field. GSAS requires that all Ph.D ...

  11. Graduate Program

    The focus of Columbia's graduate program in Psychology is on the training of Ph.D. students in research, teaching and scholarship in the areas of behavioral neuroscience, perception, cognition and social-personality psychology. This graduate program does not offer training in clinical psychology, school, counseling or industrial psychology.

  12. Graduate Degree Programs

    Engineering Student Affairs. 500 W. 120th Street. New York, NY 10027. Admissions. (212) 854-4688 | [email protected]. Academics and Student Affairs. (212) 854-6438 | [email protected]. Graduate students work alongside top researchers from nine departments as they earn their Master's or Doctoral degree.

  13. Doctoral Program in Applied Physics

    Columbia, one of the leading university centers for training in plasma physics, offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science (MS), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Engineering Science (EngScD or DES) degrees.

  14. Graduate Program

    Welcome to our new Graduate Program! Pharmacology - the study of how drugs or other agents affect cells and living organisms - is a foundational science that intersects with many disciplines in basic science and human disease. Our graduate program emulates the breadth of pharmacology by providing our students with a solid foundation and broad ...

  15. Graduate Program

    The doctoral program in Microbiology, Immunology and Infection is based in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and is one of the specialized research and training areas within the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies of the Coordinated Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center.

  16. Graduate Programs at Columbia University

    PhD Administrative Forms; Job Market Candidates; Placement; Honors and Prizes; Ph.D. Student Directory; Bridge to the Ph.D. Program; Seminars and Events. ... Graduate Programs at Columbia University . Columbia University has two graduate programs. Please visit the site you are interested in by using the buttons below.

  17. Graduate Program Overview

    The Department of Philosophy at Columbia University offers three separate graduate degree programs through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS): — Master of Arts (M.A.) in Philosophy. — Master of Arts (M.A.) in Philosophical Foundations of Physics. — Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Philosophy.

  18. Graduate

    Director of Graduate Studies. Catherine Evtuhov. 420 Fayerweather Hall. (212) 854-2420. [email protected]. PhD Program Coordinator. Azalia Resendiz. 413 Fayerweather Hall. (212) 854-7001.

  19. Doctoral Programs

    Doctoral candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credits of coursework during their studies. Selection of appropriate courses inside and outside the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics department is determined in consultation with the faculty adviser. Doctoral candidates must take at least two graduate-level mathematics courses during ...

  20. PhDs in Biomedical Sciences

    PhDs in Biomedical Sciences. The Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences are part of the medical school and the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The programs are located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus. PhD students have access to more than 250 training faculty when selecting their ...

  21. Graduate

    The graduate program for the Ph.D. is designed to foster the intellectual and professional development of our students. To this end, graduate students are fully integrated into our departmental activities. ... Department of Astronomy Columbia University, Mail Code 5246, 538 West 120th Street, Pupin Hall, Rm 1328 · New York, NY 10027.

  22. Graduate Admissions

    Doctoral Program. The Department of Biomedical Engineering offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree (MS), the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD), and the Doctor of Engineering Science degree (EngScD). We also offer the PhD component of the MD/PhD program in collaboration with Columbia University Medical School.

  23. Graduate Program in Chemistry and Chemical Physics

    The Chemistry Ph.D. at Columbia. Columbia offers graduate degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Physics. Admissions. Find information about applying to Columbia and the Chemistry graduate program. Course Offerings. The Department of Chemistry offers a variety of graduate level courses on topics from statistical mechanics to materials science ...

  24. Day in the Life: 3rd-Year Neurobiology PhD Student

    I interviewed Katherine Delgado, a third-year PhD student at Columbia University in the Barnhart Neurobiology Lab. She earned her undergraduate degree in General Biology from Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. How did you decide that you wanted to pursue graduate school?

  25. Graduate Professional Development for PhD Students

    Graduate professional development topics for doctoral students at the University at Buffalo including research and research impacts, teaching and mentoring, communication, career management & self-development, leadership, entrepreneurship & innovation, wellness & life balance and equity & inclusion.

  26. Guide to Applying for Graduate School

    A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree one may obtain within a particular field of study. This ranges from studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; Social Science fields such as Education, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology; as well as Humanities fields such as English, History, Music, Philosophy, and more.

  27. Ph.D. Program

    The detailed regulations of the Ph.D. program are the following: Course Requirements. During the first year of the Ph.D. program, the student must enroll in at least 4 courses. At least 2 of these must be graduate courses offered by the Department of Mathematics. Exceptions can be granted by the Vice-Chair for Graduate Studies. Preliminary ...