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Spotlight on Columbia engineering

Prodigy Finance - June 20, 2018

Ready to learn everything you need to know about engineering and STEM masters degrees at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science? You're in the right place!

Prodigy Finance Columbia Engineering spotlight

Columbia University is one of the most prestigious schools located in the heart of New York City

Established in 1754, the university is broken into 20 different schools, including the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Getting in isn’t easy, but as any of the numerous and notable alumni will tell you - it’s definitely worth it. 

Columbia fast facts

Private university - Ivy League

University enrollment: 32,429

Living alumni: 348,000+

Full-time graduate students: 23,561

Engineering grad students: 3487

Engineering masters students: 2687

International grad students: 9770

Countries represented: 150+

Most represented countries: China, India, France, Taiwan (China), Canada

Where is Columbia University?

  • City: New York City, New York (NY)
  • City population: 8.538 million
  • Region: Eastern seaboard region
  • Climate: Humid subtropical: winters are cold, damp, and windy (Jan avg: .3°C/32.6°F) and snowfall varies from light to heavy dependent on the year; summers are warm to hot and humid (Jul avg: 24.7°C/76.5°F)
  • Nearest airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Time zone: EST from November-March (GMT -4); EDT from March to November (GMT-5)

What can you study at Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering?

In addition to the high ranking of Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering as a whole, the individual departments all tout great positions on their own. Engineering masters students will certainly find each of these programmes as rewarding as they are challenging. 




Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

no rank available

MS in Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

MS in Medical Physics


MS in Biomedical Engineering


MS in Chemical Engineering


MS in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics


MS in Computer Science


MS in Earth and Environmental Engineering


MS in Electrical Engineering 


MS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

MS in Financial Engineering

MS in Management Science and Engineering

MS in Operations Research


MS in Mechanical Engineering

Columbia University Fu Foundation engineering job placement

Columbia engineering masters students have plenty of opportunities to secure a great job after graduation. A key way to meet with potential employers is at the university’s career fairs. 

Of the biggest interest for engineering students are:

  • Engineering Career Fair (autumn)
  • Spring Career Fair (late winter)
  • Startup Career Fair (spring)

These fairs attract between 50 and 100 dedicated companies and students are able to access the information they need to connect with recruiters beforehand.

Last year, 3547 direct student-employer interviews were hosted on campus and 36,287 jobs were posted on Columbia’s dedicated job portal. 

There are also career advising sessions students can attend and plenty of workshops or events to prepare for American job recruitment - and to understand the visa processes and options for international students.

Columbia University as a whole - and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering specifically - have impressive employment statistics; it’s in everyone’s interest to maintain these figures so there is no shortage of support for any student that wants to take advantage of them. 

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Eng students had 1+ internships during their studies
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42.5% of 2017 grads earn at least $100,000
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jobs and internships posted to Columbia job board last year
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2017 grad students are employed or studying further

What's it like to live at Columbia University?

New York, New York - the location of Columbia certainly is one that’s founded on and continues to inspire dreams. The big city may be a little intimidating at first, but Columbia University goes out of its way to ensure students, especially masters of engineering students can find their feet quickly.

Want to know what it's really like for international students at Columbia? See what Jaydeep has to say in this video.

Jaydeep speaks about Columbia experience to Prodigy Finance

Campus housing is available, though you need to accept your spot and pay your deposit before you can begin the housing application process. As this is one of the most cost-effective forms of housing in New York, it’s definitely worth considering first.

Additionally, the university does provide support to students hoping to find an apartment off-campus. The housing market in New York is, however, competitive and expensive and you’ll need to put plenty of effort into your search. International students do have the added advantage of a potential spot at the independent international house in the city.

The dining plans are a win with many graduate international students whether they live off campus or on. There are a couple of plan options, and plenty of places around campus to use them. Columbia University meal plans are cost-effective, even when students plan to cook for themselves as often as possible.

Cars are more of a hassle than a benefit in New York City and parking is difficult to come by at the best of times. Public transport, walking, and sometimes bicycles are the easiest way to get from point A to point B. Columbia operates campus shuttles to move students around and these join the greater Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) routes to make it easy for students to get around town. 

How to get into Columbia University Fu Foundation Engineering

As an Ivy League school, Columbia is a dream university for many applicants - and that alone demands that the Fu Foundation School of Engineering be selective in their admissions processes. The current acceptance rate at the masters level is around 35%.

Crafting a strong application for Columbia require critical self-assessment of skills as well as demonstrating a realistic career plan post-graduation. It’s absolutely fine for your post-grad plans to include additional study, so long as your academic record merits it.

And, there is no denying that Columbia engineering will put you in the heart of New York City; you’ll have access to incredible opportunities alongside a myriad of potential distractions. If you don’t address this in your Statement of Purpose (SOP) essay, the admissions team will have a difficult time working out whether you’ll cope during your studies.

The average test scores of Columbia students, as well as undergrad GPAs, are impressive to say the least. That’s not to say these are requirements, but if you don’t meet the following minimums, you might want to address it in your SOP:

  • Average undergrad GPA: 3.7
  • Average GRE scores: 155 verbal, 167 quantitative, 4.2 analytical writing
  • Mean TOEFL score: 105 iBT

Columbia Engineering admissions details

Fall admission deadline: 15 February (some departments have other deadlines)

Application fee: $85

Resume: required

SOP essay: required

Recommendations: 3, completed online

GRE test: required, no min score

GPA: no min specified

Language test: required for applicants who did not complete their undergrad in an English-speaking country; no waivers given, even if undergrad was completed in English; TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE results are accepted; min scores may vary by department

Min TOEFL score: 96 iBT, 590 pBT

Min IELTS score: 6.5

Columbia Fu Foundation engineering cost of attendance (for 2018/19 academic year)

Tuition: $48,432

Books and supplies: $2100

Room: $16,018

International student fee: $160

Health insurance: $3141

Health service fee: $1136

Board: $5420

Document fee: $110

Facilities fee: $1088

Personal expenses: $3700

SEAS graduate student activities fee: $400

Transportation: $1089

Total CoA for 1 year: $82,794

TIP: There is one other critical aspect you need to know about applying to Columbia engineering: you may not apply to more than one programme per term. Doing so will invalidate all of your applications. If you’re interested in more than one programme, take some time to consider your top choice before application.

Does Columbia University offer scholarships to international students?

Columbia University does offer need-based fellowships across all of their schools, though accepted students will need to speak to a financial aid advisor in the engineering department to ensure they’re considered for this funding.

You may also be eligible for departmental (engineering) aid packages which don’t require any additional application steps as long as you mark your intentions with your application.

All prospective students should spend time perusing external scholarship opportunities and which Columbia provides information for on their financial aid pages.

Of course, just because need-based and merit-based funding is available, it does not mean that any one student is entitled to specific funds; you’ll want to start the application and financial aid processes as early as possible. And, keep in mind that many students still require loans on top of any fellowships and scholarships they may receive. 

Prodigy Finance international student loans for Columbia University

Ujwal at Columbia Engineering

Prodigy Finance offers loans for international masters students at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University

Students from supported countries pursuing masters programmes that can be completed in less than 2 years are eligible to apply.

  • Maximum loan amount: up to 100% of the school-provided cost of attendance (tuition plus living expenses)
  • Minimum loan amount: $15,000
  • Typical interest rates: 7 - 8% (fixed) over the 3-month US Libor base rate (variable)
  • All loans disbursed directly to the university according to due dates

Prodigy Finance also supports loans for Columbia University students pursuing masters degrees in these schools:

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Prodigy Finance provides loans to international masters students pursuing their masters degrees at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.

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