Columbia PhD Acceptance Rate

Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Getting into Columbia University’s PhD program is no easy feat. The program is highly selective, with only around 15 spots available each year out of 600 applications, resulting in an admissions rate of about 2.5%. This competitive environment makes it essential for prospective students to meet specific criteria to be considered for admission.

In order to be considered for full admission to a Columbia College graduate program, applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with a lower GPA may still be eligible for conditional admission, depending on the individual program’s requirements. Meeting this GPA threshold is just one of the many factors that are taken into consideration during the admissions process.

The admissions process at Columbia University involves a holistic review of each applicant’s academic background, research experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and test scores. The university seeks to admit students who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement and potential for success in their chosen field. Meeting the minimum GPA requirement is just one step towards gaining acceptance into this prestigious PhD program.

Admissions Information for Columbia University PhD ProgramDetails
Admission Rate
Number of Applications Received
Around 600 per year
Minimum GPA Requirement
3.0 cumulative GPA for full admission
Conditional Admission
Students with GPA lower than 3.0 may be eligible for conditional admission

Columbia University Overview

Columbia University is an Ivy League School and its admissions statistics make it one of the most competitive Ivy League Schools. Similar to the trends across all top schools, Columbia University acceptance rates have continued to decline over the past 8 years and will almost certainly continue to do so into the future.

The Class of 2023 was the single most challenging year to be admitted to Columbia University ever. For the Class of 2023, 42,569 students applied to Columbia University of which 2,190 students were accepted, yielding an overall acceptance rate of 5.1%. Overall applications increased by 5.9% over last year (2022 to 2023) from 40,203 to 42,569.

For the Class of 2023, 650 students were admitted through the early admissions process. Total early applications totaled 4,461, yielding an early acceptance rate of 14.6%. Early applications increased by 9.2% over last year (2022 to 2023) from 4,085 to 4,461.

Founded by King George II of England, Columbia University is an Ivy League university located in Morningside Heights, in Upper Manhattan, New York. Established in 1754, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York. First known as King’s College, today it is officially known as Columbia University.

Columbia University excels in both the sciences and liberal arts. In 1767, Columbia became the first American medical school to grant the MD, and in 1928, the university’s coalition with The Presbyterian Hospital formed the first medical center to combine teaching, research, and patient care.

Columbia University’s colleges and law school have developed a fairly impressive list of United States Legislator alumni, including nine supreme court justices, more than thirty-five governors, and the university’s first President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Columbia University enrolls approximately 7,900 students in undergraduate programs, 5,400 students in graduate programs, and 12,000 students in professional programs. The university’s various schools include Columbia’s School of the Arts, School of International and Public Affairs, School of Public Health, School of Engineering & Applied Science and their School of General Studies which includes its Post-baccalaureate Premedical Program. Some of Columbia’s most respected graduate schools include its Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and Graduate School of Business.

Columbia has nearly 500 clubs and organizations, including Pre-professional clubs such as the Charles Drew Premedical Society, Columbia Pre-Law Society, and the Columbia Women’s Business Society. Columbia also has many student organizations centered around politics, music, media and publications such as the Columbia Political Review, Musical Theatre Society, Columbia Television, and Echoes (Barnard College Literary Magazine), respectively.

Columbia University Acceptance Rate

The Columbia University acceptance rate is 6.6% which is very low compared to other academic institutions. However, as per the university’s official website, the Columbia university acceptance rate for the year 2019 was 5.3%, which gives credence to the fact that its admission process is highly competitive in nature.

As per the information and the data mentioned on the official website for the class of 2023, 42,569 candidates send their applications for the first year, out of which a total of 2,247 applicants got accepted and 4,461 applied through Columbia’s early decision program. The derived data aims to familiarize you with cutting-edge competition and you must have a strong application including excellent academic and professional records to land at Columbia University.

Now that you are aware of the statistics related to the acceptance rate of the CU, let us go through the average marks that you must have to get admission there. The university demands SAT scores between 1450 and 1560 or an ACT score of 33 and 35. As per the official website, about 50% of students who get admitted to Columbia University fetch a score of 710 to 760 on the GMAT while 25% are below 710 and the rest 25% earned above 760. Moreover, the university’s average GPA is about 4.14. 

Acceptance Rate at Columbia University for UG

Between 2012 and 2021, applications to Columbia University for UG programs increased by more than 50%. Columbia University’s acceptance rate has always been very competitive, with an average acceptance rate of 6%, but in 2021 the college saw an all-time high with an acceptance rate of 4.06%.

YearApplicationsAcceptedAcceptance Rate

Graduate Acceptance Rate at Columbia University

The general Columbia graduate school acceptance rate is 5.1%. Admission to Columbia graduate programs requires a total undergraduate GPA of 3.0. However, admissions are handled by the field and then by a departmental committee. The Graduate Admissions Committee at Columbia seeks applicants who have demonstrated proficiency in research and writing. The most enrolled program at Columbia University are mentioned below along with their acceptance rate:

ProgramAverage Acceptance Rate
Master of Business Administration18.59%
Masters in Engineering28%
Master’s in Communication19%
Master’s in Law11.3%
Masters in History5-7%

Total Enrollment 6,027
Undergrad Enrollment 6,027
Freshmen 1,391
% Male/Female 53% / 47%
% From Out of State 75%
% Freshman from Public High School 63%
% Undergrads Live on Campus 94%
% African American  12%
% Asian 18%
% Caucasian  34%
% Hispanic 14%
% Native American 2%
% Mixed (2+ Ethnicities) 4%
% International 12%
# of Countries Represented 87

Range SAT Critical Reading 690-780
Range SAT Math 700-790
Range SAT Writing 690-780
Range ACT Composite 31-34
Minimum Paper TOEFL 600

Academic Rating 92/100
% Students Returning for Sophomore Year 99%
% Students Graduating within 4 Years 91%
% Students Graduating within 6 Years 98%
Calendar System Semester
Student/Faculty Ratio 6:1
Professor’s ‘Interesting’ Rating 76%
Professor’s ‘Accessible’ Rating 77%
Most classes have 10-19 students.

Application Tips For Columbia University

Now that you are familiar with Columbia University’s acceptance rate, here are some useful tips and insights to help you get successfully shortlisted for your dream course.

  • Meticulously research the courses of your interest and find the best one which aligns with your aspirations and academic and professional records.
  • Draft impressive and well-written SOP and LORs as they have an indispensable role in highlighting your application from others.
  • Create a document checklist as per the course requirements and submit them accordingly.  
  • Your personal statement should be well-written and articulated with crisp and concise information
  • Adhere to the admission dates and make sure to complete all the steps of the application process and submit your candidature within the deadlines.

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