Columbia University Data Science Undergraduate

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

Big Data Degrees at Columbia University

Columbia University appears in our ranking of the 20 Best Data Science Certificate Programs.

At Columbia University, the study of data science at the undergraduate level is a subset of the field of computer science. Students learn to collect, collate, analyze, and otherwise manipulate data. Professors also teach students different perspectives for performing research based on the data they study. The students delve deeply into calculus and linear algebra, as well as data mining and applied algorithms, in addition to their slate of Computer Science courses.

Undergraduate business majors tie financial theory to marketing and analyze the data and projections included therein. The business school at Columbia University connects the theory of the classroom to the real world, which gives students great opportunities for research, particularly in the processes of collecting and analyzing data.

Students can also study how statistics intertwines with economics. They examine the patterns of economics throughout recorded history and use statistics to make sense of the data. They also learn how to predict future trends and patterns by applying the information of the past.

The graduate programs are more robust than the undergraduate programs. Master’s degree candidates can earn a Master of Science in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis and apply the concepts of “big data” to that analysis. They can also get their degrees in Financial Science, Data Science, or Business Analytics.

Columbia University also offers an online Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences for those who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.

About Columbia University

Columbia University is one of only a handful of U.S. institutions of higher learning that predate the American Revolution. Originally, it was called King’s College. In 1784, it became Columbia College and remained under that name for 128 years. It has been named Columbia University since 1896. Traditionally, it had been male-only, but it finally became coeducational in 1983. Interestingly, Columbia University’s “sister school,” Barnard College, is still exclusive: for women only.

The school has always had a high academic standard and is respected all over the world. Currently, according to U.S. News and World Report, it ranks No. 3 in the nation. It is also No. 6 as a “Best Value School,” and the online engineering programs are No. 1. The business school is No. 6, too, and the rest of the school’s departments rank in or near the top 10 in the United States.

The school is among the most selective in the country and only selects one in every 17 students who apply. Even for a school of more than 6,000 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is an astounding 6-to-1. Individual attention is the norm rather than the exception, which undoubtedly contributes to the school’s excellence.

Columbia University Accreditation Details

Columbia University last received its regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2016 and is scheduled for the next evaluation in 2026. The school’s departments also hold academic accreditation from a group of other organizations, which include the:

  • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
  • American Bar Association
  • American Dental Association
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc.

Columbia University Application Requirements

Columbia University requires all prospective freshmen to submit an essay, short autobiography, and a list of all activities and achievements. They must also take either the SAT or the ACT. Students may self-report their scores at the same time as they submit their senior year mid-year report. Along with their official high-school transcripts, students must also submit letters of recommendation from both a high-school counselor and a teacher.

Graduate students must have a previous degree from a regionally accredited university or college. They must also have their previous degree in either the same field or a related field. For the Master of Science in Data Science, for example, students must have significant coursework in calculus, linear algebra, and computer science.

Graduate applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation, all applicable transcripts, and their Graduate Record Examinations’ scores. They are not allowed to take either the Miller Analogies Test or the Graduate Management Admission Test in place of the GRE. The last two things they must do is submit a personal statement and a resume.

Tuition and Financial Aid

There are many levels of tuition at Columbia University even for undergraduates. For comparison’s sake, the general studies tuition is $32,232 for a year for students who take 17 credits or more. For students who take fewer than 17 credits, the rate is $1,896 per credit. The student life fee is $707, and the rest of the fees, many of which are only applicable in certain situations, could total as much as $2,000.

Residence halls have separate costs based upon the number of roommates and amenities chosen, and students should use the comprehensive Housing section of the website for further details. Meal plans cost between $2,200 and $2,800. Some plans are only for freshmen while others are for upperclassmen.

Financial aid at Columbia University begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Students fill out this form, which includes all of the students’ income and assets, as well as that of their parents, so that the government can determine the amount of need-based aid for which the student is eligible. Students may also apply for private financial aid, which might affect the amount of need-based aid they are to receive.

Columbia University Data Science Scholarship Grants & Financial Aids

NameAmountInternational Students EligibleApplication Deadline
Shardashish Interschool fellowship₹3692500YesJan 31, 2021
Young Women in Public Affairs Award₹295400YesJul 31, 2020
BeArt Presets-Academic Scholarship₹147700YesMar 31, 2020
SWE ScholarshipsVariableYesApr 30, 2021

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VISA & Work Study


There are 4 types of VISA for applying for Columbia University:

  • F-1 Student VISA
  • F-2 Department VISA
  • J-1 Student VISA
  • J-2 Department VISA

The general documents required for the visa application include:

  • Copy of admission letter/email
  • Copy of a valid Passport
  • Financial Certification Form (Estimated expenses of the program)
  • Evidence of Financial Support (Refer to the funding documents checklist)
  • Passport identification page of each dependent, if applicable
  • If the applicant currently in the U.S, a copy of their I-94 arrival record

Work Study

Students may not work during their own scheduled class hours. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (including Spring Break), except as noted on the pay schedule, and 35 hours per week during the eligible winter and summer break.

Career and Placement after Course

  • Columbia University and the Department of Computer Science provide opportunities for students to explore career options and to prepare for their job search.
  • The Center provides career counseling services to current students and alumni.
  • Students are encouraged to visit the Center as soon as they start their studies at Columbia.
  • The Center’s services include:
    • Career counseling to explore career options
    • Help with resume writing and interview skills including Mock Interviews
    • Career Fairs
    • Providing department-specific workshops

Important Dates


EventEnd Date
FallJan 14, 2022

Eligibility & Entry Requirement

Academic Eligibility: 

  • Students must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field received from an institution.
  • Students are required to maintain at least a 3.8 overall GPA.

Language Requirments:

  • Students whose official language is not English are required to submit IELTS or TOEFL score

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