Columbia University – All you need to know

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Columbia University – An overview

Columbia University is a private institution that was founded in 1754. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,202, its environment is urban and the size of the campus is 36 acres.  Use a biannual academic calendar.  The ranking of Columbia University in the 2020 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, # 3. Tuition and fees are $ 61,850.

Located in New York City, Columbia is comprised of three undergraduate schools: Columbia College, The Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of General Studies, as well as several graduate and professional schools, including the highly qualified Business School, Teachers College, Law School and College of Physicians and Surgeons.  The university also has a recognized Faculty of Dental Medicine and a Graduate Journalism School. Columbia offers a wide range of student activities, which include about 25 Greek chapters, and more than 90 per cent of students live on campus.  Columbia is affiliated with Barnard College for women, the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  Distinguished students include John Jay, founding father and first president of the Supreme Court of Justice, and former President Barack Obama. Columbia also manages the Pulitzer Awards.

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Columbia University History

Discussions on the founding of a university in the Province of New York began in 1704, at which time Colonel Lewis Morris wrote to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, the missionary arm of the Church of England, persuading to society that New York City was an ideal community to establish a university.  However, it was not until the founding of the College of New Jersey (the current Princeton University) across the Hudson River in New Jersey that New York City seriously considered the possibility of founding a college.  In 1746, the New York General Assembly passed a law to raise funds for the foundation of a new university.  In 1751, the assembly appointed a commission of ten New York residents, seven of whom were members of the Church of England, to direct the funds accumulated by the state lottery towards the foundation of a university.

Classes were initially taught in July 1754 and were chaired by the first president of the university, Dr Samuel Johnson.  Dr Johnson was the only instructor in the university’s first-class, consisting of only eight students.  The instruction was carried out in a new school adjacent to the Trinity Church, located in what is now the lower Broadway in Manhattan.  The school was officially founded on October 31, 1754, as King’s College by the royal statute of King George II, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

In 1763, Dr Johnson was succeeded in the presidency by Myles Cooper, a graduate of The Queen’s College, Oxford, and an ardent Tory. In the political climate charged with the American Revolution, his main opponent in the discussions at the university was a university student of the class of 1777, Alexander Hamilton. The American Revolutionary War broke out in 1776 and was catastrophic for the operation of King’s College, which suspended instruction for eight years from 1776 with the arrival of the Continental Army. The suspension continued during the military occupation of New York City by British troops until his departure in 1783. The university library was ransacked and its only building was required for use as a military hospital first by the US and then British forces. Loyalists were forced to leave their King’s College in New York, but some led by Bishop Charles Inglis fled to Windsor, Nova Scotia, where they founded King’s Collegiate School.

Columbia University admission

Columbia University received 40,203 applications for the 2022 class (entering 2018) and a total of 2,214 were admitted to the two schools with a 5.5% general acceptance rate, making Columbia the third most selective university in the United States behind Stanford and Harvard.  as well as the second most selective university of the Ivy League. According to the 2012 university selectivity ranking of U.S. News & World Report, which takes into account admission and performance rates among other criteria, Columbia was linked to Yale, Caltech and MIT as the country’s most selective universities. Columbia is a racially diverse school, with approximately 52% of all students identifying themselves as people of color.  In addition, 50% of all college students received Columbia scholarships. The average grant size awarded to these students is $ 46,516.  In 2015–2016, the annual undergraduate tuition in Columbia was $ 50,526 with a total cost of assistance of $ 65,860 (including room and board).

Official Admission Page

Columbia University application deadline

When applying to Columbia University, it’s important to note the application deadline is Jan. 1, and the early decision deadline is Nov. 1

How to get into Columbia University

The process of admission to Columbia is holistic, which means that each part of the application is important to help inform our trial.  We read personal statements to try to understand each candidate and what motivates them.  We carefully read the recommendations of the teachers to understand the contributions of a candidate in the classroom and what that candidate could offer to his classmates in Columbia.

In the end, our goal is to find the students that best suit Columbia.  Each year, there are many more qualified applicants than places in our class.  With such an attractive group of applicants, the admissions committee’s job is to meet all students and select those we believe will make the most of Columbia’s unique experience and offer something meaningful in exchange for the community.

A profile of the current first-year class is available on the Admissions Statistics webpage. See Page Here

How does the review process work?

Columbia follows a committee-based approach; no candidate is admitted to Columbia College of Engineering without discussion and examination of the application by multiple officers.

How does the committee make a decision?

We take a holistic approach when evaluating applicants for admission. A variety of factors inform our decision on a candidate.

Curriculum and Grades

We hope to see that a student is avidly pursuing intellectual growth with a rigorous course load.


Family circumstances, secondary school, community, interests and access to resources.

Extracurricular Activities

The quality of a student’s involvement in activities beyond the classroom.


A student’s personality, and the impact they will make on our diverse, residential campus.


The student’s fit for the distinctive Columbia experience, which includes the Core Curriculum; a both traditionally collegiate and unmistakably urban campus life; and an Ivy League school where curious thinkers come to grow.


Evidence of intellectual curiosity and promise, classroom and school and community participation, and overall potential for the candidate to make an impact at Columbia, in the classroom and beyond.

Opportunities at the university

Columbia University acceptance rate

Located in New York City, Columbia University is an Ivy League school with an acceptance rate of 6%. The school is highly selective, and many strong and well-qualified applicants will not enter. Columbia has a holistic admission process and accepts the Common Request, the Coalition Request and the QuestBridge Application. Here are the admission statistics from Columbia University that you should know.

Columbia University tuition fees

Tuition and Expenses

In 2015–2016, annual undergraduate tuition at Columbia was $50,526 with a total cost of attendance of $65,860 (including room and board)

Current Tuition Fees

  • Cost of Attendance    $74,173
  • Tuition and Fees         $57,208
  • Room and Board        $13,618
  • Books and Supplies    $1,246
  • Other Expenses           $2,101

Columbia University majors

Majors, Concentrations and Other Programs of Study

Columbia University ranking

U.S. News & World Report3
Washington Monthly13
U.S. News & World Report7

Below are the ranks of Columbia University according to courses offered by the institution?

National Program Rankings
Biological Sciences18
Computer Science13
Earth Sciences5
Fine Arts6
Health Care Management15
Medicine: Primary Care39
Medicine: Research6
Nursing: Doctorate9
Nursing: Master’s5
Occupational Therapy11
Physical Therapy36
Political Science7
Public Affairs21
Public Health4
Social Work3
Global Program Rankings
Arts & Humanities14
Biology & Biochemistry15
Clinical Medicine10
Computer Science62
Economics & Business8
Materials Science46
Molecular Biology & Genetics19
Neuroscience & Behavior6
Pharmacology & Toxicology59
Plant & Animal Science246
Social Sciences & Public Health7
Space Science39

Columbia University programs and Courses

This section contains a description of the curriculum of each department in the College, along with information on the degree requirements for specializations and concentrators, including course descriptions, registration information, elective courses and suggestions on courses and programs in related fields.

Columbia College students must use the School Newsletter for academic planning purposes since not all courses listed in the University Class Directory and Vergil are open to Columbia College students.

The College reserves the right to withdraw or modify instructional courses or change instructors at any time.

Columbia University online courses

Once accepted to Columbia University’s campus-based program, students have the opportunity of completing courses and classes online. Online courses at Columbia University are designed to provide students additional flexibility as they work toward an undergraduate or graduate degree. However, the availability of online courses, classes and instruction vary from department to department and from program to program. Very few of Columbia University’s degree programs can be completed entirely online.

Columbia University Notable alumni

With so many prestigious programs, it’s no surprise Columbia has produced a wide array of successful grads over the years, from sibling actors Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

Keep scrolling to see the most successful Columbia Lions of all time.

  • President Barack Obama began his undergraduate career at Occidental College in Los Angeles but transferred to Columbia, where he graduated in ’83 with a degree in political science. While in school he was “somewhat involved” with the Black Students Organization and participated in anti-Apartheid activities.

Source: Columbia University

  • Sibling actors Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal both studied at Columbia: Jake attended for two years in the late ’90s before dropping out to pursue his acting career, and Maggie graduated with a BA in literature in ’99. Jake gained critical acclaim for roles in films like “October Sky,” “Donnie Darko,” and “Brokeback Mountain.” Maggie is an indie-film darling known for “Secretary” and “Sherrybaby” and also costarred in the 2008 blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” which grossed $1 billion worldwide at the box office.

Source: The Guardian,, IMDb, IMDb

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Ira Gershwin took pre-med classes at Columbia around 1918 but never graduated. Instead he went on to compose, with his brother George, the music to some of the world’s most popular musicals like “Funny Face,” “An American in Paris,” and “Porgy and Bess.”

Source: The World of Musicals: An Encyclopedia of Stage, Screen, and Song

  • Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca was a student for only a short time in 1929 before he left to pursue theater. He started his own theater company, La Barraca, in 1931, which produced his three most famous tragedies: “Blood Wedding,” “Yerma,” and “The House of Bernarda Alba.”

Source: Columbia University

  • The author of more than 400 books, Isaac Asimov got his science-fiction writing background from his education at Columbia. He finished his undergraduate degree in 1939, but returned in 1946 for a Ph.D. in chemistry. He’s received dozens of awards for works that include “I, Robot,” “The Bicentennial Man,” and “The Gods Themselves.”

Source: Columbia University

  • Sallie Krawcheck graduated from Columbia Business School in 1992. Krawcheck was a prominent figure on Wall Street, serving as the CEO of Citi Global Wealth Management and later as president of global wealth and investment management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She’s now the chair of global professional women’s network Ellevate.

Source: Columbia University

  • Presidents Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt — who were distantly related — each attended Columbia Law School, but neither officially graduated. In 1901, at age 43, Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest president in history when William McKinley was assassinated. FDR, who was president from 1933 to 1945, was known for the New Deal and other Great Depression programs. Both Roosevelts were awarded posthumous law degrees in 2008, making them official members of the classes of 1882 (Teddy) and 1907 (FDR).

Source: Columbia Law School,

  • Afrobeat-influenced band Vampire Weekend got together when its members were all still students at Columbia: Ezra Koenig, Chris Tomson, and Rostam Batmanglij graduated in ’06, while Chris Baio graduated in ’07. All four members worked full-time jobs until their song “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” was ranked No. 67 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Songs of the Year.” In 2013 Vampire Weekend released its third album, “Modern Vampires of the City,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Source: Columbia University, Vampire Weekend, Billboard

  • Amelia Earhart only attended Columbia for one semester in 1920 on a pre-med track before leaving for Los Angeles to be with her parents. She became hooked on flying soon after dropping out of school, and in May 1932 she took her famous flight across the Atlantic — the first woman to do it solo.

Source: PBS

  • Jerry Ford transferred from Notre Dame to the midshipmen school at Columbia in the ’40s; it was there that he met his wife Eileen, who studied at Columbia’s sister school, Barnard. The two founded the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency, which has represented models like Christy Turlington, Twiggy, and Jane Fonda.

Source: New York Times, Yahoo

  • Famous writer and poet (“Howl,” “Fall of America”) Allen Ginsberg met Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, and many other fellow Beatniks while a student at Columbia. After graduating in ’48 (it took him five years because he was expelled twice), he returned as a visiting professor in 1986.

Source: Columbia University

  • A student in the School of General Studies, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax took classes in physics, architecture, and graphics in 1955 before becoming one of the most famous ball players of all time — and, in 1963, “one of the best paid among former students of the school.” He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.

Source: Columbia University, National Baseball Hall of Fame

  • In 1970, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer received a doctorate of education from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Dr. Ruth built her career on providing relationship-saving sex advice on TV and the radio to individuals and couples. The author of more than 30 books, Dr. Ruth later returned to Columbia to teach.


  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, made famous for his role on hit TV show “Third Rock from the Sun,” took a break from acting to attend Columbia in 2000, where he studied history, literature, and French poetry. In his fourth year, just shy of graduating, he dropped out and went back to acting full-time. He starred in the 2010 blockbuster “Inception,” which grossed $825 million worldwide, and won an Emmy last year for his show “HitRECord on TV.”

Source: Business Insider, IMDb

  • Famous French chef Jacques Pépin left school at age 13 for a cooking apprenticeship, but he continued his studies in the US, graduating from Columbia’s School of General Studies in 1970. He eventually returned for a master’s in French literature. Pépin is an award-winning cookbook author and TV show host.

Source: Columbia University

  • The author of “Catcher in the Rye” and “Franny and Zooey,” reclusive literary icon J.D. Salinger attended Columbia in the late ’30s but never graduated. The Manhattan native took a short-story writing class and was rumored to have submitted to Quarto, the school’s undergraduate literary journal.

Source: Columbia Spectator

  • Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, who was raised by a single mother in New York City’s housing projects, got her master’s in mechanical engineering from Columbia in 1981. She joined Xerox right out of school, and in 2009 she was named CEO, becoming the first female African-American chief executive of a Fortune 500 company. In 2010 President Obama appointed Burns vice chair of the President’s Export Council.

Source: Makers, Columbia University

  • Famed gonzo journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson attended Columbia in the late ’50s but never graduated. When his most famous work, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” was adapted into a Hollywood film in 1998, he was played by Johnny Depp and the two became close friends.

Source: Columbia University, Entertainment Weekly

  • Before legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick directed “Spartacus,” “A Clockwork Orange,” or “The Shining,” he took courses at Columbia in the ’40s, studying under writers Calvin Trillin and Mark Van Doren. Kubrick was originally interested in photography before moving on to film, garnering numerous Academy Award nominations but only winning one: best effects for the 1968 classic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Source: New York Times, Business Insider, IMDb

  • Historian and author Howard Zinn got his master’s and Ph.D. in history at Columbia in the 1950s. He enlisted in the Air Force during WWII so that he could study under the GI Bill. Zinn was involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements, and he wrote a number of books, including the famous “A People’s History of the United States.”


  • New York native Alicia Keys attended the prestigious Professional Performing Arts School and in 1997 was accepted to Columbia when she was just 16. She eventually dropped out to record music, gaining acclaim for hits like “If I Ain’t Got You,” “Fallin’,” and “Empire State of Mind.” She’s won 15 Grammys to date.

Source: Rolling Stone,

  • From 1921 to 1922, poet Langston Hughes was an engineering student at Columbia, but he dropped out to write full time. In addition to his acclaimed poetry, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, and screenplays, and became an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Source: Columbia University

  • Alexander Hamilton attended Columbia in 1773 when it was still called King’s College. Though he enrolled at age 18, he was still one of the oldest students in his class (the average age was 14). Despite his college being affiliated with the king of England, Hamilton aligned with revolutionary causes; he eventually became the first secretary of the treasury.

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg transferred from Harvard Law to Columbia Law in 1958, where she received top honors in her graduating class. She cofounded the ACLU Women’s Rights Project where she represented women in gender-discrimination cases before making the jump to the Supreme Court in 1993.

Source: Columbia Law School

Columbia University scholarship

On April 11, 2007, Columbia University announced a donation of $ 400 million to $ 600 million from former media billionaire student John Kluge to be used exclusively for undergraduate financial aid. 

 Donation is one of the greatest individual gifts for higher education.  Its exact value will depend on the eventual value of Kluge’s inheritance at the time of his death; 

However, the generous donation has helped change the financial aid policy in Columbia.  Annual donations, fundraising and an increase in college endowment spending have allowed Columbia to extend generous financial aid packages to students who qualify. 

As of 2008, university students from families with incomes of up to $ 60,000 per year will have the projected cost of attending college, including accommodation, food and academic fees, fully paid by the university. 

 That same year, the university finalized loans for incoming and current students receiving financial aid, replacing loans that were traditionally part of aid packages with university grants.  However, this does not apply to international students, transfer students, visiting students or students of the School of General Studies.  In the fall of 2010, admission to Columbia’s Columbia universities and the Fu Foundation’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (also known as SEAS or Columbia Engineering) began accepting the Common Application.

The policy change made Columbia one of the last major academic institutions and the last university of the Ivy League to switch to the Common Application.

The admissions committee also awards scholarships to university students.  Designations include John W. Kluge Scholars, John Jay Scholars, C. Prescott Davis Scholars, Global Scholars, Egleston Scholars and Science Research Fellows. The appointed academics are selected by the admission committee of the first-year applicants.  According to Columbia, the first four designated academics “are distinguished by their remarkable academic and personal achievements, their dynamism, their intellectual curiosity, the originality and independence of their thinking and the diversity that derives from their different cultures and their varied educational experiences.”

Scholarship Official Page


Studying in an Ivy League University is one of the best things that will happen to your academic career. Columbia University is unarguably an Ivy League University. Domestic and international students are welcome to apply to this institution to upgrade their careers. We have included almost all the information associated with this institution so as to help you have a concise knowledge about the institution. It is important that you visit the official website of this institution for more information and application.

Columbia University Official Website


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