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Eileen Barroso/Columbia University


How important are my GRE scores?

GRE scores are just one aspect of the entire application, and we treat them as such. We evaluate each application in its entirety and do not have cut off points for scores or GPAs. 

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Can I apply to both an MA in another discipline and QMSS at the same time?

Columbia GSAS now 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:

  • Applicants will be able to select a second review by a Free-standing MA program only.
  • The option of a second review must be elected at the time of submission of the application.
  • Columbia GSAS cannot guarantee that an application will receive a second review. Review by the second choice program is contingent upon the deadline and space availability for the second program.
  • Applicants will be able to view and opt for a second choice (if applicable) after selecting their first choice. Do not submit a second application.
  • Applicants must upload a separate Statement of Purpose and submit any extra supporting materials required for the second program. Transcripts, letters and test scores should only be submitted once. However, if your second program requires a writing sample, you are required to upload a second writing sample.
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Can I attend events hosted by QMSS?

Yes! Our SEMINAR is free and open to the public-we encourage you to visit us for seminars that are of interest to you.

QMSS courses are open to students only.  If you are interested in attending one of these courses please contact the Program Coordinator, who will be happy to arrange a prospective student visit to the class.

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Can I study Part-Time at QMSS?

Yes - QMSS is designed to help both the full-time student and the working professional fulfill their educational goals. Part-time students usually finish the program within 2 to 2.5 years as compared to the traditional 9 month program.

Approximately a third to a half of our students do the program part-time and work full or part-time. The four required QMSS courses all have evening sections, and most other departments offer evening classes as well. We are a very flexible program, and would be happy to work with you in planning your overall schedule.

Students do not need to designate whether they intend to study part-time or full-time in their application, or until shortly before their first semester. 

There are two categories of students are required to maintain full-time status:

  1. International students studying on F-1 or J-1 visas can be in violation of their legal status if they fall below full-time enrollment.  
  2. Students living in University housing will be asked to leave their housing if they fail to maintain full-time enrollment.
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Do I need a lot of experience with math/statistics?

Many of our applicants have a strong social science background, but have only limited training in quantitative methodologies.  Some students come to QMSS with strong numeracy skills but little social science experience. This is what makes the program so unique; the goal of QMSS is to improve your quantitative research skills from wherever you are now.

Students should have some exposure to statistics or higher-level analysis. The program needs to have some way to assess your ability to handle the quantitative course load at QMSS.  If you have had no experience in maths and statistics, it will be very difficult for us to be able to determine this.  Some students will take continuing education classes at accredited programs to demonstrate this.  Or, some applicants have extensive quantitative components to their jobs that can demonstrate their capabilities.  

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Have you received my admissions materials?

Please contact the admissions office directly as they receive all materials before passing them along to us.

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How many students are in QMSS and what percentage of applicants are accepted?

We do not have a set number of students we admit. Each year the number varies based on the strength of the applications. We evaluate each application carefully and completely before making this decision. We are a small program but have grown consistently each year as the number of quality applications has increased. 

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I have been out of school for a while. Do I have to have academic references?

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences recommends you use at least two academic references. We agree with this recommendation; however we encourage you to define "academic" creatively. 

We want to know about you today, and if you have been out of school for a while, it is highly possible your undergraduate professors will not be able to speak to this. We strongly advise against using  a reference simply because they are "academic."

We want to know about the qualities that will make you a good, interesting, and QMSS-oriented student. This is what we mean by academic. Therefore, we accept references from sources other than academic professionals. Often, if you have been out of school for a while, relevant recommendations will be from colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, etc.  However, be sure that they do tell us about you and your potential to be a student not just a professional

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Is it possible to start the program in the spring instead of the fall?

No, we only accept students for fall entry. QMSS carefully constructs cohorts that are diverse in perspective, experience, and interests which support and enhance the seminar based course structure of our program. Students entering at the same time then take courses together which enhances the quality of the courses and student learning. Therefore, we will only admit students in the fall so as to preserve the cohort effect.

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Is QMSS linked to any PhD Programs?

QMSS is a terminal MA program which means that it does not feed directly into any other programs. This is a plus for our students as we are able to focus on them as Masters students without other distractions. Many of our students choose to continue on in their graduate study by applying to PhD programs; our students and alumni have a high rate of success as applicants.

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What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score?

Columbia University recommends that all applicants have a TOEFL of at least 100. However, tests vary, as does students ability to perform on standardized tests. We here at QMSS do not have a minimum score. We would like our students' scores to match that of the University's expectations but will accept slight variance with the understanding that students who score under 100 must participate in the American Language Program as part of their education here at QMSS.

We have a strong relationship with American Language Program (ALP). They will test students and work with them on their academic English at their own level. This program is also available to students who scored higher then 100 on their TOEFL who are just looking to strenghten their academic writing skills.

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What is the University ETS code for GRE and TOEFL?

Our institution code is 2162. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not use department codes, as all test scores are reported to the Office of Admissions. Scores are then forwarded to the appropriate department. If ETS requires designation of a department code, please use a default code of all nines (9) or all zeroes (0).


When will I hear about admissions decisions?

Because our deadline for application is February 17th, applicants can expect responses to their application by mid-April. 

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Who do I contact for information about international student issues?

Please contact the ISSO Office:

Mailing Address:

Columbia University  
2960 Broadway, Code 5724

New York, N.Y. 10027      

Tel: (212) 854-3587  

Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except Wednesday, when the ISSO opens at 10:30 am. E-mail: isso@columbia.edu