Graduate Timeline & Dates

Admissions Timeline and Dates

Prospective Graduate Students: Fall 2021 Start

You’re interested in Columbia, and we want to help you join our community. Below, you’ll find a timeline of important dates and info to keep you on track with the admissions process. Each prospective student is different, and we encourage you to contact us to talk about your next steps in becoming a graduate student at Columbia. We’re here to help.

  • September

    Application opens for Fall admission

    Each department’s Faculty Review Committee typically makes an admissions decision six to eight weeks after the priority deadline for applications: January through March, depending on the program. Submit by this deadline to be considered for incoming graduate student scholarships. Some programs admit students on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed. See graduate admissions requirements for more information.

  • October

    Submit financial aid information (domestic students)

    File your 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Columbia’s school code: 001665. Submitting a FAFSA ensures that you’re considered for all financial aid opportunities, including institutional scholarships and all forms of federal and state aid.

  • January 

    Submit application for scholarship consideration

    To be considered for a scholarship, you must submit a completed admission application by your program's priority deadline. You will be notified of your total financial aid package, including Columbia scholarships, on your Financial Aid Breakdown. Visit for more information.

  • March

    Decision letters begin going out

    Applicants to the majority of our programs will receive decision letters in the mail beginning early March. These letters will include both admission information and scholarship details, should you be awarded an incoming student scholarship.

  • March

    Financial Aid Breakdowns go out

    Once you are admitted to the college and we receive your FAFSA, you will be notified of your complete financial aid package with a Financial Aid Breakdown. We will email these letters beginning in March on a rolling basis. Learn how to pay.

  • March–April

    Admitted Student Days

    All admitted graduate students will be invited to a department-specific Admitted Student Day. These days are designed to help you learn more about your program and get acquainted with campus. Keep an eye out for an email invite.

  • April 15

    Graduate Student Decision Day

    Confirm your attendance by making a $450 nonrefundable confirmation deposit on or before this date.

  • May

    Online orientation and registration open

    After paying the $450 deposit, you’ll have access to online orientation and class registration.

  • June

    Submit final college transcript

    If you are currently enrolled at a college or university, you must submit an official copy of your final transcript to Graduate Admissions. Late transcripts complicate registration, financial aid and payment for your first semester.

  • June

    Finalize your financial plan

    To pay for education, many students use resources beyond the awards offered on the Financial Aid Breakdown. Learn more about these resources—such as loans and employment-sponsored tuition plans—and read about our payment plan.

  • August

    Graduate Welcome Day

    Meet your fellow graduate students and mingle with the entire incoming cohort at Graduate Welcome Day, hosted by Graduate Admissions. Keep an eye out for communications regarding this event.

  • August–September

    Department orientation

    Each academic department hosts an orientation prior to the start of school year. We’ll reach out to you with more information as your orientation date nears.

  • August 1

    Submit payment

    You must either pay in full or establish an automated payment plan for any portion of your bill not covered by secured financial aid by August 1. If you register for classes after this date, you’ll have seven calendar days to establish payment arrangements. Visit for more information.

  • August 30

    New Student Convocation

    Convocation showcases the talents of our students and alumni. The annual event features an assembly with President Kwang-Wu Kim, a student services exposition, and a catered party with live bands, performance art, and more.

  • September 4

    Fall semester begins