Columbia University Review

Columbia University is one of the most respected academic institutions in the world, and the school's numerous online graduate engineering degrees meet all of the same high standards as the on-campus counterpart.

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The Good

Outstanding reputation

The engineering school at Columbia University is one of the most exclusive in the world, and is known for its depth of degree offerings. The school has distinguished itself as one of the best with its cutting edge research with other leading institutions such as MIT, IBM, and NASA. The school’s computer science, applied math, operations research, and biomedical engineering programs are all considered some of the top in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Several notable alumni and faculty have won nobel prizes in chemistry, physics, and economics, further adding the school’s strong, world-renowned reputation. The school’s same premier education is available through Columbia’s online degree program, enabling you to earn an Ivy League education from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Variety of online engineering degree programs

The online graduate engineering program at Columbia has one of the largest selections of online graduate engineering and applied science degrees, including 14 different master’s degree choices and six different doctorate level degrees. Online degree subject areas include applied mathematics and physics, biomedical and chemical engineering, civil engineering and construction management, earth and environmental engineering, nine focus areas in electrical engineering, industrial and mechanical engineering, and others. In terms of online graduate engineering programs, few schools can compete with what Columbia University offers.

Dual engineering and MBA degree

In addition to the huge list of online degrees and specializations the Columbia’s school offers, there is an additional option to combine a master’s in operations research with an MBA degree. This is not entirely an online degree since your MBA classes will have to be completed on campus, but if you have interest in the business side of engineering, this dual degree can be a powerful asset. The degree will take you three semesters to complete as a full-time student, and the first two semesters of the MBA half of the degree must be completed consecutively. The entire dual degree is made up of 30 credits for operations research, 45 credits for the MBA portion, and spans the course of 5 years.

High student engagement

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of online engineering programs, Columbia University earns the highest marks in terms of overall online student engagement. Student engagement consists of graduation rates, one year retention rates, class size, and other important factors that impact your education experience.

The Bad

High tuition and fees

Compared to other top online graduate engineering programs, Columbia University has one of the highest tuition rates. Even before you are admitted to the program, you will pay an application fee that is considerably higher than most. The high cost of attendance does come with an advantage since the Fu Foundation school of engineering at Columbia is one of the leading and most exclusive engineering schools in the world. If you are looking for an outright economical option, North Carolina State offers a large variety of online engineering degrees at one of the lowest tuition rates you can find.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1993-1994
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $95
  • Location: NY
  • Number of Graduate Engineering Programs: 17
  • Region: Northeast
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In-State: $1,640
  • Out-of-State: $1,640


  • M.S. in Chemical Engineering
  • M.S. in Biomedical Engineering
  • M.S. in Computer Science
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Computer Science
  • M.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering
  • M.S. in Electrical Engineering
  • P.D. in Electrical Engineering
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Electrical Engineering
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering- Systems Engineering
  • M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Materials Science and Engineering
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
  • P.D. in Mechanical Engineering
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • N/A

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Average Student Age: 27
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.50
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 4.5
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 165
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 154
  • Gender Ratio: 14.6% female, 85.4% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Total Enrollment: 151


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 8 years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 72
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 33

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 99%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 99%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 99%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 99%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 50%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 50%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 1
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 100/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 12
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 83/100
  • Peer Reputation Mean Score (1-5): 3.7
  • Student Engagement Rank: 1
  • Student Engagement Score: 100/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 2
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 80/100

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