Columbia University Review

Columbia University is home to two top-quality information technology degree programs, both of which require multiple visits to the Columbia campus in New York City.

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The Good

Innovative information strategy degree

Columbia University’s online information and knowledge strategy degree is pretty unique among online information technology programs. As a student in this program, you’ll develop the skills to create cutting-edge information services and knowledge products designed to improve collaboration and internal networking in large businesses and organizations. You’ll also learn strategies for streamlining business processes and decision-making by improving internal business networks and harnessing the power of social media. This program is designed for information technology specialists who have a minimum of two years of professional work experience in the field. Columbia also offers a graduate program in technology management. Both programs have a set curriculum, which students are expected to complete on a predefined 16-month schedule.

Strong focus on student engagement

According to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of online graduate information technology programs, Columbia University ranks alongside Sam Houston State University as a leader in student engagement efforts. Both of Columbia’s programs include highly interactive coursework, collaborative student projects, and online mentoring opportunities. In addition to watching lectures and participating in asynchronous class discussions, students are required to meet online once per week to engage in a real-time class session that utilizes text- and audio-based communication tools. Both Columbia degrees also require students to visit campus in New York City for weekend class sessions.

Exceptional student retention and graduation rates

Columbia information technology programs have reported nearly perfect first-year retention rates over the last four academic years, which is a strong reflection of the quality instruction and engaging online environment that Columbia strives to create in its programs. The university has also reported very high graduation rates over the last two years. In addition to the big influence that Columbia University’s student engagement efforts have, the university’s strong student success rates can also be linked to strict admissions policies. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, Columbia information technology programs rank among the most selective in the field. Given Columbia’s recent history, if you are accepted into one of their programs and you decide to enroll, chances are very high that you will complete your degree on time.

Designed for working professionals

Both of Columbia’s information technology programs are targeted at working professionals who are looking for a focused curriculum that delivers a lot of high-quality training in a reduced amount of time. Applicants are expected to have significant professional work experience in an information technology role, and most have a clear record of professional achievement. These master’s degree programs are designed to be completed in only 16 months, following a set curriculum that you can schedule for in advance.

The Bad

Campus visits required

Both of Columbia University’s online graduate programs require you to visit the main campus in New York City. The information and knowledge strategy program requires three weekend visits scheduled near the beginning, middle, and end of the program. These visits are set in advance and do not allow for rescheduling. The second program, in technology management, requires regular weekend visits at a rate of approximately twice per month. Three longer visits of four to five days are also required. This could be very problematic unless you live within easy travel distance of New York City.

High tuition rates

Columbia University charges tuition at a rate of $1,640 per credit, the highest among all of the best online information technology graduate programs in the country. While quite expensive, the price is not altogether surprising given the fact that this program is tailored to working professionals looking for a convenient and high-quality educational option. The information and knowledge strategy program is also quite unique, perhaps further justifying its high price. All that said, there are plenty of other high-quality, affordable online programs available, offering degrees in a wide variety of information technology subjects, which may be better options if the Columbia program doesn’t fit your budget.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1993-1994
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $95
  • Location: NY
  • Number of Graduate Info Tech Programs: 1
  • Region: Northeast
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In-State: $1,658 - $1,848
  • Out-of-State: $1,658 - $1,848


  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Computer Science


  • N/A

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Average Student Age: N/A
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: N/A
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: N/A
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: N/A
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: N/A
  • Gender Ratio: N/A
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Total Enrollment: N/A


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 8 years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 18
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 3

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 (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): 100%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 95%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): N/A

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 11
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 26.1/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 21
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 59.8/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 2
  • Student Engagement Score: 85.9/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 9
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 44/100

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