Columbia Journalism School

New Students

Congratulations on your admission to the Columbia Journalism School!  

Be sure to check out the information at the links on this page, which should answer many of the questions you have about what you need to do prior to enrolling for the summer or fall terms. 

Start getting to know your fellow classmates now - Join the Class of 2016 Facebook page. 

Prepping for the J-School

Class Overview

Class of 2016

The Office of Admission and Financial Aid received about 950 applications for our four degree programs.

In our largest degree-granting program, the full-time Master of Science, those admitted hail from 32 states and the District of Columbia. The top states represented among the admitted students are New York, California, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida and Maryland. In addition, 40 percent of the class is international, with the largest groups hailing from United Kingdom, India, Canada, China, France, and Colombia.

This year, 70 percent of those admitted to the M.S. class are female and 30 percent are male. In the Master of Arts class, 43 percent are male and 57 percent are female, with 51 percent coming from outside of the United States. Of the four students admitted to the doctoral program in communications, one is male and three are female. All are U.S. citizens. We admitted 14 students into our M.S. dual degree program with Computer Science. There are nine females and five males, with seven international students. In terms of racial diversity, 30 percent of the entire class identified as African American, Asian, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander.


Back to Top

Open House

Mark your calendars for the 2015 Open House, scheduled to take place Friday, April 10th and Saturday, April 11th. To register for Open House, click here.

The 2015 Open House Schedule is available now. Please note this schedule is preliminary and subject to change. Check back often for updates. 

Back to Top

Optional Events: Live Events at the J-School

Get a sense of the amazing range of speakers, panels, talks at the J-school by visiting the Columbia J-School Calendar. If you are in NYC during any of these, please stop by.

Back to Top

International Students

Leaving the comforts of home can be a challenge. Add to that the pressures of applying for the correct student visa, and it can feel a bit overwhelming. That's why the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) of Columbia University has developed an online guide just for you. The "Coming to Columbia: Essential Information for New International Students" guide is designed to help you meet the challenges of living abroad and enjoy living and learning in New York City.

Back to Top

New Student Checklist

You must complete the following tasks before you arrive on campus.

IMPORTANT: In order to get your Columbia University ID card or purchase a J-School Press Pass, you will need to take two high resolution digital passport-style photos as soon as possible.

  • The photo should be a color, JPEG file.

  • The background should be uniform and light-colored.

  • You must be facing forward with your head and shoulders clearly visible.

  • No photos with sunglasses or hats

  • The file cannot exceed 100K in size for the Columbia University ID card and must be 300 dpi for the J-School Press Pass

  1. To Locate and activate your Columbia e-mail address. Once your $1,000 electronic enrollment fee has been received, your UNI, which also serves as your Columbia e-mail address, is generated. Please allow seven to 10 business days for your information to be updated in the system. Follow these instructions to activate your Columbia UNI and email address.

    Once you’ve activated your email account, it will take 24 hours before you can actually use it. To access your Columbia email "LionMail," please go to the LionMail website at this link:  You can also access LionMail from the Journalism School website at from the “Current Students” or from the main Columbia web page at, at the top of the page "Email".

    For additional email support please see:
    Logging in for the first time:
    Mobile Device Setup:
    LionMail FAQ:
    Primary CUIT LionMail Web Portal:

  2. Get your Columbia University ID: CUIT has developed a secure web service for students to upload and submit a photo online for their first University ID card. For more information about the process and to submit your photo, click here. If you submit your photo by May 15 for part-time students and July 15 for full-time students, you will receive your University ID card during your student orientation. For those who missed the deadline, you will have time during orientation to go to 204 Kent Hall to get your Columbia University ID card.

  3. Emergency Contact Form: Please complete the Journalism School's Emergency Contact Form.

  4. Certify your meningitis vaccination decision: Record your meningococcal (meningitis) vaccination decision online.

  5. Submit your MMR Form: Complete the Columbia University Measles, Mumps and Rubella form and submit it to the Health Services Immunization Office . For part-time students starting in May 2015, the MMR form is due May 11, 2015. For all full-time students starting in the 2015 Fall Semester the MMR form must be submitted no later than Friday, June 19, 2015. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO REGISTER OR COME TO CAMPUS UNTIL THIS HAS BEEN COMPLETED! 

  6. Enroll/waive CU student medical insurance: Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the basic level of the plan, but may upgrade their coverage to the comprehensive level or request a waiver. Part-time students are encouraged to enroll in the plan, but are not required to do so. Please click here for more information. To request a waiver of automatic enrollment in the basic level of the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan, new incoming students must submit a waiver request (June 13 for part-time students beginning in August, September 30 for Fall enrollment, and February 1 for Spring enrollment) and provide documentation of alternate coverage under a comparable insurance plan.

  7. Early Arrival Insurance: Aetna Student Health offers an optional Early Arrival Insurance Plan. This plan is recommended for students who will have no other coverage during the month of August. Enrollment is done using a credit card or e-check through the Aetna Student Health website. A student who elects this coverage must also enroll in the Columbia Plan for the fall coverage period. Please click here for full details and enrollment instructions.

  8. Student Account Statement: Review your Student Account Statement online. Please be sure that you have paid your bill to avoid the $150 late payment charge. Once the statement is available, an alert will be sent to your Columbia e-mail address. The payment deadline for the Summer is early June and for the Fall is early September.

  9. Direct Deposit: Sign up for Direct Deposit through Student Services Online (SSOL) to have scholarship and financial aid refunds deposited directly into your bank account.

  10. Dining Services: Sign up for an optional Dining Plan or purchase "Dining Dollars" or a Flex account. PLEASE NOTE: The University Dining Plan is NOT mandatory and is rarely used by J-School students. 

  11. Get a J-School Press Pass: Students looking to get a J-School Press Pass can do so after arriving on campus at Columbia Printing Services in room 106 of the Journalism building. The cost of the press pass is $10 plus tax. Please bring a digital copy of your headshot picture either in a USB Flash Drive, or simply e-mail the picture to yourself. The photo must be 300 dpi and it cannot be the same photo file used to apply for your Columbia University ID. A representative from Printing Services will help you to upload the picture into their online interface. The processing time is three business days. More details will be provided in your online orientation booklet.

  12. Student Business Cards: Due to payment restrictions and identification requirements, student business cards must be ordered in person at Columbia Printing Services in Room 106 Journalism (Pulitzer Hall). All part- and full-time students of Columbia University are eligible to order cards using the standard CU student business card template. The cost for 250 business cards is $32.50 plus tax. See for more details. 

  13. Text Message Enrollment: Register your mobile number to receive important and emergency communications from Columbia University.

  14. Financial planning: It is important to begin thinking about how you will finance your graduate school education. See the Federal Financial Aid and Journalism Scholarships section for more details.

  15. Complete an online application for a visa certificate (International Students Only): It may take up to 10 weeks to process your visa. Please fill out an application here: ISSO Visa Certificate. See the International Students section for more details.

  16. Apply for Housing: If you are interested in applying for graduate student housing, see the Housing section for more details. International students should apply for on-campus housing as soon as possible, as it can be extremely difficult to secure housing after you arrive.

Back to Top

Suggested Reading List: Books and Sites

To help you understand New York City, past and present, the faculty recommends you read some of these books and Web sites. The list is long, though by no means exhaustive, and we certainly don’t expect you to pick up every title here. The one book most often recommended by faculty is "The Power Broker," Robert Caro's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of master planner Robert Moses. While it is more than 35 years old, it vividly captures the city's development, politics and turmoil.

You may want to choose from several categories – e.g., an anthology or two, a couple of the classics, and titles in subject areas, like politics or education, that interest you. We've also listed some books that don't focus purely on New York, but are valuable for the information and insight they offer into media, technology and other topics.

Finally, please get into the habit of reading at least a couple of New York newspapers every day – in print or online – and checking the Web sites of local broadcast stations. This will acquaint you with the city that will serve as your laboratory during the time you're here, and are also the media outlets to which you may wish to pitch your stories.

Back to Top

Orientation and Start Dates

Please note that orientation attendance is mandatory. Dates are subject to change.

Part-Time M.S. Students 
Orientation: Friday, May 22, 2015
Classes Begin: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Part-Time Student Handbook (Please check back for more details.)
Wednesday and Saturday Reporting schedule - TBA 

M.S. International Students 
Orientation: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 
(You are also required to attend the Full-Time M.S. Student Orientation)
Classes begin: Monday, August 10, 2015

M.S. Students
Orientation: Thursday, August 6 and Friday, August 7, 2015
Classes begin: Monday, August 10, 2015

Knight-Bagehot Students 
Orientation: Tuesday, August 11 through Friday, August 14, 2015
Classes begin: Monday, August 17, 2015                                              

M.A. International Students & China Fellows 

Orientation: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
(You are also required to attend the Full-Time M.A. Student Orientation)

M.A. Students & Spencer Fellows - 

Orientation: Thursday, September 3 and Friday, September 4, 2015
Classes begin: Tuesday, Sept 8, 2015

Ph.D. Students - 
Orientation: Thursday, September 3 and Friday, September 4, 2015
Classes begin: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

All Class Lecture
By Professor Steve Coll, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism 
Location: Miller Theatre
Friday, September 4, 2015
Time: 10:30 a.m.


Back to Top

Federal Financial Aid and Journalism Scholarships

  • The Financial Aid Student Checklist  has been created to guide you through the Financial Aid process.

  • In order to help you make an informed decision about attending the Journalism School, we will announce journalism scholarship awards via e-mail by early April for all admitted students who submitted the appropriate forms, which are indicated below. All scholarships are assigned on the basis of merit and/or need.

  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents 
    Admitted students who have submitted a 2015-16 FAFSA and the Journalism School Scholarship Aid Form by the February 1st deadline will be considered for journalism scholarships and other federal aid. Until these forms are submitted, the Journalism School cannot award scholarships or federal loans. If you have any questions, about your FAFSA or your federal loan eligibility, please call the Journalism Admissions and Financial Aid Office at 212-854-8608.

  • International Students 
    Admitted students who have submitted the Journalism School Scholarship Aid Form by the February 1st deadline will be considered for journalism scholarships. Until the form is submitted, the Journalism School cannot award scholarships. If you have any scholarship questions, contact the Journalism School Admissions Office at 212-854-8608.

Intra-School Fellowships
If you applied for a Columbia University Intra-School Fellowship, please contact Tarin Almanzar, should you have any questions. The Intra-School Fellowship committees make their selections in April, independently of the Journalism School.

You can access further information on billing and payment options, as well as view tuition statements (1098-T Forms) at the Student Financial Services page.

Back to Top


Columbia University has limited housing for full-time graduate students around the Morningside Heights campus. Please note students admitted from the waitlist are ineligible to apply for Columbia University Housing. Please see the Housing Memo posted with your admissions letter for additional information. The deadline to apply for housing is May 15, 2015.

Additional Housing Information and Resources

* International House (I-House) Residence: International House is a privately owned student residence near the campus that provides housing to students from various universities and colleges in the area. For complete details on the International House resources and the housing availability for I-House, please visit

* Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA): OCHA provides an online housing registry of room-share and apartments in non-Columbia owned buildings located in the New York City area (mostly surrounding Columbia University). Only students who have accepted our admissions offer (by submitting their $1,000 deposit) and activated their Columbia ID (UNI) are permitted to use the website. You will be provided with the full details and website information once you have submitted your acceptance and deposit to the Admissions Office.

* Other Resources (not vetted by the Journalism School):

Enrollment Response Form and Deposit

The enrollment response form can be found on your Applicant Status page in the online application system or in your admissions letter.

The enrollment fee can be paid by credit card using a Visa or Mastercard; our system does not accept Discover or American Express. You may also submit the deposit with a personal check or money order drawn in U.S. dollars from a U.S. bank. Be sure that your name and PID number are on the check. The check must be postmarked by May 1, 2015. The Journalism School does not accept wire transfers. Students who fail to remit the enrollment fee by the deadline forfeit their place in the entering class. Students who pay the enrollment fee but do not enroll on the agreed date will lose their deposit.

Back to Top

Deferral Requests

Master of Science and Master of Arts candidates for the fall semester may submit a request to defer enrollment for one year with the permission of the Admissions Committee. Deferrals are not granted for more than one year. Requests are only granted for very compelling reasons and on a case-by-case basis. THE COMMITTEE DOES NOT CONSIDER REQUESTS FROM CANDIDATES WHO WISH TO POSTPONE ENROLLMENT AT THE JOURNALISM SCHOOL FOR INTERNSHIPS, JOB OPPORTUNITIES OR FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS. Requests must be submitted by Friday, April 17 to       

For students that have been granted a deferral, you will receive an official e-mail from the Office of Admission and Financial Aid. To secure your place in the next class, you must submit your $1,000 enrollment fee by the May 1, 2015 deadline. The office will correspond with you in the beginning of next year to confirm your plans to enroll in August 2015 and provide you with information regarding scholarship and federal financial aid, the Open House and to help prepare you for August enrollment. Note that you will need to re-apply for scholarship aid for 2016. The Scholarship Aid Application will be available in December 2015. Over the course of the next year, if there are changes to your email or home address, please contact the office at

Back to Top

Public Safety Security Report

Columbia University prepares an annual security report, which is available to all current and prospective employees and students. The report includes statistics for the three previous years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Columbia University, and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning sexual assault, and other matters.

You can obtain a copy of this report by contacting the Director of Administration and Planning, Public Safety at 212-854-3815 or here:

Back to Top

Essential Policies for the Columbia Community

Valuable information to help students understand some of the policies and regulations of the University can now be found in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community on the following website:  In particular, we would like you to take note of the Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment - which can be found here: and the Gender-based Misconduct Policies and Procedures for Students - which can be found here.

Course Registration

Incoming Part-Time M.S. students will be pre-registered for their summer REPORTING class; no action required.  Incoming Full-Time M.S. students will be pre-registered for their fall REPORTING class, their JOURNALISM ESSENTIAL classes, and the MASTER'S PROJECT.  They will self register online for their WRITTEN WORD MODULE and second fall MODULE on July 14 between 9 a.m. and noon EST.  Incoming JNCOMS (dual-degree Journalism and Computer Science) students will be pre-registered for their Journalism School courses in the same manner as full-time M.S. students. They should contact their advisors for SEAS classes. Incoming M.A. students will be pre-registered for all of their internal Journalism School courses; they will receive information in early August about how to register for their outside courses.  Incoming Ph.D students should contact Andie Tucher, Director of the Ph.D. program at  Detailed information and instructions on all of this will be circulated via email in early to mid June.

Contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
2950 Broadway (at 116th St.), Room 203 (lobby)
Room 203 (lobby)
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-8608

Select the academic degree that interests you: