Tuition & Fees

Please see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Cost of Attendance page for the most up-to-date information on tuition rates and fees.


Residence Units

Each semester, students register for a Residence Unit (RU), which provides the basis for tuition charges. Students have the option to register for full Residence Unit (1 RU), half Residence Unit (0.5 RU), or quarter Residence Unit (0.25 RU).

Students must complete the equivalent of 2 Residence Units for the conferral of the MA degree. If a student completes the equivalent of 2 Residence Units before finishing their program requirements, they are required to register for Extended Residence (ER) for any term in which they register for a course.

For international students: please note that student visas require full-time enrollment at Columbia. International students therefore need to register for a full Residence Unit (1 RU) each semester. If an international student requires a third semester to complete their program requirements, they would need to register for Extended Residence (ER) in that semester.

Sample Tuition Costs

A student who wishes to fulfill the program in 12 months, would pay for 2 full Residence Units (2 semesters total, and if need be, taking an Incomplete to complete the thesis during the summer) at $58,764 total. *Tuition rate for the 2019-2020 academic year.

A student who wishes to finish the program in 18 months (3 semesters total), would take 1 RU in the first Fall semester, and then 0.5 RU in the Spring semester, and 0.5 RU in the second Fall semester, at $61,226 total. *Tuition rate for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Please note: international students are required to register for a full Residence Unit (1 RU) each semester.


In addition to the tuition costs, students may be required to pay additional university fees. These may include: health insurance fees, university facilities fees, and student activity fees. Please visit the GSAS Cost of Attendance page for a list of potential fees as well as an estimated cost of living expenses.