Important : The Columbia University PhD program is not sponsored by individual labs and it is not possible to select a specific PhD advisor until the second year in the program. As a result, contacting individual investigators about PhD positions in their labs before you apply will not increase your chances of being accepted into the program. If you are invited to visit Columbia, you will have an opportunity to meet members of our faculty and discuss your interests with them at that time.

Application deadline

The application season for entering the Computational Biology & Bioinformatics/Systems Biology Specialization in the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Studies in the 2017/2018 academic year is now closed. 

Submitting your application

How you apply to study systems biology at Columbia depends on the program to which you are applying.

Applying to the Systems Biology Specialization
Go here to apply to the Computational Biology & Bioinformatics/Systems Biology Specialization within the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Studies at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center. You will find the application guidelines at the link.

Application to the Computational Biology & Bioinformatics/Systems Biology Specialization follows the same procedure as application to the Integrated Program. When applying, please specify in your personal statement that you have an interest in systems biology and explain why you want to study the field at Columbia. This will ensure that the systems biology faculty reviews your application.

Applying to another department
It is also possible to study systems biology by applying for graduate study in an affiliated PhD department and working with faculty members associated with the Department of Systems Biology. See our affiliated PhD programs for a list of departments, and follow the links to their websites for specific information about how to apply to the program that best matches your interests. Please note that their requirements and deadlines may be different than those for the Integrated Program.

Admission requirements

All students in the Systems Biology Specialization come with strong training in a related field such as biology, computer science, mathematics, physics, or chemistry, and an interest in conducting research as part of a multidisciplinary team. Admission to the program is competitive, and all applicants must fulfill certain requirements, including:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a scientific or engineering subject
  • The Graduate Record Examination General Test
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement explaining your interest in multidisciplinary research
  • Personal interview

Commitment to diversity

Columbia University encourages applications from qualified students of all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, including those with disabilities or who come from disadvantaged economic situations.


For questions on educational aspects of studying systems biology at Columbia University, please contact Dr. Peter Sims and Graduate Program Coordinator Sandra Squarcia.

For questions on the mechanics of applying to the systems biology specialization, please contact Zaia Sivo.