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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Oct
International :01 Oct

BS Applied Physics

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

218016 USD
218016 USD

Application fee

International 85 USD
National 85 USD
Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
SAT (avg)1520
ACT (avg)34

World University Ranking

About this course

The applied physics undergraduate program stresses the basic physics that underlies most developments in engineering and the mathematical tools that are important to both physicists and engineers. Since the advances in most branches of technology lead to rapid changes in state-of-the-art techniques, the applied physics program provides the student with a broad base of fundamental science and mathematics while retaining the opportunity for specialization through technical electives.

The applied physics curriculum offers students the skills, experience, and preparation necessary for several career options, including opportunities to minor in economics and to take business-related courses. In recent years, applied physics graduates have entered graduate programs in many areas of applied physics or physics, enrolled in medical school, or been employed in various technical or financial areas immediately after receiving the B.S. degree.

Opportunities for undergraduate research exist in the many research programs in applied physics. These include fusion and space plasma physics, optical and laser physics, and condensed matter physics. Undergraduate students can receive course credit for research or an independent project with a faculty member. Opportunities also exist for undergraduate students in the applied physics program to participate in this research through part-time employment during the academic year and full-time employment during the summer, either at Columbia or as part of the NSF REU program nationwide. Practical research experience is a valuable supplement to the formal course of instruction. Applied physics students participate in an informal undergraduate seminar to study current and practical problems in applied physics, and obtain hands-on experience in at least two advanced laboratory courses

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Eligibility Criteria

Columbia University of committee looks at a variety of factors to help us inform our decision on a candidate including:

  • The student’s curriculum and grades - we hope to see that a student is challenging herself or himself with a rigorous course load
  • The context of a particular candidate, including family circumstances, secondary school, community, interests and access to resources
  • The quality of a student’s involvement in activities beyond the classroom
  • The character and personality of a candidate, and the impact she or he will make on our diverse, residential campus
  • The candidate’s fit for the distinctive Columbia experience, which includes the Core Curriculum; a both traditionally collegiate and unmistakably urban campus life; and an Ivy League school where curious thinkers come to grow
  • Recommendations - which provide evidence of intellectual curiosity and promise, classroom and school and community participation, and overall potential for the candidate to make an impact at Columbia, in the classroom and beyond

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Course Modules

Majors are introduced to two areas of application of applied physics (AP) by a course in each of two areas. Approved areas and courses are:

  • APMA E4101 or PHYS G4003: Dynamical systems
  • APPH E4110 or APPH E4112: Optical or laser physics
  • APPH E4010: Nuclear science
  • APPH E4301: Plasma physics
  • APPH E4200: Physics of fluids
  • PHYS G4018: Solid State/Condensed matter physics
  • APMA E4400: Biophysical modeling

In addition to these courses, courses listed in the Specialty Areas in Applied Physics can be used to satisfy this requirement with preapproval of an undergraduate applied physics adviser.

All students must take 30 points of electives in the third and fourth years, of which 17 points must be technical courses approved by the adviser. The 17 points include 2 points of an advanced laboratory in addition to APPH E4018: Applied physics laboratory. Technical Electives must be at the 3000 level or above unless prior approval is obtained from the department. The remaining points of electives are intended primarily as an opportunity to complete the absolutely mandatory four-year, 27-point nontechnical requirement for the B.S. degree, but if this 27-point nontechnical requirement has been met already, then any type of course work can satisfy these elective points.

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How to Apply

Please review the application instructions below carefully before beginning an application. Candidates must apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Applicants must submit only one complete application and Columbia does not preference one application over the other.

Please also be sure to review What Does Columbia Look For in a Candidate?

The following are required components of a complete first-year application for Fall 2017:

  • The Coalition Application or The Common Application, which both include questions specific to Columbia. The applications include:
    • Autobiographical information
    • $85 application fee or fee waiver request
    • Lists and descriptions of a student’s achievements, activities, employment and summer activities
    • Personal essay
    • Columbia-specific questions
  • Secondary School Report
    • An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
    • One high school counselor’s recommendation and school profile
    • The completed Mid-Year Report
  • Required Standardized Testing
    • SAT or the ACT
    • The appropriate SAT code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717
    • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • These recommendations must come from teachers who taught you in academic disciplines
    • For engineering applicants, one must come from a math or science teacher

Additional components of the application which may make it complete:

  • Supplementary materials
  • Optional interview with an alumnus/a

Please note that Columbia reserves the right to evaluate an application and render a final decision even if all pieces of the application have not been received.

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