Degree Requirements

To successfully complete the Master of Arts Degree in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS) at Columbia University, students must:

  • Receive a passing grade in the five required QMSS courses:
  1. QMSS GR5010 Quantitative Theory and Methodology
  2. QMSS GR5015 Data Analysis for the Social Sciences (or Focus equivalent)
  3. QMSS GR5021 Research Seminar I
  4. QMSS GR5022 Research Seminar II
  5. QMSS GR5999 Master's Thesis
  • Complete at least 2 data analysis electives/reaseach methods (any graduate-level QMSS or STATs electives)
  • Complete at least 2 graduate-level, quantitative/social science electives
  • Complete at least 30 graduate-level credits/points
  • Complete payment for two full Residence Units.
  • Acheive a minumum 3.0 GPA averge
  • Apply to graduate by the deadline for the appropriate semester.

Students must complete five required core courses and four or five electives in order to graduate. Two of these elective courses must be in statistics or research methods.  Please see our Courses page for required core courses and elective options

QMSS Students typically take between 4 and 6 elective courses. Any 4000-level or above course offered by QMSS, Computer ScienceIEOREconomicsStatisticsPsychologyPolitical ScienceSociologyHistoryMathematics, or SIPA will satisfy one of these requirements. 4000-level courses outside these departments MAY satisfy an elective requirement but require approval by the Director of QMSS. Send a copy of the syllabus to <[email protected]> for approval to count a course towards your degree progress.

  • NOTE: Approval of a course does not grant you permission to enroll in a non-QMSS course. That is controlled by the course instructor. CLICK HERE for more detailed registration procedures.

Grading Policy: 

You must receive a passing letter grade in any classes that you count towards your degree. The only exceptoins to this policy include qualifying classes (i.e. 4000+ in an approved subject area) that are only offered for P/N credit. The most common classes you will encounter in this category are the Internship in Social Reserach classes (GR5050, GR5051, GR5054).

Be aware that course listings are always subject to change. You should always check in the Columbia Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date information. 


Extended Residence Option (Optional, Third Full-time Semester)

The QMSS students may extend their time in the program one semester beyond the required two semester equivalency if they show academic justification. If approved for this extension, QMSS students should plan to enroll in an Extended Residence Unit (ERU) during their final semester in the program. During an ERU, students are considered full-time as long as they enroll in a minimum of one class - QMSS GR599 Master's Thesis - which must be completed during the student's final semester in the program. During an ERU, students may take up to 20 credits, as they would in a regular full-time semester. Any enrollment beyond 20 credits will incure additional tuition charges. The most up to date cost of an Extended Residence Unit can be found HERE.

When justifying and Extended Residence, QMSS students should should include: 

  • An explanation as to why two semesters is an insufficient time period for the student to complete program requirements. 
  • A list of the courses the student has already taken and plans to take during their time in the program, broken down by semester. 

The program staff will review petitions and respond promptly with their approval and/or concerns. Please keep in mind that petitions that do not have sufficient academic justifications will not be approved. 

Students seeking program extensions should note that University Housing beyond the first two semesters of the program is not guaranteed. Please contact University Housing or the GSAS Office of Student Affairsfor more information on available housing options.

In addition, international students must be mindful of their I-20 status. For all questions regarding I-20 status, please contact the ISSO.

Please contact the Program Coordinator if you have any question about the process if requesting a program extension.

QMSS Master of Arts/CC/Barnard Bachelor or Arts

BA/MA students may begin taking QMSS courses the semester after they are admitted. Upon matriculation in GSAS, they can receive up to 1/2-Residence Unit in advanced standing (or 3 courses) from their time at Columbia College or Barnard.

Dual Degree Planning

QMSS Master of Arts/SIPA Masters of Public Administration (MPA)

QMSS Master of Arts/SIPA Masters of International Affairs (MIA)

Graduation Requirements

There are three graduation dates throughout the year (February, May, and October). Graduation ceremonies take place once a year in May. Any student who has graduated during that academic year (October through May) is eligible to participate. QMSS will determine eligibility for graduation after the student has completed all coursework and has submitted an application for degree. The Graduate School will contact you with information about tickets, and more information will be available on the GSAS website in the spring.

Columbia University also hosts graduation ceremonies separate from GSAS. These ceremonies are for the whole university and more information about them can be found here.

Registering to Graduate: You must complete this form and submit to the Registrar's office/Student Services by these dates for each graduation (Graduation Date, Application Due Date):

  • For October; September 1
  • For February; January 1
  • For May; March 1

If you have problems or miss a deadline, please contact the Program Coordinator for help.