Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (popularly known as SEAS or Columbia Engineering; previously known as Columbia School of Mines) is the engineering and applied science school of Columbia University. It was founded as the School of Mines in 1863 and then the School of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry before becoming the School of Engineering and Applied Science. On October 1, 1997, the school was renamed in honor of Chinese businessman Z.Y. Fu, who had donated $26 million to the school.

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

United States
DeanMary Cunningham Boyce
Campus size2,004 graduate
1,425 undergraduate
EndowmentUS$400 million
AffiliationsColumbia University

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science maintains a close research tie with other institutions including NASA, IBM, MIT, and The Earth Institute. Patents owned by the school generate over $100 million annually for the university. SEAS faculty and alumni are responsible for technological achievements including the developments of FM radio and the maser.

The School's applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, computer science and the financial engineering program in operations research are very famous and ranked high.[1][2] The current SEAS faculty include 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering and one Nobel Laureate in a faculty size of 173. In all, the faculty and alumni of Columbia Engineering have won 10 Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.

The school consists of approximately 300 undergraduates in each graduating class and maintains close links with its undergraduate liberal arts sister school Columbia College which shares housing with SEAS students. The School's current dean is Mary Cunningham Boyce, who was appointed in 2013.


Original charter of 1754

Included in the original charter for Columbia College was the direction to teach "the arts of Number and Measuring, of Surveying and Navigation [...] the knowledge of [...] various kinds of Meteors, Stones, Mines and Minerals, Plants and Animals, and everything useful for the Comfort, the Convenience and Elegance of Life." Engineering has always been a part of Columbia, even before the establishment of any separate school of engineering.

An early and influential graduate from the school was John Stevens, Class of 1768. Instrumental in the establishment of U.S. patent law, Stevens procured many patents in early steamboat technology, operated the first steam ferry between New York and New Jersey, received the first railroad charter in the U.S., built a pioneer locomotive, and amassed a fortune, which allowed his sons to found the Stevens Institute of Technology. (Excerpt from SEAS website.)

When Columbia University first resided on Wall Street, engineering did not have a school under the Columbia umbrella. After Columbia outgrew its space on Wall Street, it relocated to what is now Midtown Manhattan in 1857. Then President Barnard and the Trustees of the University, with the urging of Professor Thomas Egleston and General Vinton, approved the School of Mines in 1863. The intention was to establish a School of Mines and Metallurgy with a three-year program open to professionally motivated students with or without prior undergraduate training. It was officially founded in 1864 under the leadership of its first dean, Columbia professor Charles F. Chandler, and specialized in mining and mineralogical engineering. An example of work from a student at the School of Mines was William Barclay Parsons, Class of 1882. He was an engineer on the Chinese railway and the Cape Cod and Panama Canals. Most importantly he worked for New York, as a chief engineer of the city's first subway system, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Opened in 1904, the subway's electric cars took passengers from City Hall to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and the newly renamed and relocated Columbia University in Morningside Heights, its present location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Renaming to the School of Mines

In 1896, the school was renamed to the "School of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry". During this time, the University was offering more than the previous name had implied, thus the change of name.

The faculty during this time included Michael I. Pupin, after whom Pupin Hall is named. Pupin himself was a graduate of the Class of 1883 and the inventor of the "Pupin coil", a device that extended the range of long-distance telephones. Students of his included Irving Langmuir, Nobel laureate in Chemistry (1932), inventor of the gas-filled tungsten lamp and a contributor to the development of the radio vacuum tube. Another student to work with Pupin was Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio. After graduating in 1913 Armstrong was stationed in France during World War I. There he developed the superheterodyne receiver to detect the frequency of enemy aircraft ignition systems. During this period, Columbia was also home to the "Father of Biomedical Engineering" Elmer L. Gaden.

Recent and future developments

The university continued to evolve and expand as the United States became a major political power during the 20th century. In 1926, the newly renamed School of Engineering prepared students for the nuclear age. Graduating with a master's degree, Hyman George Rickover, working with the Navy's Bureau of Ships, directed the development of the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, which was launched in 1954.

The school's first woman graduate received her degree in 1945.[3] After a substantial grant of $26 million from Chinese businessman Z. Y. Fu, the engineering school was renamed again in 1997. The new name, as it is known today is the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. SEAS continues to be a teaching and research institution, now with a large endowment of over $400 million, and sits under the Columbia umbrella endowment of $7.2 billion. As an initiative to make information more accessible, Columbia Engineering operates a highly viewed open-course video network.[4] It is the only university to hold a share in the MPEG-2 patent. The school continues research into nuclear science with the Robert A. Gross Plasma Physics Lab. The school is also home to Columbia's High-Beta Tokamak (HBT-EP), and conducts further research into plasma physics with the Collisionless Terrella Experiment (CTX), and the Columbia Non-neutral Torus (CNT) experiment. The school's new biomedical engineering department collaborates closely with the Medical School to conduct interdisciplinary researches such as materials science, environmental chemistry, medical digital libraries, digital government, new media technologies, and GK–12 education,[5] bridging the biological and physical in the engineering world. The school is closely associated with Columbia's other departments, including Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Mathematics. It also engages in research and academic initiatives with the Business School, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Graduate School of Journalism, the School of International and Public Affairs, Law School, and the Teachers College.

Columbia is extending its reach globally, setting up genomic research collaborations in Beijing and dual engineering programs in Bologna. In April 2010, Columbia partnered with IBM for the Smarter Cities Skills Initiative, which aims to develop smarter, more energy-efficient city grids and green technology. The partnership opens IBM laboratories and its 40 Innovation centers across the world to Columbia faculty and students.


Columbia faculty members currently focus on interdisciplinary fields of sensors, bioengineering, and nanotechnology that address key problems in health, energy and sustainability. The School's previous dean, Feniosky Peña-Mora, coins this innovative research direction with the word "CyberBioPhysical" Systems.

New groundbreaking researches at Columbia include a laser-based method to create a single crystal film for a variety of devices, applications of augmented reality. Columbia Engineering faculty has made advances in media and communication. Since 2000, researchers have been involved in lasers, compression algorithm technology behind DVDS and HDTV, and VOIP. Departmental researches have made possible sharper display screens in high-end smart phones technology.

Professor Klaus Lackner of the Environmental Engineering Department is engaged in research that creates artificial trees which would remove carbon dioxide from air. The project aims to halt global warming through natural synthesis. Professor Eitan Grinspun of the Computer Science Department is creating computer simulations that model physical behaviors in the real world adopted into the virtual world.

Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic of the Biomedical Engineering Department, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Inventors, has found new way to grow bone grafts for jaw damaged by birth defects, injuries or disease. As a result of her work, facial reconstructive surgery can now use living tissue. Professor Keren Bergman is developing advanced computing and networking technology for electronic financial trading.


The admissions rate for the SEAS undergraduate class of 2018 was approximately 7%.[6]

Approximately 95% of accepted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class; 99% were in the top 20% of their class. 58% of admitted students attended high schools that do not rank. The yield rate for the class of 2014 was 59%.[7]

As for SAT scores, SEAS students within the Columbia University community have raised the composite SAT statistic for the undergraduates at Columbia University.[8][9] The Class of 2013's SAT interquartile range was 2060–2320 and 1400–1560 (old SAT). The ACT composite interquartile range was 32–34.

Those accepting enrollment at Columbia SEAS typically completed engineering programs at the undergraduate level and are pursuing professional graduate school in engineering, business, law, or medical school, so as to become what Columbia terms "engineering leaders." Engineering leaders are those who pioneer or define engineering: patent lawyers, doctors with specialties in biophysical engineering, financial engineers, inventors, etc.

Columbia Engineering's graduate programs have an overall acceptance rate of 28.0% in 2010.[10] The PhD student–faculty ratio at the graduate level is 4.2:1 according to the 2008 data compiled by U.S. News & World Report.[11] PhD acceptance rate was 12% in 2010.



Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science is one of the top engineering schools in the United States and the world. It is ranked 11th among the best engineering schools by U.S. News & World Report, and first within the Ivy League.

In 2010, the US National Research Council revealed its new analyses and rankings of American university doctoral programs since 1995. Columbia Engineering ranked 10th in biomedical engineering, 18th in chemical engineering, 26th in electrical engineering, 14th in mechanical engineering (5th in research), 9th in operations research & industrial engineering, 7th in applied mathematics, and 6th in computer sciences.[12]

The school's department of computer science is ranked 17th in the nation,[13] 20th in the world by Academic Ranking of World Universities,[14] and 13th according to PhDs.[15] Its biomedical engineering program is among the top 15 according to US News and is ranked 7th by PhDs.org.[16]

Among the small prestigious programs, the school's chemical engineering is ranked 20th, civil engineering and engineering mechanics 18th, electrical engineering 3rd, applied physics 4th, industrial engineering and operations research 4th, material engineering 10th, computer science 15th, and applied mathematics 15th, according to National Science Foundation.[17] From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Columbia's engineering mechanics is 6th in the nation, its environmental engineering 4th, industrial engineering 7th, mechanical engineering 5th, applied physics 8th, and operations research 6th. Finally, Columbia's financial engineering program is one of the top ten in the world, according to one blog from 2008.[18]


Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

The Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics was founded in 1978 by then Dean Peter Likens. The proposal was to combine the interdepartmental doctoral program in plasma physics with the existing division of nuclear Science and engineering. The department's first faculty members included: Herbert Goldstein, C. K. Chu, Robert A. Gross, William Havens, Shayne Johnston, Thomas Marshall, Leon Lidofsky, Edward Melkonian, and Gerald Navratil.

Under the chairmanship of Robert Gross, the department developed a broader program encompassing solid-state physics, quantum electronics, and applied mathematics in addition to the core theoretical areas of plasma and nuclear physics. In 1997, the Fu Foundation donated large sums of funding supporting researches at the department, and in 1998, it officially changed its name to the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics due to the department's ever expanding stature. In the same year of the donation, renowned Professors Aron Pinczuk and Horst Störmer joined the department. In 2000, the department expanded again, creating two joint faculty positions with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. That year, the Materials Science and Engineering Program of the Henry Krumb School of Mines was integrated with the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. Since 1978, the department has grown from nine to thirty one full-time faculty members, who are involved in interdisciplinary areas of research relating to nanoscale science, earth science, advanced scientific computing, materials and information technologies, and plasma physics. The departmental faculty has recently received many accolades, including three Sloans, four Guggenheims, and one Packard fellowship, one Nobel Prize in physics, one Gordon Bell Prize, and two Buckley Prizes. Faculty members do extensive research in Columbia's Nanoscience and Engineering Center, the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Plasma Physics Laboratory, the Center for Terascale Computer Simulation. Recently, the department has developed the sequential lateral solidification process that creates high-quality crystalline silicon films which generate major patent income. The department grants three undergraduate majors, including applied physics, applied mathematics, and materials science and engineering. Its graduate programs address these same three fields in a broader range. Each year, the department awards the Robert Simon Memorial Prize to its graduate student with the most distinguished doctoral dissertation.

Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering was founded in 2000.

The department has close contact with the medical school and other engineering departments in interdisciplinary researches. The educations tracks of the biomedical engineering department include biomechanics, biomedical imaging, and cell and tissue engineering. The department's faculty of 19 full-time professors and five adjunct professors is equally divided among the three above-mentioned disciplines. The biomedical engineering department represents one-fifth of the total number of engineering majors at the school. Its majors are the most popular among students not only wishing to pursue engineering but also finance or pre-med at Columbia University.

The department draws financial resources from the university as a whole as well as from the Whitaker Foundation. An undergraduate at Columbia has access to laboratory tools usually reserved for advanced research. In addition to the core biomedical facilities, the department has a tissue culture facility, a histology facility, an atomic force microscope, and epifluorescence microscope, and a large machine shop.

Chemical Engineering

Columbia's Chemical Engineering Department has a broad spectrum of research and teaching. Its core focus concerns with materials and process analysis, concepts that are key to a wide range of technologies. Some areas the faculty are involved in include the engineering of polymers and other soft materials, the electrochemistry of fuel cells, the bioengineering of artificial organs, the sequencing of the human genome, polymer interactions and synthesis, the biophysics of cellular processes, the physics of DNA, the physical chemistry of nanoparticles, neutron scattering, atmospheric chemistry, and multiple theoretical studies revolving around both mathematical physics and computational analysis. The undergraduate program provides a degree that leads to diverse career options that historically includes biochemical engineering, environmental management, pharmaceuticals, and medicine, but also law, banking and finance, and politics. The chemical engineering department utilizes facilities including a polymer synthesis lab that houses metal evaporator system, a Miligen 9050 peptide synthesizer, and thin-film preparation stations. The department also uses XPS imaging systems, digital analysis systems, X-ray reflectometers, and MCT detectors, among others. For computational studies, a cluster of dedicated computers is available for intensive simulations and numerical calculations. The chemical engineering department shares facilities with the chemistry department. Shared facilities consist of equipments including fluorescence spectrometers, EPR spectrometers, nanosecond laser photolysis instruments, photon counter, and chromatographic devices. The facilities of Columbia Genome Center are also at the department's disposal.

Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Columbia's department of civil engineering and engineering mechanics is one of the longest running, most prominent small-size engineering departments in the United States. The department of civil engineering was formed in 1868. It evolved to include curriculum in metallurgy, electricity, mechanics, chemistry, and industrial engineering before separate departments were established. Some of the department's alumni include William Barclay Parsons, David B. Steinman, Kevin P. Chilton, and Jeff Bleustein. William Barclay Parsons received his civil engineering degree in 1882 and later founded the world-renowned company Parsons-Brinkerhoff. Steinman received a doctorate from the department in 1911. He designed the Henry Hudson Bridge and founded the firm of Steinman Engineers, a lead designer of famous bridges in New York City and the United States. Chilton received a M.S. and became one of the first astronauts to pilot the space shuttle. Jeff Bleustein received a doctorate in engineering mechanics, later becoming the CEO of Harley–Davidson Motorcycle Company. The civil engineering department has enjoyed top ranking since the 1950s, especially for its engineering mechanics program. Its notable faculty includes Maciej Bieniek, Hans Bleich, Donald Burmister, Richard Freudenthal, Raymond Mindlin, Mario Salvadori, Richard Skalak and Robert Stoll.

Computer Science

The Columbia department of computer science is one of the biggest departments in the world. The department offers an integrated curriculum consisting of programming, computer architecture, operating systems, and theoretical computer science/mathematics. Among the research tracks in the department are artificial intelligence, natural language processing, computational complexity, analysis of algorithms, computer communications, combinatorial methods, computer architecture, computer graphics, data bases, mathematical computational models, optimization, and programming environments. Undergraduates in the department are involved in advanced faculty research projects. Students serve as consultants at the Columbia Computer Center, which operates the microcomputers and terminals on campus. Upper-level students in computer science may assist faculty members with research projects and help to develop software. Many are recognized with membership in the National Academy of Engineering, ACM awards, IEEE awards, John von Neumann Medals, Knuth Prize, fellows status in various engineering/scientific societies, IBM awards, Presidential Early Career Awards, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, board membership in national academies, and many fellowships such as Sloan and Guggenheim. The departmental faculty members conduct research in facilities including the Autonomous Agents Lab, Columbia Vision and Graphics Center, Computer Architecture Laboratory, and Robotics Laboratory.

Earth and Environmental Engineering

The Columbia University Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering focuses on research that finds solutions to global sustainability. The department traces its history to the Henry Krumb School of Mines, concentrating in areas of water resources and climate risks, sustainable energy and materials, and environmental health engineering. The Henry Krumb School of Mines has been a leading institution in mining and metallurgy research, having pioneered works in mineral beneficiation, chemical thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport phenomena in mineral extraction. HKSM has been a leader in mining and metallurgy research and education, including the first mining handbook by Professor Peele, the first mineral processing handbook by Professor Taggart. During the 19th and 20th centuries, HKSM contributed to the development of technologies that provided basic materials need. Today the traditional mining and mineral engineering of the department were transformed to embody material and environmental engineering. The department maintains close ties with the Columbia Earth Institute directed by economist Jeffrey Sachs. The M.S. degree in Earth Resources Engineering was established in 1996 to supplant the mining and mineral engineering degree. The B.S. program in Earth and Environmental Engineering was initiated in 1998 with a student:faculty ratio of 3:1. The department enjoys external partnerships with other engineering departments, Columbia Earth Institute, the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the School of International and Public Affairs. The department offers the bachelor of science, master of science, doctor of philosophy, doctor of engineering science, and joint M.B.A degree with Columbia Business School. Recent graduates have gone on to work for Schlumberger, Ltd., CDM, Kleinfelder.

Electrical Engineering

The first recommendation for an electrical engineering department in Columbia came from Thomas Edison to President Barnard. Edison stated, "Crocker and I maintained that there is an 'electrical science' which is the real soul of electrical engineering.'" In the late 19th century, at Edison's suggestion, the Columbia trustees established a department of electrical engineering with two faculty members: Francis Bacon Crocker and Michael Idvorsky Pupin. Crocker was among the first presidents in the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Pupin was known for his invention of the Pupin coil.

In the 20th century, full four-year undergraduate program was created for electrical engineering. From 1901 to 1904, the class size grew from five to thirty. The department was housed in what is today's Mathematics Building at Columbia. Pupin served as its chair before transferring the position to Walter Slichter who led the department until 1941. In the mid-20th century, the electrical engineering department played a significant role during World War II, bringing radio communications to France and lecturing in London. The military used the FM radio system developed in the department. Throughout the Slichter era, the department evolved along two dominant technical tracks: electrical motors and power, and radio. During this period pupils including Edwin Armstrong and Morecroft became dominant forces in radio technology. Between the 1950s and 1960s, the department saw dramatic growth in faculty and students. Professor John R. Ragazzini joined Columbia in 1941 and chaired the department, and in 1945, faculty under his leadership developed the operational amplifier which became a key building block in electronic circuits. The department recruited other top professors such as Ralph J. Schwatz as well as students like Lotfi A. Zadeh. 1953 Eliahu I. Jury became the first doctoral student in the department working with professor Jacob Millman, who joined the department in 1952. In the 1960s, another PhD student of Ragazzinni R. E. Kalman produced pioneering work in the area of time varying and nonlinear systems. In the 1970s, Columbia, already renowned for theoretical research in electrical engineering, returned to the technical aspects of research. Research resumed in solid state devices, plasma physics, millimeter waves, and integrated circuits. The department also began attracting accomplished industry professionals. Two important recruits were Sergei Alexander Schelkunoff and W.R. Bennett. In 1968 the department was renamed the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science before reverting to its original name in 1979.

Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

The Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at Columbia, though relatively new compared to other departments at Columbia Engineering, is already highly rated throughout the world and provides its students with a launch pad to lucrative jobs at Wall Street, financial industry, government, and industry. Whereas in other universities the department of operations research resides in the business school, Columbia's department of operations research is part of the engineering school. The department offers four main areas of study: Management Science & Engineering, Financial Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

Financial Engineering is a multidisciplinary field involving financial theory, the methods of engineering, the tools of mathematics and the practice of programming. The Financial Engineering Program at Columbia University provides full-time training in the application of engineering methodologies and quantitative methods to finance. It is designed for students who wish to obtain positions in the securities, banking, and financial management and consulting industries, or as quantitative analysts in corporate treasury and finance departments of general manufacturing and service firms.[19]

Industrial Engineering emphasizes design, analysis, and control of production/services. Industrial engineers work for every kind of organization in manufacturing, distribution, transportation, mercantile, and service. Their responsibility is often managerial, which involve the integration of the physical, financial, economic, and human components of systems such as production planning/control, plant layout, materials management, and work station design. The industrial engineering programs at Columbia began in 1919.

Operations Research is an applied science, concerned with quantitative problem solving. The allocation of limited resources leads to problems often arising in all types of industry and financial firms. Operations research analysts develop models to solve logistical problems by using engineering methodology. Analysis involves mathematical optimization techniques, statistical methods, experiments, and computer simulations. Operations Research program was established in Columbia in 1952 and has already produced two Nobel Prize laureates, Alvin E. Roth and Robert C. Merton. It is ranked 4th by National Science Foundation and 6th by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The faculty members of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department are prominent academicians in their respective fields and Wall Street professionals. The chair of its Financial Engineering program and also Director of the Center of Financial Engineering, Emanuel Derman is a superstar quant who was a former executive at Goldman Sachs. Emanuel Derman was the one who proposed the widely used binomial tree interest rate model, Black-Derman-Toy model together with William Toy and Fischer Black who earned his Nobel Prize for the renowned Black–Scholes model. Among the department's many faculty members are adjunct professors from the Columbia Business School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Full-time faculty members include Clifford Stein who is an authority in Algorithms and former chair of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department, Maria Chudnovsky, 2012 MacArthur Award recipient and one of the "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science Magazine, Ward Whitt, an authority in Queueing Theory and Stochastic Process and committee chair of National Academy of Engineering, and the late Cyrus Derman, an authority in Operations Research who advised Sheldon M Ross, the author of many widely used textbooks for Statistics, Stochastic Processes, and Monte Carlo Simulation, for his PhD at Stanford.

Mechanical Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is one of the longest running traditional engineering departments at Columbia. The first tenured mechanical engineer, William Petit Trowbridge, joined the school in 1877 as chair of engineering,[20] and the department was established in 1897. It has enjoyed a national and international reputation since its inception. The department was home to professors Dudley D. Fuller, Harold G. Elrod, and Vittorio Castelli, leaders in the field of lubrication theory and practice. In the 1960s, Professor Ferdinand Freudenstein (known as the "Father of Modern Kinematics") taught in the department and ushered in the computer age in kinematics synthesis. The department conducts substantial research in the fields of control theory, thermofluids, biomechanics, and manufacturing. Its faculty members regularly give keynote lectures in the United States and at international conventions. Many members also serve as editors and associate editors of professional journals. Some hold leadership positions in professional societies. The department is among the smallest in the school, allowing for close student-faculty interaction. Facilities of the department include Computer-Aided Design Lab, Mechatronics Laboratory. New research laboratories have been recently added for nanotube science, optical nanostructures, nanomechanics, nonlinear and autonomous vehicle control, medical robots, and microfluidics. The department is home to interdisciplinary research projects such as biomechanics, mechanics of materials, energy systems, and nanotechnology. It has partnerships with other engineering departments, the Lamont–Doherty Geological Laboratory and Columbia University Medical Center.


Columbia's Plasma Physics Laboratory is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), in which the HBT and Columbia Non-Neutral Torus are housed.

The school also has two wind tunnels, a machine shop, a nanotechnology laboratory, a General Dynamics TRIGA Mk. II nuclear fission reactor, a large scale centrifuge for geotechnical testing, and an axial tester commonly used for testing New York City bridge cables. Each department has numerous laboratories on the Morningside Heights campus; however, other departments have holdings throughout the world. For example, the Applied Physics department has reactors at Nevis Labs in Irvington, NY and conducts work with CERN in Geneva.

Many students take their engineering classes in the Seeley W. Mudd building on the northeast side of the main Morningside campus. Mudd is the heart of the engineering school; department offices, labs, lecture rooms, and student spaces are located in this building.

Connected to this building is the Sherman Fairchild Center, which largely houses biology labs and sciences. To the left of Mudd facing north is the Shapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research (CEPSR) where additional lecture halls, research offices, labs, and student space is available.

To the left of this is Pupin Hall, which houses the physics department; in this building, professors and affiliates (including Nobel Laureates) worked on the Manhattan Project. To the south of Pupin is Havemeyer and Chandler, which houses chemistry. Mathematics Hall, further south of Havemeyer, houses the math department.

Together, these buildings, Mudd, Fairchild, Shapiro CEPSR, Pupin, Chandler, Havemeyer, and Mathematics, is where the bulk of engineering students take their classes. Non-technical classes are taken in other buildings to the south of these buildings. All of the school's buildings are on the same campus and vicinity as Columbia College, Columbia Business School, Columbia Law School, School of Social Work, Teacher's College, Union Theological Seminary, Barnard, Jewish Theological Seminary, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and others on the beautiful Morningside Campus.

In close association with Columbia Engineering's Earth and Environmental Engineering department and the Earth Institute, the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory center in Palisades, New York (40 minutes by Shuttle), is an earth-studies campus which welcomes a brand new research (the Gary C. Comer Geochemistry building) facility that has recently won 3 coveted architecture awards for design and sustainability.

While Mudd, nicknamed "the brick," is tucked behind the Fairchild Center, much of Columbia's buildings were designed by the famed McKim, Mead, and White architects. The campus is in keeping with Neo-classical design themes popular in the early 20th century.

The recently finished Northwest Science and Engineering building completed all available plots on the Morningside Heights campus. At fourteen stories, and designed by award-winning architect Rafael Moneo, the building houses new space to conduct research and lectures. In addition, this building contains a new library, café, research labs, lecture hall, and other amenities. This building is situated between Havemeyer, Chandler and Pupin and includes many bridges to facilitate interdepartmental exchanges and access.

The University looks ahead to Manhattanville. SEAS has secured plots for new graduate facilities and the Institute for Data Science and Engineering. In this 17-acre (6.9 ha) area situated only 5 blocks Northwest from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Manhattanville represents a growth opportunity for the engineering school as well as the University as a whole. The $7 billion project proceeds with the permission of neighboring residents, city officials, and business owners in the area. SEAS looks to expand an additional 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) in this new area. Buildings are being designed by Renzo Piano.

Mission and new objectives

Directions for the new century

As an integral part to Columbia's beliefs for the future engineer, the liberal arts curriculum remains a central part of a SEAS student's education. All undergraduates must complete a modified version of Columbia College's Core Curriculum, which includes courses in Western Civilization and other major cultures.

Notable alumni

The School of Engineering and Applied Science celebrates its ties and affiliations with at least 9 Nobel Laureates. Alumni of Columbia Engineering have gone on to numerous fields of profession. Many have become prominent scientists, astronauts, architects, government officials, pioneers, entrepreneurs, company CEOs, financiers, and scholars.

Affiliates of the School

Specialized centers

Columbia Engineering faculty are a central force in creating many groundbreaking discoveries that today are shaping life tomorrow. They are at the vanguard of their fields, collaborating with other world-renowned experts at Columbia and other universities to bring the best minds from a myriad of disciplines to shape the future.

Large, well-funded interdisciplinary centers in science and engineering, materials research, nanoscale research, and genomic research are making step changes in their respective fields while individual groups of engineers and scientists collaborate to solve theoretical and practical problems in other significant areas. Last year, Columbia Engineering's 2007–2008 research expenditures were $92,000,000, a very respectable number given the small size of the school. Harvard's research expenditures in the same period were $35,000,000. Columbia Engineering PhD students have ~60% more monetary resources to work with using the research expenditure : PhD student ratio.

Specialized labs

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science occupies five laboratory and classroom buildings at the north end of the campus, including the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research and the new Northwest Building on Morningside Heights. Because of the School's close proximity to the other Morningside facilities and programs, Columbia engineering students have access to the whole of the University's resources.

The School is the site of an almost overwhelming array of basic and advanced research installations which include both the NSEC and the MRSEC NSF-funded interdisciplinary research centers, as well as the Columbia High-Beta Tokamak, the Robert A.W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, and a 200g geotechnical centrifuge.

The Botwinick Multimedia Learning Laboratory is the School's facility for computer-aided design (CAD) and media development. It is equipped with 50 Apple Mac Pro 8-core workstations, as well as a cluster of Apple Xserves with Xraid storage, that serve the lab's 300-plus users per semester.

Other programs

  • Undergraduate Research Involvement Program
    • Each SEAS department sponsors opportunities to do novel undergraduate research which have applications in the real world. Departmental Chairs supervise students through the process, and mentoring with a professor is provided.
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
    • Administered by both the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Departments through a joint Computer Engineering Committee.
  • The Combined Plan Programs
    • The 3–2, B.A./B.S., is designed to provide students with the opportunity to receive both a B.A. degree from an affiliated liberal arts college and a B.S. degree from SEAS within five years. Students complete the requirements for the liberal arts degree along with a pre-engineering course of study in three years at their college and then complete two years at Columbia.
    • The 4–2 M.S. program is designed to allow students to complete an M.S. degree at SEAS in two years after completion of a B.A. degree at one of the affiliated schools. This program will allow students the opportunity to take undergraduate engineering courses if necessary.

See also


  1. NRC Rankings Overview: Applied Mathematics – Faculty – The Chronicle of Higher Education. Chronicle.com (September 30, 2010). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  2. The Top 10 Quant Schools
  3. Farmer, Melanie. "College Marks 25 years of Coeducation". The Record. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  4. http://www.cvn.columbia.edu/
  5. Columbia Engineering history
  6. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/opir/abstract/opir_admissions_history_1.htm
  7. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/opir/abstract/admissions_all.htm
  8. Columbia University – 2009. Profiles.asee.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  9. "Stats". Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  10. US Engineering Schools – American Best Online Engineering School Rankings. Engineeringschoolsinusa.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  11. Columbia University (Fu Foundation) | Best Engineering School | US News. Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  12. Resdoc_MainTop_CDF. Sites.nationalacademies.org (September 28, 2010). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  13. Best Computer Science Programs | Top Computer Science Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools. Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  14. Archived January 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. Ranking of Computer Sciences Graduate Schools — PhDs.org Graduate School Guide. Graduate-school.phds.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  16. Ranking of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering Graduate Schools — PhDs.org Graduate School Guide. Graduate-school.phds.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  17. Jobs for PhDs, graduate school rankings, and career resources. PhDs.org (August 13, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  18. Financial engineering ranking by insiders
  19. http://ieor.columbia.edu/ms-financial-engineering
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