Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a handful of answers to common questions here. If you don’t see your answer listed, feel free to use the live chat below or email us at


What is the Lede Program’s application deadline?

Applications for the 2021 Lede Program will open in late 2020, with a deadline in early 2021. Apply now at the Columbia Journalism School application portal.

How is Lede different from the 3-semester M.S. in Data Journalism?

Along with being a much shorter program, Lede does not teach you how to be a journalist. We focus on programming and visual storytelling, and do not dedicate time to basic reporting skills/interviewing/etc.

If you’re interested in learning journalistic techniques along with coding skills, we recommend you take a look at the M.S. in Data Journalism.

What’s the difference between the Lede 12 and Lede 24 programs?

As of 2020, there is no longer a Lede 24 program. Lede is now only a full-time, 10-week professional program over the summer.

Can I work while I participate in the Lede Program? What is the schedule like?

The Lede Program is an intellectually demanding program, and it is strongly recommend that you do not try to work while participating in the program.

What are the dates for the Lede Program 2020?

Due to complications arising from COVID-19, Lede 2020 has been canceled. Classes for Lede 2021 will start in June.

What does the day-to-day schedule look like?

Classes will be held Monday through Friday, from 10am-1pm.

Lab hours will be held after class from 2-5pm. Lab hours are optional, but many students find them very helpful to attend.


When will applications open for the Lede Program?

Applications will open in late 2020 – visit the Columbia Journalism School application portal to apply.

What is required for the application?

Beyond the application itself, applying to the Lede program requires the following documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Inspirational Summary example
  • Transcript(s)
  • Current resume/CV
  • Contact information for two recommenders, who will submit letters on your behalf
  • TOEFL score, if applicable

The Lede does not require a GRE score.

When is the application deadline?

For 2020, the deadline for early admissions is January 31, with applications being accepted until May 29. Scholarship aid applications are available until May 29, but it is recommended to apply for aid early.

When will final admissions and scholarship aid decisions be announced?

Admissions decisions will be available 2-3 weeks after the deadline. Rolling admissions response times will be variable.

If you applied for financial aid, that same message will include news of any potential scholarship offer we are able to make.

Will you have a wait-list?



How much does the program cost?

You can find detailed information regarding pricing on the Tuition & Fees page.

Is there financial aid available for applicants?

We do have a limited amount of scholarship aid available. It is recommended that students interested in aid should apply by the early deadline.

Is the Lede Program FAFSA-eligible?

As a non-credit professional program rather than a degree, Lede is unfortunately not eligible for federal student funding. Past students have had no problem taking out private loans, though – in case it’s useful, we can point you to this detailed list of suggested lenders and other information.

International Students

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is not required of anyone who holds a US bachelors or masters degree, or who is currently enrolled in another US university. The minimum score required is 100.  It can take up to 10 days to get the results, so please keep that in mind when you are scheduling your appointment time to take the exam.

Is the Lede Program OPT eligible? 

As a short-term, non-degree program, Lede is not eligible for OPT.

Other questions

Please don’t hesitate to reach out at or using the live chat widget below.