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


These questions apply to the Summer 2021 Lede Program, which has now concluded. They will be updated when Lede 2022 is announced in late 2021.

What is the Lede Program’s application deadline?

Applications for the 2021 Lede Program have an early application deadline of March 31, 2021, and a standard application deadline of May 1, and rolling admissions after May 1. Meeting the early application deadline is suggested (but not required) for those interested in applying for financial aid. 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, visual storytelling, and communicating numbers; 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 2021, there is no longer a Lede 24 program. Lede is now only a full-time, 10-week professional program over the summer.

Do I need a visa for the Lede Program? Will Columbia sponsor a visa?

Lede 2021 will be a remote program, so you will be able to participate from anywhere!

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.

For Lede 2021, however, we understand that with the reduced price and asynchronous class support we will potentially have a number of students who attempt to juggle the two.

What are the dates for the Lede Program 2021?

Lede 2021 will begin on June 7 and run through August 13.

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

Live classes will typically be held Monday through Friday, from 10am-1pm. Due to the realities of remote instruction, however, recordings of class sessions will be offered to all students to support asynchronous participation.

Lab hours for homework assistance are traditionally held after class from 2-5pm. Lab hours are optional, but many students find them very helpful to attend. Due to the remote nature of Lede 2021, lab hours and teaching assistant support will also be available at other various times of the day, including weekends.

Will classes be recorded and offered asynchronously? For example, if I live in Shanghai, will I have class at 11PM?

Yes, recordings of each class session will be available, and we will be offering additional support for students participating asynchronously from other time zones. While real-time attendance is recommend it will not be required.

For sessions that require in-class participation, students will be encouraged to instead participate on Slack or through classroom messageboards.

Additionally, teaching assistants will be available at many times throughout the day in addition to our “normal” scheduling.

What will COVID-19 preparations look like?

Lede 2021 is scheduled to be remote-only program.


When will applications open for the Lede Program?

Applications are now open.

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
  • Transcripts (optional)
  • Current resume/CV
  • Contact information for two recommenders, who will submit letters on your behalf (optional)
  • TOEFL score (optional, if applicable)

The Lede does not require a GRE score.

When is the application deadline?

For 2021, the deadline for early admissions is March 31, with applications being accepted until May 1. Scholarship aid applications are available until May 1, 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, but is recommended for anyone who does not hold a degree from an English-speaking institution, or who is currently enrolled in another US university. The minimum recommended score is 100.

We understand financial and time constraints, and welcome international applicants without TOEFL scores. If necessary, we will conduct interviews to ascertain English-language skills.

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.