Frequently Asked Questions about Lede

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Will there be a remote or hybrid option in 2022?

Lede 2022 will be hosted as a hybrid program, with some students attending in-person with other students attending remotely. Find more information in the Hybrid learning section.

What is the Lede Program’s application deadline?

Applications for the 2022 Lede Program have an early application deadline of March 31, 2022, and a standard application deadline of May 1, and rolling admissions after May 1. More details here

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.


What are the dates for the Lede Program 2022?

Lede 2022 will begin on June 6 and run through August 12.

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

Live classes will typically be held Monday through Friday, from 10am-1pm, with Friday sessions being focused on guest speakers and project mentorship.

Due to the realities of remote instruction, recordings of class sessions will be offered to all students to support asynchronous participation.

Lab hours for homework assistance were traditionally held after class from 2-5pm. Lab hours are optional, but many students find them very helpful to attend. Due to the hybrid nature of Lede 2022, though, lab hours and teaching assistant support will also be available at other various times of the day, including weekends.

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 2022, however, we understand that with the reduced price and asynchronous option we will potentially have a number of students who attempt to juggle the two.


When will applications open for the Lede Program?

Lede applications are now open.

What is required for the application?

Beyond the basic application details, applying to the Lede program only requires a current resume/CV.

You can also submit the following optional documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Inspirational Summary (example)
  • Academic transcripts
  • Contact information for two recommenders, who will submit letters on your behalf (optional)
  • TOEFL score (if applicable)

The Lede Program does not require a GRE score.

What do you look for in an application?

Lede is a demanding program, both intellectually and time-wise, and it's important to know you're driven to succeed. For many applicants the personal essays do the best job of conveying this, by outlining why you're interested in the program and that you've given thought to what you'd do with your new data journalism skills.

When is the application deadline?

Please refer to the How to Apply page for up-to-date admissions deadlines.

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?


Hybrid Learning

Due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, Lede 2022 will be offered as a hybrid program, with some students attending in-person and others attending remotely.

Do remote students have separate classes?

In-person and remote students participate in the same classes at the same time, with remote students joining via Zoom.

Do I have to be located in the United States to attend the program?

No, you can participate in the remote version of the Lede 2022 from anywhere in the world.

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.

Will office hours with teaching assistants be in-person or remote?

Office hours will be a mix of in-person and remote to allow for the most accessible experience. It's great to sit around a table discussing an assignment with a TA after class, but it's also helpful to be able to get assistance while you're sitting at home working on homework after dinner!

Will all classes happen in-person?

No, some class sessions will be hosted remotely, even for in-person students. Lede 2021 showed us how remote learning can allow instructors from all over the world to share their knowledge with our students, and we intend to keep this up. In-person students are welcome to participate in these remote sessions from the classroom or from their homes.

Will applying for remote or in-person classes affect my ability to be accepted?

No, your method of instruction should not change your admittance decision. Due to space constraints we do have a limited number of in-person slots available, but we intend to keep the class roughly balanced between the two groups.


How much does the program cost?

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

What fees exist outside of tuition?

As Lede is now a non-academic program, the cost of tuition is the full cost of the program, with no additional University fees.

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. The aid application is available through the application portal.

Will I be eligible for a full scholarship?

Scholarship aid for the Lede Program generally only covers partial tuition. A common alternative source of support is educational grants from employers or journalism-related foundations.

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 – in case it’s useful, we can point you to this detailed list of suggested lenders and other information.

When is tuition due?

Tuition is due before the first day of class, and can be paid via credit card or bank transfer.

International Students

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

Lede is a short-term, not-for-credit professional program that meets fewer than 18 classroom hours per week, and not an academic or certificate program. While the program is fully operated by the Journalism School, you will not be enrolled as a student of Columbia University during this course. As a result, we do not require a visa of any kind.

If you are able to travel to the USA on any kind of a visa or permit of passport, including a foreign media or tourist visa, this should be sufficient for most 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.

Health and vaccinations

For in-person students, what COVID 19 precautions will be taken during the program?

Lede will adhere to all requirements set forth by Columbia University's COVID publish health protocols. Currently this involves full vaccination and masking while on campus.

What if something changes with COVID before the summer happens?

While we fully intend to provide an in-person option, there's always the possibility that the situation changes quickly. We will continually be re-evaluating the public health situation and provide updates.

What vaccinations are required for attendance?

Students for the Lede Program must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In previous years other vaccinations were required, such as meningitis, but this is no longer a requirement due to Lede's transition to a non-academic program.

Is health insurance required?

No, health insurance is not required. In previous years health insurance (or a waiver) was required to attend the program, but this is no longer a requirement due to Lede's transition to a non-academic program.

Other questions

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