Registration FAQs

Graduation FAQs

Registration FAQs

FALL 2020

Q: What will the 2020-21 academic calendar look like? 
Classes for the fall term will begin on schedule on September 8; please see the 2020-21 Academic Calendar for more detail.
 
Please regularly visit Columbia University's Resource Guide for COVID-19 and ISSO.
 

 

Q: What format will the Fall 2020 classes be and how can I attend? 
Fall 2020 classes will be offered as either hybrid or online.  Hybrid classes include an in-person and a virtual component.  Online classes will be entirely virtual.  Core required classes for incoming students will have both options:  hybrid or online only.
  • Students who prefer to take their classes 100% online are encouraged to register for the "online only" sections. 
  • Students who enroll in hybrid sections are expected to participate in all planned in-person components of these classes. 
  • Remote participation options are available in all classes to accommodate individual students who encounter health needs during the semester.
 
Q: What is a hybrid class? 

We are trying to be as flexible as possible, given university guidelines and considering campus public health safety regulations.  All core classes will have a hybrid option.  Students who enroll in hybrid sections are expected to participate in all planned "in person" components of these classes. In-person components for hybrid courses are designed by course instructors, which is different from course to course. Students should check with their course instructors close to the beginning of the semester, as the planning of these in-person components is still very fluid given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Remote participation options are available in all classes to accommodate individual students who shall encounter health needs during the semester.
  

THIS is an example of a hybrid class for Fall 2020.  The "Method of Instruction" is circled. 

Q: What can I expect in terms of my exam format for virtual courses? 
Most of the core classes will be using a combination of zoom and canvas (course management system) to implement exams. Zoom will be the proctoring platform with your TA as the live proctor. Canvas is where you will obtain and upload your completed exam.
  • Please review expectations and processes for the online exam.  Follow the guidance of your TA, Professor, and your Course Syllabus. 
  • In order to best prepare for virtual exams, please review this Virtual Technology Guide .  
Q: What health and safety protocols do we have to follow? 

Campus health policy will require that people wear a face covering at all times while on campus, unless they are in a private room with the door closed. Physical distancing will be enforced throughout campus.

A detailed overview of public health protocols on Columbia’s campus includes symptom screening, mandatory and periodic testing, contact tracing, face covering, social distancing, and quarantining.

Q: What is the Columbia Community Health Compact? 

It is the shared community pledge to the highest standards of health and safety. See here:  Columbia Community Health Compact

Q: Are continuing students taking online classes in Fall 2020 eligible to apply for OPT? 
Yes, continuing students may take all online courses this Fall 2020 from within the U.S. or abroad. This does not negatively impact a student's eligibility for OPT.  If the student happens to be abroad, they will need to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status before their I-20 program end date of December 23rd, 2020 in order to apply for OPT.
 
Please view more on the ISSO Student FAQ page: 
 
Q: I am not located in the US. What happens if I cannot enter the US in time for the start of classes? 

Students are advised to visit ISSO and the ISSO COVID-19 FAQs

Our Department will be as flexible as possible in regards to instructional design and format in order to best accommodate our incoming students regardless of their location and the status of the pandemic. 

Q: What do I need to do to be eligible for CPT/OPT? 

International students are advised to visit ISSO and the ISSO COVID-19 FAQs.  

Please also regularly visit Columbia University's Resource Guide for COVID-19

General

Q: When do I register for classes? 

The GSAS Academic Calendar indicates the general dates that students can register.  The system will allow students to register only during specific registration appointment times on Student Services Online (SSOL) (accessed with UNI and password).  “REG APPTS” reveals the designated times.

Q: How do I know what classes to register for? 

It is the student’s responsibility to stay on track with graduation requirements, and to make sure the Faculty Adviser approves course selections prior to registering for each semester.  Schedules should be reviewed again if changes are made. 

  • Here are details about the Statistics MA Program requirements.
  • Here are approved electives.
  • Here is information about Cross Registration.
  • Here are electives grouped according to interest area, such as finance, data science, public health, insurance, or Ph.D., I'm looking to continue studying after graduation. 
  • Here is a list of courses that will not count for the MA Degree in Statistics.

The Elective Course Request Form can be used if a class is not on the "Approved Electives" list, but you feel that it should be under consideration for that list. 

 

Q: What is a Residence Unit (RU)? 

In addition to registering for classes each semester, it is required to register for the appropriate RU or ER.  See FAQs below for full-time and part-time students. 

Read about Residence Units.  For more information about Residence Units, see also Tuition & Fees  and the GSAS Website

After completing a total of two RUs, all students must register for ER.  One can register for ER for more than one semester (e.g., Summer Term and Fall Term).

Q: What is an Extended Residence Unit (ER)? 

Besides registering for classes each semester, it is required to register for the appropriate RU or ER. 

After completing a total of two RUs, all students must register for ER.  One can register for ER for more than one semester (e.g., Summer Term and Fall Term). 

Extended Residence (ER) 20 credits maximum (EXRS G0001, call # 77771) Required after completion of two Residence Units
Summer ER 20 credits maximum (EXRS UN0001, call # 10009) Taken during the summer semester

 

Q: When may I add a class? 

You may add classes up until the last day of the "Change of Program Period" which is the second Friday of the semester. 

The GSAS Academic Calendar indicates the general dates that students can register.  The system will allow students to register only during specific registration appointment times on Student Services Online (SSOL) (accessed with UNI and password).  “REG APPTS” reveals the designated times.

HERE is information about the post-Change of Program Period.

Q: When may I drop a class? 
  • The first two weeks of the semester is called the “Change of Program Period” because students may add and drop classes in SSOL without penalty.
  • Your schedule should be set at the end of the “Change of Program Period.”
  • Refer to the Academic Calendar for add/drop and other deadlines.
    • No classes may be dropped after the LAST DAY TO DROP.  There are no exceptions.
    • No classes may be changed to R or Pass/Fail after the deadline to change to PASS/FAIL or R.
  • The deadlines for half- semester courses are different, to remain in proportion to the deadlines for full-semester courses:
    • Half-semester courses must be dropped within the first two weeks.
    • The deadline for Pass/Fail or for R credit is the first day of the fifth week. (Remember that core classes may not be taken for Pass/Fail or R credit.  Nor may they be taken over to receive a higher grade.)
  • Students who stop attending a course without officially dropping will be assigned a grade.
Q: What if a class is full? 
  • Register as soon as possible to get on the electronic waitlist.
  • Waiting is the next step. 
  • This is a helpful Guide for waitlists.  
  • Questions may be sent to waitlists@columbia.edu.
  • It is important to have a back-up plan, such as an alternative course or a different section that is still open.
  • If accepted into a desired section, please drop all other sections to open those waitlists to others.

What not to do:

  • There is no need to reach out to a Faculty Adviser except in a case where a class is required for graduation in the last semester of the program.
  • Students should not email the instructor to bypass others on the waitlist.
  • It is not permissible to remain on the waitlist if you are accepted into another section of the same course. 
Q: What if a class is “restricted?” 
  • This means that it is closed to MA Statistics Students.
    • Look up the course in the Columbia Directory and review the section “Open To.”
    • Some courses open to additional students on a later date.  This is often found in the “Notes” section of the course.
  • Here is information about cross registration into other schools.
Q: Can I take a course for R Credit or Pass/Fail? 

During the semester there are important dates to remember including the LAST DAY to DROP COURSES and the LAST DAY for R Grade & PASS/FAIL.  These deadlines are strictly followed.*

  • Courses taken for R or Pass/Fail do not count towards the MA Statistics degree.
  • Core classes may not be taken for R or P/F.
  • Click HEREfor further details on the “Pass/Fail” grade.
  • Not all courses are eligible for either P/F or R.
    • For P/F, check in SSOL to see if the course is eligible for Pass/Fail and select.
    • R grades must be approved by the course instructor.  You must make an arrangement with the instructor.
  • Click HERE for further details on the “R” grade.

The Faculty Adviser should be notified before the status of a course is changed.

  • Students are not allowed to re-register for a course to improve letter grade.  (The only exception would be for a Grade of F which must be approved by the Program Director or the MA Program Executive Director, as well as the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.)
Q: Where do I find information about prerequisites and registration restrictions? 

The Columbia Course Directory and Vergil offer key information about each class including the course size, prerequisites, and if there are any restrictions. For example, if a course is not open to students in GSAS, it would not be open to an MA Statistics student. For further details about registration procedures, students may refer to the GSAS Registration page. 

Note that most courses in other departments are often restricted until the first week of the semester.  Courses that are not full by the first week of the semester will often open to MA Statistics students.  Keep checking if there is a particular course you are interested in. 

Q: How do I take courses in another school or department (cross registration)? 

Cross Registration is always at the discretion of the school, the program and the course instructor. The Statistics Department does not have any influence on allowing you into a cross registered class. Before attempting to cross register, MA Students must check in with their Faculty Adviser to ensure that it is a class they can take for credit.

Some graduate schools have their own cross registration processes. Please review the links below for information on how to cross register for those graduate schools. For schools not listed below, reach out to the specific department and inquire about their cross registration options and process.

Admittance into any course is not guaranteed.  All courses are subject to availability.  Some schools do not allow students to cross-register until the first week of classes. 

Below are links for how to cross register into the following schools:

MA students may register for courses at TC, as long as they get permission from TC and their adviser.

Q: I’m registered for fifteen credits, why can’t I add another class? 

Statistics students in the MA Program may not register for greater than fifteen points at one time.  Special permission must be obtained to register for more than fifteen.

You may end up with more than fifteen credits if you come off a wait list, however.   Make sure you don't go over twenty credits, or you will be charged extra tuition. 

Q: Will I pay higher tuition if I register for more than 20 credits, even if I drop the extra classes before the drop date? 

Yes.  You must make sure you do not register for more than 20 credits.  Questions about tuition may be sent to gsas-finaid@columbia.edu.

Q: What are the important deadlines I need to know? 

GSAS is strict with these deadlines and does not allow exceptions! 

Last Day of the Change of Program Period - Last day to add or drop without penalty.  You may add classes directly via SSOL until this day.  Wait lists end on this day.  Make sure you are not registered for over 20 points or you will be charged extra tuition. 

Last Day to Drop a Class - Talk to your professor before this date if you are experiencing academic challenges.  Not all classes can be changed to Pass/Fail, so make sure you know this before you decide to not drop the class.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Dropping a class is a two-step process.  You must complete both steps in order to drop the class.  If you are having difficulty, please contact the Student Service Center:  ssc@columbia.edu.  You must officially drop a class or you will receive a grade in the class, even if you have stopped attending. 

Last Day to Drop a Half-Semester Class - These dates are different from the date to drop a full semester class.  Please make note of the dates. 

Last Day to change to Pass/Fail or R Credit - Understand the difference between Pass/Fail & R Credit

 

Q: How do I register for summer classes? 

Summer Session:  Classes are offered to students in the MA Statistics Program through SPS (School of Professional Studies). 

Classes that Count for Graduation

  • Require registration of ER  (full-time student).
  • Require registration of the appropriate RU fraction (part-time student with fewer than 2 RUs completed).
  • May be approved electives from the Statistics Department or other schools or departments.  Please read about cross-registration.   

Career Development & Other Classes

 Questions about registering for Summer courses in SPS can be sent to:  summersessions@columbia.edu.

To drop the last class of Summer,  fill-out the  withdrawal form.

Q: How can I drop my last class of the summer? 

Questions about registering for Summer courses in SPS can be sent to:  summersessions@columbia.edu.

To drop the last class of Summer,  fill-out the  withdrawal form.

Q: May I take a leave of absence? 

All students, full-time and part-time, are required to register each Fall and Spring semester until all degree requirements have been completed or until the deadline for completing the degree has been reached.  See Continuous Registration and Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Students who must interrupt studies for compelling reasons need to request a Leave of Absence by filling out the Form on this  PAGE.  GSAS will respond to the request.

GSAS allows part-time students to take up to four years to complete the degree.  All part-time students must be registered continuously for each Fall and Spring semester.  A Leave of Absence Form must be filled out if a part-time student does not take class during any Fall or Spring semester.  Please review the information HERE.

International students must complete the Masters Degree within three semesters of full-time registration.  A Leave of Absence may interfere with the ability to qualify for OPT.  Please contact ISSO for details.

Students who wish to return from any approved leave of absence – whether personal, medical, or military – need to complete the Return from a Leave of Absence Form at least a few weeks prior to returning to the program.  For more information on how one gets reinstated into the program after an unofficial leave, please refer to this link:  Reinstatement.

Full-Time Students

Q: I am a full-time student, how many classes do I take each semester? 
  • The number of classes taken must be approved by the Faculty Adviser. 
  • To remain in Good Academic Standing (GPA at 3.0 and above), it is recommended to take no more than four classes per semester unless you have an exceptionally strong background in the material.
  • It doesn't matter how many courses you take per semester as long as you complete all the Statistics MA Program requirements within the required three semesters.
  • You must take at least one course per semester or request a Leave of Absence
  • A full RU or ER allows any number of points up to and including twenty points. 
Q: I am a full-time student, how many RUs do I take each semester? 

Full-time students must be registered for a Full Residence Unit (RU) in the first two semesters and an Extended Residence Unit (ER) in their final semester.  A student who is registered for a full RU or ER is considered to have full time status, even though the number of classes taken per semester can vary any amount, as long as the program is completed within three semesters. 

  • Fall (Year One) – RU
  • Spring (Year One) – RU
  • Students may opt to take summer courses
  • Fall (Year Two) – ER

International students in F-1 status must complete the program in three semesters only.  Always check with ISSO about international and visa-related issues. 

Q: How many classes may I register for in my final semester? 

ER allows a maximum of 20 credits.

Extended Residence (ER) 20 credits maximum (EXRS G0001, call # 77771) Required after completion of two Residence Units

Part-Time Students

Q: I am a Part-Time Student, how many RUs do I register for? 

ALL MA Program students are required to complete two RUs to graduate. 

Part-time allows for QR (Quarter Residence Unit) or HR (Half Residence Unit).  

Half Residence Unit (HR) - Three courses maximum - (RESI G0002, call # 99992)

Quarter Residence Unit (QR) - Two courses maximum - (RESI G0003, call # 99993)

Q: I am a Part-Time Student, how many classes should I take each semester? 
  • The number of classes taken must be approved by the Faculty Adviser. 
  • A part-time student must complete the program within four years. 
  • Part-time students usually take two courses per semester.
  • You must be registered each semester or request a Leave of Absence

Graduation FAQs

Certifications

Q: How do I request transcripts? 

Inquiries for transcript requests should go to the Office of the Registrar –

Q: How can I receive official proof of enrollment? 

If official proof of student enrollment is required by an employer or another entity, please visit the Office of the University Registrar in 204 Kent.  For academic certification, an official document provided by the University Registrar verifying your dates of attendance, award of degree, and/or student status (full-time or part-time) by semester please visit Office of the University Registrar: Certifications.  Current matriculated students can request enrollment certification via SSOL

Filing for Graduation

Q: Do I automatically graduate or do I have to do something? 

Students beginning their final semester should review the dates by which they are required to file for graduation

Filing for graduation involves filling out the PDF form called the Application for Degree or Certificate  that can be found on this  PAGE .  There are instructions on the form that let you know where to email it. 

To confirm that you have successfully filed for graduation, go to SSOL and click on “Degree Application Status.”  Your graduation date should show in “Expected Graduation.”  The word “Submitted” should show in the Application Status Field.  

If you miss the deadline, apply as soon as possible.  Please send questions to registrar@columbia.edu.  Students who have completed their program requirements are expected to graduate.

Q: Is there a deadline to file for graduation? 

Students beginning their final semester should review the dates by which they are required to file for graduation

Filing for graduation involves filling out the PDF form called the Application for Degree or Certificate  that can be found on this  PAGE .  There are instructions on the form that let you know where to email it. 

To confirm that you have successfully filed for graduation, go to SSOL and click on “Degree Application Status.”  Your graduation date should show in “Expected Graduation.”  The word “Submitted” should show in the Application Status Field.  

If you miss the deadline, apply as soon as possible.  Please send questions to registrar@columbia.edu.  Students who have completed their program requirements are expected to graduate.

Q: How do I receive my diploma? 

Diplomas for graduates will be mailed to the address on file in the “Diploma Address” section of the “Addresses:  View and Update” page in SSOL.  Diplomas are mailed within two months of the graduation date.  If there is no DP address on file, the diploma cannot be sent.  To pick up the diploma in 205 Kent Hall, the DP address should be:  “Hold for Pickup.”  An email is sent when the diplomas are ready for pick-up.  Questions should be sent to diplomas@columbia.edu.

The Office of the University Registrar now provides an Electronic Diploma to graduates.  Questions should be sent to the Student Service Center:  ssc@columbia.edu

Q: When are degrees conferred? 

Notification of graduation will be listed in SSOL:  SSOL > Academic Profile > Columbia Degrees and Specializations.  Students who complete their studies in December will have the following February as their official graduation date. 

Degrees are conferred on the:

  • Second Wednesday in February
  • Third Wednesday in May
  • Third Wednesday in October

Once graduated, the “Degree Application Status” will read “There Are No Programs on File” and the newly conferred degree will appear near the bottom of the Academic Profile in the box headed “Columbia Degrees and Specializations”.

It is the student’s responsibility to stay on track with graduation requirements, and to make sure their Faculty Adviser approves course selections prior to registering for each semester.  Schedules should be reviewed again if changes are made.

Graduation Ceremonies

Q: When are graduation ceremonies? 

Columbia holds its formal graduation ceremonies in May for all students.  MA Statistics students who graduate in the previous February or October may participate in the ceremonies in May.  Further information for students on participation in the ceremonies can be found HERE

International students should check with ISSO about inviting distant friends and family.

Q: How do I invite friends and family from other countries to the Graduation Ceremonies? 

Information on how to invite family and friends for Graduation is HERE.  The GSAS Convocation does not require individual tickets for family members to attend.  The Columbia Commencement limits the number of tickets.