How to Register for Classes

Hybrid Online students please note some of the information below will only pertain to you once you arrive on-campus.

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.

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 the course is not open to students at 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.

Before registering, the onus is on the student to reach out to the assigned Faculty Adviser.  The Faculty Adviser must approve the course list in person or via email.

Registration in Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is a two-part process that consists of registering for both individual classes and also for a full or fractional Residence Unit.  A Residence Unit (RU) is a registration category that determines the amount of tuition.

Residence Units

Below are Residence Unit Categories for each of the MA Programs. For more information about Residence Units, see also Tuition & Fees. 

International students on a visa must be registered for either a Full Residence Unit (RU) or an Extended Residence Unit (ER).  Both RU and ER allow any number of points up to and including twenty points.  ER is allowed after completing a total of TWO RUs.  Always check with ISSO about international and visa-related issues. 

Domestic students have the option of being full-time or part-time.  One RU is considered full-time.  Part-time allows for QR (Quarter Residence Unit) or HR (Half Residence Unit).  One must register for ER once a total of two RUs have been completed. 

After completing a total of two RUs all students – international and domestic (full-time and part-time) – are required to register for ER.  One can register for ER for more than one semester (e.g., Summer Term and Fall Term).

Statistics On-campus and Hybrid Online/On-Campus Categories
Full Residence Unit (RU) 20 credits or fewer (RESI G0001, call # 99991)
Extended Residence (ER) 20 credits or fewer (EXRS G0001, call # 77771) After completion of two Residence Units
Half Residence Unit (HR) Three or fewer courses (RESI G0002, call # 99992)
Quarter Residence Unit (QR)   Two or fewer courses (RESI G0003, call # 99993)

Registration Guidelines

How many courses?

  • The number of classes taken must be approved by the Faculty Adviser.
  • To ensure a high GPA, it is recommended to take no more than four classes per semester, especially in the first semester. 
  • Students on F-1 visa must register for a full RU (or ER) which allows any amount up to and including twenty points.  
  • Part-time students may register for a QR or HR, as long as the program is completed within four years. 
  • Only a small number of extremely talented students will complete the program within two semesters.  Most full-time students should plan to stay for three full semesters. 

Which classes to take?

  • Here are details about the Statistics MA Program requirements. 
  • Here are approved electives. 
  • Here are electives grouped according to interest area, such as finance, data science, public health, insurance, or the Ph.D. track. 
  • Here is a list of courses that will not count for the MA Degree in Statistics. 

What if a class is “restricted?”

  • This means that it is closed to MA Statistics Students. 
  • There is important information below about cross registration into other schools. 

What if a class is full?

  • SSOL is the primary source for all registration including the wait lists.
  • The student should register as soon as possible to get on the electronic waitlist.
  • Waiting is the next step.  Eventually, the student’s request to join the class will either be accepted or denied. 
  • There is no reason 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.  
  • This is a helpful Guide for waitlists.  
  • Questions may be sent to
  • It is important to have a back-up plan, such as an alternative course or a different section that is still open.
  • It is not permissible to sign up for more than one section of the same course. 
  • It is helpful to other students on the waitlist when others drop the courses which are not needed. 

Residence Unit (RU) Status

  • Adding or dropping classes may change RU status.
  • If a student needs to change to a lower RU, this must be done manually by the student.  It does not happen automatically when one registers for fewer credits. 
  • If the total number of points goes over twenty, there will be extra charges. 
  • Statistics students in the MA Program may not register for greater than fifteen credits.  Special permission must be obtained to register for more than fifteen.  This does not count waitlists. 
  • Questions about tuition may be sent to
  • Always review RU status.  

Courses must have normal grading to count.

  • Courses with P/F or R Grade are not counted towards the thirty  credits required for the MA Degree.
  • Required courses MAY NOT be taken Pass/Fail.

How to add or drop a class after registration:

  • Refer to the Academic Calendar for add/drop deadlines.
  • Your Faculty Adviser must approve your final schedule, even if via email.
  • Failing to attend classes or unofficially notifying the instructor does not constitute dropping a course. Students who stop attending without officially dropping will be assigned a grade.

For registration guidelines please review:

The Registration Adjustment Form (RAF)

The Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) may be used only under these special circumstances:

  • During cross registration when the other school has no special procedure. The form should be brought to 205 Kent Hall with the signature and UNI of one’s Academic Adviser and the appropriate administrator of the other school.  
  • When needing to sign-up for greater than the allowed fifteen credits for MA Statistics Students. 
  • To drop the last or only class. A special request must be made to the Office of Student Affairs at 107 Low Library. An application for a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal is required based upon the particular situation.

Any time the RAF is used BEFORE the end of the change of program period, it should be returned to 205 Kent Hall (Student Service Center) or emailed to After the change of program period, the RAF gets handed in to 107 Low Library (GSAS). 

Important Links for Registration

Cross Registration

Cross Registration is always at the discretion of the school, the program and often times 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.

For specific instructions on how to cross-register for classes at Columbia Business School click HERE (Most courses have a prerequisite of Capital Markets “FINC B8306/ MATH G4076” or “waiver exam”).

For Industrial Engineering and Operations Research click HERE . If you have further inquiries about IEOR courses, you can contact here: Contact Us.

For students interested in the data science courses offered by the Data Science Institute, please contact the Institute directly [] regarding course access through their internal lottery and survey process.

Transfer Credit

Courses taken in Statistics at Columbia University prior to entering the M.A. program may count  towards the M.A. degree requirements only if they are approved by the Program Director and upon final review by the Graduate School. No more than four courses taken at Columbia prior to admission in the M.A. program may be applied towards the M.A. degree.  No Columbia course may be applied to more than one degree. 

When transfer credit is granted, concomitant residence unit credit may also be credited to the M.A. degree.  All MA candidates are required to be enrolled for at least 2 semesters in the MA program.  For more information on the policy and the amount of credits potentially received may be found on this website:

A student can receive Transfer Credit by following this procedure: 

  1. There is a Transfer Credit form on the GSAS Website.  The top of this form must be filled out with student signature on the appropriate line.  
  2. “Previous Institution” here should be Columbia University, i.e., where the courses were taken. 
  3. Next, the form must be approved and signed by the Program Director.  The Program Director will determine the number of points and RU’s that will be credited. The Program Coordinator can receive the form and pass it to the Director. 
  4. When the form has been approved and signed by the Director, it gets returned to GSAS in 107 Low. 

Courses Taken for R Grade 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

The deadlines for half- semester courses are different.  GSAS policy for dropping half-semester courses is that it must be dropped within the first two weeks, as this is in proportion to the drop deadline for full-semester courses.  The deadline to take a half-semester course for Pass/Fail or for R credit is the first day of the fifth week of the course. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Click HERE for further details on the “Pass/Fail” grade.
  • Students are not allowed to re-register for a course they had taken in previous semesters to improve letter grades. 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.
  • The Faculty Adviser needs to be notified before the status of a course is changed. 

Summer Registration

Summer Session classes are offered to students in the MA Statistics Program through the School of Professional Studies.  The Columbia University Directory contains a link to view Statistics courses broken down by semester. 

  • Because the School of Professional Studies administers the Summer Session, please see the Registration and Calendars pages for details about registration policies and deadlines. 
  • In addition to registering for classes, an MA Statistics student must also register for the appropriate Residence Unit. 

      • International student – Register for ER (Extended Residence)
      • Domestic Student – Register for ER, HR (Half-RU), or QR (Quarter-RU)
      • If none of the courses taken in the summer session will count for the MA Degree, it is possible to take them on a per point tuition basis
  • Review information about tuition and fees:  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for information about GSAS students.   

 Questions about registering for Summer courses can be sent to:

Continuous Registration and 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.