Hybrid Program General Questions

Q: Once accepted, what do I need to do to prepare? 
  • READ all emails sent to you from the MA Program, Statistics Department, and GSAS. 
  • Below is the NEW STUDENT CHECKLIST specifically for HYBRID STUDENTS: 
    Please complete the following: 
    • Activate your UNI and begin to use your Columbia Email.  
    • I-20:  Hybrid students do not apply for the I-20 until September.  Contact ISSO for all international issues (email:  isso@columbia.edu). 
    • HOUSING:  Hybrid students do not apply for housing until mid-October.  A reminder  will be in the MA Statistics Newsletter.  All housing questions should be directed to University Apartment Housing (UAH).
    • IMMUNIZATION:  Here are details.  Required by the end of July.  **Required for Hybrid students even though they will not be on-campus in the Fall.**
    • CUID:  Submit photo.  Hybrid students will not pick up the ID until January. 
    • TRANSCRIPTS:  Follow instructions on the GSAS New Student Checklist.  Write to GSAS if you have a question. 
    • PRE-ARRIVAL TUTORIALS:  Complete these tutorials as soon as possible to avoid a HOLD on your account.  They are on the GSAS New Student ChecklistRequired of all students including Hybrid. 
    • REGISTRATION FOR CLASSES:  This will not begin until the end of August.  Faculty Advisers will be assigned at the end of August.  
    • HEALTH / MEDICAL FEES:  These are NOT required of Hybrid students in the first (online) semester.  Expect more details on these and other fees in August. 
  • VIEW:  Tips for Success—Recorded VideoPDF version.  Use the PDF to access the links.
  • Review information on Student Financial Services and payments HERE
  • Save-the-date for the Hybrid In-Person Orientation January 17, 2019. 

It is good to review KEY TASKS for new students and the GSAS New Student Checklist.  bearing in mind that some of the things on those lists will not apply to you as an online student.  In particular for the Fall Semester, Hybrid Students: 

  • Will not pay for health insurance and other on-campus fees.
  • Will not apply for housing until October.
  • Will not apply for the I-20 until September (international students only). 
Q: When do I submit my final transcripts? 

Please read carefully about this on the GSAS New Student Checklist  and submit as soon as possible, or you may receive a hold on your registration.  You can email questions to:  gsas-admissions@columbia.edu. 

Q: Do hybrid students need to submit immunization documentation before arriving on campus? 

Yes. All students, whether arriving on campus or not, must submit the vaccination records at least 30 days before registering for classes. If you have not done so already, please make sure to share your documentation with the health services office. You will not be able to register for your fall online classes until you do so. 

Immunization Compliance Office
Tel: 212-854-7210
Fax: 212-854-5078
Q: How and when do I pay tuition? 

Once you accept your offer of admission into the MA Program and pay your deposit, a space is reserved for you to register for classes.  Registration for all incoming students will not happen until the very end of August.  Find the exact date in your Welcome Emails. 

When you register for classes (in late August/early September) you must also register for a full or partial RU (Residence Unit).  The RU determines the tuition you will pay.  Once you register, you will be billed. 

Please consult the Student Financial Services for complete instructions on billing and payment (including E-Billing, payment options, refunds, and withdrawals). There is also information about payment and billing deadlines through the GSAS page. Finally, you may refer to this guide to making your online payment. 

Payment is due by the date listed on the Student Account Statement, which is available in Student Services Online (SSOL). In general, payment for each term is due before the end date of the University’s official Change of Program period, as noted on the academic calendar. 

Q: May hybrid students come to classes or use the Columbia facilities, such as the library, during their online semester? 

No.  Hybrid online students are expected to take all classes remotely during the Fall Semester. You will not receive a Columbia ID until you arrive to campus in January for your second semester/Spring Semester.   When you arrive to campus in the Spring Semester, you will have student fees, which will give you access to the health facilities, gym and the libraries.  Please read more here.


Q: Will there be a facilities fee charged in the Fall/On-line Semester? 

There will be no facilities fee charged on your bill for the first semester since it will be online and you will not be on campus. 

Q: Do Hybrid Students need to pay for health insurance for the Fall/On-line Semester? 

No. You should not pay for health insurance during the Fall/On-line semester as you will not be on campus.

Upon arrival in January for the start of the on-campus portion of the program, students will automatically be enrolled in a CU health insurance plan unless selecting to waive out.  All International students are now required to enroll in an insurance plan once taking classes on campus.

Please see the GSAS website for more information on Health insurance. Students can also visit the Columbia Health Website for additional details.

Q: When will I receive my student ID card? 

The hybrid students will receive their ID cards in mid-January, when they come to campus. 

Q: Are there events for students to meet in person? 

Once you arrive on-campus in mid-January, you should attend the Hybrid Orientation and meet the other Hybrid Statistics students.  Once you are on-campus, there will be opportunities to take part in student-led organizations and events.  Join the Columbia Statistics Club as they will be holding events. 

Read the weekly MA Newsletter.  All the career-related events will be listed in the MA Newsletter with the links to sign up.  In order to register for a one-on-one resume or cover letter review, you need to attend a resume and a cover letter workshop first.  You will not want to miss the "Meet the Employer" events and Alumni Panels. 

Q: What are the available housing options when I arrive to campus in the Spring Semester? 

Information on housing is available on the University Apartment Housing (UAH) Website.  The UAH Website will accept applications to apply for Columbia housing in mid-October.  Read the MA Newsletter and the UAH Website to find out the exact time when you may apply. 

University-owned housing is very limited and most MA students do not receive housing.  Housing depends on availability and students arriving on campus for the first time will get priority.

It is strongly recommended to explore off-campus options.  All questions regarding housing should be directed to the University Apartment Housing (UAH) Office.  Contact UAH or visit them at 401 West 119th Street, telephone: (212) 854-9300
  • For the Columbia University Apartment Housing (UAH) website, click HERE
  • For Student Housing Essentials, click HERE
  • Review the Housing information on the GSAS Website:  Click  HERE . 
Since very few students receive University Housing, please also review the Off Campus Housing (OCHA) Information.  
Questions?  Go to UAH
Q: When will I receive my Faculty Adviser assignment? 

You will be notified of your Faculty Adviser assignment via email towards the end of August - just before registration for incoming students.

Q: What is the role of my Faculty Adviser? 

Your Faculty Adviser is the primary person to go to in terms of your academic needs.  Your Faculty Adviser must approve your course selection before each semester and affirm that you are making adequate progress towards graduation.  The approval may be in person or email.  Faculty are busy so give them adequate time (a week is reasonable) to respond.   Contact and visit your Faculty Adviser if you are having difficulty in your classes or if you need advice on what courses to take. Hybrid students may use email and/or Skype during the online potion of the program. 

Registration & Online Course Information

Q: How do I register for classes? 

Newly incoming students will not be able to register until the end of August.  When Registration is open, each student will receive an assigned appointment time in SSOL.  All MA Statistics Students will register at the same time.  Please review the Registration Guidelines on the MA Statistics Website.  The Office of the University Registrar is helpful. 

Registration at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is a two-part process:

  1. Register for courses.
  2. Register for a full or partial Residence Unit (RU). 

Your RU provides the basis of your tuition charges.  Read HERE about Residence Units.  For complete information about registration procedures, refer to the GSAS Registration page

Q: How many classes should I take during the online portion? 

Each course has 3 points for a total of 12 points.  This is the full-time schedule: 

  • Probability (GR5203, Section D04) 1st half of the semester - Core Course
  • Inference (GR5204, Section D04) 2nd half of the semester - Core Course
  • Linear Regression Models (GR5205, Section D05) full semester - Core Course
  • Statistical Computation & Introduction to Data Science (GR5206, Section D01) full semester

International students in F-1 status are expected to take all four online courses offered during the first semester and achieve one Residence Unit (RU) worth of credit for a full-time schedule. 

Domestic students have greater flexibility and need to discuss their choices with their faculty adviser.  Stat Comp & Intro to Data Science (GR5206) is optional for domestic students, but recommended.  It is a prerequisite for the popular course, GR5241—Statistical Machine Learning, and GR5242—Advanced Machine Learning, as part of the Data Science Sequence in Statistics.

Q: May I watch the recorded lectures, instead of participating in the live session lectures? 

All students are required to attend live during quizzes, exams and/or group work.  Please always refer to each individual class syllabus as to the rules of each class.  Each instructor will share more about online course attendance. 

Recorded sessions will be available to watch at a later time. 

Q: May we download videos of the courses or watch the video multiple times? 

Yes, you may watch it online through a streaming link via Zoom, or download to your computer as many times as you want.  No credentials are needed, you just need a link from the Department.

Q: May I contact my professors or TAs during the online courses? 

Yes, your professors and TA’s will hold online office hours. Please refer to the syllabus and course instructor on what web based platform they will use. 

Q: Are the online courses offered in the second (spring) semester? 

No, all online courses are only offered in the first semester (fall semester).  Once you are on-campus in the spring semester, you will be taking all your courses in person.  

Q: May I take courses online this fall, not take any classes in the spring, and continue on-campus in the following fall semester? 

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences requires Continuous Registration.  If for any reason you must interrupt your studies, you must file for an official Leave of Absence through the Office of Student Affairs.

Hybrid Program International Student Questions

Q: Is there a time limit to complete the program? 

Please review Hybrid  Program Course Requirements. 

The full-time Hybrid Program must be completed within three semesters:

  • Fall (Year One – Four Online Courses) - RU
  • Spring (Year One – On Campus) - RU
  • Students may opt to take summer courses on campus.
  • Fall (Year Two – On Campus) - ER
Q: What schedule is needed to maintain F-1 status for the three semesters of the program? 

A full-time, international student (in F-1 status) enrolled in the MA Statistics Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program must register all four online courses in the first semester:

  • GR5203 D04 Probability (half-semester)
  • GR5204 D04 Inference (half-semester)
  • GR5205 D05 Linear Regression Models
  • GR5206 D01 Statistical Computing & Introduction to Data Science

After completing the first semester, the number of classes per semester can vary, as long as all program requirements are completed within three semesters (with the option of summer classes).     

In order to graduateall students must meet the requirements of a total of 2 RUs, 10 approved courses and a minimum of 30 credits.  Read more about graduation requirements HERE

Q: Once on campus, is an F-1 international hybrid student eligible for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or Pre-OPT (Pre-completion Optional Practical Training)? 

No, hybrid students are not eligible for CPT or Pre-Completion OPT.*   

Federal laws require that international students complete two full-time academic terms (fall and spring) on campus in F-1 status before they are eligible for OPT or CPT

*before graduation. 


Q: Is a hybrid student in F-1 status eligible for a summer or fall internship with an off-campus employer? 

Hybrid students who are in F-1 status do not qualify for pre-completion OPT or CPT. 

International students are not eligible for pre-completion OPT or CPT until completing two full semesters on campus in F-1 status according to US. Federal laws.  Read more HERE.

Hybrid students in F-1 status will not have the two full semesters on campus to qualify for either pre-completion OPT or CPT either in the summer or the final fall semester.  Participating in a paid internship without work authorization is a serious violation of F-1 immigration status. 

International students in F-1 status may work on campus.  Questions about unpaid internships should go to ISSO  to ensure that no  rules and regulations around unpaid internships  are being violated. 

Q: Are hybrid students eligible for post-completion OPT? 

After graduation, hybrid students who spent the spring and final fall semester on-campus will be able to apply for post-completion OPT

At the beginning of the final semester, students planning to graduate will receive information and specific instructions via email about post-completion OPT. 

Q: Are hybrid students eligible for the F-1 STEM OPT Extension? 

Hybrid students may be eligible to apply for an additional 24 months of OPT authorization (STEM) if the employment situation meets certain criteria.  Please read about this HERE

Q: If an international student residing abroad is admitted to the Hybrid Program, when can they apply for an I-20? 

An international student residing abroad may apply for an I-20 form no earlier than September, following admission to the program.  Questions about visas are best directed to ISSO - the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office.

Q: Does the on-line portion of the program qualify an international student for the I-20 and F-1 student status? 

No, the on-line portion of the program does not qualify for the I-20 form or for F-1 student status.

Q: Can an international student currently in the US in F-1 status at another institution apply for an I-20 form for the Hybrid Program? 

As in the response above, a student is eligible for a transfer I-20 in the spring term and may apply no earlier than September following admission to the program.  Questions about visas are best directed to ISSO - the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office.