Hybrid Program General Questions

Q: When do 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: When do I submit a hard copy of my final transcripts? 

Transcripts must be in the original sealed envelope from the institution. If conferral of the undergraduate degree is not recorded on the transcript, the GSAS Admissions Office also requires a copy of the diploma or degree certificate.  Please submit as soon as possible or you may receive a hold on your registration. For the mailing address and more details, please review the GSAS New Student Checklist.

Q: How and when do I pay my 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: For students who want to come to campus during the fall online portion, will Columbia facilities such as the library be available for use? 

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, 2018, so you will not have any special access before then.  When you arrive to campus in January 2018 your fees will increase, but you will have access to the health facilities, gym and the libraries.  Please read more here.

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. 
  • VIEW:  Tips for Success—Recorded VideoPDF version.  Use the PDF to access the links.
  • Review the GSAS-REQUIRED videos as soon as possible:
  • Review information on Student Financial Services and payments HERE
  • Immunization requirements must be met in order to register.
  • Send in your Final Transcripts.
  • Activate your UNI and Columbia Email address
  • Look for Housing Information to be sent to you in October. 
  • Wait until September to apply for your I-20 – International Students
  • Contact your Student Mentors for more details and suggestions.  The list was sent to you in an email. 
  • Save-the-date for the Hybrid In-Person Orientation in mid- January 2018. 

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 will I receive my student ID card? 

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

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.

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

You will receive a message about applying for housing in a GSAS newsletter in the Fall Semester—likely around mid-October—at which time you can follow the directions at University Apartment Housing (UAH).

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.

Due to limited availability, take advantage of Columbia’s Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA)Office which provides assistance in renting housing in New York City.  They also provide a bulletin board on which you can search for prospective roommates who are Columbia students.  Please note to reach out to OCHA at least a few weeks before you need your housing.  For further information, please refer to the GSAS Student Housing website.

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

Once you arrive on-campus in January, you should attend the Hybrid Orientation and meet the other Hybrid Statistics students.  There will also be opportunities to take part in student-led organizations and events.  The Columbia Statistics Club will be holding events and there will be career-related events offered within the Statistics Department.

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

Since online students are not on campus for the first fall, there will be no facilities fee charged on your bill this Fall. 

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

No. You should not pay for health insurance this semester as you will not be on campus. Upon arrival for 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.

Registration & Online Course Information

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

Each course has 3 points for a total of 12 points.

  • 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 D04) full semester - Core Course
  • Statistical Computation & Introduction to Data Science (GR5206, Section D04) full semester

International students 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: 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.  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 that consists of registering for individual courses and registering for a Residence Unit (RU).  Your RU, not the registration of courses, provides the basis of your tuition charges.  For complete information about registration procedures, refer to the GSAS Registration page .

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 watch the recorded lectures, instead of participating in the live session lectures? 

Recorded sessions will be available to watch at a later time; but you are required to attend live sessions for 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. 

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 Spring 2018? 

No, all online courses are only offered in the Fall 2017 Semester. 

Q: May I register as a part-time student during the online portion in Fall 2017, and later register as a full-time student in Spring 2018? 

An international student must be registered full-time for all three semesters, including the Fall Online Semester (see Question #2).  A domestic student has the option to take classes part-time.  You must arrange your schedule with the approval of your Faculty Adviser.  If you are unable to take classes full-time during the online portion, please reach out to the Department at maprogram@stat.columbia.edu as soon as possible.

Q: May I take courses online this fall, not take any classes in the spring, and continue on-campus in the Fall of 2018? 

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences requires continuing registration, meaning you must be registered every semester in the program. If for any reason you must interrupt your studies, you must file for an official leave of absence through the Office of Student Affairs.  Detailed description on the Leave of Absence policy and returning from a leave can be found here: Leave of Absence

Q: If there research or a master’s thesis-writing course/credit? 

There is no master’s thesis for the degree.  However, one of the required core courses (GR5291:  Advanced Data Analysis) requires identifying a data set, working on a real world problem, and writing a report. This class is similar to a master’s thesis. 

Hybrid Program International Student Questions

Q: Is there a time limit to complete the On-Campus portion of the program? 

International students in F-1 status are expected to enroll full-time in the Spring Semester (year-1) and complete the program no later than the Fall Semester (year-2). Part-time domestic students have four years to complete the program. 

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, who is admitted to the Hybrid Program, may apply for an I-20 form for the spring term 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: 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. 

Q: For an international student admitted to the Hybrid Program, what is the requirement to be eligible for F-1 status while in the on-campus portion of the program? 
The student must register fulltime for the spring term (i.e., 1 Residence Unit (RU)) followed by 1 Extended RU, for the final semester.
Q: Once an international student joins the on-campus portion of the program, when will they be eligible for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)? 

No, you are not eligible for pre-OPT until you complete two full semesters in the US. Federal laws require that international students complete two full-time academic terms on campus in F-1 status before they are eligible for OPT.

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: May I apply for pre-OPT to work in Spring 2018 if I am a full-time, Hybrid-online student this Fall 2017? 

No, you are not eligible for pre-OPT until you complete two full semesters in the US. Federal laws require that international students complete two full-time academic terms on campus in F-1 status before they are eligible for OPT.

Q: How many credits are required to maintain F-1 status for the three semesters of the program? 

International students must register for one full Residence Unit (RU) in each of the first two semesters and one Extended Residence Unit (ER) in the third (final) semester.  This will maintain F-1 status. 

Twelve credits—four (3-pt) classes—per semester is the optimal, full-time course load.  A first semester hybrid student should register for the recommended four online statistics courses.  Always consult with your Faculty Adviser about your course choices.   

Q: Am I eligible for a summer internship with an off-campus employer during the summer of 2018? 

You will not be eligible for paid employment since you are not eligible for pre-OPT until you complete two full semesters in the U.S.  Participating in a paid internship before you have received OPT is a serious violation of your immigration status. You may register for an unpaid internship over the summer as long as you are not violating any rules and regulations around unpaid internships. If you have any questions, please contact ISSO.