Q: What are key steps prior to arriving on campus? 
Q: How long does it take to finish the program if I am part-time? 

Part-time domestic students complete the program in four years or fewer.  They may register for 1/2 or 1/4 RU per semester. 

International students must be full-time.  They must register for a full RU for the first two semesters and then for Extended Residence (ER) in the final semester, as per the visa requirement.

Q: Which courses are recommended for the first semester? 

The optimal course load per semester is to take 4 classes that count toward graduation. Please review the Required Courses, the Approved Courses, and those courses which are Not-Approved.  If you are in your first semester, please review the Webinar to take place in August which will reveal further details.  Always meet with your adviser to finalize your schedule. 

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 - before registration.

Q: How do I register for classes? 

Registration is open to each student during an assigned appointment in SSOL.  Please review the Registration Guidelines on the MA Statistics Website.  The Office of the University Registrar is helpful. 

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: What is the ALP (American Language Program)? 

The ALP (American Language Program) offers classes for improving communication skills available to all MA Statistics students.  Please see details on the MA Website under International Students. 

Admitted students who scored below the GSAS minimum for the TOEFL requirement (less than 100) or the IELTS (less than 7.5) will be automatically enrolled (no registration necessary).  You will hear from the ALP office directly in early August regarding the course day and time.

Q: How do I register for classes? 

Registration is open to each student during an assigned appointment in SSOL.  Please review the Registration Guidelines on the MA Statistics Website.  The Office of the University Registrar is helpful. 

Q: When will I receive my student ID card? 

Pick up your ID card in 109 Low Library during the week of GSAS Orientation. Review the GSAS new student checklist for more details. 

Q: Where do I find information on relevant courses? 

Read carefully all informative emails from the Department, especially the MA Newsletter which will be available for new MA students in September.  Access the latest course information in the Columbia University Directory of Classes.  Compare with the lists on the MA Statistics Website to choose approved electives. 

The CU Directory:

  • Reveals when a student is restricted from taking a course. The class must be “open to” GSAS.
  • Shows how many students have already signed up and how many slots are still open (time-delayed from the evening before).
  • Reveals if there are any “Approvals Required.” 
  • Lists prerequisites. 
Q: What is the minimum number of credits that I can take to be considered full-time? 

As long as you register for a full RU (Residence Unit) you are considered a full-time student.  One full Residence Unit entitles you 20 credits or fewer.  The Department recommends taking 12 points per semester.  Always discuss your schedule with your Faculty Adviser before you register each semester.

Q: How do I get credit for MA courses I took prior to being admitted to the MA Statistics program? 

The Statistics Department only offers credit for courses taken at Columbia University provided the credits were not used towards any other degree program. A maximum of four courses may be approved for the MA Degree, and a maximum of three courses may be approved for the BA/MA degree.

All advanced standing credits must be verified by our Program Director before formal approval by GSAS.  Submit the Application for Transfer Credit Form (PDF) to the MA Program Coordinator.  More information about receiving transfer credits can be found here.

Q: May I graduate in fewer than three semesters? 

The majority of students take three semesters to complete the program.  It can be completed in two semesters, as long as you maintain a 3.0 grade point average. This should be discussed with your faculty adviser for proper guidance and recommendations.

Q: May I add/drop classes after the semester has begun? 

Yes, you may add/drop classes in SSOL until the end of the Change of Program Period.  Check the academic calendar for the specific date. 

You may drop classes using SSOL until the last day to drop classes.  Check the academic calendar for the specific date.  You will not be able to drop a class after the Drop Date.  Read the MA Weekly Newsletter as key dates will be announced.

If you plan to make changes to your schedule it should be done in consultation with your Faculty Adviser.  Changes may affect RU registration. 

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.  When you register for classes you must also register for a full or partial RU (Residence Unit).  The RU determines the tuition. 

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: What is the difference between a letter grade, R grade or Pass/Fail in the grade options? 

Courses taken for R or Pass/Fail do not count towards the MA Statistics degree. Core classes cannot be taken for R or P/F. It is also required that you notify your faculty adviser before any course is changed to R or P/F statuses. R, Pass/Fail grade policy can be found here: R Grade; Pass/Fail.

The last day to change a course to Pass/Fail or R Grade is listed in the Academic Calendar

Q: May I register for classes during winter and summer vacation? 

There are no courses in the winter break; however, there may be course offerings in the summer through the School of Professional Studies. You will receive more information from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) and our MA Weekly Newsletter.

Q: When is an appropriate time to seek an internship? 

After successfully completing the fall term, a student may consider a spring or summer internship.  International students must follow all the regulations for securing an unpaid internship as the department does not have a CPT option.   In addition, there is an Unpaid Internship Course that is not required, but is available if a company requests. 

Internship opportunities will be sent to students directly via email and the MA Weekly Newsletter.  We also have a career management officer who helps with resumes, cover letters, and other aspects of finding positions.  

The Center for Career Education (CCE) is a good resource for seeking internships/jobs. You will hear from our career officer and a representative from the CCE at the in-person orientation session in August.