Registration is the process whereby an eligible student reserves a seat in a particular course or selects an enrollment category. It is accomplished by following the procedures announced in advance of each term’s registration period.

Enrollment is the completion of the registration process and affords the full rights and privileges of student status.

Students who have not registered for any classes or enrollment category by the end of the change of program period will not be allowed to enroll that term and must file for a leave of absence or a withdrawal.

Due to the demands of coursework as well as instructional and research responsibilities, students are expected to be continuously in residence at Columbia during the academic year through the MPhil and prospectus defense.  Registered students who have not received the MPhil and passed the prospectus defense who wish to be away from campus must have the support of their primary advisor, their Director of Graduate Studies, and approval from the Office of the Dean.

Students who take a leave of absence or who do not register for the semester are not considered to be active Columbia students, and will not be able to fulfill requirements for the degree while they are not registered and/or on leave.

With the sole exception of approved dual-degree programs, students may not pursue a degree in more than one Columbia program concurrently, and may not be registered in more than one degree program at any institution in the same semester. Enrollment in another degree program at Columbia or elsewhere while enrolled in a GSAS master's or doctoral program is strictly prohibited by the Graduate School. Violation of this policy will lead to the rescission of an offer of admission, or termination for a current student.

Students who intend to receive their terminal degree from GSAS in October or February should not register in the fall or spring term, respectively. Students who are registered and graduate in either October or February will have their registrations removed, which may affect their ability to remain enrolled in the student health insurance plan. 

Students in all degree programs are required to register in each semester until all degree requirements have been completed or until the time-to-degree limit has been reached. Time-to-degree limits are described in Satisfactory Academic Progress. To ascertain and record the progress of students toward the PhD, the Graduate School requires that doctoral students register continuously on a full-time basis until they distribute to their committee the copy of the dissertation that will be evaluated at the defense; if the dissertation defense is scheduled for a subsequent term, students need not register again.

Students are exempt from the requirement to register continuously only when on an official leave of absence as confirmed by a letter from the GSAS Office of Student Affairs.

Students must register for the courses they wish to attend, and they may not attend courses for which they are not registered.

Students should consult the GSAS Academic Calendar for exact dates of the change of program period and other deadlines. (For the summer term only, consult the School of Professional Studies.) For more information about the registration process, visit the Registrar's website.

Please note that students taking a course at a school other than GSAS must follow the host school’s rules for adding and dropping the course.

During the Change of Program Period

Students may add and/or drop courses through SSOL, without penalty, during the change of program period (i.e., the first two weeks of classes for the fall and spring semesters). Students are not charged tuition for courses dropped during this time, and dropped courses do not appear on the student's transcript.

After the Change of Program Period

After the change of program period, students may continue to drop courses through SSOL until the final deadline to drop a course (consult the Academic Calendar). Courses may be added during this time only with the instructor's approval. Courses dropped during this time are charged at full tuition but do not appear on a student's transcript. See the Registrar's website for detailed instructions on adding and dropping courses after the change of program.

Not attending classes or sending a notification to the instructor does not constitute dropping a course. Students who stop attending a course without formally dropping it by the deadline should be assigned a letter grade based on the same criteria as students who complete the course.

For more complicated registration processes such as cross-registration between schools after the change of program period, students should use the paper Registration Adjustment Form.