Registration

 

This section is designed solely as a guide. For the official requirements, see the GSAS and SEAS bulletins.

Registration can be done online through SSOL (Student Services Online). Registration instructions can be found on the Registrar's website.

 

Questions about registration? Contact:

Jessica Rosa, Assistant Manager of Student Services
Preferred form of contact:
Office: 7LE5 CEPSR (Schapiro)

 

GSAS vs. SEAS Registration

The PhD is awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). PhD students who have already completed a Master's degree will appear in SSOL as GSAS students, and will register following GSAS registration policies (listed below)

Students who have not yet completed their MS degree are categorized as MS/PhD students and will appear as SEAS (School of Engineering & Applied Sciences) students in SSOL. MS/PhD students should register following SEAS registration policies (listed below) until they have completed the requirements of the MS degree. At that point, they will 'graduate' in to GSAS.

Both schools require continuous registration every fall and spring semester unless a formal leave of absence is granted. Students can request up to two semesters of leave during their time in the program. Students are not required to register for the summer term.

 

Advanced Standing

GSAS requires all PhD students to complete 60 total points of graduate coursework and 6 Residence Units for the degree. Upon completing the MS degree in SEAS (or at another institution prior to enrolling at Columbia), GSAS will award students with 30 points and 2 Residence Units of advanced standing toward the PhD. Therefore, students only need to complete 30 additional points of graduate coursework and 4 Residence Units upon entering GSAS.

 

SEAS Registration for MS/PhD students

MS/PhD students should register for exactly 15 points every fall and spring semester. This maintains full-time status and will enable you to complete the 30-point requirement for the MS degree within one academic year. Courses graded P/F or taken for R credit do not count towards the degree, so please keep this in mind when registering. If you want to register for more than 15 points in a semester, please discuss with

Step 1: Register for the lecture courses that you need to take that semester. MS/PhD students should be completing 2-3 courses (6-9 points) per semester so that they can complete the MS degree requirements in 3 semesters or less.

Step 2: Register for your advisor's section of COMS E9911: Graduate Research II. The number of points of COMS E9911 that you will register for will be dependent on how many points of coursework you have registered for. Your points of coursework + points of COMS E9911 should come to 15 points total. So if you have registered for 6 points of lecture coursework, you will register for 9 points of COMS E9911. You must select the letter grade option for COMS E9911. If you aren't taking any lecture courses, you can register for a full 15 points of COMS E9911.

*The call number for your advisor's section of COMS E9911 may change each semester, and can be confirmed on our department's course listing. If you can't find the correct call number, contact

Do not register for COMS E9910: Graduate Research I or any of the other project courses, such as W4901, E6900, E6901, E6902; those are only for undergraduates and MS students.

 

GSAS Registration prior to completion of six (6) Residence Units

PhD students in GSAS should register for one residence unit (RU) every consecutive fall and spring semester until they have accumulated six total RUs (including the two RUs obtained through advanced standing). The Residence Unit will give you full-time status. Make sure to keep track of exactly how many RUs you have completed as over-payment of RU tuition will not be refunded. You can see how many RUs you have completed in SSOL. The call number for the RU is 99991.

In addition to the RU, you should register for exactly 15 points every fall and spring semester until you have completed 30 points beyond the MS degree. You should meet the minimum point requirement within 2 semesters of your first day as a GSAS student.

Step 1: Register for the  RU using call #99991 in SSOL.

Step 2: Register for the lecture courses that you need to take that semester. Courses graded P/F or taken for R credit do not count towards the degree, so please keep this in mind when registering.

Step 3: Register for your advisor's section of COMS E9911: Graduate Research II. The number of points of COMS E9911 that you will register for will be dependent on how many points of coursework you have registered for. Your points of coursework + points of COMS E9911 should come to 15 points total. So if you have registered for 6 points of lecture coursework, you will register for 9 points of COMS E9911. You must select the letter grade option for COMS E9911. If you aren't taking any lecture courses, you can register for a full 15 points of COMS E9911.

*The call number for your advisor's section of COMS E9911 may change each semester, and can be confirmed on our department's course listing. If you can't find the correct call number, contact

Do not register for COMS E9910: Graduate Research I or any of the other project courses, such as W4901, E6900, E6901, E6902; those are only for undergraduates and MS students.

 

GSAS Registration after completion of six (6) Residence Units

After you have completed your six residence units in GSAS, you should stop registering for RUs. How you register after that depends on your funding and on your status towards completion of degree requirements.  There are two options, Extended Residence and Matriculation and Facilities.

Extended Residence: If you are receiving funding from the department or school and/or you are still working on any degree requirements other than the thesis proposal and defense, you must register for an extended residence (ER) unit every fall and spring semester. Some external fellowships and scholarships may also require ER registration. Registration for ER constitutes full-time status.

You should also register for any lecture classes you are taking in addition to the ER unit.  You do not need to register for COMS E9911 after completing the 30 points beyond the MS degree.

Matriculation and Facilities: Students who are not funded by the department or school and who will not complete any pre-proposal degree requirement in a given semester may register for matriculation and facilities (M&F) instead of extended residence (ER) for that semester. M&F is significantly less expensive than ER. Registration for M&F constitutes full-time status.

While registered for M&F, you will not be able to take any courses and you will not be permitted to complete any other preliminary degree requirements, such as the teaching requirement or the candidacy exam.  Students can only complete the thesis proposal, defense and deposit while registered for M&F.

Students who want to register for M&F should contact before doing so to check their eligibility.

 

GSAS Registration for the Dissertation Distribution, Defense, and Deposit

It is not necessary for US citizens or permanent residents to register during the semester of the thesis defense or deposit.  However, all students must be registered during the semester in which the dissertation is distributed to the defense committee. For example, if you distribute in the fall, but defend in the spring, you only need to be registered for the fall semester.  Distribution deadlines for each semester can be found here.

International students should contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to confirm whether they need to be registered for the defense and deposit, if these activities take place in a later semester than the distribution.

Important note: While in most cases summer registration is optional, the thesis distribution registration rule includes the summer semester: you must be registered for the summer term if your dissertation is distributed during the summer.

 

Summer Registration

Summer registration is the same whether enrolled in SEAS or GSAS.  If you are funded through Columbia during the summer, you will need to register for a full-time summer research appointment. Jessica Rosa will send you the call number for this registration status during the spring semester.

If you are externally funded and your funding source requires summer registration, contact  to see if you can register for the full-time summer research appointment or some other status.

If you are not being funded, there is no need to register for the summer unless you plan to distribute your dissertation during the summer term. Do not register for any courses during the summer.

Last updated on July 1, 2015.