Registration

 

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

Registration can be done by phone or web.  Read the Columbia Registrar HOWTO for instructions.

Who to contact with questions about registration

The current Doctoral Program Administrator is Ms. Jessica Rosa.  Her office is 450C (inside the front office complex), phone 212-939-7007, email .

Entry into the PhD Program

The PhD is awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). If you have already completed a Masters degree, register in GSAS with registration status GDCOMS. Otherwise, register in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) for the "MS/PhD", registration status ETCOMS. You continue to register in SEAS until you have completed your "MS leading to PhD", at which point you transfer to GSAS with advanced standing.  If you are not sure whether you should enroll for ETCOMS or GDCOMS, contact the Doctoral Program Administrator.

Note: Students who have completed the requirements for the Masters degree, but have not yet received the degree (e.g., students enrolling for PhD in January who will receive the Masters in February) may need to register in SEAS and transfer their registration to GSAS mid-semester; contact the Doctoral Program Administrator for assistance.

SEAS Registration for MS/PhD students

You should register for exactly 15 points of credit every fall and spring semester (but not during summer session). This maintains full-time status and also enables you to complete the "MS leading to PhD", which requires 30 points, in one academic year.  Registration for either more or less than 15 points requires special approval, contact the Doctoral Program Administrator before registering. SEAS requires continuous registration every fall and spring semester (but not summers) unless a formal leave of absence is granted.

First register for the lecture classes you have decided to take. The remaining points, of the 15 total, should be registered for COMS E9911, Graduate Research II.  If you are not taking any regular classes, register for the full 15 points in E9911.

Do not register for E9910, Graduate Research I, which is only for MS GRAs and MS TAs. Also do not register for any of the other "project" courses, such as W4901, E6900, E6901, E6902; those are only for undergraduates and MS students.

Advanced Standing for PhD students

You are granted advanced standing for your Masters degree during the semester in which you enter GSAS. GSAS credits you with two (2) residence units towards the six (6) residence unit requirement for the PhD degree.

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

When you first enter GSAS you should register for one "residence unit" (RU) every fall and spring semester (but not during summer session). A total of six (6) RUs is required for the PhD.  However, you will be granted two (2) residence units upon obtaining advanced standing for your Masters degree. Hence, you should register for a residence unit exactly four (4) times, consecutively during your first four (4) semesters in GSAS.  Make sure to keep track of exactly how many RUs you have completed (over-payment of RU tuition will not be refunded!). GSAS requires continuous registration every fall and spring semester (but not summers) unless a formal leave of absence is granted.

In addition to the RU, you should register for exactly 15 points of credit every fall and spring semester (but not during summer session) every semester until you have completed 60 credits beyond the undergraduate degree (normally 30 credits beyond the Masters degree).  First register for the lecture classes you have decided to take. The remaining points, of the 15 total, should be registered for COMS E9911, Graduate Research II.  If you are not taking any regular classes, register for the full 15 points in E9911, until you have completed 60 credits.

Do not register for E9910, Graduate Research I, which is only for MS GRAs and MS TAs. Also do not register for any of the other "project" courses, such as W4901, E6900, E6901, E6902; those are only for undergraduates and MS students.

You cannot register for residence units while enrolled in SEAS. 

GSAS Registration after completion of six (6) Residence Units

After you have completed your six (6) residence units in GSAS, including the two (2) for advanced standing, you should stop registering for RUs. By this point you should have also already accumulated 60 points beyond the undergraduate degree. 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". GSAS requires continuous registration every fall and spring semester (but not summers) unless a formal leave of absence is granted.

Note: After you have accumulated six (6) RUs and 60 credits, and completed all the other requirements for the PhD except the proposal, defense and deposit, you should apply for your MPhil (Master of Philosophy) en course degree from GSAS.

Extended Residence: If you are appointed as a "student officer", you must register for an "extended residence" (ER) unit every fall and spring semester. Some external fellowships and scholarships may also require ER registration.  In addition, regardless of how funded, if you will be taking any classes or may be completing any of the MPhil degree requirements (that is, any requirements other than the proposal, defense and deposit) during the semester, you must register for an ER unit.

You should also register for any lecture classes you are taking in addition to the ER.  You do not need to register for E9911 after completing the 30 points beyond the MS (60 points beyond your undergraduate degree).

Matriculation and Facilities: Students who are not appointed as student officers and who will not complete any degree requirement a given semester (other than the proposal, defense or deposit) may, optionally, register for "matriculation and facilities" (M&F) instead of extended residence (ER) for that semester. M&F is significantly less expensive than ER. 

However, while registered for M&F, you will not be able to take any courses and are not permitted to complete any other preliminary degree requirements, such as TAing/teaching or the candidacy exam.  Registration for M&F constitutes full-time status.

GSAS Registration during the semester(s) of Dissertation Distribution, Defense and/or Deposit

It is not necessary for US citizens or permanent residents to register during the semester of the defense or deposit.  However, all students must be registered (RU, ER or M&F) during the semester in which the dissertation is distributed to the defense committee. For this purpose, said "semester" continues through the day immediately prior to the beginning of the following semester.

International students may also be required to register during the semester(s) of defense and deposit; contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for the current rules that apply to you (these rules change frequently, so make sure to stay up to date).

Important note: While in most other 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 may be distributed during that summer. The GSAS policy is stated here.

Summer Registration

Summer registration is the same whether enrolled in SEAS or GSAS.  If you are funded through Columbia during the summer, the department will register you for "full-time summer research appointment". If you are externally funded and your funding source requires summer registration, contact the Doctoral Program Administrator to see if you can register for "full-time summer research appointment". 

Most other students should not register for the summer, with the exception of students expecting to distribute the dissertation after the last day of the spring semester but prior to the first day of the fall semester. Do not register for any lecture classes or project courses during the summer.

Last updated on July 9, 2014.