Unless otherwise stated, all doctoral program requirements apply equally to PhD and DES students.

Summer session courses and CVN “pre-taped” courses are generally unacceptable for satisfying the breadth requirements, see exceptions below.  TAing or auditing a distribution or elective course is never acceptable in lieu of taking the course for a grade.

The following refers to courses that have already been approved for distribution or elective credit for the doctoral breadth requirement.

  • CVN or summer session courses taken by a student prior to formally enrolling in the DES, PhD or MS/PhD program (e.g., while an MS or non-degree student) always qualify.
  • Regular on-campus courses taken during the fall or spring semester, that happen to also be offered by CVN that semester, always qualify.
  • Pre-taped CVN courses or summer courses managed (graded) by a regular faculty member, from any Columbia department, always qualify. Pre-taped CVN or summer courses managed by an adjunct faculty member who normally teaches the same course on-campus during the fall and/or spring semester also qualify. Both cases are exceedingly rare.
  • The typical pre-taped CVN or summer course, which is managed by a graduate student, does not qualify. Exceptions can be made with the approval of the full faculty, including in particular the regular faculty member(s) in charge of the corresponding course – but approval is highly unlikely.
[Note: Grandfathered CVN-DES students may optionally take all their courses via CVN.  This does apply to other DES students as well as MS/PhD and PhD students.]

Last updated June 4, 2024.