Points per Term
Full-term enrollment at Columbia College is defined as an academic program carrying 12–18 points of credit. The average load for a Columbia College student is 15–16 points per term.
All Columbia College students are expected to be full-time students and must therefore be registered for a minimum of 12 points of credit per term. Students may not enroll in more than 18 points of credit unless they petition and receive permission to do so. First-year students may not petition to register for more than 18 points in their first semester.
Students are not permitted to enroll as part-time students, and any student who has not registered for at least 12 points by the end of the Change of Program period will be withdrawn from Columbia College. Students in their final term may petition the Committee on Academic Standing to register for fewer than 12 points if they will complete their degree that term, and should consult with their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising. They will still be considered full-time students with Columbia College and be responsible for all relevant tuition and fees.
Students are expected to attend all class meetings, laboratory periods and other required events for each course in which they are registered. Instructors may take attendance into account in assessing a student’s performance and may require a certain level of attendance for passing a course. Students are held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment. For additional information, see Columbia University Policies—Religious Holidays.
Length of Candidacy
Students are normally permitted eight terms in which to earn the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at Columbia College. Students may continue to work for the degree past the eighth term only with advance permission from the Committee on Academic Standing and must first discuss such requests with their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising. Study beyond the eighth term is only granted for students who have found themselves in emergent circumstances beyond their control which have prevented them from completing the degree in eight terms. Study beyond the eighth term is not granted for the purposes of changing or adding a major or concentration.
Regulations for Transfer Students
Regulations on Transfer Credit
In order to receive the Columbia College degree, transfer students must complete a minimum of 60 points while enrolled in the College (including credits earned on Columbia-sponsored study abroad programs). Transfer students may apply a maximum of 64 points toward advanced standing at the College. Credit granted on the basis of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other standardized examinations are counted toward the 64-point maximum, as are credits earned on study-abroad programs outside of Columbia. Credit is not granted for college courses taken while in high school.
Credit Toward the Degree and Core/Major Requirements
Transfer students receive credit for non-Columbia courses that are substantially similar to Columbia College courses only when the grades received are C- or better. Transfer students must supply course descriptions and syllabi for all courses to be considered for transfer credit. Once a transfer student is admitted, a credit review is conducted by the Berick Center for Student Advising and a tentative credit evaluation is sent to the student. A final credit evaluation is conducted once the student has matriculated in Columbia College and has submitted a final official transcript, as well as course descriptions and syllabi, to their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising, where all appropriate approvals will be coordinated with the relevant academic departments.
Transfer students are expected to graduate in eight terms, including terms completed before entering Columbia. Extended time is not granted. Under no circumstances will extended time be granted to enable a student to finish a particular major or concentration. Therefore, transfer students should be especially careful when planning their academic schedule and are strongly urged to do so with the guidance of their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising and the relevant departmental director of undergraduate studies.
Some majors may be difficult for transfer students to complete due to the number of credits required, the specific course sequencing, and the number of terms remaining for transfer students to complete all Core and major requirements. There is no guarantee that a transfer student can complete every major and concentration offered, and all transfer students must declare a major or concentration that they are capable of completing in the time available to them while at Columbia College.
Progress Toward the Degree
At the end of each term, the Committee on Academic Standing reviews the records of all students enrolled in Columbia College to determine student standing, and to determine whether academic action is warranted—including academic warning, academic probation, suspension and dismissal.
Students may be placed on academic probation for the following reasons: do not complete 12 points in a term; have a term or cumulative grade point average below 2.0; fail a Core Curriculum class; or fail to make satisfactory progress toward the degree (taking an average of 15.5 points per term). Students and parents/guardians are notified when students are placed on academic probation or suspension, or are dismissed from the College. The advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising are available to provide concerted support to help students on academic action return to good standing.
There is no appeal available to students placed on academic warning or academic probation. Academic warning does not remain on students’ records. Academic probation remains on students’ records.
Students who do not make adequate progress toward the degree will be placed on academic probation, according to the following chart:
|Semester||Points for typical progress||Threshold for academic probation|
For example, by the end of the first two terms, Columbia College students are expected to have completed 31 points (an average of 15.5 points per term). If they have completed fewer than 24 points, they will be placed on academic probation and should work with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising to plan ways to return to normal progress toward the degree. No more than eight terms will be granted to a student to complete the degree.
The advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising offer support to help students on academic action return to good standing.
Parents are notified when students are placed on academic probation.
Students who are on academic probation are not eligible to study abroad.
Students who fail to improve after being on academic probation, as well as students with extremely poor records during a single term, may be suspended and required to withdraw from Columbia College for at least one year. Conditions for readmission are specified at the time of suspension. If a student is readmitted after having been suspended and again fails to achieve satisfactory grades or to make normal progress toward the degree, it is likely that he or she will be dismissed from the College. When students are suspended or dismissed, they are notified of their status and the appeals process by email and express mail. The decision of the appeals committee is final.
Academic suspension and academic dismissal remain on students’ records. Parents are notified when students are academically suspended or are academically dismissed from the College.
International students with F-1 or J-1 status are not allowed to remain in the United States while suspended or dismissed from the University. Any international student who is dismissed or suspended should immediately contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to discuss available options.
Midterm examinations are scheduled by each instructor, based on the pedagogical structure of a course. Therefore, while many midterm exams may be scheduled around the mid-point of a term (e.g., late October or mid-March), midterm exams may also fall earlier or later in the term, and a course may require multiple midterm exams. Students should carefully examine the syllabus of each course in which they are registered for details about required midterm exams.
Final examinations are given at the end of each term. The Master University Examination Schedule is available in Student Services Online (SSOL). The Projected Exam Schedule is available at the beginning of each term. The confirmed Final Exam Schedule is typically available after the mid-point of the relevant term.
Examinations are not rescheduled in order to accommodate students’ travel plans. Students are expected to remain on campus throughout the final examination period at the end of each semester.
Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for an instructor to reschedule an exam. Any day or time changed in appointed final exam times must be agreed upon with members of the class. All students unable to take the exam at the new agreed-upon time must be given a make-up exam at a time that they are able to attend.
Student Examination Conflicts
Students may request a change of schedule for a final exam under the following two circumstances:
1. if a student is enrolled in two or more classes whose final exams are scheduled by the Master University Examination Schedule to be held at the same time;
2. if a student has three exams scheduled in a twenty-four hour period.
Students in either circumstance should meet with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising in order to initiate the process for arranging a make-up exam, no later than two weeks after the final exam schedule is published.
Failure to Complete a Final Exam
If a student does not take a final exam, or begins but does not complete a final exam, a grade of zero or F will be factored for that portion of the final grade. No makeup exams will be offered in these circumstances.
Students facing grave medical or family emergencies at the time of a final exam may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for permission to complete the final exam or paper at a later date. Students will receive a temporary mark of IN (Incomplete) until the work is completed. For more information, see the Grades section of this Bulletin.
Columbia College uses the following system of grading: A, excellent; B, good; C, fair; D, poor but passing; F, failure (a final grade, not subject to reexamination). The grades of A, B, and C may be modified by a plus or minus. Pass (P) is awarded when students receive a C- or higher in a course which they have elected to take on a Pass/D/Fail basis, or when they have passed a course that is offered only on a Pass/Fail basis.
The Committee on Instruction of Columbia College has instructed the Registrar to calculate a cumulative grade point average for external purposes, such as official transcripts. The Registrar also calculates term and cumulative grade point averages for internal purposes, such as determining eligibility for the Dean’s List.
Percentage of A Grades Calculation
College transcripts note the percentage of grades in the A-range in all lecture classes with at least twelve students and in all colloquia and seminar classes with at least 23 students, in accordance with the grading policies of the Faculty of Columbia College. (R grades are excluded from this calculation).
When the Registrar computes a student’s Columbia College grade point average, only grades earned while enrolled in Columbia College in the Fall and Spring terms (including Columbia-owned study abroad programs), and in the Columbia School of Professional Studies in the Summer Sessions, are counted. Courses are weighted according to the number of credits.
The following scale is used:
The Pass/D/Fail Option
All students registered in Columbia College during the regular academic year may elect, in Student Services Online (SSOL), one course each term during the regular academic year to take on a Pass/D/Fail basis (in addition to any courses that are graded only on a Pass/Fail basis). Students who do not utilize both Pass/D/Fail options during the academic year may elect, in the summer immediately following, to take one Summer Session course on a Pass/D/Fail basis.
Courses used to meet the stated degree requirements (except those only given on a Pass/Fail basis) may not be taken for a Pass/D/Fail grade. All Core Curriculum courses (i.e., Literature Humanities, University Writing, Frontiers of Science, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities, Music Humanities, Global Core requirement, science requirement, and foreign language instruction courses) must be taken for a letter grade.
All courses used to meet the requirements of a major or concentration, including related courses, must also be taken for a letter grade, with the possible exception of the first one-term course taken by the student in his or her eventual major (unless otherwise specified by the department).
The purposes of the Pass/D/Fail option are to encourage students to take courses of interest to them outside of their field of specialization and to permit those who have not decided upon a major to test their talents in a particular field that may be of interest. Instructors are not informed of the student’s grading option decision.
Students who wish to exercise the Pass/D/Fail grading option may designate in Student Services Online (SSOL) a single course for the grade of Pass/D/Fail until the Pass/D/Fail deadline specified on the Academic Calendar, i.e., November 16 in Fall 2017 and March 22 in Spring 2018. After that deadline, students wishing to exercise the Pass/D/Fail grading option should consult their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
No more than one course may be designated to be taken on a Pass/D/Fail basis at any point in a given semester.
In order to encourage students to engage more fully in the courses they elect to take for a grade of Pass/D/Fail, students are allowed to uncover a grade of Pass in SSOL until the end of the Change of Program period of the following semester. Students have until the end of the Change of Program period in the spring semester to uncover the grade of a course taken in the previous fall term, and until the end of the change of program period in the fall semester to uncover the grade of a course taken in the previous spring or summer term. Seniors who graduate in May have until June 1 to uncover the grade of a course taken in their final spring semester. Students who wish to uncover a grade of Pass can do so in Student Services Online (SSOL).
The grade of Pass is not used in calculating grade point average; the grades of D and Fail are used.
The Grade of D
No more than six points of D may be credited toward the degree in any academic year, and no more than a cumulative total of 12 points of D may be credited toward the 124 credits required for the degree credit. The grade of D is awarded only for courses listed in this Bulletin and for other courses taken while the student is enrolled in Columbia College. The decision as to whether or not a D may be used to satisfy the requirements for a major or concentration is made in each relevant academic department. In any given semester, the grade of D precludes the attainment of Dean’s List status (see Academic Honors, Prizes, and Fellowships—Dean's List).
The Mark of W (Withdrawal)
Columbia College students are not permitted to have a course deleted from their academic records after the drop deadline (October 10 for Fall 2017 and February 20 for Spring 2018). If a student withdraws from a course after the drop deadline and no later than the Pass/D/Fail deadline (November 16 for Fall 2017 and March 22 for Spring 2018), the transcript will show a mark of W (indicating official withdrawal) for that course. This is a permanent mark, and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course. Students will earn no points of academic credit for classes in which they receive the mark of W. In any given semester, the mark of W precludes the attainment of Dean’s List status (see Academic Honors, Prizes, and Fellowships—Dean's List).
Students may not drop or withdraw from a Core Curriculum course (i.e., Literature Humanities, Frontiers of Science, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities, Music Humanities, and University Writing) after the Core drop deadline (which is also the end of the Change of Program period). This does not apply to courses taken to fulfill the Global Core, science, or foreign language requirements.
Students may not drop or withdraw from any course after the Pass/D/Fail deadline. After that point, a student will receive the letter grade earned in the course.
When considering the option to withdraw from a course, students should be aware that, in order to remain in good academic standing, they must successfully complete no fewer than 12 points in a given term. Students who do not earn at least 12 points per term may face academic probation, suspension, or dismissal. Students who do not make adequate progress toward the degree (an average of 15.5 points per term) may also face academic probation, suspension, or dismissal.
To withdraw from a class, students must first meet with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner, to discuss their plans and then submit a Columbia College Acknowledgment of Course Withdrawal form to their advising dean.
Failure to attend classes or unofficial notification to the instructor does not constitute dropping or withdrawing from a course. Students who stop attending classes without dropping or officially withdrawing are assigned the letter grade earned by factoring a zero or F for any missing work.
The Mark of AR (Administrative Referral)
A mark of AR is given to students as a temporary mark in circumstances when a student’s irregular academic behavior in a course merits something other than grades A through F, and is designed to allow an instructor a reasonable default grade for use until an appropriate permanent grade can be submitted. Ultimately, the decision as to what the final grade should be will rest with the individual instructor, and a grade of AR will alert Andrew Plaa, dean of advising in the Berick Center for Student Advising, whose staff will follow up with the instructor to help determine what final grade is appropriate.
A mark of AR is also given when a student applies for an Incomplete. If the Incomplete is approved, the instructor will enter an AR, which will subsequently be altered to an IN by the Berick Center for Student Advising.
The Mark of IN (Incomplete)
An IN is a temporary grade designation granted by the Committee on Academic Standing for students who cannot complete their course work or are unable to take a final examination. The only reasons for which an IN will be granted are incapacitating illness (as certified by a healthcare practitioner or by Health Services at Columbia), grave family emergency, or circumstances of comparable gravity.
In order to receive the mark of IN, students must first speak with their advising dean and then petition the Committee on Academic Standing. Petition forms are available in the Berick Center for Student Advising. For classes that require a final paper or project, petitions must be submitted no later than the last day of classes. For classes that require a final examination, petitions must be submitted no later than the day before the exam.
To be granted an IN, it is expected that students will have completed all work in the class with the exception of the final paper, project or exam. If a student has not completed all the other work in the class up to the final paper, project or exam, an IN will not be granted. Students may not arrange unofficial incompletes or extended deadlines with their instructors.
Students who are granted an IN are assigned a deadline for completion of the overdue work or a date by which a deferred examination must be taken. Those who fail to meet the assigned deadline or miss the deferred examination will receive the contingency grade indicated by the instructor. All other marks of IN that remain unresolved by the end of one calendar year will be converted to the final grade of F, unless there is a documented reason to do otherwise. Questions may be directed to the advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Students who receive the grade of IN, approved in advance by the Committee on Academic Standing, may be considered for Dean’s List only after all IN grades are changed to letter grades (see Academic Honors, Prizes, and Fellowships—Dean's List).
The Mark of R (Registration Credit)
The R credit option is available only to Columbia College seniors. Students who wish to audit a class can request permission from the Committee on Academic Standing in the Berick Center for Student Advising to take a course for R credit. No point credit is given for R credit, and the GPA is unaffected by the mark of R. Students who take a course for R credit must have the permission of the instructor, in addition to that of the Committee on Academic Standing. Students may be required to complete certain work as specified by that instructor. The exact nature of the work should be determined by the instructor when the student petitions for an R for the course. An instructor may fail a student who has not completed assigned work. The deadline for registering for R credit is the same deadline to drop classes, as specified on the Academic Calendar in this Bulletin. Registering for R credit is allowed only when:
- the courses are in excess of the 124 points required for the B.A. degree;
- the courses are taken in the last two terms of the student’s attendance in Columbia College;
- the courses are not used to fulfill a requirement for the B.A. degree;
- the student has the permission of the Committee on Academic Standing and the instructor.
The Mark of YC (Year Course)
A mark of YC is given at the end of the first term of a course in which the full year’s work must be completed before a qualitative grade is assigned. The grade given at the end of the second term is the grade for the entire course. In any given semester, the mark of YC precludes the attainment of Dean's List status until the grade for the entire year's coursework is awarded (see Academic Honors, Prizes, and Fellowships—Dean's List).
Report of Grades
Grades are available on Student Services Online (SSOL) on the first business day after they are submitted by the instructor. Paper and electronic transcripts may be ordered by currently enrolled students via SSOL. Students who find discrepancies in or have questions about their records should contact the Office of the University Registrar.
Language Placement Examinations
First-year students can select appropriate levels in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, or Spanish on the basis of scores on SAT II: Subject Tests or Advanced Placement examinations. All continuing language students who have not taken one of these tests must take a Columbia placement exam in order to enroll in language study beyond the beginning elementary level. The exact exam times and dates are provided in the New Student Orientation Program schedule distributed to incoming students when they arrive on campus. Returning students who are not participating in the New Student Orientation Program should contact departments before the beginning of each term to inquire about placement exam options other than those provided during NSOP.
Entering first-year students are subject to all rules for first-year students in their first two terms, regardless of the number of credits earned from approved advanced standing programs.
The College grants up to one semester (16 points) of college-level work completed before matriculation at Columbia College. This work may be done under the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Program, GCE Advanced Level Examinations, International Baccalaureate Examination, or other national systems.
Entering first-year students are not granted credit for courses taken at other colleges before their graduation from secondary school. Students may receive a maximum of 6 points of credit for college courses taken after graduation from secondary school and prior to matriculation at Columbia. In order to receive this credit, students must submit an official university or college transcript and the syllabus for each relevant course to their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising. Final determination will be made by the dean of advising.
Students who wish to receive advanced credit or exemption for the language requirement may not take courses at Columbia that cover similar or more basic material than the advanced work already completed. Nor may students receive credit for two exams that cover the same material (e.g., Calculus AP and Mathematics GCE Advanced Level Exam). In some cases, credit is awarded only when students successfully complete a higher level course in the same field of study.
The actual determination of advanced credit is made after students matriculate in accordance with departmental and College policies and is awarded upon completion of the first year at Columbia. Students wishing to arrange such credit must meet with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising and provide the relevant transcript/certificate.
Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
College Board Advanced Placement (AP) scores cannot be used toward exemption from any of the Core Curriculum courses, the Global Core requirement, or the science requirement; however, scores may be used toward satisfying the foreign language requirement (see The Core Curriculum—Foreign Language Requirement). Each year, individual departments review the College Board AP curriculum and determine appropriate placements, credit, and/or exemptions.
Students entering in the 2017–2018 academic year may be awarded AP credit for the following subjects and should refer to the relevant department sections in this Bulletin for specific information on credit granted, placement, and exemptions:
|Computer Science||Computer Science|
|English||English and Comparative Literature|
|French||French and Romance Philology|
|Government and Politics||Political Science|
|Spanish||Latin American and Iberian Cultures|
Entering students are granted six points of credit for each score of six or seven in International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level examinations if taken in disciplines offered as undergraduate programs at Columbia College. The maximum number of advanced standing points that can be awarded is 16. Students who wish to receive advanced credit or exemption for the language requirement may not take courses at Columbia that cover similar or more basic material than the advanced work already completed. For further information, students should consult with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
British Advanced Level Examinations
Students with grades of A or B on British Advanced Level examinations are granted six points of credit for each taken in the disciplines offered as undergraduate programs at Columbia College. The maximum number of advanced standing points that can be awarded is 16. Students who wish to receive advanced credit or exemption for the language requirement may not take courses at Columbia that cover similar or more basic material than the advanced work already completed. For further information, students should consult with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Other National Systems
Pending review by the appropriate academic department at Columbia, students who complete secondary school work in other national systems may be granted credit in certain disciplines for sufficiently high scores. For further information, students should consult with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Courses Taken in Other Columbia Undergraduate Schools
None of the courses listed in this Bulletin or in the bulletins of Barnard College and the School of General Studies require any special approval for enrollment, unless so indicated in various program descriptions and course descriptions.
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
A maximum of four courses offered by Columbia Engineering and Applied Science may be taken on a space-available basis. The four-course limit does not apply to students in the Combined Plan program.
Courses Taken in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Courses offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may be taken by qualified undergraduates with the permission of the director of undergraduate studies in the department in which the course is taught.
Courses Taken in Other Divisions of the University
Students have available to them a number of courses offered by some professional schools of the University and may take a maximum of four courses for elective credit and apply those points toward the 124 points necessary for their degree.
Students who wish to take such a course and not count it toward the 124 points necessary for the undergraduate degree must receive the permission of their advising dean from the Berick Center for Student Advising. In either instance, students must follow the policies established by the various professional schools, must have the permission of the instructor of the course they wish to take, and in some instances, must have the permission of the school in which the course is offered. Following is a list of schools and programs that allow undergraduates to register for courses, with their policies regarding the enrollment of Columbia College students. Students who wish to take a course in a Columbia school not listed below should first consult with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Lectures offered by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation may be taken on a space-available basis by qualified undergraduates. Undergraduates are not allowed to enroll in any seminars or studio courses.
School of the Arts
Graduate courses offered by the School of the Arts may be taken on a space-available basis by qualified undergraduates.
Graduate School of Business
Courses offered by the Graduate School of Business that are designed specifically for undergraduates can be found in Departments, Programs, and Courses—Business. Other Business School courses may only be taken on a space-available basis by seniors who have completed the required prerequisites. Students must have signed permission from the Berick Center for Student Advising. Please note that registration deadlines for these classes are often earlier than the College registration and Change of Program periods.
School of Professional Studies
Columbia College students are not permitted to enroll during the academic year—i.e., Fall and Spring terms—in courses offered through the School of Professional Studies. The School of Professional Studies sponsors the Summer Session at Columbia. For additional information on taking courses at Columbia during the summer, please see the Summer Study section.
School of International and Public Affairs
Open Enrollment Courses offered by the School of International and Public Affairs are open to all Columbia students, unless the class is full. Students interested in registering for a SIPA Open Enrollment Course may receive permission to enroll by completing a Registration and Drop/Add form and submitting it to the SIPA Registration site on the 6th floor of the International Affairs Building. If the class is not full, approval will be granted.
School of Journalism
Courses offered by the School of Journalism may be taken on a space-available basis. Students must have signed permission from the School of Journalism's Office of the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Pulitzer Hall.
Normally, students are not allowed to enroll in courses offered through the Law School. Exceptions to this policy may be granted under the following circumstances:
- Law School courses may be taken by students in the Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education (AILE) program. Students must have signed permission from the Law School Office of the Assistant Dean of Academic Services, 500 William and June Warren Hall.
- A small number of seniors are permitted to enroll in one or two seminars, selected by Law School faculty. More information is available from the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Mailman School of Public Health
Courses offered by the Mailman School of Public Health may be taken by qualified undergraduates on a space-available basis with the permission of the department in which the course is taught. Students must complete the Public Health Cross Registration Application Form and receive signed permission from the department, as well as from the School of Public Health's Office of Student Affairs, 722 West 168 Street, Suite 1014. Once School of Public Health permissions are secured, students must also receive signed permission from the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner, before proceeding to register for the course at the Registrar's Office, 205 Kent.
School of Social Work
Courses offered by the School of Social Work may be taken on a space-available basis.
Normally, students are not allowed to enroll in courses offered by Teachers College. Exceptions to this policy may be granted under the following circumstances:
- Courses that are not offered at Columbia but are deemed by the student's faculty adviser as essential to a student’s undergraduate program of study. Students should submit a petition to the dean of academic planning and administration of Columbia College, 202 Hamilton.
- Instrumental music instruction course (e.g., piano). In this instance, students are charged per credit for the course over and above their Columbia tuition. Students should submit a petition to Andrew Plaa, dean of advising in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner.
Columbia Summer Session
Normally, credit for summer school is given to College students only for courses taken in the Columbia Summer Session. Students may apply a maximum of 16 points of credit earned during any Summer Session to the 124 credits needed for the degree, and students cannot take more than eight points in any Summer Session period or in overlapping periods.
All students registered in Columbia College during the regular academic year may elect one course each semester during the regular academic year on a Pass/D/Fail basis (in addition to any courses that are given only on a Pass/D/Fail basis). Students who do not utilize both Pass/D/Fail options during the academic year may elect, in the summer immediately following, to take one Summer Session course on a Pass/D/Fail basis. For additional information on and restrictions governing Pass/D/Fail credit, see the Academic Regulations—Exams and Grades section of this Bulletin.
Students who plan to take any summer courses toward their major or concentration must consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies of their major department. Not all courses offered in the Summer Session are accepted by Columbia College for credit. Students should also consult the annually updated List of Approved Summer Courses.
Summer School Classes Taken Outside Columbia
Students are not normally permitted to earn credit toward their degrees outside of Columbia except in the case of approved study abroad programs. Students who nevertheless wish to request permission to receive credit for summer school courses taken outside Columbia must:
- Obtain a copy of Columbia College's Pre-Approval for a Course Taken at Another U.S. Institution form, available in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner.
- Carefully read the following procedures to apply for such credit. Please note that permission to take classes outside of Columbia is normally given only when a student has fallen behind in credits, when the student wishes to take a language course, or when the summer course is a prerequisite for a course that must be taken in the fall for the student's major or concentration. Students should note that introductory and intermediate language courses are only approved pending the successful completion of the departmental placement test into the next higher level language course.
Students are responsible for arranging departmental testing upon return to campus in the fall. If students do not place into the next level of the language course, credit will not be granted. Students who elect to discontinue study of the language or do not take the relevant departmental placement test will not be granted credit for the summer courses taken.
- Discuss study plans with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
- Complete the approval request form, outlining their reasons for taking summer courses and listing the specific courses in which they wish to enroll. Once submitted to students' advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising, requests are then reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing, which determines whether or not summer school courses are approved for credit. It is strongly advised that students gain pre-approval prior to enrolling in courses at other institutions, as there is no guarantee that requests will be approved, and students will not be reimbursed for any expenditure.
- Students may not receive credits for study abroad during the summer except in Columbia-sponsored programs or approved foreign-language, archaeology, and field-studies programs. Students seeking summer study abroad credits must receive permission from the Office of Global Programs, 606 Kent.
- Students applying for summer school credit for courses that they wish to use in partial fulfillment of the science or Global Core requirements must submit the relevant course approval petition to their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising for approval by the appropriate faculty committee, prior to taking the course. Note that only non-Columbia study abroad courses may be petitioned for use to fulfill the Global Core requirement. Approval to receive College credit for summer school courses does not ensure approval of the course to fulfill one of these requirements.
Study Outside Columbia University
Permission to study at another school for a term or a year is granted only for study at institutions outside of the United States, as part of an approved study abroad program, or to participate in approved exchange programs. Exceptions may be granted for study during the summer. See the Summer Study section for more information.
Matriculation at another institution renders students ineligible to continue at Columbia. Columbia College students who matriculate at another post-secondary institution and/or are considered a degree-seeking student at a college or university other than Columbia College will be withdrawn from Columbia with no opportunity to return and complete the Columbia College degree.
Courses Taken for Graduate School Credit
An undergraduate in the College may take graduate courses at Columbia and apply the earned credit toward a Columbia M.A. or Ph.D. degree, assuming admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, under the following conditions:
- The work must be in excess of the 124 points required for the B.A. degree.
- The student must obtain the approval of both the graduate department(s) offering the course(s) and the undergraduate department in which he or she is majoring or concentrating.
- A course used to fulfill a requirement for the B.A. degree may not be counted toward graduate credit.
- The maximum amount of graduate credit that an undergraduate can earn is two Residence Units toward the Ph.D. degree requirement, and only one Residence Unit which may be applied toward the M.A. degree requirement.
- Courses that a student completes while registered in the Columbia Summer Session may not be credited toward the completion of degree requirements in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Students can request a leave of absence during a term or prior to the start of a term. When a student takes a leave of absence during a term, this action is also considered a withdrawal. Withdrawal is defined as the dropping of one’s entire program in a given term after the first day of classes of the term and as a result withdrawing from Columbia College. Withdrawing from Columbia College after the start of the semester can have implications for financial aid. Any student withdrawing from Columbia College must notify the Berick Center for Student Advising in writing. Notification to instructors or failure to attend classes does not constitute an official withdrawal from Columbia College and will result in failing grades in all courses.
Medical Leave of Absence
A medical leave is granted to a student whose health interferes with successful full-time study. A leave can be granted for a minimum of one term and a maximum of two years.
Unless a student is granted an exception due to extenuating circumstances, a student will be permanently withdrawn after they exceed this maximum time period. Students may only return in the fall or spring term. Only in rare circumstances will students be readmitted from medical leave to enroll in courses for the Columbia Summer Session.
Students must consult with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising to initiate a leave, and then provide medical documentation to support the request. Medical leaves must be accompanied by an individualized assessment of students' individual healthcare needs.
While on leave, students must be actively engaged in a course of medical treatment that leads to recovery. In addition, students are required to continue to access their Columbia email, which is the official means of communication by the University. As part of their readmission process, students must also provide medical documentation supporting their readmission. All questions can continue to be addressed to students' advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Students who leave in good academic standing will return in good academic standing; students who leave on academic action will return on academic action. If a medical leave begins on or before the Columbia College withdrawal deadline, the semester will not appear on the record. If a leave begins after that deadline, courses will remain on the transcript.
Ordinarily, Columbia College students who are authorized to withdraw for medical reasons after the withdrawal deadline will receive a mark of W for each of their courses for the term. These notations indicate an authorized withdrawal from the courses. In rare cases, when a student must leave for medical reasons beyond the relevant deadline, a student and advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising can work together with the faculty to determine whether an Incomplete would be a more appropriate notation on the transcript. In order to be eligible for an Incomplete, the student must have completed all work for the course except the final paper, exam, or project. The student must also obtain the approval of the relevant advising dean(s) in the Berick Center for Student Advising as well as the appropriate faculty member(s). Students should consult with their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising for more details.
Students who have been approved for authorized Incompletes in the last semester before their medical leave must complete the work of each course upon their return to campus by the end of the Change of Program period. If the work is not completed by the end of the Change of Program period of the term in which the student returns, the grade may convert to the contingency grade or to an F. Due dates of incomplete work should be determined in consultation with the advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising upon notification of readmission.
When students depart after the deadlines listed above, they must be aware that they will likely fall behind in points necessary to remain in good academic standing. To determine whether or not they will fall behind, students should remember that Columbia College students should complete an average of 15.5 points per term to remain in good academic standing. Students should consult with their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising to learn whether or not they will fall below the “low points threshold” established for Columbia College students and, if so, work with their advising deans and departments to create a reasonable academic plan to ensure the timely completion of their degree.
Students are not permitted to earn transferable credits toward the degree while on medical leave from the University, as the purpose of the leave is to regain full health in order to return and resume full-time study. In some cases, healthcare practitioners may recommend that students take courses at home institutions as part of the recovery process. Those points will not, however, count toward the Columbia degree.
If a student matriculates at another institution in a degree program while on leave from Columbia, the student will be considered to have transferred to another institution and will be permanently withdrawn from Columbia College.
Readmission from Medical Leave of Absence
Students must complete all parts of the following readmission procedures by the following deadlines:
- Fall term readmission – June 1
- Spring term readmission – November 1
- Summer term readmission – not permitted
In order to begin readmission, students must first discuss their plans with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising and then submit the following letters to their advising dean by email or fax:
- Request for readmission: This letter should review the circumstances that led to the leave, describe in detail any activities pursued while away, explain why studies can now be successfully resumed, and outline a plan for continued support. The letter should also indicate whether or not campus housing will be required.
- Medical practitioner support: This letter should describe the treatment prescribed for the student and progress made by the student, provide an evaluation of the student’s readiness to return to full-time study at Columbia, and outline the recommended continued care plan.
The Medical Leave Readmission Committee, made up of representatives of Columbia University Health Services and the Berick Center for Student Advising, meets in June and November to consider readmission requests for the Fall and Spring terms, respectively. Committee review is not guaranteed when documentation is submitted after the stated deadlines. Students will receive notification regarding one of the following three outcomes of the committee’s assessment of readmission requests:
- applicants are approved for an interview by a Columbia University Health Services practitioner for final adjudication. Students may then be officially readmitted or denied readmission and will be notified of a decision by the Berick Center for Student Advising by letter and email;
- additional information is requested;
- readmission is denied. Students may reapply.
Once officially readmitted, students will be provided an online registration appointment in order to enroll for the coming term. Normally, students will be able to register in late August for the Fall and in mid-January for the Spring term. In addition, students who are guaranteed housing upon readmission may submit a housing application by following the instructions in their readmission letter. Students on leave cannot participate in housing lotteries until formally readmitted.
Students must address all financial or other obligations to the University that are still outstanding from when they took their leave. If a hold has been placed on their registration, this hold must be cleared before they can enroll in classes or move into housing. If after being readmitted for the following semester, a student cannot register by the end of the Change of Program period of that semester, then they will be placed on another leave of absence.
Students are urged to meet with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising and a Residential Life staff member, if applicable, during the first two weeks of their return to campus, to ensure a smooth transition back to the campus community.
Voluntary Leave of Absence
A voluntary leave of absence may be granted by the Committee on Academic Standing to undergraduate students who request a temporary withdrawal from Columbia College for a nonmedical reason. Students considering a voluntary leave must discuss this option in advance with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Voluntary leaves are granted for a period of one to four terms. Students must be in good academic standing at the time of the leave, and must be able to complete the degree in eight semesters.
Students may not take courses for transferable credit while on leave. If a student matriculates at another institution in a degree program while on leave from Columbia, the student will be considered to have transferred to another institution and will be permanently withdrawn from Columbia College. Students who choose to take voluntary leaves are not guaranteed housing upon return to the University. International students should contact the International Students and Scholars Office to ensure that a leave will not jeopardize their ability to return to Columbia College.
Family Emergency Leave of Absence
Columbia College students who must leave the university for urgent family reasons that necessitate a semester-long absence (e.g., family death or serious illness in the family) may request an emergency family leave of absence. Documentation of the serious nature of the emergency must be provided. Students must request an emergency family leave of absence from their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
When an emergency family leave of absence is granted during the course of the term, the term will be deleted if the leave begins prior to the withdrawal deadline. Normally, if a student leaves after the withdrawal deadline, all courses will receive a mark of W (indicating authorized withdrawal). In certain circumstances, a student may qualify for an Incomplete, which would have to be completed by the end of the Change of Program period of the semester in which the student returns to Columbia. If the Incomplete is not completed by that time, the contingency grade or a W will be inserted as the final grade.
To return to Columbia College, students must notify the Berick Center of Student Advising by June 1 for the Fall term or November 1 for the Spring term. Students must request readmission in writing and submit a statement describing their readiness to return. Once readmission is granted, housing will be guaranteed.
Students seeking readmission to Columbia College must submit evidence that they have achieved the purposes for which they left. Consequently, specific readmission procedures are determined by the reasons for the withdrawal. Policy statements outlining the readmission procedures for voluntary or medical leaves of absences are available in the Berick Center for Student Advising. Students should consult their advising dean for further information.
Students who fail to graduate and who have been withdrawn from the College must apply for readmission within a two-year period in order to have an opportunity to complete the degree. To apply for readmission, students must have successfully completed no fewer than 90 points of academic credit and earned a GPA of no less than 2.0. Students must fulfill the degree and major or concentration requirements in place at the point of original matriculation. Readmission will be predicated upon the assessment of the student's ability to successfully complete the degree within one calendar year. Inquiries regarding readmission should be directed to the Berick Center for Student Advising.
Students applying for readmission should complete all parts of the appropriate readmission procedures by June 1 for the Fall term or November 1 for the Spring term. Once an international student with F-1 or J-1 status is readmitted, the student should contact the International Students and Scholars Office to obtain a new visa certificate (form I-20 or form DS-2019).
Students may not take courses for transferable credit while on leave. If a student matriculates at another institution in a degree program while on leave from Columbia, the student will be considered to have transferred to another institution and will be permanently withdrawn from Columbia College.
The faculty Committee on Instruction of Columbia College reviews Columbia College degree requirements and curricular matters each year. This Bulletin reflects these faculty recommendations and curricular changes in its annual publication. Columbia College policy requires students to fulfill the general degree requirements as stated in the Bulletin of the first year of their matriculation into Columbia College.
Modification of Requirements
The requirements for the degree may be modified or waived in individual cases only by the faculty Committee on Instruction acting for the Faculty of Columbia College. Students wishing to petition the Committee are advised to discuss their requests with their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.
The Columbia College Committee on Academic Standing
The Columbia College Committee on Academic Standing implements academic policies and regulations for Columbia College students as set forth by the faculty Committee on Instruction, the University Senate or the faculty as a whole. The Committee on Academic Standing is expected to uphold the policies and regulations of the Committee on Instruction.
The Committee on Academic Standing is composed of advising deans, an associate dean of advising and the dean of advising.