Dropping Courses

Before dropping a course, students should consult with their GS academic advisors. Dropping courses not only affects a student's academic progress, but may also have consequences for financial aid, housing eligibility, visa status, or health insurance. There is no refund of tuition for individual courses dropped after the last day of the change of program period.

A student has three opportunities within a semester to officially drop a course, but different consequences apply at each stage. In no case may a student drop a course after the eleventh week of classes, unless withdrawing from an entire program. Students should consult the GS Academic Calendar for the exact dates of each deadline. Students are responsible for following the appropriate add/drop process by the relevant deadline. Registration Adjustment forms, if needed, are available in the Office of the Dean of Students and online.

Please note:

  • Ceasing to attend classes or simply notifying the instructor does not constitute dropping a course.
  • Students dropping the last or only class in which they are enrolled in a given semester should notify their advisors that they would like to withdraw for the term.
  • Joint Program students cannot drop their full course load at Columbia (even if it is only one course) without special permission jointly approved by their respective GS and JTS advisors.
  •  In cases that have been referred for disciplinary action through the Dean’s Discipline process, a student may not drop or withdraw from the course in question.

Dropping a Course During the Change of Program Period

A student may drop a course within the first two weeks of classes, which is the officially designated change of program period. Courses may be dropped online on SSOL. Courses dropped within this period do not appear on a student's permanent transcript and incur no tuition charges. Students dropping their entire course load will not be allowed to do so online and must instead see their GS advisors about the withdrawal process. (See Withdrawal from a Semester in Progress on the Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals page.)

Dropping a Course After the Change of Program Period

After the close of the change of program period, students may drop a course by the late drop deadline, which falls after the fifth week of classes. Courses dropped after the change of program date but prior to the late drop deadline will not appear on a student's permanent transcript, but students will be charged full tuition for the course. Students should submit requests electronically via SSOL to drop courses, and must then await email notification of their advisor's approval. Once they have received approval, they must then drop the course through SSOL by the specified deadline.

Dropping a Course After the Late Drop Deadline

After the late drop deadline, students may drop a course by the final drop deadline. Courses dropped after the late drop deadline but prior to the final drop deadline (in the eleventh week of classes, coinciding with the Pass/D/Fail deadline) will be recorded on the transcript with the notation “W” (withdrawal). The W is a permanent mark and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course. Students are charged full tuition for individual courses from which they selectively withdraw. The Registration Adjustment form must be completed by the student and signed by his or her GS advisor by the specified final drop deadline.