Dropping Courses

Before dropping a course, undergraduate and Postbac Premed 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, and/or health insurance. 

A student has three opportunities within a semester to officially drop or withdraw from a course, including the change of program period, the late drop period, and the withdrawal period. Different consequences apply at each stage. There is no refund of tuition for individual courses dropped after the last day of the change of program period. In no case may a student withdraw from a course later than the Monday before the last day of classes for the semester, unless withdrawing from an entire term. 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 changes that cannot be completed via SSOL can be requested via the Registration Adjustment Form (RAF), which is available in the Columbia GS Student Success Portal.

Postbac Premed and undergraduate premed students: dropping a course could compromise eligibility for committee support for the imminent application cycle.

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 from 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 without a successful petition to the committee on academic standing.

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 through 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 but must consult with their advisors about the semester withdrawal process.

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 and students will be charged full tuition for the course. Students must submit a course drop request via SSOL in order to receive advisor approval. Once they have received approval via SSOL, they must complete the course drop request in SSOL by the specified deadline to finalize processing. 

Withdrawing from a Course After the Late Drop Deadline

After the late drop deadline, students may drop from a course by the final withdrawal deadline. Courses dropped after the late drop deadline, and by the Monday prior to the last day of classes each semester, will be recorded on the transcript with the notation “W” (withdrawal). The W is a permanent, GPA-neutral 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 withdraw. The Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) must be completed by the student and approved by his or her GS advisor by the specified final withdrawal deadline. The RAF can be found in the Student Success Portal under "Forms."

Note: If a student has submitted the final assignment for a course (final exam, final paper, or final project) the course is considered complete and it is no longer possible to withdraw