Registration and Enrollment

Registration is the systematic process that reserves seats in particular classes for eligible students. It is accomplished by following the procedures announced in advance of each term’s registration period. Enrollment is the completion of the registration process and affords the full rights and privileges of student status. Enrollment is accomplished by the payment or other satisfaction of tuition and fees and by the satisfaction of other obligations to the University.

Registration alone does not guarantee enrollment; nor does registration alone guarantee the right to participate in a class. In some cases, students need to obtain the approval of the instructor or of a representative of the department that offers a course. Please check this bulletin and the registration instructions contained in the on-line Directory of Classes for all of the approvals required.

To comply with current and anticipated Internal Revenue Service mandates, Columbia University requires all students to report their Social Security numbers at the time of admission. Newly admitted students who do not have Social Security numbers should obtain one well in advance of their first registration. International students should consult the International Students and Scholars Office, located at 524 Riverside Drive (telephone: 212-854-3587), for further information.

According to University regulations, each person who completes registration is considered a student of the University during the term for which they register, unless the student’s connection with the University is officially severed by withdrawal or otherwise. No student registered in any school/college of the University shall at the same time be registered in any other school/college, either of Columbia University or of any other institution, without specific authorization of the dean/director of the school/college of the University in which he or she is first registered.

The privileges of the University are not available to any student until they have completed registration. A student who is not officially registered for a University course may not attend the course. No student may register after the stated period unless he or she obtains the written consent of the appropriate dean or director.

The University reserves the right to withhold the privilege of registration or any other University privilege from any person with an unpaid debt to the University. Students are held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment.

No Columbia College student may register for fewer than 12 points in any given semester without the express permission of the Committee on Academic Standing (see the Center for Student Advising). Each Columbia College student must be registered for at least 12 points by the last day to drop a class (see Academic Calendar) in order to avoid being withdrawn from the College.

Registration and Change-of-Program Instructions

Registration and change-of-program instructions are announced in advance of each registration and change-of-program period. Please consult the instructions on the Registrar's website for exact dates and times of registration and change-of-program activities.

Students must obtain all necessary written course approvals and advisers’ signatures before registering. The late registration fee is $100.

Registration for Classes

Registration for classes and change of program are by appointment on-line.  Some classes have limits that are controlled directly by instructors or their departments. To register for these classes, students must first obtain the signature of the person indicated in the registration instructions. The student should then register in accordance with instructions provided by the Office of the Registrar.

No courses may be added after the last day of registration/change of program. The tentative dates for academic year 2013-2014 are:

Fall 2013

Change of Program

August 30 for first year students
September 3-6 and 9-13 for all students

Spring 2014


November 18-22 for students continuing from the fall semester

Change of Program

January 14-17, 21-24, 27-31 for all students

Fall 2014


April 14-18 for students continuing from the spring semester

Dropping Courses

Students may drop a course using the on-line registration system during the registration and change-of-program periods. With the exception of certain Core Curriculum courses (see below), the final dates for dropping courses are October 9 for Fall 2013 and February 25 for Spring 2014. For information about these deadlines, visit the Registar's website or refer to the Academic Calendar listed in this bulletin.

Columbia College students are not permitted to drop a course from their program of study after the drop deadline. In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for permission to withdraw from a class after the drop deadline but by the end of the Pass/D/Fail deadline resulting in the mark of W. This is a permanent mark, and remains on the transcript even if the student repeats the course for credit.

Students should be aware that they may not drop or withdraw from a course if it puts them below 12 credits for the semester. Students should consult their advising dean in the Center for Student Advising for more detailed information on the petition process.

Failure to attend classes or unofficial notification to the instructor does not constitute dropping a course. Students who stop attending class without dropping or withdrawing officially are assigned a letter grade by the instructor even if they have not completed any substantive work in the course. Any uncompleted work is averaged into the final grade as a “zero” or an “F,” and the instructor computes and awards a final course grade. 

Dropping Core Courses

Students may drop a Core Curriculum course using the on-line registration system no later than September 13 for Fall 2013 and January 31 for Spring 2014. Note that these deadlines differ from the deadlines to drop other courses. Students may also refer to the Core Curriculum website for more information.

Students are not permitted to drop Literature Humanities, University Writing, Frontiers of Science, Contemporary Civilization, Music Humanities, or Art Humanities after these deadlines without the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing. Students should consult their advising dean in the Center for Student Advising for more information on the petition process.

Students wishing to drop courses counting towards the Physical Education, Science, and Language requirements are bound by the general drop deadlines listed on the Registrar's website, and on the Academic Calendar listed in this bulletin.

Changing Grading Options

Courses may be changed from regular grading to Pass/D/Fail or from Pass/D/Fail to regular grading up to and including November 14 for Fall 2013 and up to and including March 27 for Spring 2014. For more information, see Programs of Study—The Pass/D/Fail Option.