Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to reviewing the information below, please consult with your advising dean and school Bulletin for additional information and details about the Core Curriculum. You may also write to with any questions.

How do I register for a Core course?

Students are placed in sections of Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization before the start of the fall semester. In the fall semester, first-year students are placed in either Frontiers of Science or University Writing. Students who wish to take Art Humanities or Music Humanities can register for them via Vergil/SSOL.

How do I add or change a Core course?

You can add or change a Core course in Vergil/SSOL during your assigned registration periods. You can also submit an online petition to add or change a section of Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Frontiers of Science, Art Humanities, or Music Humanities. Students can submit a Core petition form during the first three days of classes (the form will become available at 12:00 a.m. ET on the first day of classes). Requests for changes submitted via email will not be processed.

University Writing petitions: If you are enrolled in Frontiers of Science and would like to be enrolled in University Writing instead, or if you would like to switch one University Writing section for another, please review the Undergraduate Writing Program’s petition process.

What is the last day to add, drop, or change a section of a Core class?

Students have until the second Friday of the semester to add, drop, or change a section of a Core course via Vergil/SSOL. After this date, students may not drop or change sections of their Core classes. Students with questions and concerns should speak to their academic advisors. This Core drop date happens much earlier than the regular drop date, so it is imperative that students keep this deadline in mind as they work out their schedules.

I mistakenly dropped my Core course, but it is now full. What should I do?

If you have dropped your Core course and are unable to re-register because the course is full, you may submit a petition form to be enrolled into a section that meets at the same time as your dropped course. Petitions do not guarantee placement into a specific section, but are processed by time preference only. You may also try registering for the section in Vergil/SSOL if a seat opens.

Are there waitlist for Core courses?

No. There are no waitlists for Core courses (with the exception of GS-only sections of Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization).

When will I see my instructor’s name online?

Instructor names will be posted online at least a week before the start of the semester.

I am on a waitlist for another course that conflicts with my Core course. What should I do?

You may make a change to your Core course via the petition process or via Vergil/SSOL.

Can I take Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization simultaneously?

No. Columbia College students must complete Literature Humanities before taking Contemporary Civilization, and cannot, therefore, take the courses simultaneously.

Can I defer Literature Humanities, Frontiers of Science, University Writing, or Contemporary Civilization?

You must consult with your Advising Dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising.

What are the Core petition dates?

Please visit the Core Petition page.

Can I submit a petition more than once?

No. Petitions may only be submitted once for each course.

Can I petition for a specific instructor’s section?

No. Petitions are fulfilled by day and time availability only, not by instructor or section number. You may register yourself for a specific section via Vergil/SSOL if there is a seat available.

Can I request a specific section even if it has reached the maximum number of students?

No. All Core courses are capped and will not be overenrolled.

How long does it take for a petition to be processed?

Most petitions are processed within 72 hours. If we are unable to process your request within 72 hours, we will let you know.

I am waiting for my petition to be processed, and the instructor of my desired section told me I can be admitted into their class. Can I sit in on a section that meets during the times I requested?

No. You are only allowed to attend the section that appears on your Vergil/SSOL page. You will not be allowed to sit in on a course unless you have been officially enrolled.

How will I know when my petition is processed?

You will receive an automated email once your petition is processed. The change will appear on your Vergil/SSOL page within 24 hours.

What happens if my petition is not processed by the end of the Core petition period?

You will receive an email notifying you of your petition’s status. If there are no seats available during your requested days/times, we will not be able to process your petition. However, you can register yourself for an available section via Vergil/SSOL until the end of the Core add/drop period.

Do I need to find someone to switch/swap sections with?

No. It is not required for you to find someone to swap your section with to change days and times. If you have identified another student with whom you would like to swap sections, do not attempt to swap manually through Vergil/SSOL. Instead, you should both complete petitions during the Core’s petition period.

What if I only have one time available to list on the petition?

The petition form requires you to select a minimum of three different times. If you are placed in a section that ultimately does not work with your schedule, you should make further changes in Vergil/SSOL.

I am a first-year or sophomore student. Can I petition for Art Humanities and Music Humanities?

No. Petitions for Art Humanities and Music Humanities are only available to juniors and seniors. However, you will be able to register for a section of Art Humanities or Music Humanities via Vergil/SSOL.

How do I switch from Frontiers of Science to University Writing?

To switch from Frontiers of Science to University Writing, students must submit a petition to the Undergraduate Writing Program by emailing

How do I switch from University Writing to Frontiers of Science?

To switch from University Writing to Frontiers of Science, students must submit an online petition with the Core office.

Can I switch sections after the Core petition period?

Yes. You will have until the second Friday of the semester to add, drop or change your Core course in Vergil/SSOL.

I have a question about petitioning for the Global Core requirement, the Language requirement, and/or the Science requirement. Whom should I contact?

Please visit the policies section on the College's Academic Affairs website or write to for information related to any of the above requirements.