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Committee on Instruction Announces Updated Academic Policy

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Columbia College-General Studies Committee on Instruction (COI) has announced an update to the policy on the maximum number of points per term, the maximum number of programs of study, and double-counting certain courses toward two programs of study. The policy will go into effect as of Fall 2017. Full details are below.

Information regarding the COI policy, adopted Spring 2017, regarding maximum number of points per term, maximum number of programs of study, and double-counting certain courses toward two programs of study

The following policies will be in effect as of Fall 2017:

  • A Columbia College student will be able to earn a maximum of 18 credits per semester.

  • A Columbia College student will be able to declare a maximum of two programs of study (a “program of study” is defined as a major, a concentration, or a special concentration).

  • A Columbia College student pursuing two programs of study may be able to count a limited number of courses toward both programs of study (“double-counting”).

Read the Full Policy

FAQs

I am a rising junior or senior and I have already declared two programs of study (majors, concentrations, or special concentrations). Can I apply the double-counting policies to my two programs?

Yes. For students still enrolled in Fall 2017, the new policies on double-counting can apply retroactively.

Please Note: The policies on double-counting will not apply retroactively for individuals who have graduated from the College prior to Fall 2017.

The policy states that there are a limited number courses that I can count toward two programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations). What courses can I double-count?

You can double-count:

  1. Certain introductory courses that provide fundamental knowledge necessary for both programs. These courses include the following:

    • elementary and intermediate foreign language courses;

    • the calculus sequence (I through IV, or Honors A and B);

    • introductory courses in Statistics (STAT UN1101 or 1201); and

    • the introductory course in computer programming (COMS W1004).

    • Please Note: Students may not petition for coursework to be included in this category.

  2. Up to two additional courses, if each course is already approved for the two declared programs of study. Please Note: Departments and programs can decide whether they wish to establish limits on double-counting.

  3. A maximum of two courses in the Core Curriculum. Specifically, two courses that fulfill either the Global Core or the science requirement can be double-counted toward the Core requirements and toward one of your programs of study (major, concentration, or special concentration). You cannot triple-count a course toward the Core and two programs of study.

If you have questions about double-counting, please reach out to your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick for Student Advising.

Do I have to choose one category for double-counting?

No, all three categories of double-counting can apply, depending on the two declared programs of study. If you have questions, please reach out to your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick for Student Advising.

Can I declare any two programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations)?

No. Because certain courses can now be double-counted, students may not declare two programs of study (majors, concentrations, or special concentrations) in programs owned by the same department, institute or center (“offering unit”) that provides the programs’ undergraduate coursework.

For example, you cannot declare a double major in both Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, since both programs are owned by the Department of Mathematics. Similarly, you cannot declare two concentrations, one in Russian Language and Culture and one in Slavic Studies, because both programs are owned by the Department of Slavic Languages.

It is important to note that all joint majors are considered to be owned by both offering units. For example, Political Science-Economics is owned by both the Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics. Therefore, you cannot declare a double major in Political Science and Political Science-Economics. However, you can still declare a double major in the two departments, one in Political Science and one in Economics.

If you have additional questions about pursuing two programs of study, please consult your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising.

I am pre-med/pre-law. Does this mean I can only declare one additional program of study?

No. “Pre-med” and “pre-law” are not official majors or concentrations, so you still have the opportunity to declare two programs of study (majors, concentrations, or special concentrations). However, the policy of an 18-credit maximum per semester still applies to you, so it may be more realistic to pursue one major or concentration along with your pre-med or pre-law coursework. If you have questions, please reach out to your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising.

I have been thinking of declaring a third program of study. Does the new policy mean that I can’t do that now?

Yes. However, most students who have declared three programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations) in the past have not completed them all by graduation, so we encourage you to speak with your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising to discuss your interests and plans.

I have already declared more than two programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations). Does this policy mean I have to give something up?

No, if you have already declared more than two programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations) prior to May 2017, this new policy will not require you to make any changes. However, most students who declare three programs of study do not complete them all by graduation, so we encourage you to speak with your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising to discuss your decision.

I have already declared more than two programs of study (majors, concentrations or special concentrations). Can I count the same class for more than two programs?

No, you can only double-count applicable courses, you cannot triple-count.

Can I petition to go over the 18-credit limit during a semester?

Yes, but because faculty members believe that these new policies will have far-ranging benefits for you and your classmates, petitions will only be granted for rare and unavoidable situations. If you feel you have a situation that can be described as rare and unavoidable, please reach out to your adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising.

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Sydney S. Gross
Director of Communications
Columbia College
(212) 851-0291
ssgross@columbia.edu