FAQs for Transfers

Q: Can transfer students study abroad?

A: The possibility of studying abroad is greater if you enter as a sophomore.  Regardless, speak to your Advising Dean about your interest in studying abroad as soon as possible.  Note that transfer credit earned via study abroad would apply toward the 64 (for College students)/68 (for Engineering students) transfer credit maximum unless it is a Columbia program.

Q: What if I want extra time to complete my degree?

A: CC and SEAS undergraduates are expected to graduate in eight semesters. This holds true for transfer students as well, and the eight semester limit includes terms completed before enrolling at Columbia.  Extended time is not granted to finish a particular major, so transfer students must plan their semesters at Columbia with care.


Q: How do I transfer AP credit and how will it apply toward my degree?

A: You must request that the College Board send an official score report to Columbia (this information will not transfer from your previous institution).  Up to 16 points granted on the basis of Advanced Placement scores may apply toward the degree, subject to the overall 64/68 point maximum for transfer credit.  Here are charts outlining how AP credits may apply toward the CC and SEAS degrees.  CC students should note that AP credit will not satisfy Core requirements (other than foreign language).


Q: How many classes per semester is a typical course load?

A: Typically, students take five classes per semester (15-18 points). At a minimum, you must register for 12 points per semester, and the maximum number of credits per semester is 18 for CC and 21 for SEAS. 


Q: What opportunities will I have to speak to an Advising Dean before the fall semester begins?

A: Before you begin to register for fall classes at the end of August, you will have plenty of opportunities to connect with your CSA adviser. Your adviser will reach out to you in July, and you can correspond via email, phone, or even in person throughout the summer. There will also be group advising available during New Student Orientation (NSOP) in August.


Q: What’s the difference between a major and a concentration (CC)?

A: The specifics will vary by department, but generally a concentration requires fewer credits than a major.  All CC students must complete either a major or a concentration.  Note that students who choose to pursue additional majors or concentrations MAY NOT use one course to fulfill multiple degree requirements (in other words, no “double counting” with the exception of courses applied toward Global Core or Science Core requirements).


Q: I participated in physical education at my previous institution – can I waive part of my CU physical education requirement?

 A: If you earned PHED transfer credit you may be partially exempted from the PE requirement. Your Advising Dean can point you in the right direction.


Q: What should I do if I think something in my record (term count, transfer credit, DAR) is incorrect?

A: Contact your Advising Dean, who will address the issue or refer you to the appropriate office.


Q: As a transfer student, how should I think about the science requirement (CC)?

A: Transfer students satisfy this Core requirement with three approved courses.  Frontiers of Science is not required.  At least one of the three classes must be taken at Columbia. One course must be taken at Columbia or the prior institution in the Departments of Astronomy; Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; Physics; or Psychology, (please view the CC Bulletin for more information). 


Q: When will I declare my major?

A: Columbia Engineering students declare in the first semester of sophomore year and Columbia College students declare in the second semester of sophomore year.  Those who transfer in as juniors should declare immediately. 

James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
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Call: (212) 854-6378

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An Advisor of the Day is available by phone or in person Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.