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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from across the offices supporting Columbia College and Columbia Engineering collected here in one place for your convenience. You can browse by topic/department or search by keyword.

Classes, Berick Center for Student Advising

How do I add a class?

During the Change-of-Program period (the first 10 days of the semester, also known as Add-Drop): Use normal web registration procedures.

After the Change-of-Program period: Students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing.  Find all instructions and forms HERE.

How do I audit a class? (For CC Seniors only)

The mark of "R" or registration credit is equivalent to auditing a course.  Please note that no points/credits are earned.  The "R" credit option is available only to Columbia College seniors who submit a completed petition found HERE.  

"R" credit petitions will only be authorized if:

  • the courses are in excess of the 124 points required for the B.A. degree
  • the courses are not used to fulfill a requirement for the B.A. degree, and
  • the student has the permission of the course instructor.

For more information regarding the "R" Credit option, please see your Advising Dean.

How do I drop a class?

During the Change-of-Program period (also known as Add/Drop): You can use normal web registration procedures.

After the Change-of-Program period and before the drop deadline (also known as the Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period): Students may request to add and drop certain courses*, subject to approval by their school and/or the instructor, through SSOL.  For more information, please review the Post-Change of Program Period Student Quick Guide.  Students not able to complete their request via SSOL should  complete a Registration Adjustment Form  and submit it to the Center for Student Advising in 403 Lerner. SEAS students will also need their CSA adviser’s signature on the form. 

*Please note: The deadline to drop Columbia College Core Curriculum courses is the second week of the semester.

After the drop deadline:

  • Columbia College students may elect a "W" or Withdrawal from classes from the drop deadline to the P/D/F deadline. Students must complete a CC Acknowledgement of Course Withdrawal Form and submit it to the Center for Student Advising in 403 Lerner.
  • SEAS students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing. Find all instructions and required forms to petition to drop a course after the deadline HERE.
How do I get a course approved for the Science or Global Core Requirements?

Science Requirement: Columbia College students who wish to request an exception to the Science Requirement should go to the Dean's Office in 208 Hamilton Hall.

Global Core/Major Cultures: Students who wish to request an exception to the Global Core or Major Cultures Requirement should meet with their advising dean at the CSA and submit the Global Core Petition Form.

How do I go over points?

To take more than 18 (CC) or 21 (SEAS) credits during a single semester, submit the Petition to Register Above the Credit Limit form to your adviser in the CSA. Find the required forms and instructions HERE.

How do I Pass/D/Fail a class? How do I uncover a P/D/F grade?

Columbia College Students


All students registered in Columbia College during the regular academic year may elect one course each semester during the regular academic year on a Pass/D/Fail basis. This is in addition to any courses that are given only on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who do not utilize both Pass/D/Fail options during the academic year may elect, in the summer immediately following, to take one Summer Term course on a Pass/D/Fail basis. Courses used to meet the stated degree requirements (except those only given on a Pass/Fail basis) may not be taken Pass/D/Fail. All courses used to meet the requirements of a major or concentration, including related courses, are also excluded from this option, except the first such one-term course taken by the student in his or her eventual major, unless otherwise specified by the department.

The purposes of this option are to encourage students to take courses of interest to them outside of the field of specialization and to permit those who have not decided upon a major to test their talents in a particular field that may be of interest. Students who wish to exercise the Pass/D/Fail option must designate a course for the grade of Pass/D/Fail when registering for each term in the College. A Pass/D/Fail course may be changed to a regular course or a regular course to a Pass/D/Fail course until mid-November in the fall term and until mid-March in the spring term regardless of whether a student has received a midterm grade for the class before the relevant date.

In order to encourage students to engage more fully in the courses they elect to take for a grade of Pass/D/Fail students are allowed to uncover a grade of Pass within two weeks of the start of the semester immediately following that in which the grade of Pass was received. Students have until the end of the add period in the spring semester to uncover the grade of a fall course and until the end of the add period in the fall semester to uncover the grade of a spring or summer term course. Seniors who graduate in May have until June 1 to uncover the grade of a final spring course.

The grade of Pass is not used in calculating grade point average; the grades of D and Fail are used.

Columbia Engineering Students


Columbia Engineering students can take up to two non-technical courses pass/fail and the courses will count towards their non-tech requirement. Courses must be at the 3000 level or higher. Students should check that the department offering the course allows courses in their department to be taken pass/fail.  Students cannot take any core classes or language instruction classes pass/fail.  Only one class per semester may be taken pass/fail. (This restriction does not include courses that are only offered pass/fail.) The course grade cannot be uncovered. Courses taken pass/fail cannot count towards a minor; all courses taken for a minor have to be taken for a letter grade.

Before the Deadline

The Pass/D/Fail deadline is usually the 10th week of classes. During the Change of Program period, students may elect to change the grading option via SSOL. During the post change of program period and before the deadline, students should email the Registrar at with their request.

After the Deadline

Students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing. Find all instructions and forms online.

How do I take classes that overlap?

Students who wish to register for courses that overlap must submit a Course Overlap Petition to their CSA Adviser before the end of the Change of Program period. Find all forms and instructions HERE.



Where can I find a tutor or other extra academic help?

If you are struggling in a course, you should always first contact your professor or teaching assistant to discuss expectations, go over previous exams and papers, and clarify concepts and the material. It's also a good idea to contact your advising dean, who can help you review your study habits and create a plan. 

For more assistance, you can look for a tutor or visit a help room. Help rooms are sponsored by the academic departments and are staffed by graduate students. They are open at various times for students to drop by and ask questions about homework and material.  There are also a variety of tutors available. Academic Success Programs offers a free group tutoring service in a variety of subjects. Here is a list of department-sponsored private tutors and help room information.

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