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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

Pass/D/Fail:

The purposes of the Pass/D/Fail option are to encourage students to take courses of interest to them outside of their 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. Instructors are not informed if a student in their classes elect to use the Pass/D/Fail option. 

Courses used to meet the stated degree requirements (except those only given on a Pass/Fail basis) may not be taken for a Pass/D/Fail grade. All Core Curriculum courses (i.e., Literature HumanitiesUniversity WritingFrontiers of ScienceContemporary CivilizationArt HumanitiesMusic Humanities), as well as courses for the Global Core Requirement, Science Requirement, and Foreign Language Requirement, must be taken for a letter grade.

All courses used to meet the requirements of a major or concentration, including courses in other departments that fulfill requirements for a major, must also be taken for a letter grade, with the possible exception – to be determined by the relevant academic department or program – of the first one-term course taken by students in their eventual major.

All students registered in Columbia College during the regular academic year may elect one course each term during the regular academic year to take on a Pass/D/Fail basis (in addition to any courses that are graded 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 Columbia Summer Session course on a Pass/D/Fail basis. No more than one course may be designated to be taken on a Pass/D/Fail basis at any point in a given semester.

Students who wish to exercise the Pass/D/Fail grading option may designate in Student Services Online (SSOL) a single course for the grade of Pass/D/Fail until the Pass/D/Fail deadline specified on the Academic Calendari.e., October 8 for Fall A courses, November 19 for Fall full term and Fall B courses, February 8 for Spring A courses, March 18 for Spring full term, and April 5 for Spring B courses. After that deadline, students seeking to exercise the Pass/D/Fail grading option must petition the Committee on Academic Standing for an exception. Students should consult their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising about the petition process.

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 in SSOL until the end of the Change of Program period of the following semester. Students have until the end of the Change of Program period in the Spring semester to uncover the grade of a course taken in the previous Fall term, and until the end of the change of program period in the Fall semester to uncover the grade of a course taken in the previous Spring or Summer term. Seniors who graduate in May have until June 1 (please note: date determined as of July 2020 and subject to change) to uncover the grade of a course taken in their final Spring semester. Students who wish to uncover a grade of Pass can do so in Student Services Online (SSOL).

The grade of Pass is not included in the calculation of grade point averages; the grades of D and Fail are included in the calculation of grade point averages.

Columbia Engineering Students

Pass/Fail:

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 registrar@columbia.edu 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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