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Course Information

CC/SEAS Visiting & Exchange Students


The Basics


  • Students are required to register for a minimum of 12 points to maintain full-time status, and may register for no more than 18 points (CC students)/ 21 points (SEAS students).
  • The average course load for Columbia College/SEAS students is 15 points/credits (4-5 classes).


Columbia Credit System

  • Most undergraduate classes are 3 or 4 credits or points (these terms are used interchangeably)
  • Credits generally reflect time spent in and out of the classroom. (1 Credit=3 semester hours)


Columbia Course Numbering System

  •  Each course is assigned a course number that represents the a specific school/division within Columbia University, the academic department offering the class, and   the difficulty level.  See the Key to Columbia Course Listings for more details about the numbering system.


Course Registration


Searching for Courses

As a CC/SEAS Visiting/Exchange Student, you will have access to most courses within the Division of Columbia College, SEAS (engineering school), and Barnard College, as long as those courses are “open to” Columbia College/SEAS Students. Such courses will include the following prefixes in the course number:  UN, V, W, GU, E, BC, or X  (see Key to Columbia Course Listings). These courses should be available for registration through SSOL.  However, please note that some courses (including those open to Columbia College students) have various departmental restrictions or limited enrollment. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the availability of any class. If you require a specific course in order to graduate from your home institution, we suggest that you establish a back-up plan or alternative course in the case that you  are not able to enroll in your first choice.


  • You can use the following webpages to search for courses and course descriptions:

Directory of Classes

Columbia College Bulletin

Barnard Course Bulletin

SEAS Bulletin


  • Prior to your registration appointment time, you may search available courses and create a "wish list" through SSOL.  The "wish list" is a function that allows you to build and store your schedule of classes prior to your registration time. To build your "wish list":
  1. Log on to  Student Services Online (SSOL) and select the Registration link.
  2. Enter the 5-digit call number for your course of choice or use the search feature to search for courses by title or department.
  3. Select the Add button next to your desired course section to add the course to your "wish list".


  • We also recommend using Vergil (Your Personal Course Planning Guide) to help you find and organize your course schedule. 

Graduate Level Courses in Other Divisions of Columbia

In addition to the undergraduate divisions, there are 16 graduate/professional divisions within (or affiliated with) Columbia University (full list here). CC/SEAS Visiting & Exchange Students may have the opportunity to enroll in some of these courses. However, these courses will likely be "restricted" and not be available for registration via SSOL.  Interested students should contact their Advising Dean for specific enrollment procedures. Read more about taking courses in other divisions of the University.


Restricted Undergraduate Courses

As you search courses through SSOL, you may come across undergraduate courses that are "restricted".  Please keep in mind that all academic departments have the right to determine the registration parameters for their courses.  Some departments may choose to restrict registration for courses that are in high demand and have limited enrollment or are required for Columbia Students to complete a major.  While these restricted courses will not be available through SSOL registration, in rare cases, students may be eligible to register for courses manually. Students should consult with their advising dean to discuss options or alternatives. In any case, visiting students must be prepared for the possibility that they may not be able to get into a course.


Business Courses in Columbia College

You may notice that there are several business courses listed in the Columbia College Bulletin.  Due to high demand, these courses are restricted in SSOL and not available to Visiting and Exchange students.



Economics Department

You may find that some courses in the Economics Department have registration restrictions.  See registration information for restricted undergraduate classes.



Columbia College Core Curriculum

As a reminder, the following Columbia College Core Curriculum courses may NOT be taken by visiting and exchange students:

  • Masterpieces of European Literature and Philosophy (Literature Humanities):HUMA CC1001/CC1002

  • Intro to Contemporary Civilization in the West (Contemporary Civilization):HUMA CC1101/CC1102

  • Masterpieces of Western Art (Art Humanities): HUMA  CC1121

  • Masterpieces of Western Music (Music Humanities): HUMA CC1123

  • University Writing: ENGL CC1010

  • African Civilization: AFCV CC1020








James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


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