Graduate Enrollment Services

Below you will find information about registration, academic policies, and other academic procedures. 

Please read the instructions carefully and consult with your department before submitting a request.


Steps to Register

Registration for MS Students

Registration for Masters Students in SEAS:

Beginning with registration in April 2022, master’s students will be able to register for a maximum of 15 credits, including courses for which the student is registering on the waitlist. As has been past policy and practice, graduate students may not take more than 15 credits per semester, and students are reminded that they are billed per credit. In addition, graduate students are reminded that if they drop classes after the last day of the Change of Program (add/drop) period, they will be charged tuition for the dropped classes.

Master’s students in SEAS will be limited to the following parameters:

  • 1st Year students will only be able to be simultaneously registered and waitlisted for credits up to 15 credits.
  • 2nd Year students will only be able to be simultaneously registered and waitlisted for credits up to 12 credits for 36 credits programs or 9 credits for 30 programs.

For example, if you are a 2nd-year student and you are registered for 10 credits and want to waitlist a class for 3 credits, you will not be able to. Your total waitlisted/registered credits would be 13 which would be above the 12 credit max. You will either need to register or waitlist a class that is 2 credits or drop a class you are registered for to waitlist the 3 credit class.

If you are a 1st-year student, currently registered for 9 credits and waitlisted for 3 credits, and want to register for an open 4-credit course, you will not be able to. Your total waitlisted/registered credits would be 16 which is above the 15 max. You will need to either drop a class or remove yourself from a waitlist.

Registration for Doctoral Students

Doctoral students cannot register part-time. There are three full-time registration categories for Doctoral students. Please make sure to confirm your registration category with your department administrator.

  • Full Residence Unit (RESI G0001, call number 13369) – “R.U.” is for students who will be taking courses or who will still be within their first six semesters. The completion of six R.U.s is a requirement for the MPhil and Ph.D. degrees.
  • Extended Residence (EXRS G0001, call number 13367) – “E.R.” is for students who are beyond the first six semesters of their Ph.D. program and are serving as Teaching Assistants (TAs), Research Assistants (RAs), Research Fellows, or as Core Preceptors.
  • Matriculation and Facilities (MTFC G0001, call number 13368) – “M&F” is exclusively for Ph.D. students who are beyond their first six semesters, who will not be teaching, and who are instead:
    • completing a degree requirement such as a language examination or qualifying examination
    • preparing the dissertation proposal, or
    • writing or distributing the dissertation
    • please note, students should not register for M&F for over two semesters. In extenuating circumstances, students may petition Graduate Student Affairs for a third term of M&F.

For more information about each registration category, please see the Residence Unit Student Guide

Doctoral students must register continuously until they distribute to their committee the copy of the dissertation that will be evaluated at the defense; if the dissertation defense is scheduled for a subsequent term, students need not register again.


Matriculation and Facilities (M&F) Policies for Doctoral students

Columbia Engineering Ph.D. students can only register for M&F during the last year of the doctoral program for a maximum of two semesters. Prior to registering for M&F the student must inform their advisor and the department chair that they are entering their final year and only working on writing or distributing their dissertation.


Part-time vs Full-time

Part-time and full-time statuses depend on your degree and number of points (equal to "credits" at other institutions). One point represents one hour of contact with a professor each week for the length of the term. Most classes are three points.



Credits Required

Max Time Allowed





30-36 depending on degree program


Please check with your department

5 years

Less than 6 credits

Min 6, less than 12 credits

Min 12+ credits

Doctoral (PhD only)



60 credits (includes approved advanced standing)

7 years



All Doctoral candidates are required to register full-time.

Please refer to this link for registration rules.

Doctoral (EngScD)

60 credits

7 years

Must obtain approval, please inquire with the Office of Graduate Student Affairs

Must obtain approval, please inquire with the Office of Graduate Student Affairs

12 credits+


All students should plan their academic programs with their department. Should a graduate student need more time to complete their degree program, a petition for an extension to their program must be submitted to the department and the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.

International Students (F-1 or J-1) are required to be full-time. These students should contact ISSO to inquire about dropping courses at any point during their program. Since the cost of tuition generally increases each academic year, students are encouraged to complete their program in the shortest time possible that fits with their own schedule and constraints.

Adding/dropping Courses after Change of Program Period

Graduate Students are cautioned that there are no refunds for courses dropped after the University's Change of Program Period.  Even if you are adding a course, the cost of the new course will not be “offset” by dropping (swapping) with a discarded course. Students will be charged in full for both courses. Because of this, we encourage students to be fully advised as to their intended course load each term. Students who desire to add or drop courses after the add/drop timeline will need to complete the Registration Adjustment Form and submit the request to their department. SSOL cannot be used for this purpose as faculty and school approval are required.


Changing Degree Program after Change of Program Period

The change of program period only allows you to add or drop courses. If a graduate student wants to “transfer” into another department, they must complete at least one semester in their current program and submit an admissions application for the program that they wish to enroll in the future. If the student is admitted, then their degree program status will change.

For further questions about transferring, please check with Graduate Admissions.


Changing Course Grading Options

Graduate students must speak to their department before selecting P/F for a course.

If approved, please review the timeline established by the Registrar’s office for students wishing to change their grading options (i.e. Letter Grade to Pass/Fail etc.).  The Registration Adjustment Form is used for this purpose as well.

Pass/Fail courses do not count towards the degree. After the last day of the change of grade option period, there is no uncovering or changing of P/F or letter grades under any circumstances.


Columbia University Cross-Registration

The following should be noted:

  • All students will need departmental permission to take non-program-related courses
  • If approved, students can take courses outside of their requirements. However, they should be aware that these courses may not count towards their degree program
  • Students who take undergraduate courses through Engineering will be charged graduate-level tuition for those courses
  • Cross-registration requests require approval from non-Engineering schools and the graduate student’s department
  • Please be aware of eligibility requirements when registering. Some courses may be restricted
  • Students wishing to take graduate courses at the Columbia Business School (CBS)  must follow Business school registration procedures and receive approval from their department
  • Students wishing to obtain academic credit for courses taken at Columbia but outside of the School of Engineering will need to inquire about advanced standing

Columbia Engineering Cross-Registration

Cross-registration within Columbia Engineering must approved by the graduate student’s home department and the host department. For example, if you are a MECE student and you want to register for a CS course, then you will need to obtain approval from MECE and CS.


Contact Us

Enrollment and Registration Appointments: Graduate students with questions about enrollment, registration, or graduation clearances should email the Enrollment Services  Team at [email protected]



Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the upcoming academic year are updated routinely during the summer. For more information, please click the link below: 

Academic Integrity

To learn more about our policies and procedures regarding academic integrity, please click on the link below:


This student handbook contains most of the policies guiding your tenure as students at Columbia. You  are responsible for knowing the contents and following all policies contained within.