Starting out at a new school can be daunting — to help ease the transition, the Office of Engineering Student Affairs has organized a comprehensive orientation program and a checklist to support you. You'll also find information on academic and campus resources here. 

Newly Admitted Students Steps

The orientation program and new student checklist will include information on campus life, academics, and other topics relevant to our new students.

If there is any additional information that the Engineering Student Affairs team can provide, feel free to contact us at (212) 854-6438 or visit our office located at 530 Mudd. The Office of Engineering Student Affairs looks forward to seeing you on campus!

Columbia University in the City of New York: "A Doubled Magic"

Academic Calendar for 2023-2024

Columbia University’s Academic Calendar for 2023-2024

Fall              September 5 - December 22
Spring        January 16 - May 10

Learn More

New Student Checklist

Activate Your Columbia UNI

Learn how to activate your UNI. Once you have activated your UNI, check your University email account - stay up to date with deadlines and events by adding our calendar to your LionMail account. Clicking the (+) button on the bottom right will sync our Calendar with your LionMail!

The UNI and the password gives you access to both your Columbia email and Student Services Online (SSOL). The SSOL account gives you access to online course registration, student billing, and much more. Please ensure that we have your updated contact information in SSOL at all times.

Upload Photo for CU ID Card

All new incoming students must request a CU ID by submitting their photo online. Please make sure to read the directions on the ID Center's website.

IDs must be picked up during your Department Orientation. The ID Center will not have your ID.

All CU IDs must have an "EP sticker" indicating that they are enrolled in a Graduate Engineering Program. If your ID is missing an EP sticker, please request one at the front desk of the Office of Engineering Student Affairs, located in Room 530 of the Mudd Building. If you have an ID already, you do not need to get a new one unless your current ID has expired.

Secure Your Student Visa (International Students)

International students at Columbia enter the United States on an F-1 or J-1 student visa. You will need an I-20 for F-1 status or DS-2019 for J-1 status issued by Columbia’s International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) before making your visa appointment at a U.S. consulate to apply for your visa. 

Watch ISSO’s video on how to get a visa. You will need to:

  1.  Prepare your documents (bank statements, passport, and other supporting documents)
  2.  Log in to Compass to apply for your I-20 / DS-2019 
  3.  Receive I-20 / DS-2019
  4.  Apply for Your Visa at a U.S. Consulate (the visa cannot be issued more than 120 days in advance of your program start date).
  5. Log into Compass to notify the ISSO of the status of your visa application ( You can submit multiple forms as your visa application status changes).

Ready to begin? Go to the ISSO website for the I-20/DS-2019 application, supporting documents checklist, and instructions.

During your visa interview, you may be asked for additional information. We recommend you visit the Applying for Your Visa page to download the Visa and Entry Support Letter from the Associate Provost and Director of the International Students and Scholars Office, as well as program-specific information. 
If you have not already begun the I-20 and visa application process, you must do so as soon as possible.

Submit Required Immunizations

Students must submit immunization documentation upon admission or at least 30 days prior to their scheduled registration date. Compliance with all current vaccine requirements must be confirmed before students are permitted to register.

  1. MMR​
  2. Meningitis (MenACWY)​
  3. Up-to-date COVID-19​
  4. Seasonal Influenza (required for Spring registration)

Guidelines on how to submit immunization can be found here

Please refer to Columbia Health’s immunization requirements page for additional information, including contact information, if you require additional assistance.

Register for Columbia Engineering Grad Welcome Day

Spring 2024 Engineering Welcome Day/Orientation for new Spring 2024 students will be on January 11th, and many programs have their Program Kick-Off scheduled around that time as well. Invitations and registration information will be sent to your LionMail account, so please be sure to activate your UNI as soon as you can.

Each Program or Department has a mandatory kick-off/orientation that is separate from Engineering Welcome Day. Please refer to our Program Kick-Off page for more information. 

If you have any specific questions regarding orientation, please feel free to contact the SEAS ESA office at [email protected]

Prepare for Professional Development and Leadership - ENGI E4000 (MS Only)

The Professional Development and Leadership (PDL) course empowers and educates Columbia engineers to maximize performance and achieve their full potential to become engineering leaders of today and tomorrow. The workshops provide engineers with skills and perspectives needed to succeed in a fast-changing technical climate. 

ENGIE4000 (Professional Development and Leadership) is required for all Master of Science students. Additional information, including a schedule, will be shared with you soon. You can also find more information on the PDL website. Any questions regarding the program should be sent to [email protected].

Complete Verification (MS Students Only)

All incoming MS students* must participate in the final verification process, in which we review and verify all academic, professional, and reference information provided during the application process. In order to satisfy this requirement, students must complete the MS Verification Survey. Instructions on how to do so will be sent out a month before the start of your coursework. Questions about this step can be sent to [email protected]

*MS Express students are exempt from this requirement. CS Bridge students must participate in the verification process.


Submit Official Documents - Transcripts & Test Scores

Official Test Scores

Official test scores must be submitted via the appropriate testing agency for all scores provided with your application for admission. If we do not receive your scores prior to Welcome Day, you will not be able to register for classes.

Read more on Columbia Engineering’s Official Test Score policy.

Official Transcripts

The policy for submitting official transcripts varies by where the University is located. All official transcripts must be received by October 15, 2023.

  • Students who have attended a college or university in the United States must submit electronic transcripts directly from their school to [email protected]. If a school does not offer electronic delivery, applicants must write to [email protected] to provide us with the link to their institution's webpage concerning transcript orders. After verifying this information, we will then authorize a hardcopy submission mailed directly to us by the Registrar of your university in a sealed envelope.
  • Students who have attended a college or university in China will be required to contact CHESICC to arrange submission of a “Verification Report of China Higher Education Student's Academic Transcript” AND a “Verification Report of China Higher Education Qualification Certificate” (for those earning a degree in China) to Columbia at [email protected].
  • Students who have attended a university that is not in China or the United States must submit an electronic transcript if your school offers secure online delivery to [email protected]. If the university cannot send transcripts electronically via a secure, password-protected system, applicants must order a Course-by-Course Evaluation and International Credential Advantage Package to be sent electronically to [email protected] from World Education Services (WES).

Read more on Columbia Engineering’s Official Transcript policy.

Please contact [email protected] should you have any questions.


Register for Courses

Full-time students are required to register for 12 credits and part-time students typically register for 6 credits. Incoming students will be able to register or join a waitlist for up to a total of 15 credits.

Students should see registration appointments listed in SSOL by the middle of the summer for a period in August. Some departments have different registration appointments from other departments so the specific starting date for registration can differ from other classmates. If registration appointments are not listed by the middle of the summer in SSOL, please email [email protected].

For any questions related to the course schedule or specific requirements for the degree, we strongly encourage students to contact their department directly.

For more information about registration, please visit Graduate Enrollment Services

Withdrawing After Registration

If you are registered for courses and have decided to no longer attend Columbia Engineering, you must complete this form and select "Withdrawal.”  Make sure to contact your department about your decision.

Enroll in Health Insurance

All Full-Time students must have health insurance. If you have your own health insurance and would like to continue using it, you may waive the Columbia University health insurance enrollment.

To sign-up for health insurance, please visit this website. For health insurance prices, please refer to this website.

International students: To ensure that students have comparable insurance coverage, all registered full-time international students are enrolled by default in the 90 levels of the Plan offered by the University. A charge for the 90 levels of the Columbia Plan as well as the Columbia Health fee will appear on the first student bill. Find additional information for International Students on the Columbia Health website.


Complete Required Columbia Engineering Orientation & OUL Tutorials


Every student who is new to a degree program at Columbia must complete two required tutorials that introduce important University policies and valuable student resources. These tutorials convey values that are foundational to membership in the Columbia University community and provide skills and resources to help support you to excel during your time here. Both must be completed before your arrival on campus. Each tutorial takes approximately 40 minutes to complete. Click NEXT STEPS to learn more about these tutorials, gain access to the tutorials, and complete them by the deadline. 

Tutorial 1: Welcome to Columbia

Tutorial 2: Sexual Assault Prevention

Fall deadline: First day of classes

Spring deadline for Tutorials 1 and 2: First day of classes

Students who do not complete both tutorials by the respective deadlines will have a registration hold.

For questions related to the OUL Pre-Arrival Tutorials (Welcome to Columbia and Sexual Assault Prevention), please contact [email protected].



Over the summer, new students are automatically enrolled in three modules on Canvas, also known as Courseworks2. You will receive an email when these tutorials are activated. The modules are in a course titled "SEAS Mandatory Orientation Tutorials"

All incoming students must complete the required Columbia Engineering Tutorials located in Canvas. 

The deadline is October 14th at 11:59 PM.
For questions regarding the SEAS Mandatory Orientation Tutorials, please email [email protected].

Attend - ENGI 6001: Engineer Your Ph.D. Week (Ph.D. students only)

ENGI 6001: Engineer Your Ph.D. (EYP) is a week-long orientation for new doctoral students. The orientation prepares doctoral students to maximize performance and achieve their full potential both during and after their doctoral program. The goal is to cultivate future scholars and leaders in their respective fields. The modules are tailored for each stage of the doctoral program, with a focus on the development of academic, research, and professional skills.

This course is zero credits and R-graded. R is a non-evaluative grade that confers credit for registration. 

Fall 2023 EYP Dates: Aug. 28-31

Report Outside Scholarships & External Payments

Students attending Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science are required to notify the Office of Student Financial Planning to report any outside funding

Engineering Graduate Student Council (EGSC)

EGSC is the student governing body of the graduate students at Columbia Engineering. Participation in EGSC through its various committees, student organizations, and executive board positions is highly encouraged.

Introduction to SSOL, Paying Your Bill, & More

The Student Service Center has put together several videos on navigating Columbia's services- including SSOL, Vergil, and Financial Aid. Please watch & learn more! Helpful Videos for you!

Health Resources

Columbia has a robust variety of health resources available on campus. 


There are several immunization requirements that all students—regardless of credit load—must meet.

For MMR, Meningitis Decision, and COVID-19 vaccines, students must submit their documentation upon admission or at least 30 days prior to their scheduled registration date.

Disability Services

The Columbia University Office of Disability Services serves students within all Columbia University schools and departments. The ODS works with each engineering student and Graduate Student Affairs to address specific needs. 

Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

212-854-2378 (tdd)
212-854-3448 (fax)
[email protected]


Call Public Safety at (212) 854-5555