Graduate Programs

Academic Programs and Minimum Degree Requirements

In order to complete the requirements for any graduate degree, the student must plan a program with the department of major interest and then have it approved by the Office of Graduate Student Services. The program may be modified later with the permission of the department and the assistant dean. No more than one term of course work or, in the case of part-time students, no more than 15 credits of course work, completed before the program is approved, may be counted toward the degree. Students registered in the School of Engineering have a minimum requirement for each Columbia degree of 30 credits of course work completed at Columbia University. The student must enroll for at least 15 of these credits while registered in the engineering school. (See also the sections "Special Students" and "Columbia Video Network.") Students wishing to change from the Ph.D. degree to the Eng.Sc.D. degree must therefore enroll for at least 15 credits while registered in the school. For residence requirements for students registered in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or those wishing to change from the Eng.Sc.D. degree to the Ph.D. degree, see the bulletin of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Maintaining Matriculation

Students admitted to graduate study are expected to enter upon and continue their studies in each succeeding regular term of the academic year. Any student who fails to register for the following term will be assumed to have withdrawn unless a leave of absence has been granted by the Office of Graduate Student Services.

Full time vs. Part time

While many candidates study on a full-time basis, it is usually possible to obtain all or a substantial part of the credit requirement for the master’s, professional, or doctoral degrees through part-time study.  To maintain full time status, a student must be registered for minimum of 12 points for each given semester. For part time status, 6 points must be maintained.

Taking Courses at Another School

Under special conditions, and with the prior approval of the department of his or her major interest and of the assistant dean, a student may be permitted to take a required subject at another school. However, credit for such courses will not reduce the 30-credit minimum that must be taken at Columbia for each degree. For this credit to be formally recognized on the student’s record at Columbia, a transcript from the other institution must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services.

Language Requirements

Competence in written and spoken English is required of every degree candidate. See "Graduate Admissions" for English proficiency requirements.

Degree Filing Deadlines

A candidate for MS or MS-PhD track must file an application with Graduate Student Services on the date specified in the academic calendar. Candidates for a doctoral degree must apply for the final examination.  If the degree is not earned by the next scheduled time for the issuance of diplomas subsequent to the date of filing, the application must be renewed. Degrees are awarded three times a year—in October, February, and May.

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