New Student Checklist

After you have accepted the offer of admission, please complete the following checklist to begin your transition to Columbia:

Activate Your UNI and Columbia Email Address

Your UNI (University Network ID) grants you access to a number of important functions at Columbia, including registration, billing, and email. Your designated UNI (which consists of your initials and a four-digit number) will be sent to the email address with which you applied to GSAS. If you have not yet received that email, then we are still in the process of creating a UNI for you. Once you receive your UNI notification email, follow these instructions to activate it.
Activating your UNI will also activate your Columbia email account (known as LionMail). You should check this account regularly; all official correspondence from the university will be sent to your Columbia email account.

International Students: Apply for Your I-20

If you have not already done so, we strongly urge you to apply for your I-20 online as soon as possible to expedite the process of obtaining a student visa. Please contact the International Students and Scholars Office at isso [at] with any questions.

Apply for Housing

To apply for housing, complete the Columbia Residential application by the deadline indicated in your letter of admission. You will need your sign-up code and PID number, also included in your letter of admission.

See the Housing page for links to apartment-hunting resources and special information for PhD students and MA students.

Fulfill Immunization Requirements

Students must fulfill two immunization requirements at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. Students will not be able to register until the requirements are met, and late submissions will not be expedited.

You must:

  • Document immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Document that you have either received the meningitis vaccine or that you have declined to receive it

To provide documentation and for more information, see the Columbia Health website.

Submit a Photo for Your Columbia ID Card

You must submit a photo online to be used on your Columbia ID card. You will be able to pick up your ID card in person in 109 Low Library during the week of GSAS New Student Orientation. (A government-issued photo ID, such as a passport or driver license, is required for pick-up.) Please note that it can take up to three to four business days to generate your ID card after you have submitted your photo.

Submit Final Transcripts

Once an applicant has been admitted and has indicated acceptance of our offer of admission, certified and secure online official transcripts must be submitted directly to Columbia by the Registrar’s Office of the applicant’s prior institution(s).

  • All students who have attended schools in the US must have electronic transcripts submitted directly from their school, or from the vendor that provides that service for their school, to gsas-credentials [at] If the school does not offer electronic delivery, applicants must write to gsas-admissions [at] and provide the link to their institution’s webpage concerning transcript orders. After verification, the GSAS Office of Admissions will respond with further instructions.
  • All students attending Chinese institutions 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 GSAS at gsas-credentials [at]
  • All other students who have attended an international university must submit an electronic transcript, if their school offers secure online delivery. If the school cannot send transcripts electronically via a secure, password-protected system, students must contact World Education Services (WES) and order a Course-by-Course Evaluation and International Credential Advantage Package to be sent to gsas-credentials [at]
Complete the Verification of Your Credentials

Updated credential verification instructions will be published here soon.

Complete All Pre-Arrival Tutorials

GSAS students are expected to exhibit the highest level of personal and academic integrity as members of the Columbia University community. Accordingly, GSAS asks that you familiarize yourself with Columbia’s core community values and policies on Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research and Sexual Respect.

Incoming master’s and doctoral students in Arts and Sciences programs must complete several online tutorials in these areas prior to arrival on campus, and over the course of the summer will receive emails with instructions on how to satisfy these requirements.

If you have any questions, please contact the gsas-studentaffairs [at] (GSAS Office of Student Affairs)

Register for Classes AND a Full or Fractional Residence Unit

Students entering in the fall will be able to register online during the week of GSAS New Student Orientation, and will receive emails with detailed instructions over the course of the summer.

If you have any questions, please contact the gsas-studentaffairs [at] (GSAS Office of Student Affairs)

Understand Your Columbia Health and Student Medical Insurance Options

Columbia Health Program

By paying the Columbia Health Fee, students enroll in the Columbia Health Program and are granted access to the programs and services provided on campus through the five Columbia Health departments. The fee is mandatory and automatically billed to 1) all full-time students and 2) those who elect enrollment in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan (see below). Other students may elect enrollment in the Columbia Health Program. Visit the Columbia Health website for full program details and benefits.

Columbia Student Medical Insurance

University policy requires all registered full-time students to have health insurance coverage that meets the standards set by Columbia Health. The Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan offers the 90 Plan and the 100 Plan. The Columbia Plan is administered by Aetna Student Health and is underwritten by Aetna.

To ensure that international students have access to the highest quality care on and off campus, the University requires that all international students enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan. Part-time domestic students may elect enrollment in the plan.

All incoming full-time students must make an insurance selection by September 30, 2018. They must either:

  • Confirm enrollment in the 90 Plan (Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan)
  • Upgrade to the 100 Plan (Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan), or
  • Request a waiver from mandatory enrollment in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan (domestic students only)

Full-time students will be enrolled in the 90 Plan if they do not make an enrollment selection or if no waiver request has been submitted by the deadline.

Students who enroll in the plan may also choose to make use of the optional insurance for eligible dependents.