A full-time student must register for a full Residence Unit (“RU”), Extended Residence, or Matriculation & Facilities (see below) each semester, whether or not the student is taking courses. Students in PhD programs may not register part-time. PhD students may not register for more than 20 credits per semester. Credits in excess of 20 must by approved by both the DGS and the GSAS Office of Student Affairs.
Part-time students in free-standing MA programs may register for full, half, or quarter Residence Units. For students in free-standing MA programs, the following guidelines apply:
- A student who is registered for a full Residence Unit (“RU”) may enroll in four or more courses. Please note however that additional tuition is charged per point if the student registers for more than 20 points per semester.
- A student who is registered for a half Residence Unit (“0.5 RU”) may enroll in up to three courses.
- A student who is registered for a quarter Residence Unit (“0.25 RU”) may enroll in one or two courses.
Full, half, and quarter Residence Units are calculated on the basis of courses taken for a letter grade, Pass/Fail, or for R credit.
For students enrolled in free-standing Master of Arts programs, please keep in mind when registering for full or fractional Residence Units that the equivalent of two Full Residence Units is required for conferral of the MA degree. By the conclusion of the program, students must have registered for a total of two Residence Units.
For international students enrolled in free-standing Master of Arts programs, please note that student visas require full-time enrollment at Columbia. International students should accordingly register for a full Residence Unit every semester, until they have reached the number of Residence Units required for conferral of their degree. After completing the appropriate number of Residence Units, both PhD and MA students are required to register for Extended Residence (“ER”). See below for more information.
The selection of full or fractional Residence Units during registration may also impact tuition and billing. For further information, please consult the Graduate School’s page on Cost of Attendance.