Registration Procedures

General Guidelines for QMSS Students

INCOMING STUDENTS: Make sure you have reviewed the mandatory Registration Orientation recording, powerpoint slides, and FAQ clarifications before attempting to register.

The majority of questions regarding academic affairs can be found on this page, on the GSAS website, and/or the Registrar's website. Please consult these resources before contacting QMSS staff with questions. 

MOST registration can be completed through Student Services Online (SSOL). If a course is restricted or offered through a program that does not use SSOL (i.e. TC and Mailman classes), it can be added manually using the RAF with appropriate permissiosn.

You must register for one and only one Residence Unit (RU) (full, half, or quarter) each semester. This is a non-cedit item that is necessary for calculating your credit and tuition for the semester. Your RU shoud be added to your schedule through SSOL like a class. For more detailed information on Residence Units, see the GSAS website. For this semesters RU call numbers, see Vergil HERE.

You will only be able to register during your assigned Registration Appointments, which will take place during the add/drop period of the semester. The critical dates can be found on the Registrar's website HERE. Specific registration appointment times will be available through SSOL.

QMSS STUDENTS HAVE PRIORITY FOR ALL QMSS CLASSES. If you are a QMSS student, when you add a class to your schedule during an active registration appointment, you will first be placed on the waitlist and then automatically moved to the roster in 24-48 hours

Cross-registration protocol for NON-QMSS students

Students from all Columbia schools using SSOL should be able to add themselves to the waitlist for all QMSS classes except QMSS GR5999, QMSS GR5010, QMSS GR5021, and QMSS GR5022.

We will maintain an external waitlist and will add non-QMSS students to the roster once all QMSS students have had a chance to enroll. Those who wish to cross-register in QMSS classes should join the waitlist for that class through SSOL. We will move cross-registrants from the wailtist to the roster during the second week of class as space allows. Those with a particularly vested interest in taking a specific QMSS class should reach out to the instructor and CC [email protected].

If your program/school does NOT use SSOL, you should contact [email protected] with subject line "Manual Wailtist Request" to be added to the waitlist manually.

Cross-registrants should expect to find out about their enrollment status no earlier than the second week of classes.

Cross Registering OUT of QMSS Department (For QMSS Students)

If you are not yet enrolled in a class but want to "shop" it virtually, you can access Zoom lectures during the first two weeks of classes through the Courseworks link in the Vergil listing available HERE.

Screenshot of Vergil course catalog

Courses that are 4000+ in either QMSS, Computer Science, IEOR, Economics, Statistics, Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, History, Mathematics, or SIPA, it is pre-approved and you do not need to email us about it. If it falls outside of these pre-approved classes, it may stil count towards your degree if the syllabus/course description is approved by either program director. In this case, you should submit the syllabus/course description to [email protected] to confirm.

Full cross-registration info is below but as a rule of thumb…

  1. If there are no restrictions/co-requisites listed in Vergil/DOC and you CAN enroll through SSOL, you are free and clear.
  2. If there are restrictions/co-requisites listed in Vergil/DOC and CAN enroll through SSOL, you will need to comply with any posted policies about the class before enrolling (e.g. submitting an application or diagnostic, attending the first class section, or whathever the listed instructions entail) and it is also a good idea to contact the instructor to confirm permission as well.
  3. If you cannot enroll through SSOL (i.e. the course is BLOCKED), first check the program/departmet website for additional cross-registration instructions. If there are none, you will need to secure explicit instructor permission and submit a Registration Adjustment Form. Once you have filled it out (with full course information an appropriate action code) and collected instructor permission (in the form of either a digital signature or an attached email), send the form to GSAS Office of Student Affairs <[email protected]> and CC [email protected] by the end of the "shopping period" (i.e. the first two weeks of the semester).
  • DO NOT USE THE RAF UNLESS IT IS THE LISTED POLICY. I'm seeing a lot of RAFs submitted in contexts where they do not apply. In particular, SIPA, GSB, and IEOR do NOT use the RAF. They all have their own cross-reg protocols. Policies for the most popular cross-reg departments are compiledon this page as well as on those programs' individual websites.
  • When in doubt AND up against a deadline, complete an RAF with the full course information and appropriae action code and submit it to [email protected]> CCing <[email protected]>. This will be considered a good-faith effort to observe the deadline and a QMSS staffer will be able to chime in to approve or redirect your inquiry if necessary.
  • If you CANNOT enroll through SSOL, and the instructor DOES NOT provide explicit permission, you must find an alternative class.

You can find the contact info for any Columbia affiliate in the Directory.

For students who wish to take elective courses in other Departments within GSAS or other schools within Columbia, please be aware that each has a distinct cross-registration process.

QMSS cannot guarantee enrollment in any non-QMSS classes not listed on the Degree Requirements Worksheet corresponding to your curricular track.

Other GSAS Depatments

  • Statistics: The GU42XX "shadow course" versions of the 500-level electives should be open to QMSS students pending space, except for ones where sections are for "undergraduates only".
  • Economics: 4000-level econ courses are open to QMSS Students pending space, EXCEPT for 49XX-level courses, which are not open to non-ECON students. The 5000-level econ courses are NOT open to non-ECON students. 6000-level courses require satisfactory completion of the Math Exam at the beginning of the Fall Semester. For more information on the Math Exam, contact Meghan McCarter at [email protected].
  • Math: Math classes are generally not open to non-Math students until the last week of registration, at which point they open to the rest of GSAS.

School of Engineering

  • Computer Science: COMS courses should now be open to non-CS students to add themselves to the waitlist. They are managing the CS Waitlists internally and will move students into classes as space allows.
  • Industrial Engineering and Operations Research: The IEOR Department will not approve any request until the first two weeks of classes for the given semester. The Department will open up select Fall courses for cross registration in early-September via the SSOL course waitlist system. A list of available courses will be provided over the summer. Due to the large volume of requests and capacity, the Department will approve no more than 3 credits of IEOR courses per semester (seats permitting). All necessary pre-requisite requirements for the course must be satisfied. A list of available courses for non-IEOR students for cross registration will be provided closer to the term start. Courses not listed are closed and/or reserved for IEOR students in a degree program. See the full list HERE.

School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Non-SIPA students are permitted to register for a maximum of 9 credits per semester. The courses listed below are open for registration via SSOL to non-SIPA students for Fall 2020. Additional courses will be added to this list throughout the change of program period, beginning September 8, 2020. Please continue to check the site for newly added courses. Note that some courses below have pre-requisites. Please visit THIS PAGE for a list of classes approved for on-SIPA cross-registration.

Columbia Business School

The only way to enroll in a Business School course is through the cross-registration application. OSA, not the professors, manages the enrollment of academic courses. Only courses that are on the list are available for cross-registration. These classes must also be approved on a one-off basis by the Program Director <[email protected]> in order to be counted towards the QMSS degree. The business school runs on a DIFFERENT REGISTRATION schedule than the rest of Columbia. All cross-registration must be done through the MBAEMBA,and PhD websites respectively. Please read their timeline and policies closely before beginning the process. Further information can be found on the GSB website here.

Teachers College

See the Teacher's College course listings HERE. Complete the Columbia University Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) including instructor permission and submit it to GSAS Office of Student Affairs <[email protected]> NO LATER THAN Sept. 16th for processing.

School of Social Work

See the Social Work course listings HERE. Complete the Columbia University Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) including instructor permission and submit it to GSAS Office of Student Affairs <[email protected]> NO LATER THAN Sept. 16th for processing.

Mailman School of Public Health

Graduate students interested in taking Columbia Public Health courses must first complete the Cross-Registration Form. Obtain permission from the Public Health department(s) that offers the course(s) for which you are cross-registering. It is important to note that the process of obtaining permission to enroll in a course as a cross-registrant is approved first by the department then by the Office of Enrollment Management (OEM). Forward your completed Cross-Registration Form, as well as any other email correspondences used in lieu of signatures, to the Columbia Public Health OEM team. OEM will review and return approved forms to requesting students. If allowed to take a course, the email from OEM will include your completed and approved form(s). Complete the registration for the course through your school’s primary office for registration. Any change thereafter (dropping the course etc.) would also be made through your school of primary registration. You will ALSO need to complete the Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) including instructor permission and submit it to GSAS Office of Student Affairs <[email protected]> NO LATER THAN Sept. 16th for processing.

Columbia Law School

The cross-registration form can be found on their website HERE. Please note that only full-time students are allowed to enroll in law school courses.

Finding Courses

The QMSS Program will accept classes taken at the 4000-level or above in EconomicsHistoryPolitical SciencePsychologySociologyComputer ScienceIEORStatisticsMathematics, or SIPA towards the general elective category and minimum credit requirements of your degree progress. HOWEVER, we cannot guarantee enrollment in any non-QMSS classes not listed on the Degree Requirements Worksheet corresponding to your curricular track.

Different schools within the University use different course bulletin formats, most courses offered within the University can be accessed using one of the following: 

*Please note that some QMSS classes are only offered once per academic year. Those courses are enumerated below. All other QMSS classes are offered during both fall and spring semesters. Summer semester classes change yearly depending upon need and availability.* 

Exclusively Fall Courses


Exclusively Spring Courses


Multi-Section Classes

Unique sections

  • GR5010 Quantitative Theory & Methodology 001
  • GR5010 Quantitative Theory & Methodology 002
  • GR5010 Quantitative Theory & Methodology 003
  • GR5010 Quantitative Theory & Methodology 004
  • GR5010 Quantitative Theory & Methodology 005

Combined Sections

  • GR5052 Practicum in Data Analysis
  • GR5053 Practicum in Data Analysis
    Same instructor and meet at the same days/time
  • GR5055 Practicum in Data Analysis and GR5056 Practicum in Data Analysis
    same instructor and meet at the same days/time
  • GR5021 Research Seminar I and GR5022 Research Seminar II
    same instructor, meet at the same days/time and use the same syllabi.

Cross Registering INTO QMSS Department (For Non-QMSS Students)

If you are not yet enrolled in a class but want to "shop" it virtually, you can access Zoom lectures during the first two weeks of classes through the Courseworks link in the Vergil listing available HERE.

Screenshot of Vergil course catalog

Students from all Columbia schools using SSOL should be able to add themselves to the waitlist for all QMSS classes except QMSS GR5999, GMSS GR5021, and QMSS GR5022.

If your school/program does not enroll directly through SSOL, you will need to complete a Registration Adjustment Form (RAF) for the QMSS class you would like to take and send it to [email protected] no later than Sept. 14th.

We will maintain an external waitlist and will add non-QMSS students to the roster once all QMSS students have had a chance to enroll. This will happen no earlier than Sept 15th.

Those with a particularly vested interest in taking a specific QMSS class should reach out to the instructor and CC [email protected].

Grading Policies

All students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average while studying at QMSS. Students may, however, register for one course as Pass/Fail or "R" credit though this will not count toward their GPA nor will this count towards their graduation requirements.  Students must take for a grade any course they wish to count towards fulfillment of their graduation requirement. Please note that only graduate level courses (level 4000 and above) count towards the QMSS degree.

You must receive a passing LETTER GRADE in all classes that you plan to count towards your degree. This includes all five core QMSS classes, two social research/data analysis electives, and general electives up to 30 credits. Exceptions: classes that are only offered for P/F credit (i.e. the QMSS Internship classes (GR5050, GR5051, GR5054) Classes beyond your degree requirements (e.g. any electives beyond the those needed to reach the 30 credit minimum)

Incomplete Policy - The mark of IN is given to a student who has satisfactorily met all the requirements of a course except for the completion of certain assigned papers or reports or the final examination, which the student has been compelled to postpone for reasons that are 1) beyond his or her control and 2) satisfactory to the instructor. For a course in the Arts and Sciences, if the student does not submit the outstanding work by the deadline specified below, the mark of IN will be changed to an F, which will not be subject to change at a later date. Beginning in Fall 2014: For Incompletes earned in the fall semester, the deadline for students to submit their outstanding work is the June 30 that immediately follows. For Incompletes earned in the spring semester or summer term, the deadline for students to submit their outstanding work is the December 31 that immediately follows. Departments and instructors may set an earlier deadline for completion of the outstanding work; in such cases, that deadline will supersede the GSAS deadline. In order to maintain good academic standing, students may carry only one Incomplete at a time. Students who carry two or more Incompletes simultaneously will be permitted to register in their programs, but they will receive a message from GSAS, copying the DGS or program director, alerting them that they are not making satisfactory academic progress and are therefore not in good academic standing until they hold fewer than two Incompletes. 

Pass/Fail credit are awarded up to a date determined by the University registrar and are approved by the Program Staff. Students must submit a pass/fail grade change form to the registrar by the date indicated on the academic calendar for that year to receive Pass/Fail. Faculty are not notified of this change though program staff will be--please consult program staff before activating this option.

R credit is a unique Columbia University system designed to indicate a special arrangement between student and professor. More like auditing than Pass/Fail, it reflects is most often as a result of special circumstances (usually in the form of a need for maternity leave, sick leave, etc.). NOTE: CLASSES TAKEN FOR R CREDIT DO NOT COUNT TOWARDS YOUR DEGREE PROGRESS. (Neither towards your credit requirements, nor towards your distribution requirements.)

Please also take note of the academic calendar (be sure you've selected the appropriate school and year!) for information about add/drop and pass/fail deadlines. Please note that withdrawal/leave of absence deadlines are different.

Leaves of absence approved by GSAS stop the clock on Incomplete deadlines. If a student is granted a Leave of Absence from the University during the grace period of an Incomplete, the grade of Incomplete will remain on the student's transcript while the student is not enrolled, and the time of the leave will not count against the student's grace period. (The new deadline to submit outstanding work will be the original deadline—June 30 or December 31—plus the length of time of the leave.) A grade of Incomplete received by a student who does not register but is not granted an approved Leave of Absence from the University will be changed to an F after the original deadline has passed.

Holds: Students with holds listed on Student Services Online cannot register and are not officially enrolled until any and all holds are removed. Students should contact the office administering the hold to determine what course of action is needed to remove the hold. Only the office that placed the hold can remove the hold from record.

Immunization: New York State Public Health Law 2165 requires all students born on or after January 1, 1957 and registered for 6 or more credits to document proof of their immunity to measles (2 doses), mumps and rubella (MMR). You must demonstrate compliance with this public health law by completing the Columbia University MMR form or you will not be permitted to register for classes after your first semester.

Students are also encouraged to become vaccinated against meningitis. While meningitis vaccination is not required, students must certify their vaccination decision.

For more detailed information, and to document your MMR immunization and/or your meningitis vaccination decision, please see the Health Services website

Extended Residence Option (Optional, Third Full-time Semester)

The QMSS students may extend their time in the program one semester beyond the required two semester equivalency if they show academic justification. If approved for this extension, QMSS students should plan to enroll in an Extended Residence Unit (ERU) during their final semester in the program. During an ERU, students are considered full-time as long as they enroll in a minimum of one class - QMSS GR599 Master's Thesis - which must be completed during the student's final semester in the program. During an ERU, students may take up to 20 credits, as they would in a regular full-time semester. Any enrollment beyond 20 credits will incure additional tuition charges. The most up to date cost of an Extended Residence Unit can be found HERE.

When justifying and Extended Residence, QMSS students should should include: 

  • An explanation as to why two semesters is an insufficient time period for the student to complete program requirements. 
  • A list of the courses the student has already taken and plans to take during their time in the program, broken down by semester. 

The program staff will review petitions and respond promptly with their approval and/or concerns. Please keep in mind that petitions that do not have sufficient academic justifications will not be approved. 

Students seeking program extensions should note that University Housing beyond the first two semesters of the program is not guaranteed. Please contact University Housing or the GSAS Office of Student Affairsfor more information on available housing options.

In addition, international students must be mindful of their I-20 status. For all questions regarding I-20 status, please contact the ISSO.

Please contact the Program Coordinator if you have any question about the process if requesting a program extension.

Leave of Absence

Occasionally students need to take a leave of absence from the program for various reasons and some even find it necessary to withdraw from the program. If you find yourself in this situation, before taking any action please:

  1. Consult with the program coordinators or director about your options.
  2. Visit the Registrar's website for more information about the timing and finances of Withdrawal/Leave of Absence.
  3. Visit GSAS website to see what the school policies are for Withdrawal/Leave of Absence.
  4. Notify the QMSS staff of your final decision.

We hope that QMSS students won't need to use this information but if you do please know we will do our best to help you through the process.