Transfer Student Experience

At Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, we’re intentional in our efforts to welcome over 100 transfer students each year, from a range of two- and four-year institutions, and we value the unique and diverse perspectives they bring to our community.

The Core Curriculum is the cornerstone of undergraduate academic life at Columbia. Even those transferring in with advanced credit should expect to take elements of the Core, if not all of it. Students are very rarely exempt from Core classes like Literature HumanitiesContemporary CivilizationArt Humanities and Music Humanities.

Students are expected to graduate within eight semesters, including time spent at another college or university. Students are typically not permitted to extend their undergraduate studies unless they are enrolled in one of our Joint Degree programs (e.g. the Combined Plan).

Life at Columbia

Transfer students can participate in undergraduate researchundergraduate student life and Columbia resources such as the Center for Career Education and the Center for Student Advising

Transfer students entering CC or SEAS are guaranteed housing for a certain number of consecutive terms, depending on their class and eligibility. Rising sophomores are eligible for six consecutive terms of housing and rising juniors are eligible for four consecutive terms of housing. Students are housed with their class in upperclass residence halls. Assignment is based on seniority and building preference, with applications processed on a rolling basis.  Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) can assist students in non-Columbia owned buildings.

Columbia student Blanche sitting on Low Steps

As a transfer student, it was the closely-knit community at Columbia that made me fall in love with it. Having a physical campus in the center of NYC really helps me build a community and have a sense of belonging. Even as an international student, Columbia has become my second home, as I always know that I can have all the support and help from my peers and amazing faculty at Columbia.

Beijing, China
Visual Art and Art History
Columbia student Adam sits on Low Steps

As a transfer student, I truly believe Columbia is one of the most collaborative and creative spaces to study, with students using their education to advance social interests both in and beyond New York City. This creative license, spirit of activism and inherent support across the community drove my decision to transfer to and attend Columbia.

Buffalo, NY
History and Political Science

Transfer Student Frequently Asked Questions

Where do transfer students live? Is housing guaranteed for transfer students?

As a transfer, you will be guaranteed housing during your time at Columbia, unless you choose to move off-campus at any time, at which point the housing guarantee is forfeited. All transfer students are housed with their class in upperclass residence halls. Assignment is based on seniority and building preference with applications processed on a rolling basis. Students are notified by email when rooms are assigned.

What is Morningside Heights like?

Morningside Heights is a dynamic residential neighborhood filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and hangout spots. It is steps from the Hudson River and bordered by Central Park, Morningside Park and Riverside Park; all the resources of New York City are a short bike, bus or subway ride away.

How can I take advantage of everything I want to do in New York City on a student budget?

New York City has something for everyone, which is why it is so often rated as one of the best college towns in the nation. It is full of hidden treasures that offer an inexpensive, yet unique array of food, shopping and entertainment. Some of the most creative culinary experiences are intimate restaurants within a few blocks from campus. Websites such as NYC Visit's Go Local operate as a service for New Yorkers to get the most out of their city.

There are also a variety of email lists that help students gain free access to opportunities such as going to a major motion picture premiere. There are yearly bargains such as New York Restaurant Week, which gives students a budget-friendly taste of some of the finest establishments in the city. Columbia helps students explore the opportunities in New York by providing discounted and free tickets to many events around the city through the Columbia Arts Initiative.

Is it possible to hold a job while also being a Columbia student?

Columbia holds classes from early in the morning until late at night. This allows students to hold on-campus jobs, pursue internships in the city and adjust their schedules to make the most of their academic and extracurricular experience. Many students, moreover, have no classes on Fridays, so many Columbians use Fridays as an opportunity to pursue internships and other commitments. The Center for Career Education also provides students with opportunities for employment on and off campus.

How are classes selected?

First-year students register during orientation, the week prior to the start of classes for their first semester. First-year students will be automatically registered for appropriate Core Curriculum classes prior to orientation.

In subsequent years students are assigned a registration time during the preceding semester; this registration time gives seniority to junior and senior students, and times are distributed by lottery within each class year. Students then participate in online registration for the next semester's courses. The first two weeks of each semester are the "Change of Program period," which allows students to add and drop classes without registration appointments as they finalize their schedule.

For more particulars about the registration process, please consult the academic bulletins for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering.