Eligibility for Student Housing

To be eligible to apply for housing through Columbia Residential, students must be enrolled full-time in a housing-eligible degree program in one the schools or programs listed below:

  • American Language Program
  • Business
  • Engineering (graduate programs)
  • Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • School of the Arts
  • School of General Studies
  • School of International and Public Affairs
  • School of Professional Studies (Master's students only)
  • Social Work


Students enrolled in executive programs are not eligible for housing.

Undergraduate students in Columbia College or Engineering who are interested in applying for housing should see Columbia Housing.

Length of Time in Housing

In general, student housing is limited to the length of the degree program.

Master’s students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are limited to one year in student housing, starting from first date of registration. Students in certain programs may be eligible for an additional semester with approval from the school.

PhD students are limited to five consecutive years in student housing, starting from first date of registration, but may request an additional one or two years for a maximum of seven years. Any extension beyond the fifth year must be approved by the Dean. PhD students must vacate housing within 60 days of the date of defense, regardless when the degree is conferred.

Criteria for Housing Eligibility

Each school is allocated a specific number of spaces each year. To receive a housing allocation, students must first be approved by their school. The housing liaison of the school or program can provide information on the housing approval process. All other inquiries regarding housing assignments, policies and procedures should be addressed to Columbia Residential directly using the contact details in the right column of this page.

Alternatively, Columbia Residential maintains a waitlist for students who do not receive an allocation from their school. Students on the waitlist are housed only after all students with a school allocation are offered an accommodation. Not all students on the waitlist will be housed.

In both cases, students must consult the Couples and Family Housing eligibility rules to determine if they qualify for couples or family housing.  Students must be aware of the eligibility requirements and required documentation BEFORE applying for housing.

Students who are part-time/half-time, who are on a leave of absence, or who have withdrawn or graduated are not permitted to live in University housing. 

Permission to remain in housing while enrolled part-time will not be given unless approved by the Office of Disability Services or through a part-time enrollment exception.

Postbac Premed students enrolled for fewer than 12 credits are eligible only if registered for at least 9 credits and simultaneously fulfilling their clinical volunteer work requirement of at least 3 hours per week and 42 hours per semester.

Housing eligibility is based on a student’s original course of study. If a student changes programs or pursues an additional degree at Columbia, a new housing allocation is required from the student’s new school or program. Without this, students must vacate housing.

A student cannot apply as a new resident when currently living in Columbia Residential.

Consult the Couple and Family Housing eligibility rules and required documentation before applying for housing (if you think you might qualify).  If you do not meet the requirements or produce the required documentation, you will not be able to move into a unit designated for couples or families, and you may risk your ability to secure any housing in a Columbia Residential building.