The Auditing Programs provide adults not currently enrolled in college with the opportunity to attend selected lectures drawn from the University's offerings in the Arts and Sciences during the academic year.

Auditors are encouraged to attend class and to keep up with the reading. No examinations or papers are required, no grade is assigned, and no credit is granted for course completion.

Auditors are silent participants in class and may join in discussions only at the discretion of the instructor.

The courses available to auditors are typically posted a week prior to the start of the term. To view the courses open to auditors, please go to the Directory of Classes, Columbia’s online course bulletin. You can search for auditing courses by clicking “A” in the “Course Listings by Department” box and scrolling down to where the Auditing Department is listed.

In addition to the General Auditing Program, Columbia offers the Lifelong Learner’s Auditing Program for individuals who are 65 or older.


  • Only academic-year courses may be audited. Auditing is not allowed for Summer Session courses.
  • Foreign language and literature courses are not open to auditors.
  • Audited courses may not be repeated for credit.
  • No more than three auditors are permitted in courses with an enrollment of less than 30. No more than five are permitted in classes with an enrollment greater than 30. No exceptions are made to this limitation, even if an instructor grants permission.
  • Under no circumstances may seminars, limited enrollment courses, or courses above the 4000 level be audited, even if the instructor gives permission.

Columbia University Employees

Officers of the University who wish to take advantage of their tuition exemption benefit may not enroll in the auditing program. They must take courses for credit in order to receive the tuition benefit and should apply to the School of Professional Studies’s Postbaccalaureate Studies program. For more information regarding tuition benefits please visit the University’s Human Resources website.

International Students

In order to qualify for a visa, international students must be registered for 12 or more credits. The Auditing program is a noncredit program. As such, it does not meet the visa requirements. It is not possible for international students to study in the Auditing program using other types of visas.

Student Handbook

Download the Auditors & Lifelong Learners Student Handbook.