Our MPP, MPA, Ph.D., and Certificate programs can be completed full- or part-time, as the majority of our courses are in the evenings. This enables students to maintain/acquire a full time job or internship.
The Distinction between Full- and Part-time
In the admissions process we do not distinguish between full- and part-time students. Application requirements are the same. However, we can only consider full-time applicants for assistantships. Also, foreign students must maintain full-time status to fulfill student visa requirements.
Academically, the program requirements are the same. Most of our courses are offered in the late afternoons or early evenings to better accommodate part-time students, and those wishing to pursue full time internships. Many courses contain a mixture of full-time and part-time students.
Full-time students normally take three courses per semester and work at a part-time (up to 20 hours per week) policy-related job or internship. Part-time students normally take two courses per semester and work at a full-time job. Students often switch between full-time and part-time status during the program.
Please note that the "repayment status" of student loans often is affected by whether a student is enrolled part-time or full-time, and it is the responsibility of individual students to be aware of this when they consider how many courses to take.
Full-time versus Part-time status
According to the University Bulletin: for the purpose of defining student status, graduate students taking 9 or more credit hours per semester (6 credits in the summer) are considered to be full time, those taking 5 to 8 credits per semester are considered to be half time, and all others are considered to be part time. The normal load for full-time students is 3 courses (9 credits), for part-time students, 2 courses (6 credits).
Columbian College requires all master's candidates, both full-time and part-time, to complete all academic requirements within a maximum of four calendar years from admission to candidacy.
Doctoral candidates, both full-time and part-time, have an overall eight-year time limit for completion of all degree requirements.
Students considering taking only one course per semester should contact their advisor.