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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

F-1 Student Status > Change of Program and/or Degree Level

Change of Program and/or Degree Level

F-1 students are required to notify the Office of International Services and the Department of Homeland Security when there is a change in academic programs and/or degree levels. Examples of changes that require notification are:
  • a change in major field
  • a change in degree level
  • a change in major field and degree level

Notification Procedure

  1. If you are interested in changing majors and/or degree levels, you must first work with the Office of Admission on procedures for reapplying to a new academic program.
  2. Upon receiving notification from the Office of Admission that you have been admitted to the new program, you must come to the OIS to inform us of this change. In most cases, you will need to submit an application for a new I-20. Under F-1 regulations, a new I-20 must be issued when there is a significant change in your academic information, including a change in your major field and/or degree level. To obtain an I-20 application, come to the OIS or click here for an Application for Visa Certificate form. Note that you must submit updated financial documents along with your AVC. Check with the OIS for more details.
  3. The OIS will issue a new Form I-20 to reflect the updated information in your academic program, along with specific instructions regarding registration and travel.
  4. When you begin your new major and/or degree program, the OIS will notify the Department of Homeland Security on your behalf, using the electronic SEVIS database system.

Important Note on Deadlines


You are required to notify the OIS within 15 days of any change in your academic program. The OIS is required to notify the Department of Homeland Security within 21 days after you have started your new academic program. Because of these deadlines are mandated by immigration regulations, failure to make the appropriate notifications in a timely manner may lead to your F-1 status being placed in jeopardy. If you 'fall out' of F-1 status because you did not make the appropriate notifications to our office, you will lose eligibility for F-1 benefits and will need to apply for reinstatement to F-1 status.
Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: