- General Degree Requirements and Policies
- General Policy on Conduct and Discipline
- Grievance Procedures
- Notice of Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy
- Official Regulations
- Registration Policies
- Requirements for MFA and MA Degree Program
Reservation of University Rights
This information is intended for the guidance of persons applying for or considering application for admission to Columbia University and for the guidance of Columbia students and faculty. The information sets forth in general the manner in which the University intents to proceed with respect to the matters set forth herein, but the University reserves the right to depart without notice from the terms of this bulletin. This information is not intended to be and should not be regarded as a contract between the University and any student or other person.
According to University regulations, each person whose registration has been completed will be considered a student of the University during the term for which he or she is registered unless the student’s connection with the University is officially severed by withdrawal or otherwise. No student registered in any school or college of the University shall at the same time be registered in any other school or college, either of Columbia University or of any other institution, without the specific authorization of the dean or director of the school or college of the University in which he or she is first registered.
The privileges of the University are not available to any student until he or she has completed registration. A student who is not officially registered for a University course may not attend the course. No student may register after the stated period unless he or she obtains the written consent of the appropriate dean or director. The University reserves the right to withhold the privilege of registration or any other University privilege from any person with an unpaid debt to the University.
Students are held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment.
It is the policy of the University to respect its members’ religious beliefs. In compliance with New York State law, each student who is absent from school because of his or her religious beliefs will be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements that he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No student will be penalized for absence due to religious beliefs, and alternative means will be sought for satisfying academic requirements involved.
Officers of administration and of instruction responsible for scheduling of academic activities or essential services are expected to avoid conflict with religious holidays as much as possible. If a suitable arrangement cannot be worked out between the student and the instructor involved, they should consult the appropriate dean or director. If an additional appeal is needed, it may be taken to the Provost.
The continuance of each student upon the rolls of the University, the receipt of academic credits, graduation, and the conferring of any degree or the granting of any certificate are strictly subject to the disciplinary powers of the University.
Rules of University Conduct
The Rules of University Conduct (Chapter XLIV of the Statutes of the University, available at http://secretary.columbia.edu) provide special disciplinary rules applicable to demonstrations, rallies, picketing, and the circulation of petitions. These rules are designed to protect the rights of free expression through peaceful demonstration while at the same time, ensuring the proper functioning of the University and the protection of the rights of those who may be affected by such demonstrations. The Rules of University Conduct are University-wide and supersede all other rules of any school or program. Minor violations of the Rules of Conduct are referred to the normal disciplinary procedures of each school or program (“Dean’s Discipline”). A student who is charged with a serious violation of the Rules has the option of choosing Dean’s Discipline or a more formal hearing procedure provided in the Rules. All University faculty, students, and staff are responsible for compliance with the Rules of University Conduct. Copies of the full text are available at http://www.essential-policies.columbia.edu and at the Office of the University Senate, 406 Low Memorial Library.
Columbia University Equal Educational Opportunity and Student Nondiscrimination Policies
Columbia University is committed to providing a learning environment free from unlawful discrimination and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Consistent with this commitment and with applicable laws (including those listed below), it is the policy of the University not to tolerate unlawful discrimination in any form and to provide students who feel that they are victims of discrimination with mechanisms for seeking redress.
Columbia University does not discriminate against any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs or permit the harassment of any student or applicant on the basis of race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status.
Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University’s educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and discriminatory harassment do not extend to statements or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to the subject matter of courses.
Columbia University Equal Employment Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policies
Columbia University is committed to providing a working and learning environment free from discrimination and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Columbia University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. The University does not discriminate against or permit harassment of employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin, age, alienage and citizenship, status as a perceived or actual victim of domestic violence, disability, marital status, partnership status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, arrest record, or any other legally protected status.
Statement of Compliance with Federal, State, and Local Laws Promoting Equal Educational Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment
In accordance with all applicable laws and pursuant to its own policies and operating procedures, Columbia University provides for equal opportunity and prohibits unlawful discrimination and harassment. The applicable laws include:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the conduct or operation of a school’s educational programs or activities, including admission to these programs and activities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the exclusion of any person solely on the basis of a disability from participation in or access to benefits of any federally financed program or activity; it also prohibits discrimination against any person solely on the basis of disability in any federally financed program or activity.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in public accommodation.
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
The New York Executive Law, Article 15, Section 296(4) prohibits an educational institution from denying the use of its facilities to anyone otherwise qualified or permitting harassment of a student or applicant on the basis of color, race, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age, and marital status.
The New York Education Law, Section 313, as amended, prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against persons seeking admission as students to any institution, program, or course because of race, color, sex, religion, creed, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or national origin.
The New York City Human Rights Law, Section 8-107 prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, (including gender identity and expression), disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status in public accommodations.
Statement of Compliance with Federal, State, and Local Laws Promoting Equal Employment Opportunity, Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, and Authorizing Affirmative Action
In accordance with all applicable laws and pursuant to its own policies and operating procedures, Columbia University provides for equal opportunity, prohibits unlawful discrimination and harassment, and takes affirmative action. The applicable laws include, but are not necessarily limited to:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status or national origin.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the conduct or operation of a school’s educational programs or activities, including employment in these programs and activities.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in rates of pay.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 provides that each paycheck which delivers discriminatory compensation under Title VII is a wrong actionable under federal equal employment opportunity statutes regardless of when the discrimination began.
Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and requires affirmative action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires a federal contractor to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified workers with disabilities. Section 504 prohibits the exclusion of any person solely on the basis of a disability from participation in or access to benefits of any federally financed program or activity; it also prohibits discrimination against any person solely on the basis of disability in any federally financed program or activity.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination in public accommodation and in employment against a qualified person with a disability and requires an employer to provide qualified applicants and employees with reasonable accommodations.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits discrimination in employment based on past, current, or future military obligations.
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 and the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998, as amended, prohibit job discrimination and require affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam Era, recently separated veterans, and any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
For purposes of these policies and procedures, the following definitions apply:
Discrimination is defined as:
treating members of a Protected Class less favorably because of their membership in that class; or
having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on Protected Class members.
Discriminatory Harassment is defined as subjecting an individual on the basis of her or his membership in a Protected Class to humiliating, abusive, or threatening conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group; that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive learning, living, or working environment; that alters the conditions of the learning, living, or working environment; or that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic performance. Discriminatory harassment includes but is not limited to: epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and display or circulation (including through e-mail) of written or graphic material in the learning, living, or working environment. Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment which are defined in detail below, are forms of discriminatory harassment.
DUTY TO ACT
A duty to act is imposed on all management and supervisory personnel who are responsible for taking reasonable and necessary action to prevent discrimination and harassment and for responding promptly and thoroughly to any such claims. On learning directly or indirectly of conduct or behavior that might violate University policies, management and supervisory personnel are put on notice to act. They should consult with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and/or Columbia University Human Resources for advice and assistance on addressing the matter. A manager or supervisor who fails to act may be found to have violated Columbia’s policies even though the underlying event does not constitute discrimination or harassment.
DUTY TO REPORT
A duty to report conduct or behavior that violates these policies is imposed on all University officers, including Residential Program Staff, Teaching Assistants, and Adjunct Faculty. An officer performs her or his duty to report by reporting the conduct or behavior to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or other designated office. University officers who learn of an allegation of gender-based misconduct against a student are expected to notify Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. University officers who learn of an allegation of discrimination or harassment against a student are expected to notify the student’s Dean of Students or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. University officers who learn of an allegation of discrimination or harassment against a University employee are expected to notify the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. University officers who learn of an allegation of gender-based misconduct involving a minor under the age of 17 are required to notify the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and the Department of Public Safety. An officer who fails to report may be found to have violated Columbia’s policies even though the underlying event does not constitute gender-based misconduct, discrimination or harassment. University officers serving in a privileged professional capacity (mental health counselors, clergy, medical providers, and rape-crisis counselors) are not bound by this expectation, except as required by law.
Gender-based misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence. Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Gender-based misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.
Gender-based harassment is defined as acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping. The conduct must be such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive learning, living, or working environment. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
Intimate Partner Violence is defined as the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual, or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship.
A Protected Class is a class of persons who are protected under applicable federal, state or local laws against discrimination and harassment on the basis of: race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status.
Retaliation occurs when an alleged perpetrator or respondent, her or his friends or associates, or other member of the University community intimidates, threatens, coerces, harasses, or discriminates against an individual who has made a complaint, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under these policies and procedures. A retaliatory action is an action taken to deter a reasonable person from opposing a discriminatory or harassing practice, participating in a discrimination or harassment proceeding or, more generally, pursuing her or his rights under these policies. Retaliation may take the form of name-calling and taunting.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AS NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT
Sexual assault as non-consensual sexual contact is defined as any intentional bodily contact or touching of another person in a sexual manner without that person’s consent and includes intentional sexual contact or touching of another’s breast, buttocks, or groin, however slight.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AS NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
Sexual assault as non-consensual sexual intercourse is defined as any form or sexual intercourse, anal, oral, or vaginal, however slight, without consent. Intercourse means vaginal penetration, however slight by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature when:
submission to such conduct or behavior is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic performance or learning, living, and working environment; or
submission to or rejection of such conduct or behavior by an individual is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that individual; or
such conduct or behavior has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive learning, living, or working environment.
Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors among them: sexual violence; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, catcalls or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; and the display or circulation (including through email) of sexually suggestive or explicit objects or pictures) in the learning, living, or working environment. Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different sex. The complainant does not necessarily have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Stalking is defined as repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual reasonably to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension.
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment, Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students and Consensual Romantic and Sexual Relationships
Columbia University is committed to providing a learning, living, and working environment free from discrimination, harassment and gender-based and sexual misconduct. Consistent with this commitment and with applicable laws, the University does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or gender-based or sexual misconduct in any form and it provides students who believe that they have been subjected to conduct or behavior of this kind with mechanisms for seeking redress. All members of the University community are expected to adhere to the applicable policies, to cooperate with the procedures for responding to complaints of discrimination, harassment and gender-based and sexual misconduct, and to report conduct or behavior they believe to be in violation of these policies to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct. For additional information on these issues, policies and resources, please visit the Sexual Respect website at: https://titleix.columbia.edu/.
Complaints against students for gender-based misconduct are processed in accord with the Gender–Based Misconduct Policies for Students. Students who attend Barnard College and Teachers College as well as Columbia University are covered by these policies. The use of the term “gender-based misconduct” includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence.
Complaints against students for other forms of discrimination and harassment are processed in accord with the Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment and should be filed with the Dean of Students of the school in which the accused student is enrolled.
Complaints against employees and third parties affiliated with the University for discrimination and harassment are processed in accord with the Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment. The use of the term “discrimination and harassment” includes discrimination, discriminatory harassment, gender-based harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Columbia University maintains policies regarding consensual romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students, and staff and students. The Faculty-Student Relationship Policy states that no faculty member shall exercise academic or professional authority over any student with whom he or she has or previously has had a consensual romantic or sexual relationship. This policy covers all officers of instruction, research and the libraries, including student officers of instruction and research and teaching assistants. The Staff-Student Relationship Policy states that no staff member at Columbia should participate in the supervision, employment actions, evaluation, advising or mentoring of any Columbia University student with whom that staff member has or has had a consensual romantic or sexual relationship, except in unusual circumstances, where explicit advance authorization has been obtained.
For further information and assistance, contact:
OFFICE OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
103 Low Library, MC 4333
Title IX Coordinator/Section 504 Officer for Columbia University
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 103 Low Library
firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 854-5511
MICHAEL K. DUNN
Director of Investigations
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Staff and Faculty Concerns
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 103 Low Library
email@example.com, (212) 854-6699
Interim Assistant Director
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Concerns (temporary)
Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct, 108I Wien Hall
firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 854-1717
Columbia offers a number of confidential resources to students who believe they were subjected to discrimination, harassment or gender-based or sexual misconduct and who do not wish to report to the University:
- Counseling Services, Columbia Morningside (212) 854-2878, CUMC (212) 496-8491
- Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, (212) 854-HELP
- Office of the University Chaplain, 212-854-6242
- Columbia Morningside (212) 854-2284, Columbia Morningside clinician-on-call (212)854-9797
- CUMC (212) 305-3400, CUMC clinician-on-call (212) 305-3400
*Medical providers are considered confidential resources in the context of providing medical treatment to a patient.
Columbia University Ombuds Office
The Ombuds Office offers a safe place for any member of the Columbia community to discuss workplace issues, interpersonal conflict, academic concerns, bureaucratic runarounds, and many other problems.
Get in touch with the Ombuds Office as a first step or a last resort—or at any point along the way. Ombuds staff will listen to your concerns, give you information about the University's policies, help you evaluate your situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict. For additional information, visit the Ombuds Office website.
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The University abides by the provisions of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act ensures a wide range of rights, including but not limited to: information about student records that the University maintains, who maintains them, who has access to them, and for what purposes access is granted. the Act also permits the University to release "directory information" without a student's consent. In addition, the Act guarantees students access to their records and restricts the access of others. Students who wish to restrict access to their directory information may do so by completing a Request to Withhold or Reverse Withholding of Directory Information and submitting the form to either the University Registrar's Office on the Monrningside Campus in 205 Kent Hall or to Student Administrative Services at the Medical Center Campus, 1-141 Black Building, Unit 45, 650 W. 168th St.
The full policy can be found at www.essential-policies.columbia.edu/policy-access-student-records-ferpa. Questions about the interpretation of the guidelines should be referred to the University's General Counsel, 412 Low Library.
Transcripts and Academic Certifications
For information on how to obtain an official transcript of your academic record at Columbia University, visit registrar.columbia.edu/students/transcripts.
An academic certification is an official document provided by the University Registrar verifying dates of attendance, award of degree, and student status (full-time or part-time) by term. It is typically requested for health insurance, visa, employment and credit verification purposes. There is no fee for this service. You may request certification online at SSOL or in person at 205 Kent Hall. For additional information, visit registrar.columbia.edu/students/academic-certification.
Campus Safety and Security
At Columbia University, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is an important priority. Columbia's campuses and their environs are safe and have a relatively low crime rate for an urban university.
The University is required by federal law to publish an annual security report containing information with respect to campus security policies and statistics on the incidence of certain crimes on and around our campuses. This information is available in FACETS, the University student handbook or on Columbia University Department of Public Safety's website.