The Suspension of Responsibilities for Childbirth and Adoption policy provides Arts and Sciences Ph.D. and D.M.A. (Doctorate of Musical Arts) students who become parents with a period of accommodation. Students in years one through seven who give birth, adopt, or become legal guardians or foster parents, as well as students whose spouse or partner gives birth, are eligible for the accommodation.
- Students who give birth are granted eight weeks of accommodation. (A policy cannot anticipate every individual circumstance, so students who need additional accommodation due to medical needs during or after pregnancy, such as in the case of Cesarean birth, should consult with GSAS about arrangements for additional accommodation.)
- Students whose spouse or partner gives birth, students who adopt, students who become foster parents, and students who become legal guardians are granted four weeks of accommodation.
Ph.D. and D.M.A. students in one of the 29 Arts and Sciences departments who are in years one through seven can have regular responsibilities associated with their doctoral program suspended. The following provisions apply:
- Responsibilities that may be suspended include class attendance, exams, and other course-related and academic requirements as well as research and lab work.
- Students in their GSAS multi-year fellowship years (usually years one through four or five in the humanities and social sciences) also may suspend responsibilities for their teaching and teaching assistant training for the accommodation period. Students in the natural sciences in their GSAS multi-year fellowship years (usually years one and two) also may suspend responsibilities for their teaching and teaching assistant training for the accommodation period. Natural science students who are on external fellowships receive the accommodation as allowed by the conditions of their funding agency (for example, NSF, NIH, HHMI, etc).
- During the accommodation full-time student status will be preserved, and the multi-year fellowship stipend (for those students with remaining fellowship), student health insurance, and housing eligibility are retained.
- Students using the Suspension of Responsibilities accommodation are given an extra semester for completion of the M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. or D.M.A. degrees. Eligibility for teaching and other awards is extended for one semester. This extension does not apply to housing, which is not controlled by GSAS.
- Students on an external fellowship or other non-Columbia funding (e.g., NSF, NIH, Fulbright, SSRC, etc.) should inform the external award agency and comply with any policy and conditions of the funding agency. If external funding is suspended or deferred during the accommodation period, then GSAS can assume funding responsibility. Provide a copy of the funding agency’s letter that indicates that funding is suspended or deferred to GSAS (email@example.com).
The Suspension of Responsibilities policy does not affect a student’s ability to request a leave of absence to begin after the accommodation period has ended. Students who anticipate requesting an accommodation should meet with their advisor as soon as possible to plan for their time off. GSAS encourages individual departments to use their discretion and flexibility to devise arrangements that exceed the minimum accommodation period provided by the GSAS policy. However, departments may not offer an alternative period that is shorter than that provided by the GSAS policy. Students must be in good standing and have an up-to-date progress report indicating satisfactory progress on file in SSOL.
So that the Dean’s Office and the department can make appropriate arrangements, students should submit the appropriate Suspension of Responsibilities form to GSAS as soon as possible/reasonable. Receiving the request four months before the start of the accommodation allows GSAS and the department to make teaching or research replacement arrangements. Students also should communicate to their advisor their revised plan and timeline for completion of the Ph.D. or the D.M.A. degree. All questions, forms, and requests for additional information should be directed to the Senior Associate Dean (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note: Doctoral students who are not in Arts and Sciences programs and who are in years one through seven who give birth, adopt, or who become legal guardians or foster parents, as well as students whose spouse or partner gives birth, may request an extra semester for completion of the M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees. Eligibility for teaching and other awards is extended for one semester. This extension does not apply to housing, which is not controlled by GSAS. Doctoral students in non-Arts and Sciences programs, including Architecture, Preservation and Planning; Business; Communications; Engineering and Applied Science; Nursing; Physicians and Surgeons; Public Health; Social Work; and Teachers College, should contact their Director of Graduate Studies or school associate dean to determine accommodation and conditions for suspension of responsibilities that include class attendance, course assignments, exams, teaching and teaching assistant training, and other academic requirements as well as research and lab work.
Policy implemented August 8, 2006; revised January 2011.