The Graduate School offers admission with the expectation that students will matriculate in the semester specified during the application process. If extraordinary circumstances will prevent you from matriculating, you may submit a request to defer your enrollment for up to one calendar year.

Deferral requests are not automatically granted: They must be evaluated and approved by the department and by the Dean of GSAS.

Deferral Deadlines and Eligibility

  • August 15 is the deadline for submission of deferral requests for fall-term applicants. Deferral requests will not be considered after this date. 
  • Any applicant who has been granted one deferral may not defer a second time.
  • Any applicant admitted from a summer waitlist is not eligible for a deferral.
  • Spring-term applicants may not request deferrals. If you are admitted for the spring semester and are unable to enroll, you may reapply for fall-term admission.
  • Applicants admitted to the MA program in Mathematics with a Specialization in the Mathematics of Finance (MAFN) may not defer their admission. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Admitted MAFN applicants who wish to delay their enrollment will need to reapply to the program.

Please note: After a deferral request is granted, the applicant’s assigned Columbia University Network ID, or UNI, will be inactivated. Columbia email accounts are available only for currently matriculated students. You may reactivate your UNI and Lionmail account after accepting the updated offer of admission for your new enrollment term.

Doctoral Students

Requesting a Deferral

PhD applicants facing extraordinary circumstances that would prevent them from matriculating in the fall may request a deferral via the Fellowship Response Form, which is available on the Application Status Page. There is a high bar to approve such requests, which must be reviewed and approved by both the program's Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of GSAS.

PhD applicants who have accepted offers of admission and later wish to request a deferral may write to [email protected], using the subject line "PhD Deferral Request." These requests are subject to the same stringent review and approval process noted above.

Deferred Enrollment

In the months prior to your new enrollment term, an updated offer of admission will be sent to you via email. This new offer must be accepted via the online response form (instructions will be provided in the updated admission letter).

Master’s Students 

Requesting a Deferral

To request a deferral, Master’s applicants must first accept the offer for the current season by paying the tuition deposit. This deposit must be paid on or before the response deadline noted in the admission letter.

After the tuition deposit is received, the Deferral Request Form will appear on the Applicant Status page. Submit the Deferral Request Form, indicating the intended term of enrollment and providing a brief explanation for the request.

Students will be notified about the disposition of their deferral request via email.

An MA applicant whose deferral request is approved will be required to submit an additional tuition deposit to accept the new offer of admission in the following year. Both tuition deposit payments will appear on the student's account as credits toward tuition. Tuition deposit information is available here.

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

If you have questions about this policy, please contact your program directly for assistance. If your enrollment plans have changed, please email [email protected].