Coronavirus updates for GSAS students

April 05, 2020

Dear MA and PhD students,

I hope that you are taking care of yourselves and staying safe. This bulletin contains information about academic and housing updates that we hope will address some of your concerns of the moment.

We acknowledge, and hope you understand, that the many challenges we are facing together are greater than the concerns of a single School, or even limited to the confines of one University. We are also part of a fabric of higher education that is also facing the far-reaching ramifications of this crisis. We are part of a state, a nation, and a global environment in which governments, institutions, and individuals are working around the clock to meet the needs of many constituencies.

We are working collaboratively with several offices on campus—the Office of the Provost, the University Registrar, Columbia Health, and Columbia Residential—to address local student issues. We thank our colleagues for their help in our efforts to support our students.


The university will allow use of the R grade for those who already registered for it, since its use is consistent with the intent of mandatory Pass/Fail grading this term.


Apply by April 15 | Emergency Move-out Assistance
"Columbia Residential will consider requests for up to $500 in funding for students who wish to move out of housing during the month of April. Residents who request emergency move-out assistance must complete the Emergency Move-out Assistance form and send supporting documentation for their request to .
Students who choose this option may contract and schedule movers directly, and Residential will provide them access to the building and apartment, so students do not have to return to campus to complete a move-out. If a student uses an approved Columbia vendor to schedule their move, Columbia Residential can also pay the movers directly; if the cost of the move is above $500, the difference will be billed to the student’s account shortly after the move. Additionally, for students who move out by April 15, their move-out date will be adjusted to March 31, so they will get a credit back for the full months of April and May. 
If students are interested in this option, they may review the Housing & COVID-19 FAQ for more information about applying for funding, contracting movers and scheduling a proxy move. Any questions can be directed to .  
Applications for emergency move-out assistance must be submitted by April 15 to be considered.
Unfortunately, Columbia Residential is not able to provide rent relief for students who wish to keep their Columbia units throughout the summer and beyond, but we hope that this funding opportunity can provide some relief during this difficult time. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.”


For the PhD: students must deposit their dissertations by May 22, 2020  
For the MPhil: GSAS must receive the MPhil application by May 29, 2020
For the MA: students must complete coursework in time for their MA programs to submit graduation lists to the Registrar by June 4, 2020 


Columbia and peer institutions have agreed to post on their university admissions sites language that acknowledges the singular nature of the academic experience of Spring 2020, including the wide use of Pass/Fail. Columbia’s text is as follows:

"The global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 presented institutions of higher education with challenges in teaching and learning, as well as in the assessment of academic performance.  As a consequence of these challenges, Columbia University affirms the following principle: 

The University’s graduate and professional schools, as well as their respective admissions committees, will take into account the important disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak when reviewing student transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their customary practice of performing holistic reviews of individual applications or dossiers. Specifically, we will respect decisions made by institutions or individuals regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail or similar grading options during the period in question.

The Provost and University Deans adopted this principle to ensure that no applicants are disadvantaged by policy decisions made by their colleges/universities as a result of this unprecedented public health event."

Be well; stay well.


Carlos J. Alonso, Dean
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences