Coronavirus Updates for MA students

May 13, 2020

Dear Master’s Students in the Arts and Sciences,

I hope this finds you well and safe during these difficult times. We all are suffering in our own ways during these months of social isolation in our beloved, besieged city. But I trust that with the advances of science, wise public health policy, and time, we as individuals and as a school will weather successfully these significant challenges.

While I look forward to brighter days, I did want to note that we have heard from our Master’s community — students and MA Program Directors — about a variety of concerns with Columbia housing, the need for emergency funds, consequences of interrupted thesis research, the need for career and professional services. We have taken up the task of creating resources and opportunities for both our continuing and graduating Master’s students, and to that end, make the following announcements and updates.


Summer Language Coursework: GSAS will offer continuing Master’s students who are working on their theses the opportunity to take language courses relevant to their research in the SPS 2020 summer session. Like PhD students, MA students would be limited to 8 credits total, and their approval would depend upon their MA Program Director confirming the relevance of the language to advancing the thesis research.

Library Support for Access to Materials: If there are library materials you can’t access remotely, and you would like a librarian to help, write to [email protected], and Columbia Libraries will get in touch with you about your research needs.


2020 Graduates Virtual Alumni Networking: The GSAS Alumni Association is planning events for 2020 graduates. The first in the series will be held the evening of Thursday, May 28. Register here for more information. New virtual networking events will appear on the 2020 Graduates page as soon as available.

Job-Search Strategies During COVID-19: Take steps to jumpstart your job search. Join GSAS Compass – the new Graduate School career development unit – for a weekly workshop series in June for MA students and 2020 graduates that will help you move your job search forward during the pandemic, with a focus on what you can do this summer. Topics: improving job application materials, boosting your online presence, virtual networking and informational interviewing, negotiating job offers, and finding ways to continue to build your résumé during lockdown. June dates and times will be announced soon.


GSAS/ASGC Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund: This group effort has raised over $100,000 so far to support students with urgent and time-sensitive COVID-19-related financial emergencies. More than 130 MA students will have received emergency funding by the conclusion of Round 2, now under consideration. We persevere with raising funds for this initiative so that we may continue to help our students.


No Rent Increase in Columbia Residential Housing: Rent for Master’s students continuing in Columbia Housing will remain at current levels for the next academic year.
Housing Extensions for Graduating Students: As of May 5, Columbia Residential is now permitting graduating students to extend their Columbia Residential leases until August 15, 2020.

We will identify resources and create opportunities for our continuing and graduating MA students. We ask for your patience, and will communicate with you as we make advances on your behalf.

Be well; stay well.

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