Returning from Approved Leaves
Students should submit the Return from a Leave of Absence form six weeks before the start of the semester in which they wish to return. Students returning from a medical leave must also submit to the Office of Student Affairs a letter of approval from the health care professional who provided treatment, confirming that the student is medically cleared to return to full-time graduate study and proposing any recommended accommodations. The Medical Leave of Absence Readmission Committee, made up of representatives from Columbia University Health Services and the GSAS Office of Student Affairs, will review the letter of approval, and either approve the student’s request to return, or ask that the student meet with a relevant Columbia Health Services health care practitioner. Students returning from leave may register during the registration period immediately before the semester begins (August for fall, January for spring).
Students who have decided not to return from a leave of absence should also complete the form, indicating that they intend to withdraw from the University. The complete policy regarding withdrawals is available here.
Returning from Unapproved Leaves
A student in a doctoral program in the Arts and Sciences who leaves the University without having obtained a Leave of Absence must apply again for admission to the doctoral program as a new student. Admission for return to graduate study is granted at the discretion of the department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
A student in a Master’s program in the Arts and Sciences who has been absent from his or her program for four or fewer semesters without having obtained a Leave of Absence must apply for reinstatement. Reinstatement is granted at the discretion of the department or program and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
To request reinstatement, students must submit the Application for Return to M.A. Study (PDF) to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs at least eight weeks before the first day of registration for the term in which they intend to resume studies.
The department or program must then submit the Return to M.A. Study: Evaluation of Application form (PDF) to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs.
M.A. students who have been on an unapproved leave for more than four semesters will be required to apply again for admission.
For all students, the GSAS Office of Student Affairs requests the department or program to supply a written schedule for the completion of all requirements before the student is either admitted (in the case of doctoral students) or reinstated (in the case of Master’s students). The student is expected to complete the degree by the date specified by the faculty; extensions will not be granted.
If admitted (in the case of doctoral students) or reinstated (in the case of Master’s students), the student will become subject to all current requirements as interpreted by the GSAS Office of Student Affairs with regard to the student's case. In cases where there has been a prolonged interruption of studies, a department may require a student to retake examinations and/or courses as appropriate.