Deferrals

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 GSAS Office of Admissions.

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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

Doctoral Students

Requesting a Deferral
PhD applicants may request a deferral via the Fellowship Response Form, which is available on the Application Status Page.

PhD applicants who have accepted offers of admission and later wish to request a deferral may write to gsas-admissions [at] columbia.edu, using the subject line "PhD Deferral Request." Please note that the credentials verification forms must be submitted before a deferral request can be approved.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Begin the credentials review process by submitting the Authorization and Release Form and the Recommender Verification Form. 

After the tuition deposit and the two forms are 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.

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 provided below.

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

Tuition deposits vary by program. Most MA programs require a $1,000 deposit.

Exceptions are noted below:

The following programs require a $2,000 tuition deposit:

  • MA in Climate and Society
  • MA in Islamic Studies
  • MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
  • MA in Sociology

The following programs require a $3,500 tuition deposit:

  • MA in Biotechnology
  • MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies

The following programs require a $5,000 tuition deposit:

  • MA in Economics
  • MA in Mathematics with a specialization in the Mathematics of Finance
  • MA in Statistics
  • MA in Statistics (Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program)

Please contact gsas-admissions [at] columbia.edu with any questions.

Special Note: Fall 2020 MA Admits Deferred to Fall 2021

Due to the unusual circumstances of the global pandemic, all deferral requests from applicants admitted for the Fall 2020 term were approved. As noted in the approval letters, deferred admits will be required to formally accept the updated offer of admission for Fall 2021.

Given the overwhelming number of deferrals to Fall 2021, some programs have made an adjustment to the enrollment confirmation process. Deferred applicants to the programs in Anthropology, Climate and Society, Economics, Human Rights Studies, Latin American and the Caribbean: Regional Studies, Museum Anthropology, and Political Science will be required to submit a $1,500 enrollment confirmation payment to confirm the intent to matriculate in Fall 2021. This payment will be credited toward your tuition and is not an additional fee.

If you have questions about this policy, please contact your program directly for assistance. If your enrollment plans have changed, please email gsas-admissions [at] columbia.edu.