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.
  • If an MA applicant admitted with GSAS funding is granted a deferral, the funding offer promised with the original offer of admission is not guaranteed for the new enrollment term.

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." 

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.

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 Islamic Studies and Muslim Cultures – Dual Degree with Aga Khan University
  • MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • MA in Oral History
  • MA in Sociology

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

  • MA in Biotechnology
  • MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies
  • MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

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 

Please contact gsas-admissions [at] columbia.edu 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 gsas-admissions [at] columbia.edu.