The 2020-21 Academic Year at GS

The 2020-21 Academic Year at GS

The coming academic year will be spread across three semesters of equal length, allowing greater flexibility for faculty and students. GS students will be offered the opportunity to take classes in-person when available, and all courses will be offered online to accommodate students who are unable to return to the Morningside Heights area.

Academic Updates

Faculty are actively engaged in preparations that will ensure the richest academic experience possible, in keeping with Columbia's standards of excellence. We are expanding and enhancing the remote learning strategies that were first used at Columbia in spring 2020, and this will be a continuing priority throughout the year.

Spring 2021 Pass/D/Fail Policy Update



Academic Calendar

Courses for the 2020-21 academic year will be spread across three semesters of equal length, allowing greater flexibility for faculty and students. 

Remote Learning

To support online and hybrid instruction, every classroom has been outfitted with cameras and microphones to allow students joining from on- and off-campus to learn in an integrated environment.

2020-21 Academic FAQs

This page will be updated throughout the 2020-21 academic year as policy changes become available.


As of Summer 2020, evaluative (letter) grading has been restored, and will be in place for the coming academic year.

Registration and Academic Advising

Registration will open for the Spring 2021 term December 1 - 4 (undergraduate and Postbac students, based on class standing) and December 7 - 11 (all undergraduate students). All students need to review their registration, think about how best to plan their studies for the coming year, and consult available course offerings. Your advising deans are available to help you with this process, and you will be able to view course offerings for the full academic year to help you plan.

Immersive Courses

The Fall and Spring semesters have been further divided into two equal parts — Part A and Part B, with some departments and programs offering half-term immersive courses that students have the option to take in addition to their semester-long courses. The goal of these immersive classes is to allow for a depth of engagement and learning over a shorter and more intensive period of time.

Co-Curricular Activities

Now more than ever, in today’s globally connected world, students need to be empowered as leaders to deal with complexity, diversity, and change to address the global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Two new interdisciplinary experiences are open to students in the four undergraduate schools at Columbia University: the Justice and Pandemics Preparedness Academy and the Global Columbia Collaboratory.

Housing and Residential Updates

GS students are being offered housing for the 2020 - 2021 academic year. All continuing students who left Columbia Residential housing in the spring who wish to return will be offered the opportunity.

The move-in period for students arriving this fall has been extended to October 15.

The deadline to complete the Housing Cancellation Fee Waiver has been extended to August 31, 2020 for all students.

Public Health and Safety

For individuals on Columbia’s campus, there will be new restrictions and protocols that will affect daily life across campus and in residence halls. These will be in the spirit of maintaining the individual health and safety of every member of our community, including yours. 

As the pandemic evolves, decisions about health and safety will be continuously updated, including who can be on campus, limitations on interactions and gatherings and much more.

Enhanced Health and Safety Policy

This policy has been established to help protect individuals in the Columbia community and our neighbors as we prepare for return to campus.

Enforcement Plan for Health and Safety

The University’s goal is to support adherence to our health and safety policy by all on our campuses.

COVID-19 Publich Health Protocols

It is strongly recommended that all affiliates follow these guidelines when engaged in social and other activities off campus, including physical distancing, face covering, and hand hygiene.

ReopenCU Symptom Self-check App

As of June 22, 2020, all faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete a symptom self-check every day before they enter campus premises. 

Stay Healthy. Keep the Compact.

In these extraordinary times, all of us have a role to play in keeping our community healthy. Our individual actions can and do affect everyone’s health and well-being, and that’s why each of us is expected to do our part and #KeeptheCompact. All of us at Columbia—students, faculty, and staff—commit to doing what we can to reduce and stop transmission of COVID-19 within and around the University community. The Columbia Compact is our community’s call to action and to recognize our shared responsibility for community health, informed by science and founded on mutual respect. 

Beyond the Classroom

GS will continue with its full program of initiatives, support services, and events for the 2020-2021 academic year, across multiple modalities. 

View Upcoming Events

Your Health and Wellness

GS and Columbia Health offer an array of virtual events throughout the semester tailored to the meet the health and wellness needs of students. Topics include: stress management; mindfulness; body positivity; identity-based community support for students of color, LGBTQ students, student veterans, international students, and more; cultivating creativity and resilience; trauma support; and more.

Connect with the GS Community