Academic Year 2021-2022

As a result of recent changes in CDC and NYS regulations, and with the introduction of Columbia University’s mandatory vaccination policy for all students, faculty, and staff, we are pleased to announce that we are planning to return to fully in-person instruction in Fall 2021. This means that students will need to be on-campus to participate in courses and will be able to access services and participate in community events.

All Mailman School of Public Health students expected to enroll with the School this fall 2021 should have received an email with a link to a short survey requesting information on students' fall plans. If you did not receive this survey, please contact

In the meantime, the Office of Education is here to help! Visit us online for helpful information on who to contact when.

Helpful offices and emails to save:

If I cannot make it to campus, can I continue to take courses remotely?

Students who are not able to come to campus to begin courses in Fall 2021 will have to defer their admission or take a leave of absence.  We will not be offering courses in a remote format.  Students with questions about Visa issues should reach out to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)

How do I find housing in New York City?

Columbia University Medical Center Office of Housing Services provides on-campus housing to incoming and continuing students as space permits. Priority given to student’s coming to the University from outside the United States. The University maintains housing for students seeking housing solely for themselves (single student housing) and for students seeking housing for themselves and their spouse or domestic partner (student couples housing).

If you choose to live off-campus, you can also search for apartments, rooms, and roommates through Columbia University's Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) office. If you have questions about OCHA, email sends e-mail) or call 212-854-2773.

Other Off-Campus options include:

International House is an historic residence and program center in Morningside Heights that promotes cross-cultural exchange and leadership qualities among graduate students and professional trainees from around the world. I-House’s Resident community enjoys private bedrooms, dining services, exercise facilities, music practice rooms, study spaces, and outdoor spaces. Residents collaborate both intellectually and creatively while forging friendships that span cultural divides, and spark professional and creative collaborations that carry them into challenging and satisfying careers.

What if I am unable to get a Visa appointment before the start of the academic year?

We will work with students who may be late in arriving to campus due to visa issues.  We will require you to have made effort to schedule your visa appointment.  The International Students and Scholars Office can provide additional guidance about the visa process and can be reached at

As a newly admitted student, if I opt to defer the start of my program to Fall 2022, what happens to my financial aid?

While you will still maintain eligibility for federal aid once you submit a new FAFSA for 22-23, if you received a scholarship/grant, it has been our standing policy that students who elect to defer the start of their program forfeit their scholarship/grant and is not guaranteed to be renewed. Our office will place you in our pool of candidates for review with the new incoming class for 22-23.

I am a continuing student who opts to take a leave of absence for 21-22 what happens to my financial aid?

Once a new FAFSA for 22-23 has been submitted, your federal aid will be reassessed and renewed. If you received a scholarship/grant during your first year of study at Columbia Public Health, our Financial Aid office will review our budget for 22-23 to determine if your scholarship award can be offered when you return from your leave of absence.  Please feel free to contact our Financial Aid Office to schedule an appointment to discuss your package further.

I was anticipating starting my program remote but will now be moving to New York to take part in the 21-22 academic year. Can I discuss budgeting and financial planning with someone?

Yes, our financial aid office offers guidance on how to form a budget and provides financial planning tips help to ensure a smooth transition. Please visit your admitted students portal to schedule an appointment or visit our Schedule and Appointment page.

When and how will I have to submit my proof of vaccination?

To verify you have been vaccinated, you will need to upload a picture/copy of your CDC card, WHO booklet, or a physician letter containing details of your vaccinations. Please allow at least 15 business days for processing and be sure to submit no later than August 2, 2021.  All documentation provided is subject to review. Should an issue be found with the documentation submitted, you will be notified and provided with additional instructions on how to proceed. The upload process applies to both those that have been vaccinated and those that may be requesting a religious or medical exemption

If you have not already uploaded your documentation, please wait as Student Health on Haven is transitioning to a new patient portal. More information about that process - including when you can start uploading your documentation will follow and will be added to their website.

International Students

Columbia recognizes that some international students may not be able to access vaccines or complete a vaccine series before coming to New York this fall.  We will have vaccines available to administer in the first week you are on campus.  More details on how to be vaccinated on arrival and how the University will ensure you have access to housing and classes while you go through the vaccine process will be shared in July.  If you arrive in the United States earlier, please get your vaccine at the site closest to you.

Status of campus

Columbia University remains focused on the health and well-being of our community. For the most up todate information on University policy and status, please visit the Columbia University’s COVID Information page.


Do I have to quarantine when I arrive in NY State?

Visit NYS COVID site to keep up to date on the New York State requirements.

Can I visit campus before Orientation?

At the moment, Columbia University is not permitting visitors to enter campus buildings. You can find more information on Columbia University’s COVID Information page.

What is the Orientation schedule?

Some orientation activities will occur in an online asynchronous fashion throughout August.  Our in-person Orientation will take place the week of August 30th.  We are still finalizing the schedule for the week and will share details by August. 

Will all my classes be conducted in person?

While we will not be able to offer fully remote instruction for any of our programs (except the Online EPI MS), some courses will be offered in online or hybrid modalities. Information about individual courses will be available in the course directory.

How do I request a Deferral or Leave of Absence?

New Students

Incoming students who have not yet matriculated may request to defer their admission by emailing to inform the Admissions Team of their decision by June 15th. Students requesting deferrals will be notified as soon as possible after the request is made and will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Please note that deferrals are not guaranteed.  For students who defer, scholarships are not guaranteed but you can be reconsidered in your year of enrollment. 


Continuing students who need, to delay their degree programs should speak to the Office of Student Affairs regarding a leave of absence (LOA). Continuing students may request to take a LOA at any time prior to the end of the 2021 Fall semester Change of Program Period.