Most popular pages:
- Student Handbook, 2013–14 (PDF: 202 pp)
- Academic Calendar (2013–14)
- Student Events at CSSW
- CSSW Videos: 4 practice method specializations (on Vimeo)
Whether you are just starting out at the Columbia University School of Social Work or you have been here for a while, you are bound to have questions at some stage about evaluation methods, communications with the School, academic calendar, personal & health matters, issues & grievances, housing and related topics. To empower you to find answers—or the quickest route to an administrator who can provide an answer—we present a list of general questions students frequently ask us.
Your field instructor will conduct a mid-term oral evaluation of how well your field work is progressing. In addition, he or she will submit a final report to your advisor, assessing your skills across a range of practice behaviors within larger competency areas. Your advisor makes the final determination of your grade. For more details on the field evaluation policies and how to prepare, go to the Field Education Manual.
You should first speak to your field instructor about your concerns related to your evaluation. As a social work student, you should be able to raise questions in a respectful and professional manner, even if it feels uncomfortable. You can also discuss your concerns with your advisor, the staff of the Office of Advising, or the Assistant Dean of Field Education. Please remember this is an educational experience that requires dialogue and critical thinking. If you have concerns, let us know; we are here to ensure that you can obtain the best education possible.
Your instructor will indicate on their syllabus the method of evaluation for the course, as well as all course requirements. If you are not clear about the grading policy, speak up at the beginning of the term and ask your instructor to explain it in more detail. Typical methods of evaluation at CUSSW include exams, long papers, reading logs or notes, role plays, short papers, and quizzes.
Before doing anything else, it is important to speak with your instructor. As a social work student, you should be able to raise questions in a respectful and professional manner, even if it feels uncomfortable. You can also discuss your concerns with your advisor, the staff of the Office of Advising, or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (go to administrative staff list).
Turnitin is a Web-based learning tool to prevent and detect plagiarism. Many of the School’s instructors require that students submit their required papers to Turnitin. This is to protect the academic integrity of your work and also to ensure you possess the requisite academic citation skills. Once your paper is submitted, Turnitin will compare its content to content in three primary databases:
Incompletes can only be granted under the circumstances where, owing to an illness or emergency, you cannot complete your final assignment. The extension period is normally no more than 10 days in length. NOTE: An Incomplete grade cannot be awarded if you still need to complete significant portions of classroom work that predate the end of the semester.
The school's primary -- and official! -- mode of communication with you is via your Columbia e-mail account. We strongly recommend that you check your Columbia e-mail daily so that you won't miss key announcements about such things as registration, advising, field education, upcoming events, class assignment updates, scholarship opportunities, job announcements, job fairs, graduation, and much more. NOTE: It is easy to forward your Columbia e-mail to another account, such as Gmail, if that is your preference. To set up this feature, go to UNI mail forwarding. You can also set up your Columbia account on software such as Apple Mail, Outlook or Thunderbird. To do so, go to CUIT’s configuration instructions. If you have a smartphone (e.g., Blackberry, I-Phone or Android), you can add your Columbia e-mail as a secondary account. Please contact your cell phone provider for configuration instructions.
Please consult the CUSSW Academic Calendar prior to planning any vacations or time away from school.
Commencement for Columbia University’s 2012-2013 academic year will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 22. The School of Social Work ceremony will be held later that day, at 2:00 p.m., location TBA. Information—including ceremony time and location, ticket information and disability accommodations—is e-mailed to graduating students in March. To stay abreast of the latest Commencement information, go to Columbia University’s Commencement Week site.
Please notify your advisor, your instructors and your field instructor of the upcoming holiday(s) and note what day(s) you will not be able to attend classes and field. They can help you develop a plan for making up any missed work or days in field. It is the University Senate’s policy to give students who are absent because of their religious beliefs “an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements.” You cannot be penalized for absence due to religious beliefs, and alternative means can be sought for satisfying your academic requirements.
If you are unable to attend classes, please immediately notify your instructors and advisor. If you are unable to attend field, please immediately notify your field instructor and advisor. It is also extremely helpful if you notify the offices of Advising, Field Education and Student Services so that we can reach out to your instructors and field placement as needed. You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. NOTE: You will be required to make up missed hours of field work.
Basic medical services are provided on campus at Columbia Health, on the 3rd and 4th floors of John Jay Hall. You may make an appointment online, by phone (212-854-7426), or in person at the information desk on the third floor of John Jay Hall. If you have an emergency, we encourage you to call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. (If you live near campus, you should head to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room, on 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 212-523-3347.) Your Student Medical Insurance Plan covers emergency room visits.
For more details about your student medical insurance, go to Columbia’s Health Insurance page. NOTE: You will receive an Insurance ID card in the mail. If you need medical assistance off campus prior to receiving that card, you may download a temporary card (PDF: 1 page).
Columbia Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services, located on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall, offers short-term individual counseling, couples counseling for you and your partner, student life support groups, medication consultation, and related services—all of which are covered by your Health Services Fee. To schedule an appointment, call 212-854-2878 or walk in to a Residence Hall Counseling office. For assistance after hours, call 212-854-9797 to speak to an on-call clinician or, in the case of an emergency, call 911 to find out where your nearest hospital is. (If you live near campus, you should head to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room, on 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 212-523-3347.)
Your Student Health Insurance Plan offers a prescription drug program through Aetna. To find your nearest pharmacy in the Aetna network, go to the Aetna Prescription Drug Program site.
If you are in good academic standing, you may request a personal leave of absence for a maximum of one year. All leaves of absence, including those undertaken for medical reasons, must be requested and processed through the Office of Advising (email@example.com). You will need to complete paperwork and discuss how this leave will affect your academic program and then map out a plan for resuming your studies once the leave ends. A Student Services staff member will process your leave and remove you from classes, if necessary. And if your leave of absence commences before the term ends, you should also arrange to meet with someone in the Office of Financial Aid, as it may require returning loan funds to the federal government. For more details on policy and procedures, go to the Student Handbook. NOTE: If you take a medical leave of absence, you will be required to submit documentation of medical clearance, ensuring you are able to attend classes and participate in field, before returning to campus.
If you have a temporary or permanent disability, you must first register with Columbia University’s Disability Services. Disability Services staff will review your documentation and determine any reasonable accommodations and support services such as note-taking assistance, extended time on exams, and access to assistive technology, after which they will notify our Office of Student Services. (Accommodations are not applicable retroactively.) NOTE: Our instructors and Field Education administrators are not able to grant disability accommodations. They are, however, obligated to ensure that you have received applicable Disability Services accommodations, with assistance from our Office of Student Services.
The School and the University have a number of organizations that support LGBTQ students on campus. These include the Queer Caucus at School of Social Work and various campus-wide groups such as Columbia Queer Alliance, Everyone Allied Against Homophobia, Gayava (a Jewish LGBTQ group), and Proud Colors. Additionally, Columbia Health Services runs a Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP), and the Columbia University Center for Career Education offers job search, résumé, and interviewing advice to LGBTQ students.
If you have a late class, stay at the Library until closing hours, or are here for an event that lasts into the evening, and are worried about getting home safely, one option is to call the Columbia University Escort Service. Two special trained students will walk you to your door within a certain radius, or to the subway station. Another option is to take the Columbia University intercampus shuttle, available to all students with a valid University ID, free of charge. To track the shuttle on the go, download the special app from the CU Transportation page.
You should immediately reach out to your advisor to discuss any incident of discrimination, harassment or gender-based misconduct. The School and University consider allegations of discrimination and harassment and/or gender-based misconduct to be extremely serious matters. In addition, you should report the issue to appropriate officers at the School and at the University. If you’ve experienced discrimination and harassment by:
Please reach out to the appropriate officers at the School.
The University’s Ombuds Office serves as an informal, confidential resource for assisting you with conflict resolution. You can speak freely to Ombuds Office staff as they promise to keep your discussions confidential and operate independently of the Columbia administration. They do not take sides but will listen to your concerns, give you information about the University’s policies, help you evaluate your situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict. The Ombuds Office will also mediate conflicts if both parties are agreeable. To sample the information the Ombuds Office provides, go to its Resources page.
No, the School is not in the position to offer housing to its graduate students. We receive a small allocation each year from the University Housing Office, but preference is given to students who are relocating to New York, with priority placed on those who are traveling the greatest distance (e.g., abroad, the West Coast, the Midwest). Although accommodations for graduate students are limited, we encourage all of our students to apply to University Apartment Housing (UAH). Even if you do not receive housing right away, UAH does maintain a waitlist and it is possible you will be offered an assignment later in the year. Types of University housing include apartment shares, dormitory-style rooms, studio/efficiency units, and one- and two-bedroom units (prioritized for couples and families). For more details about housing types, availability and costs, go to the Types of Accommodation page on the UAH site.
Columbia University’s Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) manages a database known as the Housing Registry, which includes available rooms and apartments in non-Columbia-owned buildings and sublets of units in Columbia-managed housing—go to registration page. Prospective roommates can also post and search profiles on this site. In addition, OCHA offers one-on-one counseling for your housing search, and is supported in these efforts by cooperative relationships with two New York City real estate/relocation agencies. For further online resources, download OCHA’s “Newspapers and Other Online Resources" hand-out (PDF: 3 pages).